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Guide to the Most Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases

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Did you know that the formation of Afrikaans was influenced by languages as diverse as Arabic, Indonesian, Malay, and Portuguese? However, it derives its idiomatic character mainly from Dutch—this is well illustrated in the list of expressions from the last section of this article, where we delve into advanced Afrikaans phrases and idiomatic expressions.

If you’re already busy studying advanced Afrikaans, it probably means die gogga het jou gebyt (literally: “the bug has bitten you”). This lovely idiom compares a person’s sudden, intense interest in something to being infected by a microbe. Well, many students of Afrikaans “get bitten” this way, and hopefully, this “infection” will spread even more as you study our guide to the most useful advanced Afrikaans phrases.

A Young Female Student Holding Books and a Pencil

Afrikaanse taalkunde en geskiedenis is ‘n baie interessante studieveld. / “Afrikaans linguistics and history is a very interesting field of study.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Why Learn Advanced Afrikaans Phrases?
  2. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Academic Writing
  3. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Resumé
  4. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Business and Meetings
  5. Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage
  6. Learn the Best Advanced Afrikaans Phrases for All Occasions at AfrikaansPod101.com!

1. Why Learn Advanced Afrikaans Phrases?

Afrikaans may not be as widely spoken in the modern world as, say, English, French, and Portuguese, but there are still distinct advantages to knowing advanced Afrikaans. 

    One of the obvious benefits of learning useful advanced Afrikaans phrases and vocabulary is that it will enable you to communicate more efficiently with native speakers. This could be especially helpful if you travel or work in South Africa or Namibia, where Afrikaans is widely spoken. The same applies if you work in the diplomatic service of countries with ties to either South Africa or Namibia (or to both).
    ➣ In the continent of Africa, South Africa is considered one of the most developed and economically stable countries, and it is a popular destination for business investors. Knowing relevant advanced Afrikaans phrases will be helpful if you choose to do business with native Afrikaners.
    Afrikaans offers great scope for academic study. Through specialization in Afrikaans linguistics and history, it’s possible to make significant and impactful academic contributions, especially for students from different countries and continents. Due to the tumultuous political history of this relatively young language, it’s often difficult for South African academia to regard Afrikaans with the impartial objectivity that good research requires. Foreigner students of Afrikaans—who were not burdened by this inherited historical load—have made excellent contributions in the past, and some even say it’s a certain way to ensure personal academic immortality for oneself.
Three Smiling Young Girls Standing with a Globe

Om ‘n nuwe taal te leer sal nuwe wêrelde onstluit. / “Learning a new language will unlock new worlds.”

For more reasons to dig into this wonderful language, born just over three centuries ago at the Southernmost tip of Africa, take a look at this article too: 10 Great Reasons Why You Should Learn Afrikaans.

Let’s proceed to look at some of the best advanced Afrikaans phrases.

2. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Academic Writing

Academic writing is a formal style of writing used in institutes of tertiary education and for academic publications. It’s challenging in any language, and it usually takes years to master. For this reason, keep in mind that the following list of advanced Afrikaans phrases and vocabulary for writing academic papers is not exhaustive! Think of it as your “Starter Kit” for Afrikaans academic writing.

A Student Busy Working on Her Dissertation

Die studie van Afrikaans bied opwindende moontlikhede vir die student wat wil spesialiseer. / “Afrikaans, as a field of study, offers exciting opportunities for the student who wants to specialize.”

AfrikaansEnglish
Eerstens; tweedens; derdens

Eerstens word die wet bespreek; tweedens, die toepassing daarvan.
First(ly); secondly; thirdly

“First, the law is discussed; secondly, the application thereof.”
Aangesien 
In ag geneem

Aangesien die karakter se wense nooit duidelik uitgespel word nie, kan dit nie hier in ag geneem word nie.
Seeing 
In light of

“Seeing that the character’s wishes are never clearly stated, they cannot be taken into consideration here.”
Neem in ag In ag geneem

Dit was ‘n besondere prestasie, as die tyd waarin hy geleef het in ag geneem word.
Taking into consideration Considering that/the

“It was a remarkable achievement, considering the time he lived in.”
Het betrekking op

Hierdie aanhaling het betrekking op die komponis se werk in 1916.
Pertains to

“This quote pertains to the composer’s work in 1916.”
Volgens…

Volgens Botha et al (2014), is hierdie virus reeds geïdentifiseer in die vorige eeu.
According to…

