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Best List of Must-Know Afrikaans Pronouns

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The word “pronoun” in Afrikaans is voornaamwoord. Like pronouns in most languages, Afrikaans pronouns are very necessary words to use and master. Without pronouns, a language could sound clumsy and be much more difficult to understand! But with AfrikaansPod101.com, this doesn’t have to be a problem. We help you learn not only the relevant vocabulary, but also the grammar and proper use of pronouns in Afrikaans—easily and excellently!

Let’s start with the purpose of pronouns. Basically, these are words that take the place of nouns (the very word “pronoun” should give that away!) in a sentence. This keeps us from repeating the same word or words over and over again. Also, as mentioned earlier, they ensure elegant and smooth speech and writing.

An example of a sentence without pronouns:

“Not only is Peter Pan a boy, but Peter Pan is also a fairytale character.”

The meaning of the sentence is correct, but it doesn’t sound very good, right? Here’s the same sentence with a personal pronoun. Can you spot it?

“Not only is Peter Pan a boy, but he is also a fairytale character.”

Yup, in this sentence, “he” is the personal pronoun that takes the place of “Peter Pan,” the proper noun. You can also learn the basics about nouns in Afrikaans in our blog post: Learn the 100 Most Common Nouns in Afrikaans.

Now that we’re on the same page regarding the nature of a pronoun, let’s dig into different examples of pronouns in Afrikaans! In Afrikaans, we classify nine types of pronouns.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Personal Pronouns / Persoonlike Voornaamwoorde
  2. Impersonal Pronouns / Onpersoonlike Voornaamwoorde
  3. Possessive Pronoun / Besitlike Voornaamwoord
  4. Relative Pronouns / Betreklike Voornaamwoorde
  5. Interrogative Pronouns / Vraende Voornaamwoorde
  6. Indefinite Pronouns / Onbepaalde Voornaamwoorde
  7. Reflexive & Intensive Pronouns / Noodsaaklike & Toevallige Wederkerende Voornaamwoorde
  8. Reciprocal Pronouns / Wederkerige Voornaamwoorde
  9. Demonstrative Pronouns / Aanwysende Voornaamwoorde
  10. AfrikaansPod101 and Afrikaans Pronouns—Why We’re the Best!

1. Personal Pronouns / Persoonlike Voornaamwoorde

Introducing Yourself

As the name suggests, Afrikaans personal pronouns specifically take the place of the names of people, places, and things in a sentence.

Personal Pronoun: EnglishPersoonlike Voornaamwoord: Afrikaans
Iek
ekjy
you (formal)u
shesy
hehy
weons
you (formal plural)u
you (informal plural)julle
theyhulle
itdit

Note: Unlike in English, the Afrikaans pronoun used when you refer to yourself (ek / “I”) isn’t always written in capital letters. Ek is written with a capital letter only at the start of a sentence.

See if you can identify every personal pronoun in Afrikaans in the following sentences!

Examples:

Cellphone

Afrikaans: Ek het my selfoon by die huis vergeet. My vriendin het gesê dat sy dit vir my sal bring.

Translation: “I forgot my cell-phone at home. My friend said she would bring it to me.”

Afrikaans: Hy will by julle aansluit.

Translation: “He wants to join you.” (Plural, informal “you”)

Afrikaans: My vriende is hier; ons gaan nou eet.

Translation: “My friends are here; we’re going to eat now.”

Afrikaans: Meneer, kan u Afrikaans praat? U vrou sê sy kan nie.

Translation: “Sir, can you speak Afrikaans? Your wife says she can’t.” (Singular, formal “you”)

Afrikaans: Hulle het ‘n nuwe kar. Dit is baie spoggerig. 

Translation: “They have a new car. It is very grand.”

2. Impersonal Pronouns / Onpersoonlike Voornaamwoorde

There are only two impersonal pronouns in Afrikaans: dit (“it”) and daar (“there”).

Examples:

Afrikaans: Dit reën buite. 

Translation: “It’s raining outside.” 

Note: This dit is used mostly in reference to natural phenomena like the weather.

Man with Umbrella Rain

Afrikaans: Daar is niks wat mens hieraan kan doen nie.

Translation: “There’s nothing one can do about it.”

Note: This Afrikaans pronoun is mostly used in the passive voice. Don’t confuse it with daardie! Read on to learn more about this.

3. Possessive Pronoun / Besitlike Voornaamwoord

As the name suggests, Afrikaans possessive pronouns indicate possession.

