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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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Your Best Guide to Intermediate-Level Afrikaans Phrases

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So, you’ve decided not to remain a beginner student of Afrikaans—that’s great! Welcome to the intermediate level of this fascinating language, where things are going to get a bit more nuanced and complex. Don’t fear, though; it’s not terribly difficult to master. Consider taking this opportunity to learn some of the most important intermediate Afrikaans words and phrases—easy peasy!


Partygoers Wearing Costumes and Animal Masks.

Ons het gisteraand se partytjie baie geniet. (“We really enjoyed last night’s party.”)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Talking About Past Events
  2. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Making and Changing Plans
  3. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Explaining and Listing Reasons
  4. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Making Complaints, Remarks, and Recommendations
  5. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations
  6. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings
  7. Learn the best intermediate Afrikaans phrases for all occasions at AfrikaansPod101.com!

1. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Talking About Past Events

Imagine this scenario: You’re with your Afrikaans-speaking friends at a small dinner party, your favorite beverage in hand, and you’re feeling relaxed. You want to contribute to the conversation and also show off your brand-new Afrikaans skills a bit. 

Go for it! Wow your friends by asking them questions about their day or telling them about interesting past events with these easy intermediate Afrikaans phrases.


AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Hoe het dit met jou eksamen gegaan?Meaning: “How did your exam go?”
Literally: How has it with your exam went?
Hoe was werk gewees vandag?Meaning: “How has work been today?”
Literally: How was work been today?
Vertel my van laasjaar se vakansie in Peru?Meaning: “Tell me about last year’s holiday in Peru?”
Literally: Tell me of last year’s holiday in Peru?
Ek is gister bevorder by die werk.

Note: The Afrikaans word for “work” and “job” are the same: werk. The use of an article (‘n / die – “a” / “the”) will indicate which one you’re talking about.
Meaning: “I got a promotion at work yesterday.”
Literally: I is yesterday promote at the work.
Ek het vier jaar terug daar begin werk.Meaning: “I started working there four years ago.”
Literally: I have four years ago there start work.
Hulle het gaan inkopies doen.Meaning: “They went shopping.”
Literally: They have go shopping done.
Ons het in die berg gaan stap; dit was heerlik gewees.Meaning: “We went hiking in the mountains; it was very enjoyable.”
Literally: We have in the mountain go hike; it was very enjoyable has been.

Note: Heerlik means both “delicious” and “very pleasant.”
Almal het Saterdag strand toe gegaan.Meaning: “Everybody went to the beach on Saturday.”
Literally: Everybody has Saturday beach to went.
Ek het Taalkunde by Oxford Universiteit gestudeer.Meaning: “I studied Linguistics at Oxford University.”
Literally: I have Linguistics by Oxford University studied.
My seun is in Bloemfontein gebore.Meaning: “My son was born in Bloemfontein.”
Literally: My son is in Bloemfontein born.
Ons het gisteraand se partytjie baie geniet.Meaning: “We really enjoyed last night’s party.”
Literally: We have last night’s party really enjoyed.
Die ete was heerlik gewees!Meaning: “The meal was delicious!”
Literally: The meal was delicious has been!
Daardie was die ergste dag van my lewe gewees.Meaning: “That was the worst day of my life.”
Literally: That was the worst day of my life has been.
Ek het ‘n kat met die naam van Pantouf gehad.Meaning: “I used to have a cat called Pantouf.”
Literally: I had a cat with the name of Pantouf have had.

A Sitting Black-and-White Cat.

Ek het ‘n kat met die naam van Pantouf gehad. (“I used to have a cat called Pantouf.”)

2. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Making and Changing Plans

Great, you’re an active part of the conversation! Of course, your friends are very impressed by your Afrikaans speaking skills, and they definitely want to see more of you. Now, you’ll have to be ready to make plans to meet up. And for this, you’ll need some good intermediate Afrikaans words and phrases at the ready. 

But life happens, and sometimes one can’t stick to plans or keep prior commitments. In that case, you’ll have to negotiate other terms—we’ve got you covered there, too!


AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Wat gaan jy hierdie naweek doen?Meaning: “What are you going to do this weekend?”
Literally: What will you this weekend do?
Wat van Afrikaanse kos?Meaning: “How about Afrikaans food?”
Literally: What about Afrikaans food?
Het jy hierdie naweek tyd?Meaning: “Do you have time this weekend?”
Literally: Have you this weekend time?
Mag ek my kêrel / meisie / metgesel saambring?Meaning: “May I bring my boyfriend / girlfriend / partner with me?”
Literally: May I my boyfriend / girlfriend / partner with-bring?
Jammer, maar ek is besig hierdie naweek.Meaning: “Sorry, but I’m busy this weekend.”
Literally: Sorry, but I is busy this weekend.
Kan ons dit uitstel tot volgende week, asseblief?Meaning: “Could we postpone it till next week, please?”
Literally: Can we it postpone till next week, please?
Watter tyd sal jou die beste pas?Meaning: “Which time will suit you best?”
Literally: Which time shall you the best suit?
Hoe laat moet ek daar wees?Meaning: “What time should I be there?”
Literally: How late must I there be?
Kom ons reël ‘n Zoom afspraak vir volgende week om besonderhede te bespreek.Meaning: “Let us arrange a Zoom meeting for next week to discuss details.”
Literally: Let us arrange a Zoom meeting for next week to details to discuss.
Ek wonder of ons ‘n ander afspraak kan maak?Meaning: “I wonder if we could reschedule?”
Literally: I wonder if we a different appointment could make?
Kom ons bespreek dit later.Meaning: “Let’s discuss it later.”
Literally: Come us discuss it later.
Wat van ‘n Italiaanse restaurant vanaand?Meaning: “How about an Italian restaurant tonight?”
Literally: What of an Italian restaurant tonight?
Sal jy die partytjie kan bywoon?Meaning: “Will you be able to attend the party?”
Literally: Will you the party can attend?
Ek is nie beskikbaar Maandag nie.Meaning: “I’m not available Monday.”
Literally: I am not available Monday not.
Kom saam met ons!Meaning: “Come with us!”
Literally: Come together with us!

Italian Food.

Wat van ‘n Italiaanse restaurant vanaand? (“How about an Italian restaurant tonight?”)

3. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Explaining and Listing Reasons

When you have to change plans, you sometimes have to give a reason for doing so. Or, when discussing different topics during a conversation, your friends might want to hear your opinion on something. Impress everybody with these useful intermediate Afrikaans phrases!


AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Ek moet ongelukkig kanselleer want ek is siek.Meaning: “Unfortunately, I have to cancel because I’m unwell.”
Literally: I must unfortunately cancel because I is ill.
Ek kon nie aanlyn werk nie want ons dorp se elektrisiteit was af.Meaning: “I couldn’t work online because our town’s electricity was down.”
Literally: I could not online work not because our town’s electricity was off.
Ek glo jy doen die regte ding. Dis hoekom ek jou ondersteun.Meaning: “I believe you’re doing the right thing. That’s why I’m supporting you.”
Literally: I believe you do the right thing. That’s why I you support.
Ek verkies hierdie tipe van motor vir drie redes. Eerstens, dis ekonomies en betroubaar.
Tweedens, dis ‘n goeie prys. Laaste maar nie die minste nie—dis maklik om te onderhou.
Meaning: “I prefer this type of car for three reasons. Firstly, it’s economical and reliable. Secondly, it’s a good price. Last but not least—it’s easy to maintain.”
Literally: I prefer this type of motor for three reasons. Firstly, it’s economic and reliable. Secondly, it’s a good price. Lastly but not the least—it’s easy around to maintain.
So jammer, maar my suster het my hulp nodig gehad. Daarom kon ek nie die vergadering bywoon nie.Meaning: “So sorry, but my sister needed my help. Therefore, I couldn’t attend the meeting.”
Literally: So sorry, but my sister has my help need had. Therefore could I not the meeting attend not.
Ek loop vinnig sodat ek by die groep kan hou.Meaning: “I’m walking fast to stay with the group.”
Literally: I walk fast so that I with the group can keep.
Die rede waarom ek daar wil werk is omdat die maatskappy goed betaal, en omdat hulle hul personeel goed behandel.Meaning: “The reason I’d like to work there is because the company pays well, and they treat their employees well.”
Literally: The reason why I there will work is because the company good pays, and because they their employees good treat.

4. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Making Complaints, Remarks, and Recommendations

People rely on other people to recommend or reject products, places, and services. So anytime we make a complaint or recommendation, we’re helping one another make good choices!


A Gourmet Chocolate Dessert with Raspberries and Green Garnish.

Jy moet hierdie restaurant se sjokolade nagereg proe. Dis die beste wat ek nog ooit gehad het! (“You should try this restaurant’s chocolate dessert. It’s the best I’ve ever had!”)

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Probeer die koue Kolombiaanse koffie, dis heerlik!Meaning: “Try the cold brew Colombian coffee; it’s very tasty!”
Literally: Try the cold Colombian coffee, it’s very tasty!
Jy moet hierdie restaurant se sjokolade nagereg proe. Dis die beste wat ek nog ooit gehad het!Meaning: “You should try this restaurant’s chocolate dessert. It’s the best I’ve ever had!”
Literally: You must this restaurant’s chocolate dessert taste. It’s the best what I since ever had has.
Ek kan die Uithoek Vakansieoord aanbeveel. Ons het ons vakansie daar baie geniet.Meaning: “I can recommend the Uithoek Holiday Resort. We enjoyed our holiday there a lot.”
Literally: I can the Uithoek Holiday Resort recommend. We have our holiday there lots enjoy.
Probeer dit gerus. Ek dink jy sal dit geniet!Meaning: “You’re welcome to try it. I think you’ll enjoy it!”
Literally: Try it at ease. I think you shall it enjoy!

Note: Gerus means “with confidence and peace of mind.” I don’t think there’s a single-word equivalent in English, but it’s somewhat similar to “freely” in the phrase “Ask freely.”
Daardie plek se diens is uitstekend!Meaning: “That place’s service is excellent!”
Jammer maar die diens was uiters swak. Ek wil met die bestuurder praat, asseblief.Meaning: “Sorry to say, but the service was extremely poor. I would like to speak to the manager, please.”
Literally: Sorry, but the service was extremely poor. I will with the manager talk, please.
Hierdie botter is oud. Kan ek vars botter kry, asseblief?Meaning: “This butter is stale. May I have some fresh butter, please?”
Literally: This butter is old. Can I fresh butter get, please?
Swak diens. Kan nie die winkel aanbeveel nie.Meaning: “Poor service. Can’t recommend the shop.”
Literally: Poor service. Can not the shop recommend not.
Hulle nasorg-diens is uitstekend.Meaning: “Their after-care service is excellent.”

    ➜ Feeling intimidated regarding the use of these intermediate Afrikaans words and phrases in a conversation? Don’t worry, that’s normal! We recommend you watch this short AfrikaansPod101 video to learn some wonderful tips on how to break through any resistance you feel when it comes to speaking Afrikaans (or any other language)!

5. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations

Once you’ve mastered all of the previous Afrikaans phrases for intermediate students, you’ll have to be ready for when you’re on the receiving end. Here’s how to respond!

A Smiling Young Woman Showing the Thumbs-up Gesture.

Uitstekende voorstel, kom ons doen dit. (“Excellent suggestion. Let’s do it.”)

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Ek sal dit beslis probeer.Meaning: “I will definitely try it.”
Literally: I shall it definitely try.
Ek ken dit en ja, dis heerlik.Meaning: “I know it, and yes, it’s delicious.”
O nee, dis nie vir my nie! Ek hou nie daarvan nie.Meaning: “Oh no, that’s not for me! I don’t like it.”
Literally: Oh no, that’s not for me not! I like not there-from not.
Dis fantastiese nuus! Ek is bly vir jou.Meaning: “That’s fantastic news! I’m happy for you.”
Literally: That’s fantastic news! I is happy for you.
Dankie dat jy my vroegtydig sê.Meaning: “Thank you for letting me know in advance.”
Literally: Thank you that you me early-timely say.
Uitstekende voorstel, kom ons doen dit.Meaning: “Excellent suggestion. Let’s do it.”
Literally: Excellent suggestion, come we do it.
Ek het ook lus daarvoor!Meaning: “I also feel like having that!”
Literally: I have also desire there-front!
Ek is jammer om dit te hoor. Hoop jy voel gou beter.Meaning: “I’m sorry to hear that. Hope you feel better soon.”
Literally: I is sorry to it to hear. Hope you feel soon better.
Fantasies! Ek’s bly jy kan kom.Meaning: “Fantastic! I’m glad you can make it.”
Literally: Fantastic! I’s happy you can come.
Jammer jy kon nie daar wees nie.Meaning: “Sorry you couldn’t be there.”
Literally: Sorry you could not there be not.
Dankie vir die aanbeveling / raad / waarskuwing.Meaning: “Thanks for the recommendation / advice / warning.”
Dis goed om te weet, dankie. Ek sal dit in gedagte hou.Meaning: “That’s good to know, thanks. I will keep it in mind.”
Literally: It’s good around to know, thanks. I shall it in thought keep.
Dis indrukwekkend / ongelooflik / fantasies / ‘n jammerte.Meaning: “That’s impressive / unbelievable / fantastic / a pity.”
Ag wel, dis ‘n jammerte, maar dit kan nie verhelp word nie.Meaning: “Ah well, that’s a pity, but it can’t be helped.”
Literally: Ah well, that’s a sorry-ness, but it can not helped be not.
Moenie bekommerd wees nie, ek verstaan.Meaning: “Don’t worry; I understand.”
Literally: Don’t worried be not, I understand.
Ek sien wat jy bedoel en ek stem saam.Meaning: “I see what you mean, and I agree.”
Literally: I see what you mean and I vote together.
Ek voel ook so!Meaning: “I feel the same!”
Literally: I feel also so!
Jammer vir die ongerief; ek sal dit gou regstel / regmaak.Meaning: “Sorry for the inconvenience; I’ll quickly fix it.”
Literally: Sorry for the inconvenience; I shall it quick right-set / fix.
My ervaring was anders gewees.Meaning: “My experience was different.”
Literally: My experience was different has been.
TUSSENVOEGSELS / INTERJECTIONS
Sjoe!Wow! / Phew!
Rerig? / Werklik?Really? / Truly?
Baie geluk!Congratulations!
Wraggies, nê?!Meaning: “Who’d have thought, hey?!” / “Impressive, hey?!”

Note: The word wraggies has no direct English translation or equivalent. The phrase is close but not entirely similar in meaning to “Really, hey?”
Fantasties!Fantastic! / Awesome!
Jy speel seker…!Meaning: “You’re joking!”
Literally: You play probably…!
Haai?!Literally: Shark?!

Note: I don’t think this interjection has an equivalent in English. It’s close in meaning to the Yiddish exclamation of dismay and upset “Oy!” It’s used as an expression of surprise or incredulity, especially when you think something is shocking, inappropriate, or naughty. It’s characterized by a rising intonation at the end of the word, like when you’re asking a question.
Askies. / Skiestog.

Note: These are informal and semi-informal homophonic interjections.
” ‘scuse me.”
Verskoon my.

Note: This is the formal version of the previous interjections.
Meaning: “Excuse me.” / “Pardon me.”
Literally: Ver-clean me.
Example Dialogue:

A: Ek is gister bevorder by die werk.
B: Wraggies, nê? Baie geluk! Dis fantastiese nuus! Ek’s bly vir jou.

Meaning:

A: “I was promoted at work yesterday.”
B: “Impressive! Congratulations! That’s fantastic news! I’m happy for you.”

6. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings

Doing business with Afrikaners? Make sure to get your etiquette just right, and blow their socks off with your polished command of their language! Below are several intermediate phrases in Afrikaans you can use to put your best foot forward.


A Young Woman and a Man, Dressed in Business Clothes, Busy with a Meeting.

Baie dankie, ek verstaan dit nou beter. (“Thanks a lot, I understand it better now.”)

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Bly te kenne, ek’s Carol.

Note: This is an acceptable but slightly antiquated greeting.
Meaning: “Pleased to meet you. I’m Carol.”
Literally: Pleased to know (you), I’m Carol.

Informal and semi-formal
Ek is Carol. Lekker om jou te ontmoet.Meaning: “I am Carol. Nice to meet you.”
Literally: I is Carol. Nice to you to meet.

Informal
My naam is Carol. Dis goed om jou te ontmoet.Meaning: “My name is Carol. It’s good to meet you.”
Literally: My name is Carol. It’s good to you to meet.

Formal
Gaan dit goed?Meaning: “Are you well?”
Literally: Goes it well?
Welkom hier by ons.Meaning: “Welcome!”
Literally: Welcome here with us.
Asseblief, maak jouself tuis.Meaning: “Please make yourself at home.”
Literally: Please, make yourself home.
Smaaklike ete!Meaning: “Bon appetit!”
Literally: Tasty meal!

Semi-informal and formal
Lekker eet!Meaning: “Enjoy the meal!”
Literally: Nice eat!

Informal
Dankie, ek waardeer jou moeite.Meaning: “Thanks, I appreciate your effort.”
Kan ek help met enigiets?Meaning: “Can I help with anything?”
Vra gerus as enigiets onduidelik is.Meaning: “Feel free to ask if anything is unclear.”
Literally: Ask with ease if anything unclear is.
Vra gerus as jy enigiets nodig het.Meaning: “Feel free to ask if you need anything.”
Literally: Ask freely if you anything need have.
Geen probleem, ek help graag.Meaning: “I will help, no problem.”
Literally: No problem, I help gladly.
Kan jy dit herhaal, asseblief?Meaning: “Could you repeat that, please?”
Literally: Can you it repeat, please?
Asseblief kan jy hierdie vir my verduidelik?Meaning: “Would you please explain this to me?”
Literally: Please can you here-this for me explain?
Baie dankie, ek verstaan dit nou beter.Meaning: “Thank you very much. I understand it better now.”
Literally: Many thank, I understand it now better.
Dit was baie aangenaam om jou hier te hê.Meaning: “It was very pleasant to have you here.”
Literally: It was very pleasant to you here to have.
Ek sien uit om gou van jou te hoor.Meaning: “I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
Literally: I look out around quickly of you to hear.
Voorspoedige reis!Meaning: “Have a safe / good trip!”
Literally: Prosperous journey!

7. Learn the best intermediate 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 variety of themed vocabulary lists. With our help, your transition to the intermediate phase in Afrikaans will be smooth and enjoyable. We’ll make sure you’re able to use essential phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time!

Also, decipher Afrikaans phrases yourself with the numerous tools we make available to you upon subscription, such as the Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List. Also, keep our Afrikaans online dictionary closeby for easy translation! 

Sign up now!

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

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The Best Afrikaans Podcasts to Boost Your Learning!

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Before we start discussing the best Afrikaans podcasts (free language learning tools of note, especially if you sign up with us at AfrikaansPod101), did you know that the translation of “podcast” in Afrikaans is potgooi? When literally translated, the word potgooi has zero relation to the (usually) downloadable episodic talk recordings streamed online.

Let me explain. Pot is a homophone of the English word “pod,” but literally, pot has the same meaning as the English “pot”—a noun describing certain containers, such as the cooking vessel that’s typically found in the kitchen, the container in which to grow plants, and so forth. 

Interestingly, “pot” is also a transitive verb that means “to hit” or “to shoot” in both languages:

  • Die klip pot die teiken reg in die middel. (“The stone pots the target right in the center.”)
  • Sy vuis pot die dief op die ken. (“His fist hits the thief on the chin.”) 

In Afrikaans, it’s generally used this way more often than in English, though.

The second part of the word, gooi, is also a verb. It means “to throw,” or…wait for it…”to cast.”

A Young Woman Lying in the Grass, Listening to a Recording through Headphones

Luister na ‘n potgooi enige plek, enige tyd. (“Listen to a podcast anywhere, anytime.”)

So, if you found the word a bit puzzling, that’s okay. As you now know, nobody’s throwing around kitchenware or potted plants when using potgooie (“podcasts”). In English, “cast” is derived from “broadcast,” which is exactly what these digital audio files are: a form of online episodic broadcasting. “Pod” is short for “iPod“—the portable electronic media player that replaced Walkmans in the early 2000s.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Why You Should Use Afrikaans Podcasts for Language Learning
  2. The Best Afrikaans Podcasts for Learners
  3. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Podcasts Help You Learn Afrikaans?

1. Why You Should Use Afrikaans Podcasts for Language Learning

Why should you love Afrikaans podcasts? Free language learning tools abound on the internet, and podcasts are among the most popular of these. Here are a few reasons why they’re ideal for learning Afrikaans.

  • Podcasts are extremely convenient and easy to use. All you need is internet access.
  • You can download podcast episodes onto your device to listen to repeatedly—anywhere, anytime.
  • It’s an economical means of sharpening your Afrikaans skills (such as pronunciation and vocabulary acquisition) because, as mentioned previously, many of them are free.
  • Podcasts come in all lengths and deal with every topic under the sun. This makes them an interesting way to learn about the country of your target language, too. 

Headphones with Colorful Books Stacked Upright between Them

‘n Goeie potgooi kan ‘n nuwe wêreld ontsluit vir die luisteraar. (“A good podcast can unlock a new world for the listener.”)

2. The Best Afrikaans Podcasts for Learners

So, what’s available in terms of useful Afrikaans podcasts? We’ve done the research, and while there aren’t many for beginner students of Afrikaans, there’s quite a selection of high-quality recordings to choose from for intermediate to advanced students.

2.1 AfrikaansPod101.com

Levels: Beginner to Advanced
Costs: Free and Paid options
Linguistic Purity: High
Profanity: None

Irrespective of your current competency level, AfrikaansPod101.com is definitely the most extensive online resource for Afrikaans-language acquisition. As the site name (AfrikaansPod101.com) suggests, the main learning tool here is short, topic-focused podcasts. But upon subscribing for a free lifetime membership, plenty of other resources become available too. 

The Premium PLUS paid subscription (at a low monthly cost) includes access to an online, native Afrikaans-speaking teacher or coach—valuable, if fluency and accurate pronunciation are important to you.

Our podcast selection is updated regularly, and our content focus is on useful, day-to-day themes. Take, for example, this bite-size podcast on how to introduce yourself in Afrikaans.

Also, a large selection of these podcasts is available on podcast sites such as Radio South Africa, Apple Podcasts, Podbean, and so forth. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more diverse and comprehensive Afrikaans learning site, and the fact that it includes so many free resources makes it the optimal choice for learners at every level.

A Composite Containing an AfrikaansPod101 Subscript, a Young Woman Wearing Headphones, and the South African Flag

AfrikaansPod101.com bied verreweg die beste potgooie om Afrikaans mee te leer. (“AfrikaansPod101 hands-down offers the best podcasts to learn Afrikaans with.”)

2.2 RSG (Radio Sonder Grense – “Radio Without Borders”)

Levels: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
Costs: Free
Linguistic Purity: High
Profanity: None

Radio is the grandfather of today’s podcasts, so it only makes sense for us to take a peek at the website of one of South Africa’s premier radio broadcasting stations. The RSG radio station upholds a high standard of talk radio, and it doesn’t disappoint in terms of quality podcasts either.