“According to Botha et al. (2014), this virus was already identified in the previous century.”
Verwys na…

Hier verwys die outeur na Metchnikoff, die vader van immunologie, se werk.
Refers to…

“Here, the author refers to Metchnikoff, the father of immunology’s work.”
Beklemtoon die belangrikheid van 
Beklemtoon dat

Einstein het telkemale beklemtoon dat eksperimente nie geboorte gee aan teorië nie.
Emphasize the importance of 
Reiterate that

“Einstein often reiterated that experiments don’t give birth to theories.”
Vervolgens

Hierdie portuur-beoordeelde studie was dubbelblind; die pasiëntmonster beduidend groot, en pasiënt deelname was goed; vervolgens was die belowende uitkomste verwelkom.
Subsequent(ly)

“This peer-reviewed study was double-blinded, the patient sample was significantly large, and patient compliance was good; subsequently, the promising outcomes were welcomed.”
Hierom; Hieroor; Daarom; Daaroor

Die data oor hierdie uitvindsel is skaars, en dit gaan daarom nie breedvoerig bespreek word in hierdie opstel nie. 
For this reason

“Data about this invention are scarce and, for this reason, the invention will not be discussed at length in this paper.”
Met ander woorde
Om dit anders te stel
Anders gestel

Met ander woorde, die uitvindsels is nooit behoorlik getoets nie.
This means that
In other words
To put it differently

“This means that the inventions were never properly tested.”
Om dit eenvoudiger te stel

Om dit eenvoudiger te stel—teorië se waarheid kan slegs met eksperimente getoets word.
To put more simply

“To put it more simply—theories’ validity can only be tested with experiments.”
Soortgelyke
Ewe belangrik

Soortgelyke resultate is gevind in ander, beter-ontwerpte studies.
Similar
Of equal importance

“Similar results were found in other, better-designed studies.”
Hoewel / Selfs al

Hoewel die werksmodelle nie werklik vergelykbaar is nie, is daar tog merkbare ooreenkomste.
(Even) though

“Even though the working models are not truly comparable, they do show noticeable similarities.”
In teenstelling met

In teenstelling met Einstein was Gödel minder geneë om sy teorië en idees met mede-wetenskaplikes te deel.
In contrast with/to

“In contrast to Einstein, Gödel was less willing to share his theories and ideas with scientific peers.”
Ten spyte van

Ten spyte van die ooglopende foute en blinde kolle in sy afleidings, is sy bevindinge steeds in die joernaal gepubliseer.
Yet / Despite

“Despite the obvious mistakes and blind spots in his conclusions, his findings were still published in the journal.”
Van belang
Veral ooglopend

Veral ooglopend was die weglating van Satyendra Nath Bose se rol in die ontdekking van die boson.
Of importance
Notable / Notably

“Especially notable was the omission of Satyendra Nath Bose’s role in the discovery of the boson.”

3. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Resumé

A resumé is a summary of relevant work experience and qualifications that is submitted as part of the application process for a specific job. As a foreigner, it’s highly unlikely that you will be asked to submit an Afrikaans resumé since English is the business lingua franca of South Africa. But, as they say, you never know. For this reason, we have provided here a few key advanced Afrikaans phrases for use in your resumé. If you’re submitting it in English, you might want to consider many more phrases, but “simple and succinct” is probably the best way to go in either case.

A Hand with a Pen, Filling in an Application Form

Vir meeste werksaansoeke in Suid Afrika is dit onwaarskynlik dat ‘n resumé in Afrikaans nodig sal wees. / “For most work applications in South Africa, it’s unlikely that a resumé in Afrikaans will be necessary.”

AfrikaansEnglish
Konsekwente akkuraatheid is belangrik.“Consistent accuracy is important.”
Noukeurig met besonderhede“Meticulous with detail”
Voldoen aan die hoogste standaarde“Meets the highest standards”
Konsentreer op resultate / Resultaat-gedrewe“Focus on results” / “Results-driven”
Vermag blywende resultate“Achieve permanent results”
Demonstreer die vermoë om gewenste doelwitte te bereik“Demonstrate the ability to achieve desired results”
Bereik doelwitte, lewer resultate“Reach goals, achieve results”
Verstaan en pas beginsels korrek toe“Understand and apply principles correctly”
Prioritiseer tydige voltooing en inhandiging van take, asook werk wat akkuraat en van hoë kwaliteit is“Prioritize meeting deadlines as well as submitting accurate work of high quality”
Konsekwent in die vasstelling van die betroubaarheid en akkurraatheid van feite en bronne“Consistently ascertain the reliability and accuracy of facts and sources”

4. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Business and Meetings

The advantages of knowing these are obvious. While not using advanced Afrikaans phrases probably won’t lose you any business deals, creating excellent rapport with your Afrikaans-speaking business partners will be much easier if you know their language well. To really make an impression, make sure you know your Afrikaans tenses (easy with this guide and a bit of study).