Possessive Pronoun: EnglishBesitlike Voornaamwoord: Afrikaans
my / minemy / myne
your / yoursjou / joune
her / hershaar / hare
hissy / syne
our / oursons / ons s’n
your / yours (plural informal)julle / julle s’n
your / yours (plural formal)u / u s’n
their / theirshulle / hulle s’n

Examples:

Afrikaans: Die kaartjie is myne. Dis vir my vlug na London.

Translation: “The ticket is mine. It’s for my flight to London.”

Afrikaans: Dis jou nuwe iPad. Die nuwe skootrekenaar is ook joune.

Translation: “That is your new iPad. The new laptop is also yours.”

Afrikaans: Haar sitplek is hare; sy sitplek is syne.

Translation: “Her seat is hers; his seat is his.”

Afrikaans: Julle hond is julle s’n.

Translation: “Your dog is yours.” (Informal, plural)

A Puppy

Afrikaans: Hulle tafel is hulle s’n. Ons gaan by ons s’n sit.

Translation: “That table is theirs. We’re going to sit at ours.”

Afrikaans: U ete is voorberei. Die vegetariese disse is u s’n.

Translation: “Your meal is prepared. The vegetarian dishes are yours.” (Formal, singular or plural)

4. Relative Pronouns / Betreklike Voornaamwoorde

Afrikaans relative pronouns are relative to, or have to do with, a noun that occurs first in the sentence. They’re used to connect a phrase or a clause to a noun. 

There are four pronouns in this category: wat, wie se, waaroor, and waarin. The literal translations for these pronouns are not used in the same way they are in English. 

In the example sentences below, the noun which is being referred to is underlined.

Examples:

Afrikaans: Die persoon wat praat is die kind se ma.

Translation: “The person who’s speaking is the child’s mother.”

Afrikaans: Die onderwerp waaroor sy praat is belangrik.

Translation: “The topic that she is discussing is important.”

Afrikaans: Die kind wie se tas gevind is, is nie hier nie.

Translation: “The child whose suitcase was found is not here.”

Afrikaans: Die drama waarin hy optree begin vanaand.

Translation: “The drama in which he performs is opening tonight.”

5.  Interrogative Pronouns / Vraende Voornaamwoorde

Basic Questions

As the name suggests, these Afrikaans pronouns are used to ask questions. You’ll see that most of them can be used as relative pronouns too.

Interrogative Pronouns: EnglishVraende Voornaamwoorde: Afrikaans
whowie
whatwat / waarvan
about whatwaaroor
with whatwaarmee
what…forwaarvoor
whichwatter
whichwanneer
whywaarom / hoekom

Tip: If you can answer the question with a noun, then you know there’s a vraende voornaamwoord in the sentence!

Examples:

Afrikaans: Wie het die Lotto gewen?

Translation: “Who won the Lotto?”

Woman Standinding in Money

Afrikaans: Wat gaan jy met die geld doen?

Translation: “What are you going to do with the money?”

Afrikaans: Waarvan hou jy die meeste?

Translation: “What do you like the most?”

Afrikaans: Waaroor wil jy skryf?

Translation: “About what do you want to write?”

Afrikaans: Waarmee wil jy die koffie roer?

Translation: “With what do you want to stir the coffee?”

Afrikaans: Waarvoor gebruik mens hierdie ding?

Translation: “What do you use this thing for?”

Afrikaans: Watter take gaan jy nou aanpak?

Translation: “Which tasks are you going to tackle now?”

Afrikaans: Wanneer is ons reis na Skotland?

Translation: “When is our trip to Scotland?”

Afrikaans: Waarom huil jy?

Translation: “Why are you crying?”

Note: Waarom can be used interchangeably with hoekom. They’re similar in meaning.

6. Indefinite Pronouns / Onbepaalde Voornaamwoorde

These pronouns in Afrikaans don’t refer to any specific thing, place, or person. 

Indefinite Pronouns: EnglishOnbepaalde Voornaamwoorde: Afrikaans
anyenige
anybody / anyoneenigiemand / enigeen
nobodyniemand
somesommige
everybodyalmal
fewmin / enkele
everythingalles
severalverskeie
nogeen
allalle
bothalbei
eachelkeen
enoughgenoeg
muchbaie

Examples:

Afrikaans: Laat hulle enige troeteldiere hier toe?