This radio broadcaster’s site is replete with professionally created episodic recordings for every taste. I particularly like the ongoing Sterre en Planete (“Stars and Planets”) documentary series, which is easily accessible on the podcast site Player FM. Episodes are under 30 minutes long and get updated every two weeks. Also, the content is riveting. Did you know that bottles of South African wine were sent into space for over 400 days? Listen to Episode 16 Mei 2021 (“May 16, 2021”) to learn how this unusual location affected the wine’s aging and taste.

If you love learning Afrikaans with the help of stories and fiction, RSG‘s collection of radio dramas and book readings are a treasure trove. Another podcast site, IONO FM, is a great resource for this, too. For instance, under the heading Radioteater (“Radio Theater”), one-hour-long radio dramas ignite the imagination with colorful characters and storylines. Episodes are approximately an hour long and get updated every week over two seasons each year: April to June and October to December.

A Glass of Wine with the Bottle in the Background

Leer in ‘n RSG potgooi hoe wyn verouder is in die ruimte. (“Learn in an RSG podcast how wine was aged in space.”)

2.3 Afrikaans.com

Levels: Upper-intermediate to Advanced
Costs: Free
Linguistic Purity: Medium
Profanity: None

Afrikaans.com is a fairly new journalistic, online collaboration between a group of Afrikaner women who aim to verken (“explore”), vier (“celebrate”), and bemagtig (“empower”) the Afrikaans language. The site’s offerings are diverse, but listeners need to understand the spoken language fairly well for the best experience. 

I liked the podcast series with host Edwin van der Walt, who interviews young, inspiring South Africans from all walks of life. They all share their struggles and ideals, and the language is pretty standard for that demographic. Each episode is approximately an hour long, and the series is updated every two months or so.

Also consider the newly introduced series called Luister (“Listen”), which kicks off with the reading of Padkampstories (“Road Camp Stories”), written by Amanda Greeff. The book comprises the memoirs of a girl who was raised on the road, so to speak. Her father was a laborer in the government road-building teams, whose families often traveled along and lived in padkampe (“road camps”) during very long projects. If you can get past the slightly irritating backing track, this is an excellent way to practice your pronunciation skills and simultaneously be entertained by a sometimes-nostalgic look into a specific Afrikaner subculture.

Three Actors on Stage

Geniet Afrikaanse radiodrama en voorlesing potgooie—teater van die verbeelding. (“Enjoy Afrikaans radio drama and reading podcasts—theater of the imagination.”)

2.4 Niche Afrikaans Podcasts

Levels: Advanced
Costs: Free
Linguistic Purity: Medium – High
Profanity: None

Interested in business? Agriculture? Traveling? Health? If you have the Afrikaans language under your belt and can understand it fairly well, these niche podcasts are a must:

    BoerPot (“Farmer’s Pot”) Podcast: Whether you’re ‘n boer in murg en been (literally: “a farmer in marrow and bone”), a student of agriculture, or simply curious about the industry, this series of Afrikaans podcasts are sure to fascinate and inform. Seasoned journalist and radio presenter, Jacques Basson, conducts informative and very professionally executed interviews with successful South African farmers and entrepreneurs. While the series, unfortunately, lacks race and gender diversity, the podcasts are nevertheless of high quality—this makes them ideal for practicing your Afrikaans listening, comprehension, and articulation skills. Episodes are updated periodically and are available for listening on multiple platforms.
    Weg Stories (“Away Stories”) Podcast: Does your soul long for savannas and long, quiet roads? With these excellent traveling podcasts, let your imagination transport you to a few of South Africa’s beautiful neighboring countries. Sadly, the series was terminated after only seven episodes, but it remains more than worth the listen. Each episode is approximately an hour long and professionally presented (in beautiful Afrikaans) by skilled presenter Francois Haasbrook. He converses with colleagues, experts, and seasoned travelers.
    Klipkouers (“Rock Munchers”) Podcasts: This is another podcast series presented by Jacques Basson, but here he interviews inspiring Afrikaans entrepreneurs and “impact makers,” as he calls them. These movers and shakers are from various industries and share inspirational life stories and tips for success. I especially liked the interview with Morné Basson, whose triumph of the spirit translated into a great service for young fatherless boys. The series is also not very diverse in terms of race and gender, but it provides quality listening and learning material nevertheless. It’s played on many platforms, and each episode is approximately one hour long. Note that, here and there, episodes overlap with Boerpot.
    SFM Streek Potgooi: This is another radio broadcast station with a designated potgooi section. Though still under development, SFM‘s podcast service is a promising enterprise that gives a glimpse into regional (specifically Southern Cape) news and lifestyle. Also, many episodes are bite-size, ranging from as short as five minutes to as long as 30 minutes. Topics, so far, include health and wellbeing, religion (Christian), and Allegaartjie (a quaint Afrikaans term that means the same as “hotchpotch” or “mixed pot”).

A Young Female Announcer Sitting behind a Microphone and Reading a Script

Radio-uitsendings is die voorvader van potgooie. (“Radio broadcasts are the forefather of podcasts.”)

3. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Podcasts Help You Learn Afrikaans?

As previously mentioned, podcasts can be a very helpful tool to help you learn Afrikaans. Here’s how we suggest you make use of them. But before you do—sign up and download the AfrikaansPod101 app straight away! It’s a versatile and very useful tool for students on the go.

3.1 Practice Shadowing

“Shadowing” is the term for repeating words and phrases after a native speaker. Or, to put it differently, you listen to a recorded lesson or a podcast, repeating what you hear as you go along. You could also download the audio tracks from the site to replay them over and over again. (Use the Pause button in a podcast so you never have to miss a beat. The AfrikaansPod101 app is great for this!) You can do this anytime you have a moment to practice, such as when you’re sitting in the subway, commuting on the bus, or driving in your car.

3.2 Set Specific Goals for Easy Conversation

Set a specific goal and practice regularly. Speaking is almost always the weakest skill for language learners. To improve yours, start by deciding on an everyday topic, such as the weather, and then search for the appropriate podcast with a transcript. From the transcript, jot down a few sentences that you’d like to memorize. Now use both the recording and the written sentences to practice, practice, practice, till you can use the phrases with ease in any conversation!

3.3 Commit to a Few Minutes of Practice Every Day

If you really want to use podcasts to learn Afrikaans, commitment matters. Put time into your learning and make it a goal to practice shadowing for at least five to ten minutes a day, for instance. Alternate between using the podcast’s transcript and not using it; this will enhance your understanding and challenge you a bit. Peter Galante, co-founder and COO of InnovativeLanguage.com, calls these short sessions “productive practice.”

3.4 Record Yourself

Record yourself on any device, such as your smartphone or your computer. This tactic allows you to hear what your Afrikaans sounds like so you can more easily improve your pronunciation.

3.5 Learn the Grammar! 

Grammar is the theoretical backbone of any language. The rules provide structure and order, which makes a language easier to study. If you’re following a specific learning path, such as those we offer at AfrikaansPod101.com, you will be constantly evaluated to see how you’re doing with the grammar aspect of your learning. Podcasts highlight different aspects of grammar and can be an invaluable resource in this regard.

3.6 Get Feedback from Native Speakers

Feedback, while difficult to receive sometimes, is a very necessary part of learning. Receiving feedback from a tutor or native Afrikaans speaker is the only way you’re going to know how you’re really doing. With your own AfrikaansPod101 teacher (a real person—not an algorithm or a bot!), you’ll be required to record yourself for evaluation. They’ll give you valuable advice and help you with specific grammar and pronunciation issues.

Don’t hesitate—enroll with AfrikaansPod101 today and start learning with Afrikaans podcasts straight away!

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

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The Best Guide to Easy Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners

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If you’re still wondering why you should learn Afrikaans, consider this—according to a recent poll, Afrikaans is the third most spoken language in South Africa, and close to half a million South Africans speak it outside of the country’s borders. Also, consider this article for more reasons to study this interesting language!

Ready to dip your toes into the deep and refreshing waters of Afrikaans? Start strong by learning the most important Afrikaans phrases for beginners, all compiled in this handy guide from AfrikaansPod101.

A Nurse Talking with an Elderly Patient

Mense voel gemakliker wanneer jy hulle taal praat. / “People feel more comfortable when you speak their language.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: Social Etiquette
  2. Easy Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: Greetings and Introductions
  3. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: On the Move
  4. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: In Shops and Restaurants
  5. More Essential Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners
  6. Formal vs. Informal Speech for Afrikaans Beginners
  7. Easily Learn Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners at AfrikaansPod101.com!

1. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: Social Etiquette

I’m going to start with the most common Afrikaans words and phrases for beginners that will ensure a positive response from native speakers. These phrases specifically oil the gears of civil, friendly conversation, so they’re important to know. Why not memorize them straight away? (You could use this free audio lesson, too.)

A Couple being Welcomed to an Upscale Restaurant or Hotel by the Concierge or Head Waiter

Gebruik goeie Afrikaanse beginner frases in enige situasie. / “Use good Afrikaans beginner phrases in any situation.”

In South Africa, using the following phrases is considered good social etiquette. One could view them as pleasantries, or “polite social remarks,” as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary would have it.

You’ll notice that they’re very similar to the pleasantries used in other Germanic languages.

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Baie dankie.Meaning: “Thank you very much.”
Literally: Many thank you.
Dankie.Meaning: “Thank you.” 
Nee, dankie.Meaning: “No, thanks.”
Ja, dankie.Meaning: “Yes, thanks.”
Plesier!Meaning: “Pleasure!”

Informal
Dis ‘n plesier.

NOTES: This, and the previous pleasantry, are the Afrikaans responses to any form of dankie (“thank you”).

The Afrikaans equivalents of “You’re welcome,” “It’s nothing,” and “No problem,” are adapted from English. However, Dis ‘n plesier is one of the oldest recorded responses to Dankie.
Meaning: “It’s a pleasure.”







Formal and semi-formal
Asseblief

NOTES: Like native English speakers, Afrikaners use “please” and “thank you” often because it’s considered a show of respect. This is important, especially when dealing with strangers.

More important than that, though, is your tone of voice and body language

You will be forgiven if you forget to say “please” or “thank you” to a stranger, as long as you’re addressing them calmly and with an appropriate level of friendliness while maintaining eye contact. (No need to stare like a psycho! Simply being friendly and sincere will do.)
Meaning: “Please” 
Verskoon my. / Ekskuus.

NOTE: Like in English, these polite terms are used to attract someone’s attention.
Meaning: “Pardon me.” / “Excuse me.”

Formal
Jammer! / Askies!

NOTE: These can be used in lieu of Verskoon my or Ekskuus, somewhat like the British habit of apologizing for just about everything!
Meaning: “Sorry!”


2. Easy Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: Greetings and Introductions

First impressions matter! Boost yours enormously by fluently greeting, introducing yourself, and saying goodbye with these basic Afrikaans phrases for beginners.

Three People in the Workplace Greeting One Another

Maak ‘n goeie indruk op jou Afrikaanse kollegas met jou Afrikaanse taalgebruik. / Approximate: “Impress your Afrikaans colleagues with your good grasp of the language.”

Many of these greetings can be used on their own in both informal and formal situations. (Read on for more information about formal forms of address!)

Now, let’s look at these easy Afrikaans beginner phrases for greetings and introductions.

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Haai! / Hallo!Meaning: “Hi!” / “Hello!”

Very casual
Haai daar! / Hallo daar!Meaning: “Hi there!” / “Hello there!”

Very casual
Goeiemore / Goeiedag / Goeienaand, Meneer Smit.Meaning: “Good morning / Good day / Good evening, Mister Smit.”

Formal
Goeiemore / Goeiedag / Goeienaand, Bernard!Meaning: “Good morning / Good day / Good evening, Bernard!”

Informal
Wat is jou naam?Meaning: “What is your name?”

Semi-informal and informal
Aangename kennis, my naam is Carol.Meaning: “Pleased to meet you; my name is Carol.”
Literally: Pleasant acquaintance; my name is Carol.

Formal and semi-formal
Goeienaand. Ek is Carol.Meaning: “Good evening. I am Carol.”

Informal and semi-informal

A Couple Meeting in the Street

Goeiemore! Hoe gaan dit? / “Good morning! How are you?”

In many cultures, inquiring about someone’s well-being is part of the greeting ritual. It’s the same in Afrikaner culture—we consider it polite and appropriate to ask someone how they’re doing when we’ve greeted them. 

Depending on how well we know each other, the reply can be contextual, detailed, and personal, or it can simply be an affirmation that everything’s fine. 

Here are the best Afrikaans beginner phrases for asking after someone’s well-being. We have also included phrases you could use in reply to these questions. 

    → Want to work on your pronunciation and build your vocabulary? Great! Check out this fantastic resource that’s completely free.

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Hoe gaan dit?Meaning: “How are you doing?”
Literally: How goes it?

Informal
Goed, dankie!Meaning: “Doing well, thank you!”
Literally: Good, thank you!

Informal
Hoe gaan dit met jou?
Meaning: “How are you doing?”
Literally: How goes it with you?

Formal and semi-informal
Dit gaan goed met my, dankie.Meaning: “I’m doing well, thank you.”
Literally: It goes good with me, thank you.

Formal and semi-informal

3. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: On the Move

Are you a traveler planning to visit one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world? Great! For a better travel experience in South Africa, we recommend arming yourself with these Afrikaans phrases for beginners.

Cape Town, V&A Waterfront, South Africa

Waar is die winkels? / “Where are the shops?”

Note: In all these phrases, the nouns can be replaced as needed. For instance, in the question Waar is die winkels? (“Where are the shops?”), the specific article and the noun—die winkels (“the shops”)—can be replaced with the unspecific article ‘n (“a”) and any appropriate noun.

  • ‘n hospitaal / “a hospital”
  • ‘n petrol stasie / “a gas station”
  • die polisie stasie / “the police station”
  • ‘n taxi / “a taxi”
  • ‘n bus / “a bus” 

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Links
Regs
Reguit
Voor
Agter
Langs / Bo op
Left
Right
Straight
Ahead / Before
Behind / After
Next to / On top of
Ek is hier.Meaning: “I am here.”
Ons het geland. Meaning: “We have landed.”
Hy vertrek nou.Meaning: “He’s departing soon.”
Literally: He departs now.
Ek is van België af.Meaning: “I am from Belgium.”
Literally: I is from Belgium of.
Ek is op die lughawe.Meaning: “I am at the airport.”
Literally: I am on the airport.
Waar bly jy?Meaning: “Where do you stay?”
Literally: Where stay you?
Ek bly in die Mount Nelson Hotel.Meaning: “I’m staying at the Mount Nelson Hotel.”
Literally: I stay in the Mount Nelson Hotel.
Ons gaan strand toe.Meaning: “We’re going to the beach.”
Literally: We go beach to.
Waar is die winkels?Meaning: “Where are the shops?”
Literally: Where is the shops?
Ek soek ‘n apteek.Meaning: “I’m looking for a pharmacy.”
Literally: I seek a pharmacy.
Asseblief wys my op die padkaart.Meaning: “Please show me on the roadmap.”
Waarheen gaan hierdie trein?Meaning: “Where is this train going?”
Literally: Whereto goes this train?
Hoe laat vertrek ons?Meaning: “What time are we leaving?”
Literally: How late leave we?
Hoe laat arriveer ons?Meaning: “What time will we arrive?”
Literally: How late arrive we?
Die vlug is vertraag.Meaning: “The flight has been delayed.”
Literally: The flight is delayed.
Op watter dag?Meaning: “On which day?”

4. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: In Shops and Restaurants

Shopping and eating are two inevitable activities, no matter where you find yourself. Here are the best phrases in Afrikaans for beginners who plan to eat out and rummage through flea markets and shops.

Three Ladies Enjoying a Meal at an Outdoor Restaurant

Die kos is heerlik. / “The food is delicious.”

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Ek het ‘n bespreking.Meaning: “I have a reservation.” 
Het julle ‘n tafel oop?Meaning: “Do you have a table available?” 
Literally: Have you a table open?
Die spyskaart, asseblief?Meaning: “The menu, please?”
Bedien julle wyn?Meaning: “Do you serve wine?”
Literally: Serve you wine?
Enige vegetariese disse?Meaning: “Do you serve vegetarian dishes?” 
Literally: Any vegetarian dishes?
Ek is allergies vir ___.Meaning: “I am allergic to ___.”
Ek wil hierdie hê, asseblief.Meaning: “I want this, please.”
Literally: I will this want, please.
Ek wil water hê, asseblief.Meaning: “I want water, please.”
Literally: I will water want, please.
Die kos is heerlik.Meaning: “The food is delicious.”
Dankie, dit was lekker.

NOTES: This phrase can be used not only to praise food, but also when an activity or experience was enjoyable. Lekker is a common slang word that’s used to indicate approval and enjoyment.

When dining in a formal context, however, only use this word to praise the food.
Meaning: “Thanks, that was nice.”
Literally: Thanks, that was tasty.
Die rekening, asseblief?Meaning: “The check, please?”
Ek wil betaal.Meaning: “I want to pay.”
Literally: I will pay.
Neem julle kredietkaarte?Meaning: “Do you take credit cards?”
Literally: Take you credit cards?
Het jy kontant?Meaning: “Do you have cash?”
Literally: Have you cash?
Hoeveel kos dit?Meaning: “How much does this cost?”
Literally: How much costs this?
Jammer, dis te duur.Meaning: “Sorry, that’s too expensive.”

5. More Essential Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners

Here are a few good emergency and survival phrases to memorize!

A Boy Urgently Needing to Go to the Bathroom

Waar is die kleedkamer? / “Where is the bathroom?”

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Waar is die toilet?

NOTE: This is okay to ask in casual situations. However, if you’re in more polite or formal company, you might want to use kleedkamer (“restroom”) or badkamer (“bathroom”) instead of toilet (“toilet”).
Meaning: “Where is the bathroom?”
Literally: Where is the toilet?
Praat jy Engels?Meaning: “Do you speak English?”
Literally: Speak you English?
Ek praat nie Afrikaans nie.Meaning: “I don’t speak Afrikaans.”
Literally: I speak not Afrikaans not.
Ek verstaan net Engels.Meaning: “I only understand English.”
Literally: I understand only English.
Ek verstaan nie.Meaning: “I don’t understand.”
Literally: I understand not.
Ek verstaan.Meaning: “I understand.” 
Ek weet nie.Meaning: “I don’t know.”
Literally: I know not.
Ek weet.Meaning: “I know.”
Sê weer, asseblief?Meaning: “Say again, please?”
Skryf dit neer, asseblief.Meaning: “Write it down, please.”
Ek het verdwaal.Meaning: “I’m lost.”
Literally: I have lost.
Kan jy my help?Meaning: “Could you help me?”
Literally: Can you me help?
Help my, asseblief.Meaning: “Help me, please.”
Dis dringend.Meaning: “It’s urgent.”

6. Formal vs. Informal Speech for Afrikaans Beginners

Need to become acquainted with formal Afrikaans for an upcoming meeting with VIPs? No problem!

Four People in Office Attire

Formele aanspreekvorme is steeds belangrik in sommige werksopsette. / “Addressing people formally is still important in some work settings.”

Formal Afrikaans is indicated by the use of a single formal pronoun. Especially in cities, the use of the formal pronoun is not that prevalent—unless:

  • you’re meeting with government dignitaries, officers of the law, etc. (in other words, people whose official rank demands a level of formality and a respectful demeanor);
  • you’re meeting someone senior to you at work for the first time (unless they introduce themselves by their first name); or
  • you’re meeting elderly Afrikaners for the first time, irrespective of their status or rank.

In these instances, you would always use the formal Afrikaans pronoun, and you could add the person’s title and surname if you happen to know them. You would also use the title and surname of these people if you need to indicate who you’re talking about in conversation, as in:

Ek wil graag vir President Ramaphosa ontmoet.
“I would like to meet President Ramaphosa.”

Other appropriate titles include: 

  • Professor (“Professor”)
  • Dokter (“Doctor”)
  • Dominee (Approximate: “Pastor” / “Preacher”)

And more common formal forms of address include:

  • Meneer (“Mr.” / “Mister”)
  • Mevrou (“Mrs.” / “Madam”)
  • Mejuffrou / Me (“Ms.” / “Miss”)
  • Dame (“Lady”) – if you don’t know their marital status

Social etiquette requires that you either wait for an invitation to address the person by their first name, or until you are told to drop the formal speech.

A lot of information? Don’t worry! Most of these pertinent phrases in Afrikaans for beginners can be used with the following pronouns:

Informal PronounsFormal Pronoun
jy / jou (“you” / “your”)U (“you” / “your”)
    → For a more in-depth look at Afrikaans pronouns and how we use them, also check out this article.

Kissing Lipstick Marks with KISS Written Across Them: Keep It Simple, Silly

Keep It Simple, Silly!

Tip: As a student, always remember the KISS rule. If you ever feel stuck in or overwhelmed by the intricacies of your studies, go stand in front of the mirror and remind yourself (nicely and kindly!) to “Keep It Simple, Silly!” Then give yourself an encouraging smile!

Seriously though—simple is good. It’s a wise learning strategy to master the simple basics first; that way, you’ll be laying a sound foundation for more complex, difficult content. 

Also, nobody’s expecting you to be perfect! Afrikaners tend to be a nice crowd; we won’t call the Grammar Police if you make any kind of mistake while trying to speak Afrikaans. In fact, we’re much more likely to be impressed and pleased that you’re making an effort to learn our language, no matter how simple your speech.

7. Easily Learn Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners at AfrikaansPod101.com!

Which of these Afrikaans phrases for beginners do you think you would be most likely to use? 

At AfrikaansPod101.com, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded videos and other useful study tools (such as these vocabulary lists). With our help, you’ll be able to use each of these phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time.

You can decipher Afrikaans phrases for beginners with the multiple resources we make available to you upon subscription, such as the Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List. Also, keep our Afrikaans online dictionary closeby for easy translation.

Still hesitating? Don’t! Subscribe now. You will be very happy you did.

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

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans

Easily Master the Most Common Advanced Afrikaans Words

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Wow, congratulations—you’re at an advanced level in your Afrikaans studies! Good for you. 

Hopefully, you won’t stop now, because there’s a lot more to master. To help you, we have compiled some advanced Afrikaans words and phrases in the most pertinent categories for easy access and assimilation. If you want to improve your advanced Afrikaans vocabulary, wordlists like these are among the best tools to use. Also, feel free to ask us in the comments if anything needs clarification.

Remember to keep your learning fun by using fun resources. For instance, take a look at this article about a great online resource that’s completely free!

Woman with Two Flowers in Front of Her Eyes

Onthou om jou studies te geniet. / “Remember to enjoy your studies.”

Great! Let’s get busy with the most common Afrikaans advanced words right away.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. General Advanced Afrikaans Words
  2. Advanced Business Vocabulary (Gevorderde Besigheidswoordeskat)
  3. Advanced Medical Vocabulary (Gevorderde Mediese Woordeskat)
  4. Advanced Legal Vocabulary (Gevorderde Wetswoordeskat)
  5. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Ace Advanced Afrikaans Words?

1. General Advanced Afrikaans Words

1.1 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Verbs (Werkwoorde)

#1. Argumenteer / DebatteerMens kan argumenteer dat hierdie nie altyd van toepassing is nie.

Ons kan ure hieroor debateer.
To argue, reason, or debateOne can argue that this is not always applicable.

We can debate this for hours.
#2. Redeneer / BeredeneerMens kan redeneer oor die toepaslikheid van
gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde in hierdie konteks.
One can debate the appropriateness of advanced Afrikaans words in this context.