Office Workers Fighting at a Business Meeting

Goeie kommunikasie kan spanning by die werk verminder. / “Good communication can reduce stress at work.”

AfrikaansEnglish Equivalent
Rompslomp vermy

Ons kan baie rompslomp vermy met hierdie ooreenkoms.
Avoid red tape

“We can avoid a lot of red tape with this agreement.”
Ter tafel lê

Ek wil graag vandag hierdie voorstel ter tafel lê.
To put something forward for discussion

“Today, I would like to put this suggestion forward for discussion.”
Op die lappe kom

Teen die tyd wat die kompetisie se nuwe produk op die lappe kom, sal ons reeds besig wees met ons volgende stap.
To reveal something

“By the time the competition’s new product is revealed, we’ll already be busy with our next step.”
Bankrot speel

‘n Portefeulje met ‘n oorvloed van hoë-risiko beleggings het menige besighede al laat bankrot speel.
To go bankrupt

“A portfolio with an excess of high-risk investments has caused many businesses to go bankrupt.”
Platsak wees

Tensy hulle die fondse beter bestuur, gaan hulle gou platsak wees.
To have empty pockets

“Unless they manage the funds better, they will soon have empty pockets.”
‘n Nismark skep

Ons beoog om ‘n nismark met hierdie produk te skep.
To create a niche market

“We aim to create a niche market with this product.”
Sit die bal aan die rol

‘n Hersiende kontrak sal beslis die bal aan die rol sit.
To set the ball rolling

“A revised contract will certainly get the ball rolling.”
Voorlopers wees

Wil ons volgelinge of voorlopers wees in die mark?
To get/be ahead of the game

“Do we want to be followers or to be ahead of the game?”
Die uiteinde van die saak

Die uiteinde van die saak is dat ons ‘n nuwe tak gaan moet oopmaak as ons kompeterend wil bly.
The bottom line is

“The bottom line is that we will have to open a new branch if we want to stay competitive.”
Die nuutste en beste

Hierdie instrumente is die nuutste en beste op die mark.
The latest and best (a.k.a. “state of the art”)

“These instruments are state-of-the-art.”
Kry ___ van die grond af

Min kapitaal is nodig om hierdie besigheid van die grond af te kry.
To get ___ off the ground

“Only a small amount of capital is needed to get this business off the ground.”
Om lont te ruik



As julle lont ruik moet ons liewer die aanbod onttrek.
Literally: “to smell the burn of a fuse” 

To be suspicious of something; to suspect foul play

“If you suspect foul play, we should rather withdraw the proposal.”

5. Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage

The idiomatic form of any language basically refers to the way a native speaker would speak—also called the vernacular. This includes the use of idioms, sayings, and proverbs. As you should surmise, knowing this set of advanced Afrikaans vocabulary (and how to use it correctly in everyday conversations) will greatly enhance your Afrikaans skills. 

This is a small collection of advanced Afrikaans phrases and words that are very commonly used in idiomatic language. Most of them are suitable for use in business settings and meetings.

➜ Need to practice sounding like a native speaker? Then read this article for some of the best Afrikaans proverbs, or study the most commonly used Afrikaans filler words with examples of their use.

Two Young Women Chatting Animatedly

Gebruik idiomatiese Afrikaans om soos ‘n Afrikaner te klink. / “Use idiomatic Afrikaans to sound like a native speaker.”

AfrikaansEnglish
‘n Nuuskierige agie





Die nuwe sekretaresse is ietwat van ‘n nuuskierige agie.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: A nosy person

This is often used in relation to inquisitive children, or when someone asks a lot of questions in a suspicious or irritating way.

“The new secretary is somewhat of a nosy person.”
In die bres tree


Dankie dat jy vir my so openlik in die bres getree het. 
Translation or idiomatic approximate: To defend or stand up for someone

“Thank you for defending me so openly.”
‘n Lansie breek vir…


Dankie dat jy vir my so openlik ‘n lansie gebreek het.