Translation: “Do they allow any pets here?”

A Cat and Dog

Afrikaans: Vra enigiemand, dis ‘n aangename plek hierdie.

Translation: “Ask anybody, this is a pleasant place.”

Afrikaans: Niemand mag ingaan nie.

Translation: “Nobody may enter.”

Afrikaans: Sommige mense hou van oefening, maar net enkeles neem deel aan professionele sport.

Translation: “Some people like to exercise, but few participate in professional sport.”

Afrikaans: Dis goed ons het baie kos gemaak, want min het oorgebly.

Translation: “It’s good we made a lot of food, because little was left.”

Afrikaans: Die orkaan het almal geaffekteer maar gelukkig het niemand alles verloor nie.

Translation: “The hurricane affected everyone, but fortunately no one lost everything.”

Afrikaans: Daar is verskeie resepte wat enigeen kan kook.

Translation: “There are several recipes that anyone can cook.”

Afrikaans: Geen persoon kan na agtuur inkom nie want alle deure is dan toegesluit.

Translation: “No person can enter after eight o’clock because all doors will be locked then.”

Afrikaans: Albei is my kinders, en ek het genoeg liefde vir elkeen.

Translation: “Both are my children, and I have enough love for each.”

Mother with Two Kids

7. Reflexive & Intensive Pronouns / Noodsaaklike & Toevallige Wederkerende Voornaamwoorde

These pronouns are used when both the subject and object of a verb refer to the same person or thing.
There are two categories of reflexive pronouns in Afrikaans: noodsaaklik wederkerend (reflexive) and toevallig wederkerend (intensive). It’s clear that the former (reflexive) refers to the same subject in a sentence, so that’s easy. However, it’s possible for the latter (intensive) to refer to any person or object, so the –self suffix is added for clarification.

Reflexive & Intensive Pronouns: EnglishWederkerende Voornaamwoord: Afrikaans
I – myselfEk – my
He – himselfHy – hom
She – herselfSy – haar
We – ourselvesOns – ons
They – themselvesHulle – hul

Examples of Reflexive Pronouns / Noodsaaklik Wederkerende Voornaamwoorde:

Afrikaans: Ek verwonder my aan hoe hy hom verspreek het.

Translation: “I am amazed by his slip of the tongue.”

Afrikaans: Sy het haar misgis met hoeveel hulle hul bekommer het.

Translation: “She misjudged how much they worried themselves.”

Afrikaans: Ons het ons gelukkig nie vasgeloop nie.

Meaning: “Fortunately, we didn’t encounter obstacles.” (There is no literal translation for this phrase!)

Tip: The astute will notice the lack of the self suffix! This is omitted when it’s clear who performs the action.

Examples of Intensive Pronouns / Toevallig Wederkerende Voornaamwoorde:

Here, the suffix –self is added for the sake of clarity. This means that, in a sentence, it’s possible that the action can be performed on another object or person.

Afrikaans: Hy was homself.

Translation: “He washes himself.”

Afrikaans: Hulle prys hulself.

Translation: “They praise themselves.”

Afrikaans: Sy trek haarself aan.

Translation: “She dresses herself.”

8. Reciprocal Pronouns / Wederkerige Voornaamwoorde

These pronouns are used to indicate that two or more people are carrying out, or have carried out, a specific action. Only two Afrikaans pronoun forms exist in this category: mekaar (“one another”) and die een die ander (“each other”).

Group Meeting Work

Afrikaans: Ons staan mekaar by met die werk .

Translation: “We support each other with the work.”

Afrikaans: Ons help die een die ander met opruim.

Translation: “We help one another to clean up.”

9. Demonstrative Pronouns / Aanwysende Voornaamwoorde

These pronouns don’t take the place of nouns, but are always used together with the noun. Again, only two words are used as aanwysende voornaamwoorde: hierdie (“this”) and daardie (“that”).

Afrikaans: Hierdie vlug gaan aangenaam wees.

Translation: “This flight will be pleasant.”

Afrikaans: Daardie paartjie is gelukkig.

Translation: “That couple is happy.”

Happy Couple

Well done! Now the question: “What is a pronoun in Afrikaans?” need not mystify you any longer! Also be sure to check out our other blog post, the Essential Afrikaans Adjectives List

10. AfrikaansPod101 and Afrikaans Pronouns—Why We’re the Best!

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But before you leave: Which pronouns do you have in your native language? Share three with us in the comments!