Note: Many Afrikaans verbs are popular Anglicisms, meaning that they sound just like their English counterparts. They are used by Afrikaans speakers despite the fact that, for the most part, there are perfectly good Afrikaans equivalents. In a sense, Anglicisms are like alien plant species—they sound fine and “work” in a sentence, but they are not historically native to the language.

#1 is the Anglicism and #2 is purer Afrikaans. Not always, but most often, the words can be used interchangeably.

Bring … bymekaarBring die twee bymekaar.
To bring togetherBring the two together.

BegeleiDie klavier begelei die fluit in hierdie sonata.
To accompanyThe piano is accompanying the flute in this sonata.

Begeef / BegeweEk begeef my in die ysige water.

Waarin het jy jouself nou begewe?
To venture into something despite skepticism and/or fearI venture into the icy water.

What did you get yourself into now?

Man Swimming in Ice-covered Water

VoldoenDie Mount Nelson hotel voldoen aan die hoogste standaarde.
To conformThe Mount Nelson Hotel conforms to the highest standards.

VerskoonVerskoon my, waar is die lys met gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde en frases, asseblief?
To pardonPardon me, where is the list with advanced Afrikaans words and phrases, please?

VergeselVergesel die kliënt na die uitgang toe, asseblief.

Asseblief sal jy my vergesel na die funksie toe?
To escort or accompanyEscort the client to the exit, please.

Will you please accompany me to the function?

WeerhouSy weerhou haarself van koffie-drink tydens Lydenstyd.

Hy weerhou ‘n skerp antwoord.
To abstain from or to hold backShe abstains from drinking coffee during Lent.

He holds back a sharp retort.

Cup of Coffee with Coffee Beans in Saucer

 weerhou haarself van koffie-drink tydens Lydenstyd. / “She abstains from drinking coffee during Lent.”

1.2 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Adjectives (Byvoeglike Naamwoorde)

Learn more about Afrikaans adjectives in this article: The Essential Afrikaans Adjectives List

BepaaldOns gebruik bepaalde en gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde in meeste vakgebiede.
Specific / ParticularWe use specific and advanced Afrikaans words in most fields of study.

BesonderHierdie is ‘n besondere stuk musiek.
Uncommon / ExtraordinaryThis is an extraordinary piece of music.

BillikVliegtuigkaartjies is heel billik deesdae.
ReasonableThe prices of plane tickets are quite reasonable these days.

BrutaalSy memoirs is brutaal eerlik.
Brutal / BrutallyHis memoirs are brutally honest.

Pensive Author in Front of Old Typewriter, Sipping a Drink

Sy memoirs is brutaal eerlik. / “His memoirs are brutally honest.”

GedetailleerdeDie bestuurder verwag ‘n gedetailleerde verslag.
DetailedThe manager is expecting a detailed report.

Gedeeltelik / Ten deleSy was net gedeeltelik verantwoordelik vir die ongeluk.
Partly / In partShe was only partly responsible for the accident.

Genoegsaam / OngenoegsaamDie polisie het wel genoegsame bewyse.
Adequate, Sufficient / Inadequate, InsufficientThe police do have sufficient proof.

GeskikDie uitrusting is nie geskik vir die geleentheid nie.
SuitableThe outfit is unsuitable for the occasion.

Gewone / OngewoonHy het ‘n ongewone benadering tot leierskap.
Usual, Common / Unusual, UncommonHe has an uncommon approach to leadership.

OngeskikDis ongeskik om met jou mond vol kos te praat.

Gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde en frases is ongeskik vir hierdie klas.
Rude / UnsuitableIt’s rude to talk with a mouth full of food.

Advanced Afrikaans words and phrases are unsuitable for this class.

OnvanpasDie groep se gedrag in die vergadering was heeltemal onvanpas.
InappropriateThe group’s behavior in the meeting was completely inappropriate.

Presies/eSielkunde is nie ‘n presiese wetenskap nie.
Precise / ExactPsychology is not an exact science.

SaaiDatavaslegging is gewoonlik ‘n saai werk.

‘n Saai landskap
Cumbersome / Tedious / BleakData capturing is usually a tedious job.

A bleak landscape

Man in Office Gear Sitting at Desk, Looking Bored

Datavaslegging is gewoonlik ‘n saai werk. / “Data capturing is usually a tedious job.”

Aanvaarbaar / OnaanvaarbaarDie terme is aanvaarbaar.
Acceptable / UnacceptableThe terms are acceptable.

UitgeputDie voorraad is uitgeput.
Finished / ExhaustedThe stock is finished.

UitsonderlikeOns doen dit slegs in uitsonderlike gevalle.
ExceptionalWe only do that in exceptional cases.

Van toepassingGewone taalbeginsels is van toepassing hier.
ApplicableOrdinary language principles are applicable here.

VerwarrendHierdie verslag is verwarrend.
Puzzling / ConfusingThis report is confusing.

Voordelig‘n Gesonde dieët is baie voordelig vir jou gesondheid.
Advantageous / BeneficialA healthy diet is very advantageous to your health.

VoldoendeMet voldoende oefening sal jy vinnig gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde en frases baasraak.
SufficientWith sufficient practice, you will quickly master advanced Afrikaans words and phrases.

Waarskynlik / OnwaarskynlikSy se aanstelling is moontlik maar onwaarskynlik.
Probable / ImprobableHis appointment is possible but improbable.

WeergaloosHaar vertolking van die gedig was weergaloos.
Unparalleled, without parallel or comparison/measureHer rendition of the poem was without parallel.

Assortment of Healthy Food Items Such as Fruit, Nuts, Oats, Vegetables, etc.

‘n Gesonde dieët is baie voordelig vir jou gesondheid. / “Eating healthy is very beneficial for your health.”

1.3 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Adverbs (Bywoorde)

The following list also includes adverbial phrases. As you know, adjectives and adverbs are often the same words, but they are used differently in sentences. Also look at this article on Afrikaans adverbs.

BeswaarlikDis beswaarlik die maatskappy se skuld.
HardlyIt’s hardly the company’s fault.

BynaDie kos is byna genoeg vir ‘n skare.
Almost / Nearly / Not quiteThe food is almost enough for a crowd.

DeeglikKry eers die mees algemene gevorderde Afrikaanse woorde deeglik onder die knie voor jy hierdie boek aanpak.
ThoroughlyThoroughly master the most common advanced Afrikaans words before you tackle this book.

GrotendeelsHaar drama klas bestaan grotendeels uit kinders.
MainlyHer acting class comprises mainly children.

Children in Costumes on a Stage with an Adult

Haar dramaklas bestaan grotendeels uit kinders. / “Her acting class comprises mainly children.”

GrootliksDie span in ons kantoor is grootliks verantwoordelik vir die projek se sukses.
LargelyOur office’s team is largely responsible for the project’s success.

LetterlikMoenie dit liewer nie letterlik interpreteer nie.
LiterallyRather don’t interpret it literally.

MatigDit proe matig soet.
ModeratelyIt tastes moderately sweet.

Min-of-meer / OngeveerDie lughawe is min-of-meer dertig kilometer ver van die gastehuis af.
More or less / ApproximatelyThe airport is more or less thirty kilometers away from the guest house.

OngewoonSy hand voel ongewoon warm.
UncommonlyHis hand feels uncommonly warm.

OmtrentTwee teelepels olie is omtrent genoeg.
AboutTwo teaspoons of oil is about enough.

Seker / SekerlikJy is seker nie ernstig nie?!
Certainly / SurelySurely you’re not serious?!

SeldeDie Londen vlugte is selde laat.
Seldom / RarelyThe London flights are seldom late.

Airport Digital Notice Board of Flights

Die Londen vlugte is selde laat. / “The London flights are seldom late.”

SkaarsMens merk dit skaars op.
BarelyOne barely notices it.

TansOns werk tans aan die probleem.
CurrentlyWe’re currently working on the problem.

VanselfsprekendVerandering voel vanselfsprekend moeilik.
ObviouslyChange obviously feels difficult.

VersekerOns sal verseker kontak hou.
DefinitelyWe will definitely keep in contact.

1.4 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Conjunctions (Voegwoorde)

Remember, conjunctions connect sentences and concepts, but this doesn’t mean they always appear between words or sentences. Oftentimes, they appear at the beginning (or even the end) of an expression or sentence.

Dus / DaaromDie trein was vertraag, dus moes ons wag.
Thus / ThereforeThe train was delayed; therefore, we had to wait.

Three Women with Luggage Waiting at a Train Station or Bus Terminal

Die trein was vertraag, dus moes ons wag. / “The train was delayed; therefore, we had to wait.”

Selfs alOns draf elke dag vir oefening, selfs al is dit moeilik in hierdie weer.
Even thoughWe jog every day for exercise, even though it’s difficult in this weather.

TensyTensy dit binnekort reën gaan die boere swaarkry hierdie jaar.
UnlessUnless it rains soon, the farmers will suffer this year.

Maar steeds / Nog steedsHy werk vinnig maar steeds deeglik.
But stillHe works fast but still thoroughly.

Tog / DogDie vrou is baie oorgewig, tog is sy lig op haar voete.
Yet / HoweverThe woman is very overweight, yet she’s light on her feet.

Ten spyte vanTen spyte van sy fisiese gebrek is hy steeds ‘n sukses.
DespiteDespite his physical disability, he is still a success.

HoewelHoewel baie skaars en duur is truffels is ‘n gewilde delikatesse.
AlthoughAlthough very scarce and expensive, truffles are a popular delicacy.

WatookalWatookal hulle nou sê, dit gaan nie die situasie verander nie.
No matter whatNo matter what they say now, it won’t change the situation.

2. Advanced Business Vocabulary (Gevorderde Besigheidswoordeskat)

With the basics covered, it’s time for you to learn advanced Afrikaans words related to the business world. Knowing these key terms will prove useful, whether you’re looking for work in South Africa or negotiating with Afrikaans-speaking associates. 

Aanstelling
n.
Ons vier my aanstelling by die firma.
AppointmentWe’re celebrating my appointment at the firm.

Aanvraag
n.
Daar’s ‘n groot aanvraag vir gekwalifiseerde, ervare rekenmeesters in die land.
DemandThere’s a big demand for qualified, experienced accountants in the country.

Accountant in Suit Working on Laptop and Calculator

Daar’s ‘n groot aanvraag vir gekwalifiseerde, ervare rekenmeesters in die land.
“There’s a big demand for qualified, experienced accountants in the country.”

Aandele
n.
Bitcoin aandele het baie in waarde gestyg.
SharesBitcoin shares have increased a lot in value.

Aandeelhouer
n.
Is sy ‘n aandeelhouer in die maatskappy?
ShareholderIs she a shareholder in the company?

Amalgameer
v.
Dit maak sin vir die twee maatskappye om nou te amalgameer.
AmalgamateIt makes sense for the two companies to amalgamate now.

Bates
n.
Die bates is groter as die laste.
AssetsThe assets are bigger than the liabilities.

Belegging
n.
Daardie was ‘n uitstekende belegging.
InvestmentThat was an excellent investment.

Departement
n.
Ons maak ‘n nuwe departement oop in Zurich.
Department / DivisionWe’re opening a new department in Zurich.

Besigheidsvennoot 
n.
Ons is dekades lank al besigheidsvennote.
Business partnerWe’ve been business partners for decades.

Note: In Afrikaans vernacular, a business partner is often referred to simply as a vennoot.

A Business Meeting in Progress

Ons is dekades lank al besigheidsvennote. / “We’ve been business partners for decades.”

Filiaal
n.
Die beheermaatskappy het slegs 20% aandele in ons filiaal.
SubsidiaryThe holding company only has 20% shares in our subsidiary.

Hoofkantoor
n.
Hulle hoofkantoor is in Brussels geleë.
Head officeTheir head office is located in Brussels.

Kompetisie
n.
Aanvanklik het Nokia min kompetisie gehad in die mark.
CompetitionInitially, Nokia had little competition in the market.

Maatskappy
n.
Die maatskappy het vinnig gegroei.
CompanyThe company grew fast.

Firma
n.
Na 50 jaar doen die firma steeds goed.
FirmAfter 50 years, the firm is still doing well.

Handel
n.
Handel op die eiland het vinnig toegeneem.
CommerceCommerce on the island has increased rapidly.

Handel dryf
v.
Ons is oop om daar handel te dryf.
TradeWe’re open for trade there.

Handelsmerk
n.
Handelsmerkregistrasie kan tot twee jaar duur in Suid Afrika.
TrademarkTrademark registration can take up to two years in South Africa.

Human Resources – HR(Menslike hulpbronne)
n.
Hierdie dokumente is vir HR se aandag.
Human ResourcesThese documents are for HR’s attention.

Note: In Afrikaans business language, the term Menslike Hulpbronne does exist, but it is very seldomly used in the vernacular.

Kompenseer
v.
Die groter mark kompenseer vir die verlieste.
To compensateThe bigger market compensates for the losses.

Mark
n.
Die mark vir hierdie produk lyk belowend.
MarketThe market for this product is looking promising.

Opbrengste
n.
Die maatskappy se opbrengste is verbasend goed hierdie jaar, alles in ag geneem.
ReturnsAll considered, the company’s returns are surprisingly good this year.

Profyt
n.
Ons belegging maak goeie profyt.
ProfitOur investment is making good profit.

Rekening
n.
Daar is niks uitstaande op hierdie rekening nie.
AccountThere is nothing outstanding on this account.

Rentekoers
n.
Die rentekoerse het aansienlik gestyg die afgelope jaar.
Interest rateInterest rates have increased significantly (over) the past year.

Tak
n.
Samsung het ‘n groot tak in Johannesburg.
BranchSamsung has a large branch in Johannesburg.

Uitkontrakteer
v.
Ons sal daardie dienste moet uitkontrakteer.
OutsourceWe will have to outsource those services.

Vennootskap
n.
Dis ‘n standvastige vennootskap.
Business partnershipIt’s a stable business partnership.

Voltydse, permanente betrekking
Full-time, permanent position

Deeltydse, vasgestelde-term kontrak
Part-time, fixed-term contract

3. Advanced Medical Vocabulary (Gevorderde Mediese Woordeskat)

Advance Medical Vocabulary

Advanced Afrikaans learners should also become familiar with words and terms commonly used in medical fields. These are words you’ll need to know should you choose to study medicine in South Africa, enter a health-focused career here, or even find yourself in the emergency room! 

Aansteeklik
adj.
COVID-19 is hoogs aansteeklik.
ContagiousCOVID-19 is highly contagious.

Abdominaal
adj.
Sy abdominale spiere is geaffekteer.
AbdominalHis abdominal muscles are affected.

Abnormaal
adj.
Hierdie reaksie is nie abnormaal nie.
AbnormalThis reaction isn’t abnormal.

Abses
n.
Die verpleegster het die abses reeds gedreineer.
AbscessThe nurse has already drained the abscess.

Akuut
adv.
Simptome kan akuut of chronies wees.
AcuteSymptoms can either be acute or chronic.

Allergies
adj.
Die kind is allergies vir bygif.
AllergicThe child is allergic to bee venom.

Behandeling
n.
Asyn is nie ‘n goeie behandeling vir aknee nie.
TreatmentVinegar is not a good treatment for acne.

Bloedtoetsn.Bloedmonster
n.
‘n Bloedtoets word op die bloedmonsters uitgevoer.
Blood test
Blood samples
A blood test is being done on the blood samples.

Buik
n.
Hy het ‘n steekwond in die buik.
Stomach / Mid-abdomenHe has a puncture wound in the stomach.

Buikwand
n.
Die mes het gelukkig nie die buikwand binnegedring nie.
Abdominal wallFortunately, the knife didn’t penetrate the abdominal wall.

Byniere
n.
Die byniere skei adrenalien en noradrenalien af.
Adrenal glandsThe adrenal glands secrete adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine.

Chronies
adj.
Die dokter het onnodige chroniese medikasie voorgeskryf.
ChronicThe doctor prescribed unnecessary chronic medication.

Fraktuur / Breuk
n.
Die breuk is betyds geset om sy been te red.
FractureThe fracture was set in time to save his leg.

Gipsn.Heg.
v.
Die gips kan maar afkom, want die been het goed geheg.
CastMendThe cast can come off because the leg/bone has mended well.

Geestesgesondheid
n.
Goeie geestesgesondheid is ten dele afhanklik van wat in ‘n mens se gedagtes aangaan.
Mental healthGood mental health is partly dependent on what’s going on in your mind.

Gewas n.Goedaardig
adj.
Gelukkig is die gewas goedaardig.
TumorBenignFortunately, the tumor is benign.

Inwendig/eadj.Besering
n.
Het hy enige inwendige beserings opgedoen?
InternalInjuryHas he sustained any internal injuries?

Koorsn.Koorspen
n.
Verpleegsters meet kinders se koors meestal met ‘n koorspen in die mond of die armoksels.
FeverThermometerNurses usually measure children’s fever with a thermometer in the mouth or the armpits.

Laboratorium
n.
Is die bloedmonsters al laboratorium toe?
LaboratoryHave the blood samples gone to the laboratory yet?

Two Legs and Crutches, One Leg in a Blue Cast

Die gips kan afkom, want die been het goed geheg. / “The cast can come off because the leg/bone has mended well.”


Mangelsn.
My mangels is nooit verwyder nie.
TonsilsMy tonsils have never been removed.

Narkose / Anestesie
n.
Die prosedure vereis nie narkose nie.
AnesthesiaThe procedure doesn’t require anesthesia.

Newe-effek
n.
Die hoofpyn is ‘n newe-effek van jou medikasie.
Side effectThe headache is a side effect of your medication.

Ontsmet / Steriliseer
v.
Is die instrumente al ontsmet?
To disinfect / To sterilizeAre the instruments sterilized yet?

Pandemie
n.
COVID-19 was ‘n erge pandemie wat veroorsaak is deur die Coronavirus.
PandemicCOVID-19 was a severe pandemic caused by the Coronavirus.

Surgical Mask
Prosedure
n.
Om ‘n vrat te verwyder is ‘n kort, eenvoudige prosedure.
ProcedureTo remove a wart is a short, simple procedure.

Sfygmometer
n.
Die sfygmometer word gebruik om ‘n pasiënt se bloeddruk te meet.
SphygmometerThe sphygmometer is used to measure a patient’s blood pressure.

Stetoskoop
n.
Die stetoskoop word gebruik om na ‘n pasiënt se hartklop en asemhaling te luister.
StethoscopeA stethoscope is used to listen to a patient’s heartbeat and breathing.

Male Doctor Using a Stethoscope to Listen to an Unborn Baby's Heartbeat

Die stetoskoop word gebruik om na ‘n pasiënt se hartklop en asemhaling te luister.
“The stethoscope is used to listen to a patient’s heartbeat and breathing.”

Simptoom
n.
Maagpyn nie die ware probleem nie; dis selgs ‘n simptoom.
SymptomStomachache is not the real problem; it’s only a symptom.

Skildklier
n.
Sy het nie nodig om chroniese medikasie te neem vir haar skildklier nie.
ThyroidShe doesn’t need to take chronic medication for her thyroid.

Uitwendig
n.
Sy beserings is meestal uitwendig.
ExternalHis injuries are mostly external.

Verdoof
v.
Hierdie pille sal die pyn verdoof.

Die pasiënt verkies om onder verdowing te wees vir die prosedure.
Sedate / Dull (pain)These pills will dull the pain.

The patient prefers to be sedated for the procedure.

Voorskrif
n.
Jy het ‘n voorskrif nodig vir hierdie skedule pynpille.
PrescriptionYou need a prescription for this schedule of pain tablets.

Algemene Mediese Kondisies / “Common Medical Conditions
AngsAnxiety
BeroerteStroke
Binneoor-onstekingOtitis media; inner-ear infection
Buiteoor-onstekingOtitis externa; outer-ear infection
BlaasontstekingBladder infection
BrongitisBronchitis
BosluiskoorsTick bite fever
Coronavirus siekteCoronavirus disease
DepressieDepression
DiabetesDiabetes
Duitse masels / RubellaGerman measles / Rubella
GalsteneGallstones
GriepInfluenza
GeelsugJaundice
HepatitisHepatitis
Hoë cholesterolHigh cholesterol
Isgemiese beroerteIschemic stroke
HartversakingCardiac arrest
KankerCancer
Hoë bloeddruk / HipertensieHigh blood pressure / Hypertension
Lae bloeddruk / HipotensieLow blood pressure / Hypotension
MangelontstekingTonsillitis
MaselsMeasles
PampoentjiesMumps
PolioPolio
Sinusitis / SinusontstekingSinusitis / Sinus infection
Urineweg infeksieUrine tract infection
‘n VerkoueA cold
Verworwe immuniteitsgebreksindroom (VIGS)Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
VetsugObesity
WaterpokkiesChickenpox
Kinkhoes / PertussisWhooping cough / Pertussis

4. Advanced Legal Vocabulary (Gevorderde Wetswoordeskat)

Courtroom Gavel and Law Book

Die hofsaak is uitgestel. / “The court case was postponed.”

Aantyging
n.
Die aantyging is baie ernstig.
Accusation / ClaimThe accusation is very serious.

Aankla
v.
Die politikus word aangekla van ernstige oortredinge.
AccuseThe politician is being accused of serious violations.

AanvallerDie aanvaller was nie alleen nie.
Assailant / AttackerThe assailant was not alone.

Afpers
v.
Hy het die vrou probeer afpers.
To blackmailHe tried to blackmail the woman.

Appeleer / Appél aanteken
v.
Die prokureer wil appél aanteken.
To appeal / To submit an appealThe lawyer wants to submit an appeal.

Bedrog
n.
Hy is afgedank toe hulle hom vang bedrog pleeg.
FraudHe was fired when they caught him committing fraud.

Beslis
v.
Die saak is vandag buite die hof beslis.
To determine / To settleThe case was settled out of court today.

Note: Beslis also doubles as an adverb: “definitely.” Hy is beslis vroeg. / “He is definitely early.”

Bewys/e
n.
Daar was geen bewyse dat sy die misdaad gepleeg het nie.
ProofThere was no proof that she’d committed the crime.

Deurdagte
adj.
Goed-deurdagte argument
ConsideredWell-considered argument

Dispuut
n.
Die dispuut is gelukkig vinnig opgeklaar.
DisputeFortunately, the dispute was quickly resolved.

Gesag
n.
Die konstitusionele hof hou die hoogste wetsgesag in die land.
AuthorityThe constitutional court holds the highest legal authority in the country.

Getuie
n.
Sy’s ‘n sterk getuie.
WitnessShe’s a strong witness.

Getuig
v.
Die man wou nie teen sy suster getuig nie.
TestifyThe man didn’t want to testify against his sister.

Hofdatum
n.
Wanneer is die hofdatum?
Court dateWhen is the court date?

Hofsaak
n.
Die hofsaak is uitgestel.
Court caseThe court case was postponed.

Jurisdiksie
n.
Finansiëele bedrog val buite hierdie hof se jurisdiksie.
JurisdictionFinancial fraud falls outside this court’s jurisdiction.

Korrupsie
n.
Ongelukkig is regeringskorrupsie alledaags hier.
CorruptionUnfortunately, government corruption is very common here.

Kriminele rekord
n.
‘n Skoon kriminele rekord is ‘n aansoek vereiste.
Criminal recordA clean criminal record is an application requirement.