AND

In haar verslag het die bestuurder ‘n lansie gebreek vir my span se werk.

Note: Important to note here is the use of the preposition vir (“for”) because a similar saying exists, but with the preposition met (“with”). However, it means something completely different—see the next phrase.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: This expression means the same as the one above, and it also means “to praise” or “to compliment.”

“Thank you for standing up for me so openly.”

AND

“In her report, the manager praised my team’s work.”
‘n Lansie breek met

Ons het dit reggekry om ‘n vreedsame lansie te breek oor die inenting kwessie.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: To settle a dispute; to wrestle something out

“We managed to peacefully settle the dispute about the matter of vaccination.”
Skinderbek

Sy’s baie knap met haar werk, maar ongelukkig is sy ook ‘n regte skinderbek.

Note: Use this word with circumspection, as some might consider it a bit crude. It could also come across as derogatory. For instance—don’t write this in a formal work appraisal!
Translation or idiomatic approximate: A gossip

“She’s very skillful in her work, but unfortunately, she’s also a real gossip.”
Beskore wees





Groot rykdom sal vir meeste mense nooit beskore wees nie.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: To be destined to

This expression is most often used to say that someone is not destined to be (or to experience) something.

“Most people are never destined to be extremely wealthy.”
Sonder om te blik of te bloos

Die politikus lieg, sonder om te blik of te bloos, oor sy verhouding met sy assistente.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: Shamelessly

“The politician shamelessly lies about his relationship with his (female) assistant.”
Boeglam skrik AND Maak uit die voete

Die dief skrik hom boeglam vir die groot hond, en maak homself dadelik uit die voete.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: “To get a big fright” AND “To scoot off”

“The thief gets a big fright because of the large dog and immediately scoots off.”
Om hare op die tande te hê




Mediese personeel moet hare op hulle tande hê om in ‘n provinsiale hospitaal te kan werk.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: To have hair on the teeth

This phrase means to be very tough and resilient in the face of a challenge.

“Medical staff need to be very tough and resilient to be able to work in a provincial hospital.”
Kant en klaar

My Afrikaanse werksopdrag is kant en klaar.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: Done and dusted

“My Afrikaans assignment is done and dusted.”
Liewer Bang Jan as Dooie JanTranslation or idiomatic approximate: Rather safe than sorry

This idiom can be used exactly the same way as “Rather safe than sorry.”
So slim soos die houtjie van die galg








Sy’s so slim soos die houtjie van die galg.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: “Clever as the wood of the gallows” 

This phrase is used to describe someone who’s clever in a sly, deceptive way, such as that person who (suspiciously!) always knows how to talk themselves out of any situation. It’s somewhat close in meaning to being cunning or having “street smarts,” but with a negative connotation.

“She’s suspiciously clever.”
Moed begewe

Laat ek hom tog gaan sien, voor my moed my begewe.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: Refers to someone’s courage failing them

“Let me just go see him, before my courage fails me.”
Onder lede hê; Het onder lede

Hy het waarskynlik Covid onder lede.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: To be sick or infected with something

“He’s probably sick with COVID.”
Wat het oor jou lewer geloop?Translation or idiomatic approximate: “What walked over your liver?”

Meaning: “Why are you so unsettled/angry?”
Oor ‘n mik lag/werk


Daardie vertoning was so snaaks, ek het myself oor ‘n mik gelag.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: To “nearly die” laughing or working

“That comedy skit was so funny, I nearly died laughing.”
Moenie ‘n moordkuil van jou hart maak nie.
Translation or idiomatic approximate: “Don’t turn your heart into a den of thieves and murderers.”

This is a quote from Christian Scriptures (Matt. 21:13). It means that we should not hold on to grudges, plot revenge, or remain angry with anyone.

6. Learn the Best Advanced Afrikaans Phrases for All Occasions at AfrikaansPod101.com! 

At AfrikaansPod101.com, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded videos and learning resources, such as these vocabulary lists. You can also use our online dictionary to look up any word or to find translations in English and Afrikaans. One of the best ways to really master the advanced Afrikaans phrases from this article is to work with a personal online tutor, which you can access through our MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members. With their help, you’ll be able to use the phrases correctly, expedite your Afrikaans language learning, and speak like a native in no time!

Also, start deciphering Afrikaans phrases yourself with the numerous tools we make available to you upon subscription, such as our Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List

Sign up now!

About the author: Christa Davel is an experienced bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and editor, and she is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She’s been writing for InnovativeLanguage.com since 2017.

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