Lasbrief
n.
Is die lasbrief al uitgereik?
WarrantHas the warrant been issued yet?

Misdaadn.Moordsaak
n.
Die Kaapstadse Geweldadige Misdaadeenheid het getuig in daardie moordsaak.
Murder caseThe Capetonian Violent Crimes Unit testified in that murder case.

Notaris
n.
Slegs ‘n notaris kan jou verklaring sertifiseer.
NotaryOnly a notary can certify your statement.

Ontbiet
v.
Sy is ontbiet vir verskyning in die hof.
To summonShe was summoned to appear in court.

Openbare / Publieke aanklaer
n.
Daardie publieke aanklaer is onkorrupteerbaar.
Public prosecutorThat public prosecutor is incorruptible.

Ontvoer
v.
Hulle het saam beplan om die kind te ontvoer.
To kidnapThey planned together to kidnap the child.

Omkoop
v.
Niemand kon daardie openbare aanklaer omkoop nie.
BribeNobody could bribe that public prosecutor.

Parafeer
v.
Al die bladsye van hierdie kontrak moet geparafeer word.
To initialAll the pages of this contract must be initialled.

Regsverteenwoordiger
n.
Wie is jou regsverteenwoordiger?
Legal representativeWho is your legal representative?

Regsgeding
n.
Hulle is tans betrokke in ‘n regsgeding oor die saak.
LawsuitThey are currently involved in a lawsuit regarding the matter.

Uitspraak
n.
Die finale uitspraak word vandag gelewer.
VerdictThe final verdict will be delivered today.

Verteenwoordiger
n.
Hulle sal ‘n verteenwoordiger aanstel.
RepresentativeThey will appoint a representative.

Wetsadvies
n.
Dit sal beter wees as jy wetsadvies kry.
Legal counselIt will be better if you get legal counsel.

How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Ace Advanced Afrikaans Words?

We hope you enjoyed our article on the most common advanced Afrikaans words! 

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About the author: Christa Davel is an experienced bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans

Your Best List of Intermediate Afrikaans Words

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Well done. You’ve mastered The 200+ Best Afrikaans Words for Beginners! Now it’s time to tackle some intermediate Afrikaans words and phrases. In this article, we’ve compiled the most common ones for you and included their classification for easy access. Let us know in the comments if you’re battling to understand anything!

(Wondering whether you’ll be able to learn Afrikaans beginner and intermediate words easily? Check out our blog post Is Afrikaans Hard to Learn?)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Intermediate Afrikaans Words – SELFSTANDIGE NAAMWOORDE / “Nouns”
  2. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – TELWOORDE / “Counting Words”
  3. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – BYVOEGLIKE NAAMWOORDE / “Adjectives”
  4. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – Voornaamwoorde / “Pronouns”
  5. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – WERKWOORDE / “Verbs”
  6. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – KOPPELWERKWOORDE / “Linking Verbs”
  7. Afrikaans Intermediate Words: BYWOORDE / “Adverbs”
  8. Afrikaans Intermediate Words: Voegwoorde / “Conjunctions”
  9. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – VOORSETSELS / “Prepositions”
  10. Learn the Most Common Afrikaans Intermediate Words Easily at AfrikaansPod101.com!

1. Intermediate Afrikaans Words – SELFSTANDIGE NAAMWOORDE / “Nouns”

Nouns are among the most common Afrikaans intermediate words. They are, essentially, the names of all persons, things, and places, including abstract things like qualities, states, thoughts, and ideas

Just like English, the Afrikaans language distinguishes between nouns, proper nouns, and different categories of pronouns, which we’ll discuss in more detail. 

 In phrases or sentences, the main type of noun is recognizable when it’s preceded by:

Consider the nouns, articles, adjectives, verbs, and pronouns in these intermediate Afrikaans sentences:

  1. Ek het katte as troeteldiere. / “I have cats as pets.” [verb and noun]
  2. Hou asseblief my tas vas. / “Please hold my suitcase.” [possessive pronoun and noun]
  3. Geniet jy jou koffie? / “Are you enjoying your coffee?” [possessive pronoun and noun]
  4. Waar is die naaste hotel, asseblief? / “Where is the closest hotel, please?” [article, adjective, and noun]
  5. Daardie wilde perde hardloop besonder vinnig. / “Those wild horses are running remarkably fast.” [demonstrative adjective, adjective, and noun]

Galloping Wild Horses

Daardie wilde perde hardloop besonder vinnig. / “Those wild horses are running remarkably fast.”

Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Nouns”
AfrikaansEnglish
Mense en Familie / “People and Relatives”
ouers“parents”
vader“father”
moeder

Note: These two terms for parents serve as both formal forms of address and nouns.
“mother”
man / vrou“husband” / “wife”
grootouers / kleinkinders“grandparents” / “grandchildren”
familie / gesin

Note: Familie refers to close and extended family, as well as relatives, while gesin refers to the nuclear family (two parents and their offspring).
“relatives” / “family”
neef OR nefie“cousin” – male
nig OR niggie“cousin” – female
Liggaamsdele / “Body Parts”
ledemate“limbs”
ooghare / wimper(s)“eyebrows” / “eyelash(es)”
wang(e) / neusgat(e) / neusbrug“cheek(s)” / “nostril(s)” / “bridge of the nose”
bo-lip / onder-lip / mondhoek(e)“upper lip” / “lower lip” / “corner(s) of the mouth”
ken / tandvleis / bo-tand(e) / onder-tand(e)

Note: Tandvleis (“gums”) is an irregular noun, as it’s written in the singular but used like an uncountable or mass noun.
“chin” / “gums” / “upper tooth (or teeth)” / “lower tooth (or teeth)”
skouer(s) / elmboog OR elmboë / pols(e)“shoulder(s)” / “elbow(s)” / “wrist(s)”
bors / bors(te) / maag

Note: No, it’s not a mistake! The word bors has a double meaning, as you can see. The context in which it is used will best show which is which. 

Also, when bors is suffixed with an –e, its plural form indicates “chests” (borse). The plural for “breast” (bors) is shown with a different suffix: -te, as in borste (“breasts”).
“chest” / “breast(s)” / “stomach”
heup(e) / knieg OR knieë / enkel(s)“hip(s)” / “knee(s)” / “ankle(s)”
agterkop / skouerblad OR skouerblaaie / rug / boud(e)“back of the head” / “shoulder blade(s)” / “back” / “buttock(s)”
Tyd / “Time”
sekonde“second”
dekade / eeu / millenium“decade” / “century” / “millennium”

A Road Sign Saying Now, Tomorrow, Yesterday

Nou, more, gister. / “Now, tomorrow, yesterday.”

Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Nouns” (cont.)
AfrikaansEnglish
Alledaagse Items / “Everyday Items”
notaboek / storieboek / vorm / papier

Note: Like in English, vorm (“form”) has several meanings in Afrikaans. As a noun, it can mean
  • the shape or body of a thing (sirkelvormig – “circular”), 
  • a type of thing (vorm van gebed – “form of prayer”), or 
  • a document that you can fill out.
It’s also a verb that means “to shape” or “to make,” as in: Plante vorm blare. / “Plants form leaves.”
“notebook” / “storybook” / “form” / “paper”
skootrekenaar / tafelrekenaar / oorfoon OR oorfone / mikrofoon / televisie / drukker

Note: In Afrikaans, we use oorfone to indicate both earphones and headphones. Also, drukker is seldom used in the vernacular; most often, we just use “printer.”
“laptop (computer)” / “desktop (computer)” / “earphone(s)” / “microphone” / “television” / “printer”
lessenaar / kantoor / studeerkamer / boekrak“desk” / “office” / “study” / “bookcase”
baadjie / onderklere / romp / denims / slaapklere / slaapkamer / wasgoed

Note: Onderklere (“underwear”) and slaapklere (“sleepwear”) are irregular nouns because the plural form can refer to a single item or more.

Also, in Afrikaans, denims (the plural form) indicates the garment, while denim indicates the fabric. “Jeans” is also a popular English loanword in Afrikaans.
“jacket” / “underwear” / “skirt” / “jeans” / “sleepwear” / “bedroom” / “laundry”
langbroek(e) / kortbroek(e) / romp / T-hemp / sweetpak / tekkies

Note: The English terms “long pants” and “shorts” are always used in the plural. However, Afrikaans has singular and plural forms for these words.

‘n Langbroek refers to one pair of long pants, while langbroeke refers to more than one pair of long pants.
“long pants” / “shorts” / “skirt” / “T-shirt” / “tracksuit” / “sneakers”
ketel / stoof / oond / wasbak / kombuis“kettle” / “stove” / “oven” / “sink” / “kitchen”
bad / stort / kraan / wasbak / badkamer“bath” / “shower” / “tap” / “basin” / “bathroom”
Beroep / “Profession”
mediese dokter / pasiënt / spesialis OR internis / chirurg“medical doctor” / “patient” / “specialist” OR “internist” / “surgeon”
apteker / tandarts / oogkundige / pediater / veearts“pharmacist” / “dentist” / “optometrist” / “pediatrician” / “vet”
lykskouer / begrafnisondernemer / lykbesorger / predikant / pastoor“coroner” / “undertaker” / “mortician” / “minister” / “pastor”
werktuigkundige / petroljoggie“car mechanic” / “fuel pump attendant”
bestuurder / assistent / klerk / personeel / ontvangsdame

Note: To specify, one can create compounds with these words by adding other nouns like 
  • bank- (“bank-“), 
  • kantoor- (“office”), 
  • winkel- (“shop”),
  • orbesigheids- (“business-“).
For example: bankbestuurder (“bank manager”). 

This rule excludes ontvangsdame (“receptionist”), which is used as-is in most contexts.

Also, bestuurder has a double meaning in Afrikaans. It means “manager” and also “driver of vehicles”: 

Ek is die bestuurder van die huurmotor. / “I am the driver of the rental car.”
“manager” / “assistant” / “clerk” / “personnel” OR “staff” / “receptionist”
verkoopspersoon / winkelier“salesperson” / “shopkeeper”
skoolhoof / onderhoof / departementshoof / skoolkind / bibliotekaresse – biblioteekaris“school principal OR headmaster” / “deputy principal OR headmaster” / “head of department” / “school student” / “librarian (female – male)”
dekaan / dosent / student“dean” / “lecturer” / “student”
vlieënier / kajuitbeampte / ingenieur“pilot” / “flight attendant” / “engineer”
kelner / kok / sjef / skoonmakers“waiter” / “cook” / “chef” / “cleaners”
Kos en Drank / “Food and Drink”
braaivleis / potjiekos / maalvleis / boerewors

Note: Boerewors is a sausage with a unique recipe created long ago by the Afrikaners. Try it when you’re visiting! Read this article to learn what potjiekos is, and to explore the best South African foods.
“barbeque” / potjiekos / “ground OR minced meat” / literally: “farmer’s sausage”
lamsvleis / skaapvleis / wildsvleis / biefstuk“lamb” / “mutton” / “venison” / “beefsteak”
appel / peer / piesang / mango / tamatie / kool / ui“apple” / “pear” / “banana” / “mango” / “tomato” / “cabbage” / “onion”
macaroni-en-kaas / spaghetti / frikadelle / sousbone“macaroni and cheese” / “spaghetti” / “meatballs” / “baked beans”
roosterbrood / spek / ontbyt“toast” / “bacon” / “breakfast”
peper / sout / spesery(e) / knoffel“pepper” / “salt” / “spice(s)” / “garlic”
wyn / bier / whiskey / drankie / drank“wine” / “beer” / “whiskey” / “a drink” / “alcoholic beverages”

Braaivleis Barbeque Meat, Beefsteak

Braaivleis is ‘n gewilde dis in Suid Afrika. / “Barbequed meat is a popular dish in South Africa.”

Plekke en Geboue / “Places and Buildings”
hospitaal / apteek / kliniek / noodgevalle / ongevalle / lykshuis / begrafnisonderneming“hospital” / “pharmacy” / “clinic” / “emergencies” (as in the ER or “emergency room”) / “casualties” / “mortuary” / “funeral parlor”
biblioteek / supermark / pretpark / restaurant / teetuin“library” / “supermarket” / “amusement park” / “restaurant” / “tea garden”
wassery / haarkapper / skoonheidskundige / herstelwinkel“laundry” / “hairdresser” / “beautician” / “repair shop”
Diere / “Animals”

Also, be sure to take a look at our comprehensive list of animals in Afrikaans!
hoender / haan / hen / kuiken“chicken” / “rooster” OR “cock” / “hen” / “chick”
donkie / ponie / muil“donkey” / “pony” / “mule”
rot / marmot / haas OR konyn

Note: Another Afrikaans translation for “guinea pig” is proefkonyn (literally: “test rabbit”). This term is only used in the context of experimentation.

In the past, proefkonyne were the test subjects in laboratory settings, but over time, scientists started using other animals and the term changed to proefdiere (“test animals”).

In the vernacular, it can now refer to someone who is testing out a brand-new product or who is part of a medical trial, for instance.
“rat” / “guinea pig” / “rabbit”
papegaai / kanarie / duif / mossie / vink“parrot” / “canary” / “pigeon” / “sparrow” / “finch”
goudvis / dolfyn / haai“goldfish” / “dolphin” / “shark”
Abstrakte Naamwoorde / “Abstract Nouns”
liefde / vreugde / vrede / geluk“love” / “joy” / “peace” / “happiness”
woede / hartseer / lyding“anger” / “sadness” / “suffering”
begeerte / wens / besluit / keuse“desire” / “wish” / “decision” / “choice”
gedagte / idee / geheim / belofte / leuen“thought” / “idea” / “secret” / “promise” / “lie”

An Older, Happy Couple Laughing Together

Liefde, vrede, vreudge, geluk / “Love, peace, joy, happiness”

2. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – TELWOORDE / “Counting Words”

These are the words that have to do with numbers, and in the Beginner Words article we mentioned earlier, we looked at the primary counting words (also called cardinal numbers) one through ten. Now, as you approach intermediate-level Afrikaans, it’s time to study the cardinal numbers from elf (“eleven”) onwards. 

We’re also going to take a look at the words for ordinal numbers. For more detailed information on the topic, be sure to read this article about counting in Afrikaans

Kardinale Getalle / “Cardinal Numbers”

In Afrikaans, “cardinal numbers” are also called hooftelwoorde.
AfrikaansEnglish
elf“eleven”
twaalf“twelve”
dertien“thirteen”
veertien“fourteen”
vyftien“fifteen”
sestien“sixteen”
sewentien“seventeen”
agtien“eighteen”
negentien

Note: Up to here, the number words are irregular and need to be memorized. From this point on, though, the number words are formed following the same pattern, as demonstrated below (counting from twenty to thirty).

You’ll see that only the tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. change, and therefore need to be memorized.
“nineteen”
twintig“twenty”
een-en-twintig“twenty-one”
twee-en-twintig“twenty-two”
drie-en-twintig“twenty-three”
vier-en-twintig“twenty-four”
vyf-en-twintig“twenty-five”
ses-en-twintig“twenty-six”
sewe-en-twintig“twenty-seven”
agt-en-twintig“twenty-eight”
nege-en-twintig“twenty-nine”
dertig“thirty”
een-en-dertig, etc.“thirty-one,” etc.
veertig“forty”
vyftig“fifty”
sestig“sixty”
sewentig“seventy”
tagtig“eighty”
negentig“ninety”
honderd“hundred”
duisend“thousand”
miljoen“million”
miljard

Note: A common mistake that even native Afrikaans speakers make is to translate the American English “billion” to biljoen in Afrikaans. That’s understandable, because they sound very similar.

However, they don’t mean the same number at all; if you’re a biljoenêr in Afrikaans, you’re much wealthier than a billionaire in American English!

This is because an Afrikaans biljoen refers to the number ten to the power of twelve (1012, which is 1,000,000,000,000), while the English billion only refers to the number ten to the power of nine (109, which is 1,000,000,000). These numbers are mind-boggling, aren’t they?!

The Afrikaans word for one billion (109) is miljard. If an Afrikaans person is lucky enough to be this wealthy, we call them a multi-miljoenêr (literally: “multi-millionaire,” but meaning “billionaire”). 
billion
biljoen“one-hundred-billion”
biljard“trillion”
triljoen“one-hundred-trillion”
triljard“quadrillion”
kwatriljoen“one-hundred-quadrillion”
kwatriljard
To briefly explain the rules:

A. 11 – 19, 20, 30, 40, etc.: The numbers eleven (elf) through nineteen (negentien), and all the tens (twintig, dertig, veertig ens / “twenty, thirty, forty, etc.”) are irregular number words and should just be memorized.

B. 21 – 29, 31 – 39, etc.: For the numbers between the tens, so to speak, and up to a hundred, use the following formula. (Also note that, in Afrikaans, these numbers start with the lower cardinal number.)

Lower cardinal number + Conjunction en (“and”) + Higher cardinal number

Examples: een-en-twintig, twee-en-twintig, drie-en-twintig (“twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three”).

C. 100+: From a hundred onwards, the formula is similar to that used for English numbers, meaning they start with the higher cardinal number:

Higher cardinal number + Conjunction en (“and”) + Lower cardinal number

Examples: honderd-en-een, honderd-en-twee, honderd-en-drie (“hundred-and-one, hundred-and-two, hundred-and-three”).
    
  • Ek is agt-en-twintig jaar oud. / “I am twenty-eight years old.”
  • Hier is twee fotos vir my paspoort. / “Here are two photos for my passport.”
  • Haar pa is op sewentig oorlede. / “Her dad died at (age) seventy.”

A Color Block Showing Uneven Numbers 1 - 9.

Ongelyke getalle / “Uneven numbers”

Ordinale Getalle / “Ordinal Numbers”

Ordinal numbers indicate the position of an item on a list. In Afrikaans, they’re also called rangtelwoorde
AfrikaansEnglish
eerste“first”
tweede“second”
derde“third”
vierde, etc.“fourth,” etc.
twintigste“twentieth”
een-en-twintigste, etc.“twenty-first,” etc.
honderd-en-eerste, etc.“hundred-and-first,” etc.
duisend-en-eerste, etc.“thousand-and-first,” etc.
To briefly explain the rules:

A. 1st, 3rd: In Afrikaans, the first (eerste) and the third (derde) ordinal number words are irregular.

B. 4th – 19th: The ordinal numbers from vier (“four”) to negentien (“nineteen”) are formed by simply adding the suffix -de to the cardinal numbers. For example: vierde, vyfde agtiende, negentiende (“fourth, fifth … eighteenth, nineteenth”). 

C. 8th, 9th: The two exceptions are “seventh” and “eighth,” which get different suffixes. “Eighth” gets the suffix -ste (agtste) and “ninth” gets the suffix -nde (negende).

D. 20th, 21st, etc: From twintig (“twenty”) onward, the ordinal words are formed by adding the suffix -ste to the normal counting words.

Examples: twintigste, een-en-twintigste … dertigste, een-en-dertigste … honderdste … duisendste (“twentieth, twenty-first … thirtieth, thirty-first … hundredth … thousandth”).

Ordinal Number 1

Ordinale getal / “Ordinal number”

3. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – BYVOEGLIKE NAAMWOORDE / “Adjectives”

As we explained in the Afrikaans Beginner Word article, adjectives are those words that tell us more about nouns

Can you remember the two types of adjectives and how to identify them? Yes, that’s right—their classification depends on where they are placed in a sentence

    Attributive adjectives are called attributiewe byvoeglike naamwoorde in Afrikaans, and they always come in front of a noun:
    Die mooi dag is verby.  / “The lovely day is over.”
    Predicative adjectives are called predikatiewe byvoeglike naamwoorde in Afrikaans, and they always stand after a linking verb:
    Die dag is mooi. / “The day is lovely.”

Attributive adjectives are often modified in Afrikaans. Take a look at these examples and see if you can spot the modifications when compared to predicative adjectives.

    Dit is ‘n lieflike dag. / “It’s a beautiful day.” vs. Die dag is lieflik. / “The day is beautiful.”
    Daardie is ‘n interessante les. / “That’s an interesting lesson.” vs. Daardie les is interessant. / “That lesson is interesting.”
    Die buitenste klaskamer / “The outside classroom” vs. Die klaskamer is buite. / “The classroom is outside.”

Coastal Scene with Natural Beauty

Dis ‘n pragtige dag vandag. / “It’s a beautiful day today.”

Don’t worry too much about the rules governing these modifications right now; they can get pretty complex, as these things go.

Here’s a list of some of the most common intermediate Afrikaans adjectives. 

Byvoeglike Naamwoorde / “Adjectives”
Afrikaans Predicative AdjectivesEnglishAfrikaans Attributive Adjectives
n/a = it remains the same as the predicative
onsuiwer“impure”n/a
lank“long”lang
enorm“enormous”enorme
opgewonde“excited”n/a
vervelig“boring”vervelige
glad“smooth”gladde
grof“rough” OR “gruff”growwe
intelligent“intelligent”intelligente
onduidelik“unclear”onduidelike
suiwer“pure”n/a
dapper“courageous”n/a
braaf“brave”brawe
antiek“ancient” / “antique”antieke
oud“old”ou
kunsmatig“artificial”kunsmatige
gerieflik“convenient”gerieflike
ongerieflik“inconvenient”ongerieflike
ideaal“ideal”ideale
absoluut“absolute”absolute
opwindend“exciting” / “thrilling”opwindende
outyds“old-fashioned”outydse
modern“modern”moderne
buitengewoon“extraordinary”buitengewone
ongewoon“uncommon”ongewone
spesiaal“special”spesiale
gelukkig“happy” / “lucky”gelukkige
walglik“disgusting”walglike
kleurvol“colorful”kleurvolle
bleek“pale”n/a
groen / geel / pers / oranje / wit / swart“green” / “yellow” / “purple” / “orange” / “white” / “black”n/a

A Pretty, Happy Girl in a Red Dress

Die jong meisie het ‘n mooi glimlag. / “The young girl has a pretty smile.”

4. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – Voornaamwoorde / “Pronouns”

We’re still sort of busy dealing with nouns! Can you recall what a pronoun is? 

To refresh your memory—pronouns are words that take the place of nouns in a phrase or sentence, denoting the same gender and number as the nouns they replace. 

Pronouns have a cool function, because their use ensures that sentences don’t become too cluttered or nouns too repetitive. We dealt with the basic personal pronouns in the Beginner Afrikaans article, though you might also want to read our blog post on Afrikaans pronouns for more information. 

In this article, we’re going to get a closer look at the different types of pronouns. For most types, you can determine who or what they refer to from the context.

  1. Persoonlike voornaamwoorde, voorwerp en onderwerp / “Personal pronouns, object and subject”
  2. Besitlike voornaamwoorde / “Possessive pronouns”
  3. Aanwysende voornaamwoorde / “Demonstrative pronouns”
  4. Onbepaalde voornaamwoorde / “Indefinite pronouns”
  5. Vraende voornaamwoorde / “Interrogative  pronouns”

          1. Persoonlike Voornaamwoorde – Voorwerp & Onderwerp / “Personal Pronouns” – Subject & Object

Intermediate students need to add only one more formal personal pronoun to those listed for beginners.

The same pronoun is used for both the subject and the object in sentences with this pronoun, as well as for both singular and plural forms. 

AfrikaansEnglish
u“you”
Subject:
  • U is welkom. / “You are welcome.”
  • U sit by hierdie tafel. / “You’re sitting at this table.”

Object:
  • Hierdie tee is vir u, Meneer. / “This tea is for you, Sir.”
  • Kan ek u help? / “May I help you?”

This formal form of address is still common in Afrikaans, but its use will depend on the context. 

Use it when first addressing someone you don’t know well and who is much older than you, such as your new Afrikaans friend’s grandparents or elderly parents. 

Also use this pronoun when addressing someone greatly senior to you in terms of age and work title, such as your much older CEO at work. 

Always address a VIP or dignitary this way, such as the country’s president or an officer of the law. This is a sure sign of respect. In certain upmarket hospitality settings, the staff is sometimes trained to address patrons this way.

Often, you will be invited to drop this formal way of speaking, but make sure you wait for the invitation to do so! 

For more information, also look at this lesson about Afrikaans greetings.

A Friendly, Elderly Butler in Formal Dress Holding a Smart Silver Tray and Tea Set

Hierdie tee is vir u, Meneer. / “This tea is for you, Sir.”

                                        2. Besitlike Voornaamwoorde / “Possessive Pronouns”

As the name suggests, these pronouns indicate possession. When they’re used with another pronoun in a sentence, the context needs to be clear so that it’s understood what they refer to. 

We looked at the basic possessive pronouns in the beginner article. Here, I’m listing the modified pronouns, which change according to the sentence structure.
AfrikaansEnglish
myne“mine”
joune“yours” (singular)
u s’n“yours”
syne“his”
hare“hers”
julle s’n“yours” (plural)
ons s’n“ours”
hulle s’n“theirs”
  • Die handboek is myne. / “The textbook is mine.”
  • Ek sal u s’n vir u hou. / “I will keep yours for you.”
  • Ons s’n sal more reg wees. / “Ours will be ready tomorrow.”
  • Dis hulle s’n. / “It’s theirs.”

A Pile of Language Textbooks

Die handboek is myne. / “The textbook is mine.”

                    3. Aanwysende Voornaamwoorde / “Demonstrative Pronouns”

In sentences, these pronouns are used to indicate something specific.
AfrikaansEnglish
hierdie

Note: This is a compound of hier (“here”) and die (“this”). It’s used with both singular and plural nouns

Hierdie vrae is maklik.
“this” / “these”





“These questions are easy.”
daardie

Note: This is a compound of daar (“there”) and die (“this”). It’s used with both singular and plural nouns.

Daardie sinne is lank.
Daardie toets is maklik.
“that” / “those”





“Those sentences are long.”
“That test is easy.”
daai

Note: This is a contraction of daar (“there”) and die (“this”). It means “those” and “that.” In other words, it remains the same for singular and plural nouns in sentences.

Daai notas help baie.Daai is ‘n oulike onderwyser.
“that” / “those” [slang]






“Those notes help a lot.”
“That is a nice teacher.”
hierdies (“these”)
daardies (“those”)
daais (slang for “those”)

Note: When these pronouns get the suffix -s, they always indicate a plural or collective noun (or nouns). “Indicate,” because the subject is always implied in the sentence. In other words, unlike the English “these” and “those,” hierdies, daardies, and daais are never used together with a noun in sentences. Therefore, the context of the sentence must be clear.

Hierdies is baie ryp. (Talking about fruit, e.g.)
Daardies is moeilik. (Talking about tests, e.g.)
Daais help baie. (Talking about notes, e.g.)
“these” / “those”












“These are very ripe.”
“Those are difficult.”
“Those help a lot.”
albei / beide

Albei is siek.
“both”

“Both are ill.”

A Pretty Young Woman Pointing at a Cellphone

Hierdie foon / “This phone”

                    4. Onbepaalde Voornaamwoorde / “Indefinite Pronouns”

These are sometimes confused with demonstrative pronouns, but as the name suggests, they point to the general.
AfrikaansEnglish
alles“everything”
almal“everybody”
elke

Note: This is an irregular indefinite pronoun that is only used with singular nouns.
“every”
alle

Note: This is another irregular pronoun that is always used with plural or collective nouns.
“all”
iemand“somebody”
niemand“nobody”
  • Almal studeer nou hard. / “Everybody is studying hard now.”
  • Elke student het ‘n handboek. / “Every student has a textbook.”
  • Nie alle studente werk saans nie. / “Not all students work at night.”
  • Dis ‘n wen-wen situasie waarin niemand verloor nie. / “It’s a win-win situation in which nobody loses.”
  • Alles sal goed uitwerk op die ou end. / “Everything will work out fine in the end.”

A Teacher and His Students in a Classroom

Elke student het ‘n handboek. / “Every student has a textbook.”

                    5. Vraende Voornaamwoorde / “Interrogative Pronouns”

These pronouns are used to ask short, succinct questions. Like in English, they can be used on their own as a simple, interrogative expression if the context is clear.
AfrikaansEnglish
Waarom? / Hoekom?“Why?”
Hoe?“How?”
Waarmee?“With what?”
Waarvoor?“What for?”
Watter?“Which?”
  • Waarvoor word hierdie item gebruik? / “What is this item used for?”
  • Watter vlug gaan julle neem? / “Which flight are you going to take?”
  • Hoe gaan dit met jou studies? / “How are your studies going?”

A Young Woman Gesturing: How? or Why?

Hoekom? / “Why?”

5. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – WERKWOORDE / “Verbs”

Verbs are, simply put, the “doing words” of most languages. Just like in the Beginner Afrikaans article, I’ll only supply independent verbs in the present tense here. To learn more about their conjugations for the past and future tenses, be sure to study this article too.

Hoofwerkwoorde / “Independent Verbs”
AfrikaansEnglish
aankom“arrive”
vertrek“depart”
begin“begin” / “start”
eindig / stop“end” / “stop”
bespreek“book” / “reserve” / “discuss”
skep“create”
vernietig“destroy”
mors“spill” / “make a mess”
glip“slip”
gly“slide”
skud“shake”
spring“jump”
vernietig“destroy”
beskadig“damage”
breek“break”
blameer“blame”
aanvaar“accept”
onderrig“teach”
bied (lesse) aan“give lessons”
verstaan“understand”
skoonmaak“tidy up” / “clean up”
studeer“study”
hersien“revise”
neem notas“take notes”
motiveer“motivate”
verbeter“improve”
verdien“deserve” / “earn”
verminder“reduce”
vermag“achieve”
oorweeg“consider”
vervoer“transport”
stoor“store”
stuur“send”
vervaardig“manufacture”
produseer“produce”
ontwerp“design”
  • Stuur die man na die kantoor toe. / “Send the man to the office.”
  • Oppas om nie te glip op die nat vloer nie. / “Take care not to slip on the wet floor.”
  • Sy studeer buite. / “She’s studying outside.”

A Female Student on Campus Studying Outside with a Laptop and a Book

Sy studeer buite. / “She’s studying outside.”

5.1 MODALE WERKWOORDE / “Modal Verbs”

One helpful definition of a modal verb is that it’s used to express:

  • ability;
  • possibility;
  • permission, or
  • obligation.

Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs that always appear with the main verb in sentences.

That sums it up neatly!

Modale Werkwoorde / “Modal Verbs”
AfrikaansEnglish
kan“can”
moet“must”
sal“will”
wil“want to”
mag“might” / “may”
  • Hy wil leer swem. / “He wants to learn (how to) swim.”
  • Die werk moet klaarkom. / Approximate: “The work must be finished.”
  • Mag ek hier sit, asseblief? / “May I sit here, please?”

A Young Family of Three Wearing Swim Gear in a Swimming Pool

Hy wil leer swem. / “He wants to learn (how to) swim.”

6. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – KOPPELWERKWOORDE / “Linking Verbs”

Can you recall the definition of a linking verb? Great! As its name suggests, it links the subject in a sentence to a word or phrase that describes the subject.

Koppelwerkwoorde / “Linking Verbs”
AfrikaansEnglish
heet

Note: This is a slightly more formal linking verb that’s still used in Afrikaans academic circles and by older Afrikaner folks. 
“is called”
word“become”
was“was”
  • Sy was suksesvol. / “She was successful.”
  • Die kinders word moeg. / “The children are becoming tired.”
  • Hy heet Sarel. / “He is called Sarel.” (Formal) 
  • Sy naam is Sarel. / “His name is Sarel.” (Colloquial)

A Woman in a Red Business Suit, Surrounded by a Group of People in Dark Office Gear

Sy was suksesvol. / “She was successful.”

7. Afrikaans Intermediate Words: BYWOORDE / “Adverbs”

As explained in the Beginner Afrikaans article, adverbs modify verbs. They often double as adjectives too, but adjectives are recognized in a sentence when they qualify the noun and/or by the presence of a linking verb, such as is (“is”) or was (“was”).

We’re going to look at:

    A. Bywoorde van tyd (“Adverbs of time and frequency”)
    B. Bywoorde van graad (“Adverbs of degree”)
    C. Bywoorde van plek (“Adverbs of place”)
    D. Bywoorde van wyse (“Adverbs of manner”)

Bywoorde van Tyd / “Adverbs of Time and Frequency”
AfrikaansEnglish
smiddae“in the afternoon”
saans“in the evening”
smorens“in the morning”
heeldag“all day”
heelnag“all night”
vroeg / vroëer“early” / “earlier”
laat / later“late” / “later”
soms“sometimes”
altyd“always”
gewoonlik“usually”
baiekeer“often”
tans“currently”
laas“last”
  • Ek werk smiddae. / “I work in the afternoons.”
  • Ons gaan laat uit. / “We go out late.”
  • Soms huil die baba. / “Sometimes the baby cries.”
  • Laas Kersfees was ons in Switserland. / “Last Christmas, we were in Switzerland.”

Three Red Christmas Candles with Hollies

Laas Kersfees was ons in Switserland. / “Last Christmas, we were in Switzerland.”

                              Bywoorde van Graad / “Adverbs of Degree”

These adverbs are often used to answer the question “How much?” Just like in English, they indicate the intensity of an action.
AfrikaansEnglish
redelik“pretty” / “fairly”
erg / baie“very”
byna“nearly”
amper“almost”
besonder“exceptionally” / “extraordinarily”
heeltemal“completely”
gladnie“not at all”
totaal“totally”
  • Die werk lyk redelik maklik. / “The work looks fairly easy.”
  • Die wind voel besonder koud. / “The wind feels exceptionally cold.”
  • Hy ry baie vinnig. / “He is driving very fast.”

A Young Boy Wearing a Winter Hoodie in Cold Weather

Die wind voel besonder koud. / “The wind feels exceptionally cold.”

                              Bywoorde van Plek / “Adverbs of Place or Position”

These adverbs are often used to tell you where an action is performed.
AfrikaansEnglish
binnekant“inside”
binnetoe“to the inside”
buitekant“outside”
buitetoe“to the outside”
hierheen“here” / “this way”
daarheen“there” / “that way”
huistoe“home” / “homeward”
werk toeLiterally: “work to” / “to work”
  • Die bal rol buitetoe. / “The ball is rolling to the outside.”
  • Sy gaan huis toe. / “She’s going home.”
  • Dis koud; ons gaan binnekant sit. / “It’s cold; we’re going to sit inside.”

A Vehicle on a Narrow Road in a Mountainous Area

Ons gaan huistoe. / “We are going home.”

                                        Bywoorde van Wyse / “Adverbs of Manner”

Just like in English, almost all adverbs can be used as adjectives too. Unlike in English, though, Afrikaans adverbs usually remain the same.
AfrikaansEnglish
helder“brightly”
moeilik“with difficulty”
maklik“easily”
vrolik“cheerfully”
hartseer“sadly”
gretig“eagerly”
getrou“faithfully”
gelukkig“fortunately”
opgewonde“excitedly”
skaam“shyly”
eerlik“honestly”
oneerlik“dishonestly”
skuldig“guiltily”
onskuldig“innocently”
veilig“safely”
onveilig“unsafely”
warm“warmly”
koud“coldly”
kwaai / kwaad“angrily”
angstig“anxiously”
bang“scared”
gemaklik“comfortably”
lui“lazily”
versigtig“carefully”
lomp“clumsily”
saggies“gently” / “softly”
jaloers“jealously”
vorentoe“forward”
agtertoe“backward”
  • Sit jy gemaklik? / “Are you sitting comfortably?”
  • Hy voel lui. / “He feels lazy.”
  • Katte lyk altyd onskuldig. / “Cats always look innocent.”

Color Block Showing the Abbreviation of Adverb, i.e. adv.

Bywoord / “Adverb”

8. Afrikaans Intermediate Words: Voegwoorde / “Conjunctions”

As their name suggests, conjunctions bring words, sentences, or different parts of sentences together. Voeg is a verb in Afrikaans that means “to join” or “to put together.” 

To learn more, be sure to read this article on Afrikaans conjunctions.

Afrikaanse Voegwoorde / “Afrikaans Conjunctions”
AfrikaansEnglish
daarom“therefore”
anders“otherwise”
nogtans“nevertheless” / “still”
al“although” / “even if”
sodat“so that”
voor“before”
terwyl“while”
tot / totdat“until” / “till”
na / nadat“after”
  • Dis koud, daarom dra ek ‘n baadjie. / “It’s cold; therefore, I’m wearing a jacket.”
  • Ek sal studeer tot die son sak. / “I will study till the sun sets.” 
  • Borsel jou tande nadat jy geëet het. / “Brush your teeth after you’ve eaten.”

A Young Child Brushing Her Teeth in the Bathroom

Borsel jou tande nadat jy geëet het. / “Brush your teeth after you’ve eaten.”

9. Afrikaans Intermediate Words – VOORSETSELS / “Prepositions

If you can remember from the Beginner Afrikaans article, prepositions indicate the “relative position or relationship between two separately expressed concepts.”

And remember not to confuse them with adverbs of position or place!

VOORSETSELS / “Prepositions”
AfrikaansEnglish
van“of”
langs“next to”
in“in”
aan“to”
  • Ons bly in Kaapstad. / “We are living in Cape Town.”
  • Sit langs my. / “Sit next to me.”
  • Die handvatsel van die tas is stukkend. / “The handle of the suitcase is broken.”

Cute Twin Girls Sitting Together on a Bench

Sit langs my. / “Sit next to me.”

Learn the Most Common Afrikaans Intermediate Words Easily at AfrikaansPod101.com!

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

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Your Guide to the Best Basic Afrikaans Phone Phrases!

Thumbnail

The very first telephone in South Africa entered Cape Town around 1878. Apparently, a watchmaker named Adolph Boettger imported it from Germany, and it was first used in the post office. That phone was even more primitive than the model in this image, which was called a “candlestick telephone.”

An Old Candlestick Telephone.

Kandelaar telefone is vervaardig in die vroeë negentiende eeu. / “Candlestick telephones were manufactured in the early nineteenth century.”

Like the rest of the world, South Africa hasn’t looked back since. Cell phones arrived on the scene in 1994, and just like in most other countries, these devices basically took over the telecommunication industry. But while there has never been a more critical time to pick up Afrikaans phone phrases, you might be doubtful as to their relevance. 

In fact, many members of the previous generation wouldn’t even be able to tell you what the item in the photo above is, let alone what it was used for! Since the advent of smartphones, terms like “push button telephone” have become basically obsolete, while “iOS” and “Android” are commonplace. Well, that’s technological progress for you.

A Woman Talking on a Smartphone.

Goeie foonetiket is belangrik. / “Good phone etiquette is important.”

That said, dial-button phones are still in use (though mainly for business purposes). And one thing that has not disappeared or changed is phone etiquette. No matter which device is used, the basics of how to address someone over the phone have remained the same.

Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of practical Afrikaans phone call phrases in English and categorized them for your convenience! Also, whether you’re taking or making a call, you still need to greet the person on the other side. So quickly learn all about that in this article titled How to Say “Hello” in Afrikaans Like a Native Speaker! or master it using this easy lesson.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Taking a Call
  2. Making a Call and Starting a Conversation
  3. The Rest of the Conversation…
  4. Example Dialogues
  5. AfrikaansPod101 for the Best Afrikaans Phone Phrases & Much More!

1. Taking a Call

The type of call you’re receiving will determine the Afrikaans phone phrases you’re going to use. Below are examples of how to take a formal call, a business call, and a personal call.

1.1 Formal & Business

For business purposes, if you have a formal relationship with the caller or if you don’t know who’s calling, you’ll answer the phone in a relatively formal, polite way. If you don’t want to identify yourself when taking a call, it’s okay not to in South Africa. 

Note that the following greetings are either neutral or time-specific.


These short, common greetings for receiving a call are most appropriate if you don’t know the caller, you don’t want to identify yourself, and/or you don’t wish to encourage conversation. Preferably, don’t bark out this greeting when you answer! Keeping your tone friendly and polite will help you avoid embarrassment—you never know who could be on the other side of the phone!
    Hello? / Goeiedag? / Goeiemore? / Goeiemiddag? / Goeienaand? 
    “Hello?” / “Good day?” / “Good morning?” / “Good afternoon?” / “Good evening?”
Next are more respectful, formal greetings to use when you don’t know the caller.
    Goeiemiddag. Wie praat, asseblief? 
    “Good afternoon. Who’s calling, please?”

    Goeienaand, dis Magda wat praat?
    “Good evening, it’s Magda speaking?”

    Goeiemore, Magda hier?
    “Good morning, Magda here?”
You would use the following when you answer the phone at work. Afrikaans phone call phrases for business contexts tend to follow the same format, said in a polite tone. When you’re answering the call as a receptionist, personal assistant, shop attendant, etc., you would:
  1. say hello
  2. name the company or business, and
  3. identify yourself.
Sometimes, the third step is replaced with another phrase, or omitted altogether.
    Goeiedag, Brink en Vennote, dis Mariëtta wat praat?
    “Good day, Brink, De Bruin and Partners, Mariëtta speaking.”

    Goeiemore, Dokter Camilla De Beer se spreekkamers. Kan ek help? 
    “Good morning, Doctor Camilla De Beer’s rooms. May I help you?”
This is a polite, formal phrase to use when you know the caller’s identity.
    Goeiemiddag, Dokter De Beer, dis Thijs wat praat.
    (“Good afternoon, Doctor De Beer, Thijs speaking.”)

Note: All of these phrases are statements, but you would use them with a questioning tone. This invites the caller to identify themselves and/or return your greeting and state their business.

A Friendly, Young Black Man Sitting on a Couch, Making a Call on a smartphone.

Goeiemiddag, Dokter De Beer, dis Thijs wat praat. / “Good afternoon, Doctor De Beer, Thijs speaking.”

1.2 Informal

Most of the time, if you know the caller and you’re not taking a business call, it’s customary to answer your phone informally. 


You would say something like this:
    Hello Ma. (“Hello Mom.”)

    Goeiedag! (“Good day!”)

    Haai daar! (“Hi there!”)

    Haai jy! (“Hey you!”)

    Haai Magda! What’s up?! (“Hi Magda! What’s up?!”) 

    South Africa is very Anglicized and Afrikaans speakers often mix their language with English slang or popular phrases from one of the other national languages. As you can imagine, this one is a very informal, casual greeting.

    More Tannie Kotie. (“Morning, Auntie Kotie.”) 

    Note that Goeiemore can be contracted to More, similar to “Good morning” vs. “Morning” in English. 

Oom and Tannie (“Uncle” and “Auntie”) are the forms of address Afrikaners use for much older folks, as well as older relatives. This is a sign of respect. However, when meeting someone for the first time, you’ll often be invited to ditch the formalities and call them by their first name. That said, it’s always best to wait for this invitation, because over-familiarity does not sit well with the older Afrikaners (especially those from rural communities). 

After using any one of these greetings, it’s okay to wait for the other person to introduce themselves (if you don’t know their identity, of course), to return a greeting, and/or to start a conversation. Afrikaners often love a good chat!

A Friendly Young Businesswoman Talking on a Telephone at Her Desk.

More Tannie Kotie. / “Morning, Auntie Kotie.”

2. Making a Call and Starting a Conversation

But what if you’re the caller? Then different rules apply. 

2.1 Formal & Business

When you’re making a business call or have a formal relationship with the person you’re calling, you would reply to the previously listed formal phrases like this:

    Goeiedag, Mariëtta, Thijs hier. Gaan dit goed met jou? 
    “Good day, Mariëtta, Thijs here. Are things going well for you?”

    Goeiemiddag, ___. My naam is ___ en ek wil graag met ___ praat, asseblief?
    “Good afternoon, ___. My name is ___ and I would like to speak with ___, please?”

    Goeiemore Meneer/Mevrou/Me. Hoe gaan dit met u?
    “Good morning, Sir/Madam. How are you doing?”

Note: You could say “Hello” instead of using a time-based greeting. This is generally acceptable, unless:
  1. you’re addressing someone very senior to you (such as a high-ranking employee or your boss),
  2. or a prominent dignitary or politician, especially at formal events.
However, it wouldn’t be a social death to use “Hello.” Afrikaners are down-to-earth and not too hung up on strict formalities, but using a time-greeting is considered good Afrikaans—especially if you want to show off your language skills a bit!

Also note the use of the formal u pronoun, which is plural for “you.” That said, if you’re making a formal call to someone you know is younger than you, it would be okay to simply use jou instead.

A Woman with Red Lipstick Holding the Speaker Piece of a Blue Telephone.

Goeiemore Meneer. Hoe gaan dit met u? / “Good morning, Sir. How are you doing?”

2.2 Informal

When you’re making a phone call in Afrikaans to someone you’re close with or to a business associate you know quite well, the appropriate informal response would sound like this:

    Hello, my kind! Hoe gaan dit?!
    “Hello, my child! How are you?”

    My kind is a common way for parents and older relatives to address a younger loved one. It’s almost a term of endearment.
    Hey! Hoe lyk dinge?!
    “Hey! How are things?!”

    Hoe lyk dinge?! and “How goes?” are two expressions that serve as super-casual greetings to which no reply is expected. They’re mainly (but not exclusively) used by Afrikaner men—think meeting your mates at a bar to watch a lively rugby match together! You can reply if you want to, but really, these are just the noises people make to acknowledge someone’s presence and indicate pleasure at seeing them.
    Hello ___! Hoe gaan dit daar met julle?
    “Hello ___! How is everything on your [plural] side?”
    More Magdatjie! Hoe gaan dit met jou, my skat?
    Lit. “Morning little Magda! How are you doing, my treasure?”

    Many Afrikaners love using diminutives to show affection, but it’s reserved only for people the speaker knows well.

A Young Woman in a Yellow Top, Walking in the City while Talking on Her Cell Phone.

Hello ___! Hoe gaan dit daar met julle? / “Hi ___! How is everything on your [plural form] side?”

3. The Rest of the Conversation…

So you’ve taken or made the call and you both know who you’re speaking to—now what? Here are the appropriate Afrikaans phone conversation phrases with which to continue.


First, you’re going to reply to any query after your well-being. Like in English, this is more of a social habit to ease conversation rather than a sincere question—unless you and the speaker are close, of course. In such a case, it would be acceptable (and even expected) for you to be honest in your reply. 

However, you would usually reply like this, which is perfectly fine for both formal and informal conversations:
  1. If you’re being asked, then reply with: 
    Dit gaan goed met my, dankie, en self? 
    “I am well, thank you, and you?”

  2. If you have asked, you now also get a turn to state how you are. The simplest way is to repeat what the other person said and add ook (“too”): 
    Dit gaan goed met my ook, dankie. 
    “I am well too, thanks.”
Informal alternatives that are fit for use when you know the caller or respondent relatively well:
  1. Alles wel diekant, dankie. En self?
    “All well on this side, thank you. And you?

  2. Dieselfde hier, dankie. 
    “Same here, thank you.”
  1. Kannie kla nie, dankie. Self?
    “Can’t complain, thanks. And you?

  2. Dis goed om te hoor. Dieselfde hier, dankie.
    “That’s good to hear. Same here, thank you.”
Note: These Afrikaans phone phrases can be used interchangeably, meaning this is not a fixed formula. See our example dialogues below.

Now you need to state your reason for the call.

A Woman's Hands Dialing on an Office Telephone.

Gebruik toepaslike Afrikaanse foonfrases om ‘n goeie foon gesprek te verseker. / “Use appropriate Afrikaans phone phrases to assure a good phone conversation.”

3.1 Formal & Business

You have already encountered one reply to a business call where the caller stated their business. If the person who took the call doesn’t know you, you’ll always introduce yourself first. Depending on the reason for the call, you can either state your first name and surname, or only your first name.

More Formal: My naam is ___. (“My name is ___.”) / Dis ___ wat praat. (“This is ___ speaking.”)
Informal: ___ hier. (“___ here.”)


Next, you can state the reason for your call with one of these phrases:
    Ek het ‘n boodskap gekry dat ek julle moet bel?
    “I received a message that I should call you?”

    Ek wil graag bespreek vir…
    “I would like to make a booking for…”

    Ek wil ons bespreking bevestig, asseblief.
    “I would like to confirm our reservation, please.”

    Ek wil graag ‘n afspraak maak met / vir ___, asseblief.
    “I would like to make an appointment with / for ___, please.”

    Ek wil ‘n bespreking / afspraak vir more kanselleer, asseblief.
    “I want to cancel a booking / appointment for tomorrow, please.”

Note: In South Africa, it’s customary to cancel a booking with a service provider at least 12 to 24 hours in advance. Some, not all, will charge you the appointment amount (or a portion of it) if the cancellation is late, or if you don’t pitch without cancelling. This is not the case with restaurants, except fine diners which often charge a non-refundable booking fee or deposit.
    Is Dokter De Beer daar, asseblief? Ek het ‘n dringende navraag.
    “Is Doctor De Beer in, please? I have an urgent query.”

    Ek wil met iemand praat oor ___, asseblief?
    “I need to speak to someone about ___, please?”

A Young Secretary Talking on the Telephone in a Work Setting.

Hou aan vir dokter De Beer, asseblief. / “Please hold for Doctor De Beer.”


Once the purpose of the call is clear, any one of the following response phrases would be appropriate:
    Hou aan vir dokter De Beer, asseblief. 
    “Please hold for Doctor De Beer.”

    Hou aan, asseblief, ek kyk of sy beskikbaar is.
    “Hold on, please, I will see if she’s available.”

    Dankie dat u aangehou het. Dokter De Beer is besig met ‘n pasiënt. Kan sy u later terugskakel?
    “Thank you for holding. Doctor De Beer is busy with a patient. Can she call you back a bit later?”

Note: The formal pronoun u (“you”) is customary when you’re addressing clients, unless the company’s business style is informal or you know the caller well. All the pronouns in the example sentences can be replaced with others, of course. Learn all about Afrikaans pronouns in this blog post! 
    Hoe kan ek help?
    “How can I help?”

    Dankie dat jy teruggebel het. Ek skakel jou deur na ___  toe.           
    “Thank you for calling back. I am putting you through to ___.”

    Hou aan, asseblief.Approximate:
    “Stay on the line, please.”

    Wil jy ‘n boodskap laat?
    “Would you like to leave a message?”

A Young Man Sitting Outside, Talking on a Cellphone.

Hoe kan ek help? / “How can I help?”

3.2 Informal

Informal replies following the initial greetings and introductions usually lead to a casual conversation, since you’re most likely talking to a friend or someone you know well. 

For the purposes of this article, we haven’t included many informal Afrikaans phone phrases for a complete conversation—the possibilities are too numerous! However, see the example dialogue below.


Here are a few popular informal phrases you could use when you’re the caller:
    Mag ek met ___ praat, asseblief? 
    “May I speak with ___, please?”

    Sal jy seblief vir haar sê ek het gebel?
    “Will you please tell her I called?”

    Mag ek ‘n boodskap los, seblief? 
    “May I leave a message, please?”

    Het jy planne vir ___? 
    “Do you have plans for ___?”

    Is jy besig ___?
     “Are you busy ___?
    “This can mean “Are you busy?” or “Will you be busy on / at ___,” depending on the context.

    Wat doen jy ___?
    This can mean “What are you doing?” or “What will you be doing [on] ___,” depending on the context.

    → Kom ons gaan eet pizza.
    “Let’s go have pizza.”

    Tel jou sesuur op?
    “Pick you up at six o’clock?”

    Goed dan. Sien jou netnou!
    “All good. See you soon!”

Note: Seblief is a contraction of asseblief, which means “please.” Also, some of the incomplete questions can be used as they are, but, just like in English, they will mean something slightly different. Or, they can be completed with the time, a date, or a day of the week. Here’s also an article on authentic South African foods that might come in handy when making plans! 

A Friendly Young Asian Woman in a Business Suit Talking on a Cellphone while Looking at Her Watch.

Tel jou sesuur op? / “Pick you up at six o’clock?”


Next are a few popular phrases to consider using if you’ve received the call:
    Hou aan, ek roep haar.Approximate:
    “Hold the line, I’ll call her.”

    Jammer, ___ is nie hier nie. Wil jy ‘n boodskap los?
    “Sorry, ___ isn’t here. Would you like to leave a message?”

    ___ vra dat jy asseblief oor ‘n uur weer sal bel.
    “___ has asked you to please call again in an hour.”

    Ek is nie besig nie. Wil jy iets saam doen?Approximate:
    “I’m not busy. Would you like to get together?”

    Ek is los ___.
    “I’m free [on] ___. “

    Ek is los om ___.
    “I am free at ___.”

    Pizza klink lekker.
    “Pizza sounds nice.”

    Ek kan ___ maak. 
    “I can make ___.”

    → ___ is goed.
    “___ is good.”

    Sien jou later!
    “See you later!”

    Jammer, ek is besig ___.
    “Sorry, I am busy [on] ___.”

4. Example Dialogues

Now, let’s apply what we’ve learned! Below are two examples of what a call in Afrikaans might sound like depending on the context. 

4.1 Business / Formal Dialogue

A Confident, Friendly Female Doctor Dressed in a White Medical Gown.

Goeie foonetiket is net so belangrik soos ‘n goeie “bedside manner” in enige mediese praktyk. / “Good phone etiquette is as important as a good bedside manner in any medical practice.”

Afrikaans phone call phrases in English need not flummox you! Take a look at this dialogue.


Thijs has to speak to his GP, Doctor Camilla De Beer, about a prescription. He has already been this doctor’s patient for years and knows her receptionist, Nelia. This is how he conducts the call:

Dr. De Beer’s Receptionist Nelia: 
Goeiemore, Dokter Camilla de Beer se spreekkamer, Nelia wat praat?
“Good morning, Doctor Camilla de Beer’s Rooms, Nelia speaking?”

Thijs: 
Goeie more, Nelia. Dis Thijs de Vriese wat praat. Hoe gaan dit?
“Good morning, Nelia. It’s Thijs de Vriese speaking. How are you doing?”

Nelia: 
Goeiemore, Thijs. Dit gaan goed met my, dankie, en self?
“Good morning, Thijs. I am doing well, thanks, and you?”

Thijs: 
Dit gaan goed met my ook, dankie. 
“I am also doing well, thanks.”

Nelia: 
Hoe kan ek help, Thijs?
“How can I help, Thijs?”

Thijs: 
Is Dokter De Beer beskikbaar om te praat, asseblief? Ek het ‘n dringende navraag.
“Is Doctor De Beer available to talk, please? I have an urgent query.”

Nelia: 
Hou aan, asseblief. Ek sal kyk of sy beskikbaar is.
“Hold the line, please. I will see if she’s available.”

Thijs: 
Dankie, Nelia.
“Thank you, Nelia.”

Nelia: 
Dokter is besig met ‘n pasiënt. Kan ek ‘n boodskap neem of vra dat sy jou terugskakel? 
“The doctor is busy with a patient. May I take a message or ask her to return your call?”

Thijs: 
Ja, laat sy my terugbel asseblief, Nelia. Ek sal dit waardeer. Baie dankie.
“Yes, ask her to call me back please, Nelia. I will appreciate that. Thank you very much.”

Nelia: 
Dis ‘n plesier. Totsiens, Thijs.
“It’s a pleasure. Goodbye, Thijs.”

Thijs: 
Totsiens.
“Goodbye.”

4.2 Informal

A Smiling Young Latina in a City Setting, Looking at Her Cell Phone.

Is jy besig vanaand? / “Are you busy tonight?”


Morgan has not seen her friend, Sandy, for a while and misses her. This is how Morgan would go about organizing a get-together over the phone. Remember, Morgan’s caller ID is showing on Sandy’s phone.

Sandy: 
Haai jy! How goes?!
“Hey you! How goes?!”

Morgan: 
Kan nie kla nie, en self?
“Can’t complain, and you?”

Sandy: 
Great! Dieselfde hier, dankie.
“Great! Same here, thank you.”

Morgan: 
Is jy besig vanaand?
“Are you busy tonight?”

Sandy: 
Ek is nie besig nie. Wil jy iets doen?
“I’m not busy. Would you like to meet up?”

Morgan: 
Kom ons gaan eet pizza. 
“Let’s go get pizza.”

Sandy: 
Pizza klink lekker! 
“Pizza sounds good!”

Morgan: 
Kry jou sesuur by Pizza Place? 
“Meet you at Pizza Place, six o’clock?”

Sandy: 
Sesuur is goed. Sien jou nou-nou!
“Six o’clock is good. See you soon!”

Morgan: 
Cool! Baai! Literally:
“Cool! Bye!”

Do you have any peculiar phone call phrases in your native tongue? Please share these with us in the comments!

5. AfrikaansPod101 for the Best Afrikaans Phone Phrases & Much More!

We hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to let us know in the comments if there are any phrases or situations we missed, and we’ll be glad to help you!

Of course, while knowing Afrikaans phone conversation phrases is an essential skill, it’s not quite enough. Why not sign up immediately to learn even more Afrikaans? 

Our team of experts employ the latest online language teaching techniques to offer you a unique learning experience. Also, thousands of Afrikaans lessons are available for your use, including free resources such as apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and Kindle Fire

We offer many enrollment options to suit your needs. Members can also enjoy features such as:

Don’t hesitate—enroll now!

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

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The 200+ Best Afrikaans Words for Beginners

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After the alphabet, mastering Afrikaans beginner words is the best place to start your Afrikaans learning journey. (Don’t have the Afrikaans alphabet under the belt yet? No problem! You should find this article and the free downloadable Guide for Beginners very useful.) Learning beginner words is essential in building vocabulary for basic communication.

If you’re busy trying to get your foot in the door and learn the basics of Afrikaans, then this is your one-stop vocabulary list for the most important Afrikaans words for beginners! For your convenience, we’ve grouped them into the main word types and included a few sample sentences to illustrate their use.


The Letters ABC on a Notebook with a Pencil.

Begin Afrikaans leer met eenvoudige woordeskat. / “Start learning Afrikaans with simple vocabulary.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Common Nouns”
  2. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Byvoeglike Naamwoorde / “Adjectives”
  3. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voornaamwoorde / “Pronouns”
  4. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Telwoorde / “Counting Words”
  5. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Werkwoorde / “Verbs”
  6. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Bywoorde / “Adverbs”
  7. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voegwoorde / “Conjunctions”
  8. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Lidwoorde / “Articles”
  9. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voorsetsels / “Prepositions”
  10. Let AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn Even More Afrikaans!

1. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Common Nouns”

Nouns are the words we use to identify people, places, animals, and things. Beginners should focus on learning the Afrikaans words for the most familiar people as well as the most common places and items.

Fun Fact: Do you know the longest Afrikaans noun in existence? Nobody will blame you if you don’t—it’s 136 letters long and not commonly used at all!

Tweedehandsemotorverkoopsmannevakbondstakingsvergaderingsameroeperstoespraakskrywer-spersverklaringuitreikingsmediakonferensieaankondiging roughly translates to: “issuable media conference’s announcement at a press release regarding the convener’s speech at a second-hand car dealership union’s strike meeting.”

A Red Classic Sports Car.

Die langste aangetekende woord in Afrikaans het te doen met ‘n persverklaring oor die uniestaking van tweedehandse-motor handelaars. / “The longest recorded word in Afrikaans is about a media release dealing with the union strike of secondhand-car dealerships.”

Note: The following nouns are all in the singular form, except for a few irregular nouns that remain identical for the plural and singular forms.


Selfstandige Naamwoorde / “Common Nouns”
AfrikaansEnglish
Mense en Familie / “People and Relatives”
vrou, man, kind, babawoman, man, child, baby
mamom
padad
seun, dogter, meisieson / boy, daughter, girl
ouma, oupagrandmother, grandfather
oom, tannie

Note: These nouns are the names we call our parents’ siblings

They’re also casual forms of address for Afrikaans people a lot older than us, even when we’re not related. This is a sign of respect towards older folks. The younger generation doesn’t care much how you address them, but, especially in more formal situations, it would be prudent to wait for an invitation before using people’s first names.
uncle, aunt / auntie
Liggaamsdele / “Body Parts”
lyf / liggaam, kop, hare, oorbody, head, hair, ear
oog, neus, mond, tandeye, nose, mouth, tooth
arm, hand, vinger, naelarm, hand, finger, nail
been, voet, toonleg, foot, toe
Tyd / “Time”
uur, minuuthour, minute
dag, week, maand, jaarday, week, month, year
Beroep / “Profession”
baas, werkerboss, worker
dokter, verpleegkundigedoctor, nurse
onderwyser, polisiebeampteteacher, police officer
Alledaagse Items  / “Everyday Items”
pen, papier, potlood, boekpen, paper, pencil, book
selfoon, rekenaarcell/mobile phone, computer
huis, stoel, tafel, bedhouse, chair, table, bed
bord, mes, vurk, lepelplate, knife, fork, spoon
klere, broek, hemp, rok, jas, skoen/eclothes, pants, shirt, dress, jacket, shoe/s
Kos en Drank / “Food and Drink”
vrug, groente, vleis

Note: Vleis and groente are irregular nouns that remain the same for the singular and plural forms.
fruit, vegetable, meat
brood, suiker, eierbread, sugar, egg
pap, sous, kaas, pastacereal / porridge, gravy, cheese, pasta
water, koffie, tee, melk

Note: Melk is an irregular noun as it remains the same for the singular and plural forms. Also, the Afrikaans waters (“waters”) is not a plural, but a mass name describing a big expanse of water. It’s a rather poetic term not commonly used in the vernacular.

The use of the plural for tee (“tea”) is also uncommon.
water, coffee, tea, milk
Plekke en Geboue / “Places and Buildings”
land, stad, dorpcountry, city, town
huis, tuiste, tuinhouse, home, garden
kerk, skool, winkelchurch, school, shop
Diere / “Animals”
kat, hond, voëlcat, dog, bird
slang, muis, perdsnake, mouse, horse

A Black-and-White Cat Playing with Feathers.

Die kat speel. / “The cat is playing.”

Got these easy Afrikaans words for beginners? Great! If you’re keen to speed up your learning, then also take a look at this article: Learn the 100 Most Common Nouns in Afrikaans.

Now for a few sentences with nouns and other basic Afrikaans words for beginners:

  • My vrou is mooi. / “My wife is pretty.”
  • Hy is ‘n dokter. / “He is a doctor.”
  • Dit is ons huis. / “This is our house.”
  • Die kat speel. / “The cat is playing.”

2. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Byvoeglike Naamwoorde / “Adjectives”

In sentences, adjectives are used to tell us more about the nouns. Adjectives possess a few characteristics:

  1. They can add color and vibrancy to otherwise bland language. 
  2. Sometimes, they’re simply informative and descriptive so as to assure accuracy and understanding.
  3. Another feature is that they have degrees of comparison. For example: vinnig, vinniger, vinnigste / “fast, faster, fastest.”
  4. In a sentence, they usually appear…
    …in front of a noun, which makes them attributiewe byvoeglike naamwoorde / “attributive adjectives.” (E.g. Dit is ‘n vinnige trein. / “It is a fast train.”)
    …or after the linking verb, which makes them predikatiewe byvoeglike naamwoorde / “predicative adjectives.” (E.g. Die trein is vinnig. / “The train is fast.”)

Note: Did you notice how the Afrikaans adjective modifies, depending on its position in the sentence?

An Express Train Entering a Station.

Die trein is vinnig. / “The train is fast.”

For the purpose of this article, we’re only listing adjectives in their predicative form. This means that if you want to form a “beginner” sentence, you can simply insert any of the following adjectives after the linking verb is.

Byvoeglike Naamwoorde / “Adjectives”
AfrikaansEnglish
vriendelikfriendly
nors / onvriendelikgrumpy / unfriendly
oulikcute
goedgood
slegbad
vlakshallow
diepdeep
stadigslow
vinnigfast
hardhard OR loud
sagsoft
soetsweet
positiefpositive
negatiefnegative
grootbig
kleinsmall
mooipretty
lelikugly
maklikeasy
moeilikdifficult
bangscared / afraid
kortshort
vetfat
maerthin
rykrich / wealthy
armpoor
slimsmart
domstupid
meermore
minderless
blou, geel, rooi (All colors are adjectives, only occasionally nouns.)blue, yellow, red
helder clear / bright
snaaksfunny
moegtired
boon top
onderunder / below
agter behind
lanklong
suiwerpure

Here’s what predicative adjectives would look like in beginner Afrikaans sentences.

  • Die water is suiwer. / “The water is pure.”
  • Ons reis is lank. / “Our journey is long.”
  • Die grap is snaaks. / “This joke is funny.”

A Young Child Laughing with Abandon.

Die grap is snaaks. / “The joke is funny.”

Ready to speak and write more descriptively? That’s great! Be sure to take a look at The Essential Afrikaans Adjectives List for more inspiration. 

3. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voornaamwoorde / “Pronouns”

Most languages have different types of pronouns, which are substitutes or “place keepers” for articles and nouns. Without them, a language would sound clumsy, because you would repeatedly be using articles and nouns (such as “the boy”, or the boy’s name—Aiden, for instance) in sentences. Pronouns allow you to sometimes replace “the boy”, or “Aiden”, with “he”, and to refer to Aiden’s possessions as “his”. 

So, to be clear—in this example, “he” and “his” are two of the three types of pronouns in English.

Because pronouns are so common, have an important syntactic purpose, and are usually not that complex to learn, we’ve included them in our list of basic Afrikaans words for beginners. Also, take a look at this Best List of Must-Know Afrikaans Pronouns!

In the list below, we’ve differentiated between different types of pronouns, as this information is good to know from the onset.

3.1 Persoonlike Voornaamwoorde – Voorwerp/ “Personal Pronouns – Subject”

Note: Personal pronouns are the subject in sentences, or, in other words—they perform the action as indicated by the verb.

To illustrate with a simple English sentence: “He helps me”.

He = personal pronoun, subject (performing the action.)
me = personal pronoun, direct object (‘receiving’ the action.)

AfrikaansEnglish
ekI
u – singular and plural formalyou
jy – singular informalyou
hyhe
syshe
ditit
onswe
julle – plural, informalyou
hullethey
  • Ek eet. / “I eat.” OR “I am eating.”
  • Sy is welkom. / “She is welcome.”
  • Dit styg op” / “It’s taking off.”

Suitcases Stacked by an Airport Window, with a Plane Taking Off in the Background.

Dit styg op” / “It’s taking off.”

3.2 Persoonlike Voornaamwoorde – Onderwerp/ “Personal Pronouns – Object”

The object pronouns, as the name indicates, serve as the object in a sentence. Or, in other words, it indicates the person or object who ‘receives’ or upon whom an action is performed, so to speak. 

To use our previous example sentence: “He helps me“.

He = personal pronoun, subject (performing the action.)
me = personal pronoun, direct object (‘receiving’ the action.)

AfrikaansEnglish
myme
jou – singular informalyou
homhim
haarher
dit 

Note: When this refers to something or someone, it’s a personal pronoun. However, like in English, it’s also used to refer to natural or other phenomena such as rain, snow, wind, haunting, etc. Then it’s called an onpersoonlike voornaamwoord (literally: “impersonal pronoun”). Such as in the sentence: Dit spook (literally: “It is haunting”) or Dit reën (“It is raining”).
it
julle – plural, informalthem
hulleme
  • Dit pla my. / “It bothers me.”
  • Die man soen haar. / “The man kisses her.”
  • Sy kul ons. / “She is cheating us.”

A Young Man Kisses a Girl Lovingly on the Forehead.

Die man soen haar. / “The man kisses her.”

3.3 Besitlike Voornaamwoorde / “Possessive Pronouns”

As the name suggests, these pronouns indicate possession. Some are modified depending on their position in a sentence, but we will not be looking at any modifications here.

AfrikaansEnglish
mymy
jou – singular, informalyour
u – singular and plural, formalyour
syhis
haarher
onsour
julle – plural, informalyour/s
hulletheir
  • Vra sy ma. / “Ask his mom.”
  • Dis haar boek. / “It’s her book.”
  • Hulle kos is lekker. / “Their food is tasty.”

A Smiling Chef Preparing a Vegetable Dish.

Hulle kos is lekker. / “Their food is tasty.”

3.4 Aanwysende Voornaamwoorde / “Demonstrative Pronouns”

These pronouns are used to indicate something specific in a sentence. Beginners only need to master one.

AfrikaansEnglish
dié

Note: This can be a pronoun OR an article, depending on whether it’s used with a noun. Often, die is pronounced with emphasis when it’s used as a pronoun.
this
  • Dié is mooi. / “This is pretty.”

3.5 Vraende Voornaamwoorde / “Interrogative Pronouns”

These pronouns appear most often at the start of a sentence, or alone as a question. Here are the beginner ones. 

They’re also referred to as “question words” and many of them start with “W”.

AfrikaansEnglish
Wat?What?
Wie?Who?
Waar?Where?
Wanneer?When?
Hoe?How?
  • Wat doen jy? / “What are you doing?”
  • Wie is dit? / “Who is that?”
  • Waar is die badkamer? / “Where is the bathroom?”

Public Restroom Signs.

Waar is die badkamer? / “Where is the bathroom?”

4. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Telwoorde / “Counting Words”

These words always have something to do with numbers. The only type of counting word we’re going to look at here is called bepaalde hooftelwoorde (approximate: “primary counting words”). These are basically the names of numbers.

When you’re studying a new language, numbers are important to learn right from the start. They’re used to indicate important things such as the date and time, age, quantity, and lots more!

The numbers one through ten are very easy Afrikaans words for beginners. However, if you’re looking to learn more about the subject, you might find this article helpful: The Best Tips About Afrikaans Numbers 1 – 30 and Beyond.

Telwoorde / “Counting Words”
AfrikaansEnglish
1. eenone
2. tweetwo
3. driethree
4. vierfour
5. vyffive
6. sessix
7. seweseven
8. agteight
9. negenine
10. tienten
  • Aiden het twee selfone. / Literally: “Aiden has two cell phones.”
  • ‘n Week het sewe dae. / “A week has seven days.”
  • Sy is tien jaar oud. / “She is ten years old.”

Odd Numbers 1— 9.

Ongelyke getalle / “Odd numbers”

5. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Werkwoorde / “Verbs”

Verbs, as you know, are the words that name the action or actions in a sentence. 

When learning a new language, these are crucial words to know and might possibly be the most difficult to learn. This is because verbs, being action words, also tend to be the ones that change according to tense. This change in verbs is called “conjugation”.

Grammar Tip: Conjugations also appear in Afrikaans, but fortunately, learning these tense-based adaptations of verbs is not that difficult. One of the reasons for this is that, in Afrikaans, the verb form does not change for different persons. We only use verb conjugations for time! 

Most languages share this feature. Conjugation often includes the following features:
  • the spelling of the verb changes completely, 
  • another word is added to the verb, or
  • the ending or beginning of the verb is altered.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at the different types of Afrikaans verbs, with a brief overview of how to use them in the present tense only. The present tense refers to actions taking place in the present, and in Afrikaans, it’s easy to learn. Unlike in English, there are no additional forms of the present tense (such as the present continuous tense, for instance).

What’s important is that the present tense refers to something that is always true or done on a regular basis. It’s also used for something that is occurring now.

Two Young Women Walking Arm-in-arm in the Snow.

Hulle loop. / “They are walking” OR “They walk.”

5.1 Hoofwerkwoorde  / “Independent Verbs”

These are the most commonly used verbs in the present tense.

AfrikaansEnglish
loopwalk (or run, for water)
staanstand
sitsit
lay
slaapsleep
droomdream
hardlooprun
drafjog
pakpack
studeerstudy
skryfwrite
tiktype
speelplay
werkwork
kryget / fetch
nooiinvite
swemswim
fliekmovie
kieschoose
mismiss
kuiervisit / hang out
betaalpay
helphelp
toertour
geegive
neem / vattake
blystay
gaango
reënrain
maakmake
praattalk
hou vanlike
vindfind
dinkthink
koopbuy
verkoopsell
bringbring
belphone
vraask
siensee
roepcall
weetknow
dinkthink
praattalk
geselschat
laglaugh
skreeshout
huilcry
waaiwave
kyklook
luisterlisten
eeteat
proeto taste
drinkdrink
herhaalrepeat
stuursend
  • Die man slaap. / “The man sleeps.”
  • Hy droom. / “He is dreaming.”
  • Hy . / “He lays (down).”

A Man Sleeping in Bed.

Hy droom. / “He is dreaming.” OR “He dreams.”

5.2. Koppelwerkwoorde / “Linking Verbs”

Linking verbs are those words in sentences that join a subject with a specific word or phrase that gives more information about it (the subject). 

Linking verbs are easily confused with main verbs, but as I mentioned before, they are always followed by an adjective, i.e. a word or phrase that qualifies the subject in a sentence.

Koppelwerkwoorde / “Linking Verbs”
AfrikaansEnglish
isis
smaaktastes
klinksound
ruiksmell
lyklook
voelfeel
  • Sy lyk moeg. / “She looks tired.”
  • Die kos smaak fantasties. / “The food tastes fantastic.”
  • Ek voel goed. / “I feel good.”

A Young Man Laughing Heartily

Ek voel goed. / “I feel good.”

6. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Bywoorde / “Adverbs”

Adverbs are verbs’ best friends—they tell us more about them. 

Note: You’ll see that adjectives and adverbs have similar functions and that their differentiation depends on the presence of a main verb. Just like adjectives, adverbs add flavor and flair to language, as well as details to increase accuracy and specificity.

As you’ve already learned, the linking or be-verb (koppelwerkwoord) is / “is” in a sentence indicates that the following word (or phrase) could be an adjective because it qualifies the noun. 

Grammar Tip: If there’s no linking verb in a sentence, it indicates that you’re probably dealing with an adverb.

For instance:
  1. Adjective: Die man is vinnig. / “The man is fast.” – with the linking verb is (“is”).
  2. Adverb: Die man hardloop vinnig. / “The man runs fast.” – without a linking verb.
Did you notice that vinnig (“fast”) in the second sentence modifies the main verb (“runs”), and not the noun (“man”)? Important to note is that in English, this only applies to the simple present and future tenses—not the present continuous. We don’t have these types of time distinctions in Afrikaans.

In Afrikaans, we have different types of adverbs, of which the following will be good to know as beginner words in Afrikaans:

  1. Bywoorde van wyse – “Adverbs of manner”
  2. Bywoorde van plek – “Adverbs of place”
  3. Bywoorde van tyd – “Adverbs of time”
  4. Bywoorde van graad – “Adverbs of degree”

A Grandfather Walks Hand-in-hand with His Two Small Grandchildren in the Road.

Hulle loop stadig. / “They walk slowly.” OR “They are walking slowly.”

6.1 Bywoorde van Wyse / “Adverbs of Manner”

Adverbs of manner tell us more about the nature of common verbs.

AfrikaansEnglish
hardloudly / hard
sagsoftly
hooghighly
laaglow
wonderlikwonderfully
goedwell
slegbadly / poorly
heerlikApproximate: tasty, wonderful
vinnigfast
stadigslowly
bangscary
moegtiredly
  • Hy skryf goed. / “He writes well.”
  • Dit voel hard. / “It feels hard.”
  • Die pannekoek proe heerlik. / Approximate: “The pancake tastes wonderful.”

A Plate of Chinese Pancakes with Meat and Veg.

Die pannekoek smaak heerlik. / Approximate: “The pancake tastes wonderful.”

6.2 Bywoorde van Plek / “Adverbs of Position/Place”

As you can probably guess, adverbs of position tell us more about where an action takes place.

AfrikaansEnglish
buiteoutside
binneinside
oralseverywhere
hierhere
daarthere
  • Ons sit binne. / “We are sitting inside.”
  • Dit sneeu buite. / “It snows outside.”
  • Daar loop hy. / Literally: “There he walks.”

A Few Women Are Walking with Umbrellas in the Snowstorm.

Dit sneeu buite. / “It snows outside.”

6.3 Bywoorde van Tyd / “Adverbs of Time”

These adverbs will answer questions related to time, such as “When?” or “What day?”

AfrikaansEnglish
vandagtoday
gisteryesterday
moretomorrow
nounow
danthen
laterlater
  • Ek werk vandag. / “I’m working today.”
  • Sy speel more. / “She’s playing tomorrow.”
  • Nou slaap die baba. / “Now the baby sleeps.”

A Sleeping Baby in Its Mother's Arms.

Nou slaap die baba. / “Now the baby sleeps.”

6.4 Bywoorde van Graad / “Adverbs of Degree”

These adverbs are often words that answer the question: “How much?” Just like in English, they indicate the intensity of an act. While you’re still mastering the basics of Afrikaans, you only need to know this one:

AfrikaansEnglish
baievery
  • DIe appel lyk baie goed. / “The apple looks very good.”

A Shiny, Red Apple with a Single Leaf.

Die appel lyk baie goed. / “The apple looks very good.”

7. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voegwoorde / “Conjunctions”

As you know, conjunctions are the so-called glue-words in Germanic languages. Their purpose is simple; they combine words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. For the purpose of this article, we’ll only look at the basics.


AfrikaansEnglish
maarbut
enand
want / omdatbecause
ofor
  • Ek praat maar hy bly stil. / “I talk but he keeps quiet.”
  • Ons slaap of ons kuier. / “We sleep or we chat.”
  • Die weer is koud en nat. / “The weather is cold and wet.”

A Young Woman Dressed in Winter Gear, Standing in the Snow Shivering.

Die weer is koud en nat. / “The weather is cold and wet.”

8. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Lidwoorde / “Articles” 

Just like English, Afrikaans has only two articles—‘n (“a”) and die (“the”)—and in a sentence, they always take position ahead of a noun.


Die is a bepaalde lidwoord (“definite article”) that refers to something or someone specific. It’s used for both singular and plural nouns.
  • Die slim politikus / “The clever politician”
  • Die politikusse / “The politicians”
‘n is an onbepaalde lidwoord (“indefinite article”). It refers to a thing or person in general and always in the singular. Note that, in Afrikaans, this article remains a lower-case letter even at the start of sentences and phrases. The word that follows it is always written with a capital letter.
  • ‘n Slim politikus / “A clever politician”
  • ‘n Vorm / “A form”

9. Afrikaans Beginner Words – Voorsetsels / “Prepositions”

Prepositions are the last basic Afrikaans words for beginners that we’re going to look at. In a sentence, prepositions indicate the relative position of or the relationship between two separately expressed concepts

Note: They can indicate place and are therefore easily confused with adverbs of place, but don’t worry about that distinction too much at this point. Just learn the following, as they’re the most frequently used Afrikaans prepositions.  

Voorsetsels / “Prepositions”
AfrikaansEnglish
bo / bo-opon (top of)
onderunder
inin
uitout
  • Ek sit op die stoel. / “I’m sitting on the chair.”
  • Klim in die kar. / “Get in the car.”
  • Die lekkergoed val uit die blik uit. / “The candy falls out of the tin.”

A Woman Wearing a Large Hat, Sitting in a Beach Chair by the Seaside.

Ek sit op die stoel. / “I’m sitting on the chair.” OR “I sit on the chair.”

And that’s it, your list of easy Afrikaans words for beginners! 

10. Let AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn Even More Afrikaans!

In this article on words in Afrikaans for beginners, you learned the core words you should know in a variety of categories. But don’t stop here! 

AfrikaansPod101 has so much more in store for you. 

When you sign up, you get instant access to tools like:

1. The Afrikaans Core 100 Word List

2. A new Afrikaans word to learn every day

3. An extensive vocabulary list library, regularly updated

4. A free Afrikaans online dictionary

5. Monthly video talks and shows to help you learn easier and faster, and stay motivated

Don’t hesitate to subscribe now! With our excellent Afrikaans word lessons for beginners, you’ll build a solid foundation to help you master the language and sound like a native in no time.

Before you go: How many of these words did you know already? Let us know in the comments!

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

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Afrikaans Filler Words to Make You Sound Like a Native

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Very few people can talk without using filler words or phrases, which would sound a little unnatural, like a speech that’s been rehearsed from a script. Lexically, pause fillers are words, phrases, or sounds without meaning, despite being so commonplace in the vernacular of probably every language.

Let’s have a brief look at their function in speech before proceeding to discuss some of the most common Afrikaans filler words.

A Man Talking with Letters Coming Out of His Mouth.

Filler words are commonplace in the vernacular of probably every language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. The Purpose of Filler Words in Afrikaans
  2. 11 Types of Useful Afrikaans Filler Words and How to Use Them Correctly
  3. Learn Afrikaans Filler Words with Ease on AfrikaansPod101.com!

1. The Purpose of Filler Words in Afrikaans

One of the most common and useful functions of filler words is to let the other person know that you haven’t finished talking. Imagine if, every time you paused to find the right word or the best way to phrase your next thought, you were interrupted because the other person thought you were done! 

So yes, while filler words may have little semantic value, they definitely serve a linguistic purpose and should not be thought of as extraneous or superfluous—unless someone has developed the habit of overusing them. 

The most common Afrikaans filler words resemble those in English, as you’ll see. Some of them are called “hesitation forms,” but they all have several purposes

Here are some other common uses for conversation filler words in Afrikaans: 

FunctionExample
They serve as speech fillers when one needs to think before commenting or gather their thoughts.Reg, so, um…ek sal maar begin.
“Right, so, um…I’ll just begin.”
They can also indicate feelings such as discomfort, shyness, unease, or amazement. In addition, they can even include sounds like clearing the throat, coughing, or inhaling and exhaling loudly.Ek…uh…wil net sé…um…dat…uh…ek van jou hou.
“I…uh…just want to say…um…that…uh…I like you.”
They’re used when: 
  1. the speaker wants to be polite by giving listeners time to process a complex message or explanation, or 
  2. a topic needs to be approached with delicacy
  1. En…uh…dis belangrik om hierdie punt te verstaan. 
    “And…uh…it’s important to understand this point.”

    So…um…daardie geld wat jy my skuld…” 
  2. “So…um…about that money you owe me…”
They’re also used when a listener wants to indicate that they’re paying attention, or that they empathize/sympathize with the speaker.Sjoe! Ja-nee ek sien wat jy bedoel. 
“Whew! Yes, yes, I see what you mean.”
They sometimes indicate that a person is lying and seeking confirmation from the listener. However, this doesn’t mean that most people who inject their speech with fillers such as “you know” or “Know what I mean?” are liars. These fillers could also just be speech habits and may be used without thought.So…jy weet…ek het net…soos in…verby die winkel geloop toe die venster sommer van self gebreek het! 
“So…you know…I was just…like…walking past the shop when the window just broke by itself!”
They often serve as interjections to enhance the meaning of what’s being said.Sjoe, maar haar rok was mooi!
“Wow, but her dress was stunning!”
They’re sometimes eloquent emotional utterances unique to a language, which, at least to native speakers, simply don’t need an explanation.Ai tog! Die trein is alweer laat! 
“Oh no! The train is late again!”

A Young Woman Talking with Her Friend.

Sjoe, maar haar rok was mooi! (“Wow, her dress was stunning!”)

One study showed that women use more fillers than men do. But this is only so until the age of 23, after which the gender difference disappears. The researchers also found that conscientious people tend to use more filler words than other people do.

What are the most unusual filler words in your native language? Tell us about them in the comments!


2. 11 Types of Useful Afrikaans Filler Words and How to Use Them Correctly 

In this list of Afrikaans filler words, you’ll see that some of them have distinct meanings while others are simply used as conversation filler words in Afrikaans.  

#1


AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Uhm / Ah / Uuuuh“Um” / “Ah” / “Uuuuh”
These are basically hesitation sounds that are also found in English, and they’re used the same way as their English equivalents. They often reflect delays in response or speech and occur because the speaker:
    ❖ is at a loss for words or needs to think before commenting,

    ❖ needs the listener to truly understand and/or hear what they’re saying, or

    ❖ is feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, self-conscious, uncertain, or overwhelmed.
Ek dink jou horlosie is dalk…uhm…in die badkamer? Ek weet nie eintlik nie. 
“I think your watch is perhaps…um…in the bathroom? I don’t really know.”

Ah, dankie vir die kompliment! 
“Ah, thanks for the compliment!”

Laat ek aan ‘n ander voorbeeld dink. Uuuuhm… 
“Let me think of a different example. Uuuuhm…”

A Man and Woman Doing Work Together.

Laat ek aan ‘n ander voorbeeld dink. Uuuuhm… (“Let me think of a different example. Uuuuhm…”)

#2

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Ag“Oh” / “Aw” / “Ah”
Similar in sound to the German “ach,” this is one of the most versatile and popular fillers in Afrikaans that native speakers pepper their speech with. It can depict different emotional states. 

Ag is often used with ja (“yes”) and nee (“no”), depending on the context.
    ❖ Most often, we use it when we want to indicate that something doesn’t matter or it doesn’t matter that much. It’s regularly used with another popular filler: sommer (“just” / “just because”). In fact, in many contexts Ag is short for: Ag, dit maak nie saak nie. (“Oh, it doesn’t matter.”)

    ❖ It’s also popularly paired with the filler tog or toggie to indicate low- to medium-level frustration. This is close to the Yiddish “Oy vey” in meaning and doesn’t have an English equivalent. 

    ❖ It can also denote strong emotions, such as the speaker’s frustration and annoyance with something, or their despondency, disappointment, or resignation. It could also indicate the empathy or sympathy of a listener.

    ❖ We prolong either the “a” or the guttural “g” when we want to express that we find something utterly cute, cuddly, and/or adorable. In this sense, it’s similar to the English “Aaaaw.”
Ag, sit sommer die tasse daar neer. 
“Ah, just put the bags over there.” 
    → In the sentence above, Ag is used in conjunction with sommer to imply that the speaker doesn’t really care where you put the suitcases.

Ag toggie! Hierdie bottel is te moeilik om oop te maak! 
“Bah! This bottle is too difficult to open!” 
    → Learn more variations of Ag tog under #10 below.

Ag, moenie jou daaraan steur nie.  
“Oh, don’t let it bother you.”

Ag nee man, dis sommer nonsens.  
Lit. “Oh no, man, that’s just nonsense.”

Ag, wat kan mens doen. Niks. 
“Ah, what can one do? Nothing.”

Ag jaaaa, daar was nooit regtig twyfel oor die wedstryd se uitkoms nie. 
Approx: “Ah yes, the outcome of the match was never really in doubt.”

Kyk hierdie gemmer katjie. Aaag, hoe oulik!  
“Look at this ginger kitten. Aaaw, how cute!”

A Couple Meeting Guests with Luggage at Their Front Door.

Ag, sit sommer die tasse daar neer. (“Ah, just put the bags over there.”)

#3

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Ja-nee / Ja-ja, okay / Jaaaa“Yes-no” / “Yes-yes, okay” / “Yeah”“Indeed” / “I hear you” / “Right”

These expressions are among the most common Afrikaans filler words and are usually used to indicate agreement with what is being said, but there are exceptions to the rule. Because they are fillers, their exact connotations are not definite and they can therefore be adapted to other uses, depending on how the speaker chooses to employ them. Below is a description of their most common, conventional usage.
    Ja-nee – This unique, apparently contradictory Afrikaans filler word is an interjection that generally indicates agreement with what is being said. It most often serves only as a soothing “conversation noise”, but that depends on the volume of delivery! The louder the utterance, the more emphatically the speaker is in agreement with what is being said.

    Ja-ja – This filler usually indicates unambiguous affirmation or agreement. Occasionally, it can be used to express annoyance/boredom with what is being said and might be used to move the conversation along.

    Okay – This is used in exactly the same way as the English word “okay”.

    Jaaa – This extended ja serves the same purpose as ja-nee and ja-ja, indicating that the person is listening with interest and is in agreement with the speaker. However, it can also be used to express a kind of “told you so” attitude, discernible when the speaker raises their voice on the last “a”.

Ja-nee, daar is g’n twyfel nie. Hy is die skuldige. 
“Yes, there is no doubt. He is the culprit.”

Ja-nee, jy praat die waarheid, suster! 
“Yes, you are speaking the truth, sister!”

Ja-ja, jy’t dit reeds gesȇ. Wat nog? 
“Yes, yes, you’ve already said that. What else?”

Okay, ek sien nou wat jy bedoel het.  
“Okay, I see now what you meant.”

Jaaa, jy wou mos. 
Approx. “See, that’s what you get.”

Two Young Women Chatting Animatedly.

Ja-nee, jy praat die waarheid, suster! (“Yes, you are speaking the truth, sister!”)

#4

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Jy weet / In elkgeval / Ek bedoel“You know” / “Anyway” / “I mean”

While these words might appear to be quite specific when it comes to their meaning, they’re really no more specific than any other conversation filler words in Afrikaans. Because of their non-specificity, they’re quite versatile; therefore, any conventions I mention are descriptive rather than prescriptive—they point to a common usage, not a rule. 

These particular Afrikaans filler words are often used at the beginning of a sentence, especially when one is introducing a new topic, wanting to change the topic, or wanting to expand upon something that is currently being discussed
    Jy weet can also be replaced with Weet jy(?). The latter, although framed as a question, is usually rhetorical. 

Introducing a new topic 
Jy weet, ek het nou net ‘n wonderlike idee gehad. 
“You know, I’ve just had a wonderful idea.”

Changing the topic 
In elkgeval, kom ons praat liewer oor jou.  
“Anyway, let’s rather talk about you.”

Expanding on the topic 
Ek bedoel, hy was reeds daar. Hoekom kon hy nie die pakkie vir my gaan haal nie? 
“I mean, he was already there. Why couldn’t he fetch the package for me?”

#5

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Rerig?! / Werklik / Sjoe / Wow“Really?!” / “Truly” or “Really” / “Whew” or “Phew” / “Wow”

These are filler words in Afrikaans that we use in two ways—either as a response to indicate reactions like amazement and disbelief or to indicate strong agreement with what is being said. They’re often used on their own to mean that we almost can’t believe what we’re hearing.
    ❖ The exclamation Sjoe! has no direct English translation. The closest approximation would be “Phew!” or “Whew!”

    Wow, as one of the conversation filler words in Afrikaans, serves the same semantic purpose as in English. 

They’re also used as interjections in speech to emphasize what is being said.

Rerig?! Jy’t die lotto gewen?  
“Really?! You won the lotto?”

Werklik, hy was darem baie ongeskik met my. 
“Truly, he was very rude towards me.”

Sjoe, maar dis warm!  
“Phew, but it’s hot!”

Wow, kyk daai groot vis! 
“Wow, look at that big fish!”

A Young, Surprised-looking Boy Saying Wow!

Wow, kyk daai groot vis! (“Wow, look at that big fish!”)

#6

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
So / Reg “So” / “Right”

These two Afrikaans filler words usually precede a statement, and might be used prior to making an announcement (or after). For instance, one could say it while waiting for the members of a meeting to be seated. 

Reg…dit lyk my almal is nou hier. Kom ons begin. 
“Right…it looks like everyone is here. Let’s begin.”

So, wat het jy vandag gedoen? 
“So, what did you do today?”

#7

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Wel / Hmm“Well” / “Hmm”

Much like their English equivalents, these Afrikaans conversation fillers often precede a statement of disagreement. 

Wel, ek weet nie of ek saamstem nie. 
“Well…I don’t know if I agree.”

Hmm. Dink jy rerig hy kon so-iets doen? 
“Hmm…do you really think he could do something like that?”

A Pretty Young Woman Looking Doubtful.

Wel, ek weet nie of ek saamstem nie. (“Well…I don’t know if I agree.”)

#8

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Jis / Demmit / Vervlaks“Geez” / “Dammit” / “Darn it”

These Afrikaans exclamations are as close to swearing/cursing as you can get without actually doing so. An interesting fact is that swearing can reduce pain. That’s not to say that you should swear often, because then it actually loses its ability to reduce pain! Perhaps, using exclamations like these would be a useful compromise for those who can’t abide with swearing.

Jis, ek is nou so kwaad! 
“Geez, I’m so angry now!”

Demmit, ek kan nie hierdie bottel oopmaak nie! 
“Dammit, I can’t open this bottle!”

Vervlaks! Ek het my masker by die huis vergeet! 
“Darn it! I forgot my mask at home!”

#9

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Né / Ja, né / Kan jy dit glo?“Right” / “Agreed” / “Can you believe it?”

These Afrikaans filler words are used to request confirmation of agreement from the listener, or to confirm agreement with the speaker. They’re often placed as tags at the beginning or end of a sentence, but can also be used on their own. 
    can be used to request or confirm agreement

    Ja, né is used in response to something that the listener agrees with and is quite emphatic. 

    Kan jy dit glo? (“Can you believe it?” / “Unbelievable!”) Despite the fact that it’s phrased as a question, it is rhetorical and used more like a statement than a question. A person might shake their head in disbelief when using this remark. 

A: Die water is koud, né? 
A: “The water is cold, right?”
B: Dit is koud, ja. 
B: “It is cold, yes.”

A: Ai, die land se administrasie is in flenters. 
A: “Oi, our country’s administration is in shambles.”
B: Ja, né. 
B: “Agreed.”

A: Het jy gehoor van daardie man wat gister deur die kinderbende beroof is? 
A: “Did you hear about that man who was mugged by a gang of children yesterday?”
B: Ja, ek het. Kan jy dit glo? 
B: “Yes, I did. Can you believe it?”

#10

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Ag tog / Ai tog“Oh dear” / “Oh shame” / “Oh my goodness”

Of all the expressions in this list of Afrikaans filler words, I think the function of expressions using tog is the most difficult to pin down. The word tog has so many semantic variants, it would be pointless to try and list them all here. Fortunately, if you would like to investigate this rather unique Afrikaans filler word further, there are resources out there that can help. 
     Ag tog and Ai tog are interchangeable. They are simply variations of each other. 

Ag tog, ek het vergeet om die kliënt te bel! +”Oh dear, I forgot to call the client!”

Ai tog, daardie buurman se hond blaf al weer die hele dag lank! 
“Oh my goodness, that neighbor’s dog has been barking all day again!”

Two of the three interjections I’m going to discuss next also contain –tog. However, they’re grouped together because of their similarity in meaning.

A Frustrated Business Woman Talking Over the Phone.

Ag tog, ek het vergeet om die kliënt te bel! (“Oh dear, I forgot to call the client!”)

#11

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Foeitog / Shame / Siestog“Oh dear” / “Oh shame” / “Oh my goodness”

These three words mean more or less the same thing and are used interchangeably. Ag is often added, especially when the object under discussion is particularly small and/or vulnerable.
    ❖ The interjections foeitog and siestog are similar in meaning and can be used to express sympathy, adoration, and affection. It can also be used to ask for pity or understanding.

    ❖ The interjection “shame” is used similarly to British English, such as, “Oh (what a) shame”, which expresses a mix of pity and sympathy. It also denotes affection.

Foeitog, die arme kind het nog nie ontbyt gehad nie! 
“Oh shame, the poor child hasn’t had breakfast yet!”

Foeitog, gee die arme man nog ‘n kans, asseblief! 
“For pity’s sake, give the poor man another chance, please!”

Ag siestog! Is die hondjie nie te oulik nie vir woorde nie?! 
“Oh my goodness! Isn’t the puppy too cute for words?!”

Shame, hy sukkel om sy gesondheid te herwin na hy COVID gehad het. 
Approx. “Poor man, he’s battling to regain his health after contracting COVID.”

A Smiling Boy Holding a Cute Black Puppy.

Ag siestog! Is die hondjie nie te oulik nie vir woorde nie?! (“Oh goodness! Isn’t the puppy too cute for words?!”)

I’m sure you’ll find these common Afrikaans filler words very useful. They’ll help you to hold a conversation in Afrikaans and make your speech sound a lot more natural!

3. Learn Afrikaans Filler Words with Ease on AfrikaansPod101.com!

Which of these Afrikaans filler words do you think you’re most likely to use? Are any of them similar to filler words in your own language?

At AfrikaansPod101.com, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our fun and practical learning materials, such as recorded videos and free vocabulary lists. With our help, you’ll be able to use the phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time.

Also, decipher Afrikaans phrases yourself with the multiple tools we make available to you upon subscription, such as the Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List. And make sure to keep your Afrikaans online dictionary closeby for easy translation! 

If Afrikaans vernacular is important to you, then take a look at the following blog posts:

  1. The Best Afrikaans Internet Slang and How to Use it!
  2. How to Say “Hello” in Afrikaans Like a Native Speaker!
  3. How to Say ‘Thank You’ in Afrikaans

Still hesitating? Don’t! Subscribe now. You’ll be very happy you did!

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

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All About How to Form the Negative in Afrikaans

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Negation is, very simply put, the so-called “negative form” in a language. We use it when we want to express the opposite of a positive or affirmative statement. What is the negative form in Afrikaans? Let’s dig in!

One of the most fascinating features of the Afrikaans language is its use of the double negative, which means that two negatives resolve into one negative. For instance, in English one would say, “He cannot speak Afrikaans,” and only use the word ‘not’ once. However, to express the negative in Afrikaans, we usually have to use the negating word twice:   

Sy kan nie Afrikaans praat nie.
Literally: “She cannot Afrikaans speak not.”

Young Woman Holding up Both Hands to Indicate No or Stop

The negating word in the example above is nie and, as you will have gathered, nie means “not.” It sounds like “knee” in English, but a bit shorter and sharper on the ‘ee’ (like the ‘i’ in it). Nie is equivalent to the German nicht and the Dutch niet, but it’s used differently, of course.

No one really knows where this practice of using the double negative originated. Some say it may have its roots in the French language, and others suggest that it may have been borrowed from the San languages of Southern Africa. Negating with a double negative can also be found in Middle English, such as in Chaucer’s work, who sometimes used a triple negative!

Double negation still appears in regional and ethnical dialects such as Southern American English, African American vernacular English, and various British regional dialects, according to Wikipedia. Think: “You don’t know nothing,” or “He didn’t go nowhere today.” Whatever the source may be, the double negative is not extensively employed and, especially in the dialects, its use is frowned upon by the purists.

British Flag in a Speech Bubble Shape.

Double negation also occurs in other Germanic languages, such as can be found in villages in the center of the Netherlands and in Low Franconian dialects in West-Flanders—and even then, it’s used differently. The way the negative form in Afrikaans is expressed remains unique.  

While using the Afrikaans double negative may seem strange at first, once you grow accustomed to it, it will start to feel quite natural. Learning how to use it isn’t difficult, either.

However, before we begin with that, let’s start with the exception to the rule of the double negative. This exception uses a form more similar to that of other languages and employs only one negation word.  

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. The Rule of “One Knee”
  2. The Rule of “Two Knees”
  3. Changing Meaning – Placement of the First Nie
  4. Adding Color with Adverbs and Adjectives that Express Denial
  5. Converting Instructions and Requests to the Negative
  6. Formal vs. Informal Imperatives
  7. Negating Compound Sentences
  8. Answers to Exercises:
  9. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn the Negative in Afrikaans?

1. The Rule of “One Knee”

It may be a bit convoluted, but the mnemonic “one knee” should serve to remind you of the simplicity of singularity. The one nie is used only in straightforward, relatively simple sentences.

  1. The single nie is used mostly in simple statement sentences, including those with reflexive or transitive verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and pronouns.
  2. It’s used mostly in present tense sentences. With other tenses, the single nie works only when certain hulpwerkwoorde van tyd (literally: “auxiliary verbs of time”) occur.

Let’s take a closer look at what this means.

A.1 In Simple Statement Sentences

To state the negative in Afrikaans using simple statement sentences, we put only ONE nie (knee!) after the verb, at the end of the sentence. That’s it! It looks like this:

– Short statement sentences: 

  • Hulle sien nie. – “They don’t see.”
  • Die rekenaar werk nie. – “The computer doesn’t work.”

– Statement sentences with a transitive verb and a pronoun:

Sometimes you need to be more specific and would then use a pronoun. In such a case, the One Knee rule applies mostly to statement sentences with transitive verbs in which the object is indicated with a pronoun. Read here all about Afrikaans pronouns!

  • Hulle waardeer haar nie. – “They don’t appreciate her.”
    Literally: “They appreciate her not.”
  • Sy eet dit nie. – “She doesn’t eat it.”
    Literally: “She eats it not.”
Young Woman Gesturing No for Dessert

– Statement sentences with an adjective and/or adverb:

Sometimes you need to be more descriptive in order to illuminate the subject or the action. Adding adjectives and/or adverbs won’t affect the One Knee rule.

  • Die nuwe rekenaar werk ongelukkig nie. – “The new computer, unfortunately, doesn’t work.”
    Literally: “The new computer works unfortunately not.”

A.2 Mostly in the Present Tense

As you may have noticed, these sentences are all in the simple present tense. In fact, this practice is not too dissimilar to negating the present tense verb in English by adding not

  • Hy sing. – “He is singing.” OR “He sings.”
  • Hy sing nie. – “He is not singing.” OR “He doesn’t sing.”
    Literally: “He sings not.”

Note: We don’t have a continuous tense in Afrikaans! Read all about Afrikaans tenses here.

In the Afrikaans past and future tenses, the One Knee rule applies only to very short, simple statement sentences with the following auxiliary verbs that indicate tense in Afrikaans. As mentioned, we call them hulpwerkwoorde van tyd.

Past Tense:      Hy was nie. – “He wasn’t.”
                         Hy wou nie. – “He didn’t want to.”
                         Hy het nie. – “He didn’t.”

Future Tense: Hy sal nie OR Hy gaan nie. – “He won’t.”

Women's Torn Jeans with Two Knees Showing

2. The Rule of “Two Knees”

Although things may seem to be getting a bit more complicated, there’s no need to panic about the negative form in Afrikaans! You simply need to remember to find the first part of the verb (whether it’s a base or an auxiliary verb) in the sentence, put a nie after it, and then put another nie at the very end of the sentence.

As we saw in the previous example, to negate very simply, we could say: Hy sing nie. (Lit. “He sings not.”) However, if we need to be more specific and have to introduce a direct or indirect object, the negation always doubles.

  • Hy sing (base verb) nie in Afrikaans (direct object) nie.
    “He doesn’t sing in Afrikaans.”
  • Hy sing (base verb) nie vir haar (indirect object) nie.
    “He doesn’t sing for her.”
Two Asian Girls and a Guy Singing Karaoke

When we use auxiliary verbs that indicate the past or future tenses, the negation also usually doubles:

  • Hy sal (auxiliary verb, future tense) nie sing nie.
    “He will not sing.”
  • Hy wou (auxiliary verb, past tense) nie sing nie.
    “He didn’t want to sing.”

What About the Be-Verbs?

In the present and past tenses, the be-verb is usually the main verb; in the future tense, the be-verb is an auxiliary verb. However, they all take the double negation.

Take a look at these negatives in Afrikaans:

Be-Verb Negation

PRESENT Tense Affirmative:
is (“is,” “to be”)

Die kat is oulik. 
“The cat is cute.”
PRESENT Tense Negation:
is nie (“is not”)

Die kakkerlak is nie o
ulik nie
“The cockroach is not cute.”
PAST Tense Affirmative:
was (“was”)

Die deur was toe. 
“The door was closed.”
PAST Tense Negation:
was nie (“was not”)

Die deur was nie toe nie
“The door was not closed.”
FUTURE Tense Affirmative:
sal wees / gaan wees (“will be,” “shall be”)

Die weer sal warm wees.
“The weather will be warm.”
FUTURE Tense Negation:
sal nie wees nie (“will not be”)

Die weer sal nie koud wees nie.
“The weather will not be cold.” 

Woman in Winter Gear Feeling Cold

3. Changing Meaning – Placement of the First Nie

While the rule remains true that one should put the first nie after the first verb in the sentence, sentences can sometimes become quite long and complex.

In terms of negation, this means that:

a) the first nie can be placed in various positions after the first werkwoord (“verb”) or hulpwerkwoord van tyd. (Lit. “auxiliary verb of time”); and

b) where one places it can change the meaning of the sentence. 

Consider the following sentence in the future tense: 

  • Sy gaan nie môre met haar nuwe bikini op die strand tan nie. 
    “She is not going to tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow.”

The entire sentence is negated because the nie is placed directly after what is, in Afrikaans, an auxiliary verb that indicates the future tense: gaan

  • Sy gaan môre nie met haar nuwe bikini op die strand tan nie. Sy sal iets anders dra.
    “She is not going to tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow. She will wear something else.”

In this case, the nie directly precedes “haar nuwe bikini” (her new bikini) and therefore negates only that phrase.

Young Woman in Bikini Sunbathing on the Beach
  • Sy gaan môre met haar nuwe bikini nie op die strand tan nie. Sy gaan elders tan.
    “She is not going to tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow. She will tan somewhere else.”

In this case, the nie directly precedes op die strand (on the beach) and therefore negates only that phrase. 

  • Sy gaan môre met haar nuwe bikini op die strand nie tan nie. Sy gaan iets anders doen as tan.
    “She is not going t tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow. She will do something other than tanning.”

In this case, the nie directly precedes the second verb “tan” (tan) and therefore negates only that action. 

It should be clear from the above explanations that one must be sure to place the first nie after the first verb in the sentence, and directly before the phrase or word one wants to negate. 

4. Adding Color with Adverbs and Adjectives that Express Denial

That said, negative sentences in Afrikaans do not always require for the word nie to be the first word of negation. Sometimes, to add a bit of color to your speech, you can use additional negation vocabulary in lieu of the first nie. This strengthens the tone of what you’re saying and makes it more specific and descriptive, like this:

Sy praat nooit Afrikaans nie.
“She never speaks Afrikaans.
“Lit. “She never speaks Afrikaans not.”
Die lesse is gladnie lank nie.
“The lessons are not long at all.
“Lit. “The lessons are not at all long not.”

These additional negation words are adverbs (bywoorde), adjectives (byvoeglike naamwoorde), and auxiliary verbs that express denial and, as you can see, they make the sentence a little more specific and descriptive. Just remember that you still need to add the nie at the end of the sentence! 

Here are some examples of auxiliary verbs, adverbs, and adjectives that can be used for denial. 

D.1 Woorde wat vir Ontkenning Gebruik Word / “Words that are Used for Denial”

AffirmativeNegative
enige (“any”) / een (“one”)

Daar is een oefening. 
“There is one exercise.”
geen (“no,” “none,” “not”)

Daar is geen oefeninge nie.
“There are no exercises.”
enigsins (“at all”)

Is dit enigsins moeite vir jou?
“Is it trouble for you at all?”
geensins (“by no means,” “in no way”)

Dit is geensins moeite nie.
“It is no trouble at all.”
êrens (“somewhere”)

Dit is êrens.
“It is somewhere.”
nêrens (“nowhere”)

Ek kan dit nêrens vind nie
“I can’t find it anywhere.”
iemand (“someone”)

Daar was iemand.
“There was someone.”
niemand (“nobody,” “no one”)

Daar was niemand nie
“There was no one.”
iets (“something”)

Die bobbejaan het iets oorgekom.
“Something happened to the baboon.”
niks (“nothing”)

Die bobbejaan het niks oorgekom nie
“Nothing happened to the baboon.”
ooit (“ever”)

Sal jy my ooit verraai?
“Will you ever betray me?”
nooit (“never”)

Ek sal jou nooit verraai nie
“I will never betray you!”
nog (“still”)

Ek kan nog die geraas verdra.
“I can still tolerate the noise.”
nie meer (“no longer”)

Ek kan die geraas nie meer verdra nie!
“I can’t stand that noise anymore!”
beslis (“indeed,” “definitely”)

Dit is beslis ‘n probleem.
“That is definitely a problem.”
gladnie (“not at all”)

Dit is gladnie ‘n probleem nie
“That is not a problem at all.”
al (“yet”)

Het hy al sy werk gedoen?
“Has he done his work yet?”
nog nie (“not yet”)

Hy het nog nie sy werk gedoen nie
“He has not yet done his work.” 
tog (“and yet”)

Daar was amper g’n reën nie; tog is die dam vol. 
“There’s been almost no rain, and yet the dam is full.” 
tog nie (“and yet not”)

Daar was baie reën; tog is the dam nie vol nie.
“There was a lot of rain, and yet the dam is not full.”
heeltemal (“completely”)

Ek is heeltemal verward.
“I am utterly confused.” 
nie heeltemal (“not completely”)

Ek is nie heeltemal verward nie
“I am not completely confused.”
iets (“something”)

Kan ek iets vir jou doen? 
“Can I do something for you?”
niks (“nothing”)

Ek kan niks vir jou doen nie. 
“I can’t do anything/can do nothing for you.” 
moet (“must,” “should”)

Jy moet my later bel. 
“You must call me later.”
moenie (“don’t”)

Jy moenie my later bel nie
“You mustn’t call me later.”

Note: Similar to the English “don’t,” this is the contracted form of moet nie (“do not”).
sal (“will,” “shall”)

Ek sal die boek later lees. 
“I will read the book later.”
sal nie (“will not”)

Ek sal die boek nie later lees nie
“I will not read the book later.”
gaan (“will”)

Ek gaan more studeer.
“I will study tomorrow.”
gaan nie (“will not”)

Ek gaan nie more studeer nie.
“I will not study tomorrow.”

Diploma Hat on Top of a Pile of Books, with a Scroll Next to It

5. Converting Instructions and Requests to the Negative

Giving instructions/commands and making requests are things that we often do, so it’s important to be able to convert these to their negative form. 

E.1 Giving Instructions and Commands

Converting instructions to their negative form is not that difficult. Have a look at this instruction and its negative form:

Instruction: Sit daar! / “Sit there!”
Instruction – Negative Form: Moenie daar sit nie! / “Don’t sit there!” (Literally. “Don’t sit there not.”)

As you can see, we added the word moenie to the instruction and then added nie at the end of the sentence in order to convert it to the negative form. The word moenie (“don’t”) is a contraction of the words moet (do) and nie (not)

In Afrikaans, when you add moenie to the sentence, you must then move the verb (sit, in this case) to the end and follow that with the ubiquitous nie.

A few more examples: 

Instruction – Positive FormInstruction – Negative Form
Staan op! 
“Stand up!”
Moenie opstaan nie!
“Don’t stand up!”
Lit. “Don’t up-stand not!”
Kom later terug!
“Come back later!”
Lit. Come later back! 
Moenie later terugkom nie! 
“Don’t come back later!”
Lit. “Don’t later back come not.” 
Gaan weg!
“Go away!”
Moenie weggaan nie! 
“Don’t go away!” 
Lit. “Don’t away-go not!”
Kyk daar! 
“Look there!”
Moenie daar kyk nie! 
“Don’t look there!”
Lit. “Don’t there look not!”

Two Young Women Pointing to Something on a Laptop Screen.

Did you notice that the verbs and adverbs got switched around in the negative? For example: 

Kyk daar became “Moenie daar kyk nie.”

Where the adverb usually follows the verb in Afrikaans affirmative expressions, the opposite is true of the negative. This is a rule you should take note of. This switching sometimes results in the formation of a compound verb. Consider this: 

Gaan weg!” becomes “Moenie weggaan nie!” and “Staan op!” becomes “Moenie opstaan nie!

EXERCISE I

Why not try to negate in Afrikaans yourself? Read the affirmative expressions, write your negative answers (using moenie) down somewhere, and check them against the list of answers at the end of this article. Don’t worry, you won’t have to combine any verbs and adverbs! 

Eet die kos! – “Eat the food!”
Drink jou medisyne! – “Drink your medicine!”
Sing hard! – “Sing loudly!”
Praat vinnig! – “Speak quickly!”

6. Formal vs. Informal Imperatives

While the rule is that you should add moenie to an instruction (also called an imperative) in order to make it negative, a formal, more polite imperative will get an asseblief (“please”). As soon as you do this, there is another set of rules that apply. Have a look at the following: 

Informal imperative: Moenie opstaan nie! / “Don’t stand up!”
Formal imperative: Moet asseblief nie opstaan nie. / “Please don’t stand up.”

As you can see, when you add asseblief to the negative sentence, you need to: 

  1. break the compound moenie into its component words moet and nie;
  2. put the asseblief (“please”) between the moet and the nie; and
  3. remember to add the final nie at the end! 

Here are some more examples using the same informal instructions as in exercise E.1, but now converted to formal imperatives.

Informal ImperativeFormal Imperative
Moenie later terug kom nie! 
“Don’t come back later!”
Moet asseblief nie later terugkom nie.
“Please don’t come back later.”
Moenie daar kyk nie! 
“Don’t look there!”
Moet asseblief nie daar kyk nie. 
“Please don’t look there.”
Moenie weggaan nie! 
“Don’t go away!”
Moet asseblief nie weggaan nie!
“Please don’t go away!”

EXERCISE II

Your turn again, if you’d like. Just as before, read the formal affirmative expressions and write the negative down somewhere. Then check them against the list of answers at the end of this article. 

Ry vinnig, asseblief. – “Drive fast, please.”
Loop vinniger, asseblief. – “Walk faster, please.”
Gooi die bal, asseblief. – “Throw the ball, please.”
Tel die vuilgoed op, asseblief. – “Pick the rubbish up, please.”

7. Negating Compound Sentences

Ek Sien Hom Maar hy Sien my Nie. - I See Him but He Doesn't See Me.

Quick grammar note: A simple sentence is one in which there is only a subject and a predicate, as illustrated by this sentence: 

Ek (subject) sien hom (predicate).
“I see him.”

Obviously, a compound sentence then contains more than one subject and more than one predicate. It consists of multiple clauses. Consider this compound sentence: 

Ek (subject) sien hom (predicate), maar hy (subject) sien my nie (predicate)
“I see him, but he doesn’t see me.”
Lit. “I see him, but he sees me not.”

When looking at compound sentences, an important point to remember is that if you’re negating the main clause, you should negate it as you would a standalone, simple sentence. Consider the following examples: 

Hy ry nie, want die verkeerslig is nie groen nie
“He’s not driving because the traffic light is not green.”
Lit. “He drives not, because the traffic light is not green not.”

Ek is nie fiks genoeg nie; dus sal ek nie aan the marathon deelneem nie
“I am not fit enough; therefore I won’t be participating in the marathon.”
Lit. “I am not fit enough not; therefore will I not in the marathon participate not.”

As discussed earlier, in compound sentences, we also only use negating words in the part of the sentence that we are negating

Have a look: 

Ek sal gaan stap as dit nie reën nie
“I will go for a walk if it doesn’t rain.”
Lit. “I will go walking if it not rains not.”

If only the main clause is negated, then we must put the first nie in the main clause and the second nie at the end of the sentence. Here’s an example: 

Ek het nie gedink dat jy my sal onthou nie
“I did not think that you would remember me.”
Lit. “I did not think that you me would remember not.”

8. Answers to Exercises: 

Converting instructions to the negative – Exercise I

Eet die kos! – “Eat the food!”Moenie die kos eet nie! – “Don’t eat the food!”
Drink die medisyne! – “Drink the medicine!”Moenie die medisyne drink nie! – “Don’t drink the medicine!”
Sing hard! – “Sing loudly!”Moenie hard sing nie! – “Don’t sing loudly!”
Praat vinnig! – “Speak quickly!”Moenie vinnig praat nie! – “Don’t speak quickly!”

Converting the polite affirmative to the polite negative – Exercise II

Ry vinnig, asseblief. – “Please drive fast.”Moet asseblief nie vinnig ry nie. – “Please don’t drive fast.”
Loop vinniger, asseblief. – “Walk faster, please.”Moet asseblief nie vinniger loop nie. – “Please don’t walk faster.”
Gooi die bal, asseblief. – “Throw the ball, please.”Moet asseblief nie die bal gooi nie. – “Please don’t throw the ball.”
Tel die vuilgoed op, asseblief. – “Pick the rubbish up, please.”Moet asseblief nie die vuilgoed optel nie. – “Please don’t pick up the rubbish.”

9. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn the Negative in Afrikaans? 

We can assist you in learning Afrikaans negations in many ways! After all, that’s what we’re here for. Do you have any questions about the negative form in Afrikaans, or about these exercises? Please let us have them in the comments!

At AfrikaansPod101, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded video lessons, grammar and pronunciation guides, and these vocabulary lists.

Also, be sure to arm yourself with some words and phrases from our Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List. Remember to keep your Afrikaans online dictionary closeby for easy translation!

Also supplement your learning with these blog posts:

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About the author: Christa Davel is a bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer and journalist, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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