Get up to 35% off with the ready, set speak sale! Ends soon!
Get up to 35% off with the ready, set speak sale! Ends soon!
AfrikaansPod101.com Blog
Learn Afrikaans with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Archive for the 'Afrikaans Phrases' Category

The Best Afrikaans Quotes About Life, Love, and More!

Thumbnail

Do you know what one of the best things about the Afrikaans language is? Its array of colorful sayings and quotes! 

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the best Afrikaans quotes on every aspect of life. You’ll recognize some of these Afrikaans quotes, as they have equivalents in English; others will be unfamiliar to you because they’re unique to Afrikaans. Let us know in the comments which of them have equivalents in your language!

At AfrikaansPod101, we aim to enhance your language learning experience at all times. Sayings and quotes are so particular to a language—knowing and using them will introduce you to Afrikaans and the Afrikaner culture in a unique, almost intimate way!

Are you ready to up your Afrikaans game? Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. A) Top 10 Afrikaans Quotes for Inspiration and Life
  2. B) Top Afrikaans Wedding and Love Quotes
  3. C) Top Birthday Quotes in Afrikaans
  4. D) Top Afrikaans Friendship Quotes
  5. E) Top Funny Afrikaans Quotes
  6. Good Ways To Use Afrikaans Quotes
  7. Make Use of AfrikaansPod101’s Lessons and Tools to Learn Afrikaans!

1. Top 10 Afrikaans Quotes for Inspiration and Life

You can derive a lot from learning the typical quotes and sayings that are native to your target language. The following Afrikaans quotes about life include admonitions, words of wisdom, and inspiration in equal measure. 

1. Dit is die klein jakkalsies wat die wingerde verniel.

Translation: “It is the small jackals that harm the vineyard.”

Meaning: 

Literally, the quote refers to small jackals stealing grapes from vineyards (which they love to do). The little scoundrels’ diet is omnivorous, meaning that they eat small animals as well as berries and other fruits. Obviously, their scavenging can do a lot of harm to a farmer’s vineyard. 

Underneath the literal meaning, this saying refers to the hidden harm caused by small irritations or problems in life if they’re left unattended. It infers that one should pay attention to those little niggles as they arise, instead of only focusing on the bigger problems.

A Bunch of Dark, Ripe Grapes

2. Wie heuning wil eet, moet steke verdra.

Translation: “Those who want to eat honey must endure the stings.”

Meaning: 

Literally, this quote refers to someone taking honey from a beehive and getting stung. That much is obvious. But the saying also states a universal truth: If you want to attain something good or sweet in life, you’ll need to tolerate some painful things in the process. This saying can be used to reframe a setback or an unpleasant experience at work, in relationships, or concerning important projects.

3. As die hemel val, is ons almal dood.

Translation: “If the sky falls, we’re all dead.”

Meaning: 

This quote uses a bit of humor to state the obvious about terrible calamity. It’s used as a slightly sarcastic retort in response to someone who’s always pointing out the negative in any situation.

4. Sukses is nie finaal nie, mislukking is nie fataal nie; dit is die moed om voort te gaan wat tel.

Translation: “Success isn’t final, failure isn’t fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts.”

Meaning: 

The meaning of this inspirational quote is obvious: Don’t give up! Continue with what you started (including your Afrikaans language lessons!), because your persistence will pay off. Just imagine! With a good knowledge of Afrikaans, you can travel to the country and have a much richer experience.


Photo of Airplane Taking Off With Luggage in the Foreground

5. Om bymekaar te kom is ‘n begin; om saam te bly is vordering; om saam te werk is sukses.

Translation: “Coming together is a beginning; staying together is progress; working together is success.”

Meaning: 

The meaning of this Afrikaans quote is pretty clear, as it describes the different stages and inherent value of teamwork.

6. Soos ’n handvol vlieë.

Translation: “Like a handful of flies.”

Meaning: 

How useful is a handful of flies? Yes, precisely—unless you’re an entomologist, my guess is that a handful of these insects is pretty useless. You can use this saying to comment on something that’s useless to you, like this:

Hierdie mes is omtrent so bruikbaar soos ‘n handvol vlieë om sop mee te eet.
“This knife is about as useful as a handful of flies to eat soup with.”

7. ‘n Goeie gewete is ‘n sagte kussing.

Translation: “A good conscience is a soft pillow.”

Meaning: 

This quote refers to the easy sleep of someone with a good conscience. It praises the value of not suppressing your conscience (which would probably keep you awake all night if you tried ignoring it)!

Man Sleeping with a Calm Expression on His Face

8. Wees die verandering wat jy wil sien in die wêreld.

Translation: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Meaning: 

This quote is often erroneously attributed to Gandhi, the great world leader from India, but there’s no evidence that he actually said this. Rather, it appears to have come from a book written by a teacher named Arleen Lorrance, called The Love Project. The quote refers to people’s tendency to emulate others’ behavior. So, if you feel that the world needs more love and kindness, then be loving and kind! The world will soon follow.

9. Nou gaan die poppe dans.

Translation: Literally, “Now the dolls are going to dance.” / Equivalent, “Now the fat is in the fire.”

Meaning: 

When someone says this, it means that trouble is on the way! This trouble can be as innocuous as the disciplinary action mischievous school pupils can expect from their headmaster, or as serious as the fallout of one country declaring war on another. 

10. Kyk maar die kat eers goed uit die boom uit.

Translation: Literally, “First check out the cat from the tree.”

Meaning: 

This saying has nothing to do with felines, but pertains to decision-making. It’s a cautionary idiom, and is used to warn someone that they would be better off not acting impulsively. For instance, if your friend enthuses about a business opportunity that sounds too good to be true, this is what you would tell them!

Black and White Cat Sitting

2. Top Afrikaans Wedding and Love Quotes

Our list could never be complete without mentioning quotes in Afrikaans about love, relationships, and weddings.

Tip: Afrikaners tend to have romantic souls! So showing what’s going on in your heart will usually be appreciated and reciprocated.

11. Jy is my oogappel. / Jy is die appel van my oog.

Translation: “You are my eye-apple.” / “You are the apple of my eye.”

Meaning: 

This one is also well-known in English, and it means that you’re someone’s favorite person. One can use this saying at any stage of the relationship—read on for tips on how to use all of these phrases!

Happy Couple Cooking Together

12. My hart pomp tjoklits vir jou.

Translation: “My heart is pumping chocolate for you.”

Meaning: 

This is a humorous, casual way of indicating that you’re in love with someone. Instead of blood, your heart is pumping the candy of love: sweet chocolate. What a vivid image! This somewhat non-committal, but still loving, statement is suitable for use anywhere along the timeline of your relationship.

Tip: If you’ve been with the person for a while, then adding the adverbial time word steeds (“still”) after the verb pomp (“pump”) will be suitable. Like: My hart pomp steeds tjoklits vir jou. (“My heart still pumps chocolate for you.”)

13. Ek smaak jou stukkend.

Translation: Literally, “I taste you till you break.”

Meaning: 

This rather odd-sounding saying is another way of letting someone know you like them excessively, almost to the point of breaking! Think of a child who is so overwhelmed by their adoration of a toy that they hug it so tightly it gets crushed. 

No, we don’t literally break our loved ones in South Africa! This phrase simply expresses almost overwhelming feelings of adoration and admiration. Some say it means the same thing as “I love you,” but that is open to interpretation.

Happy Couple Hugging

14. Ou liefde roes nie.

Translation: “Old love doesn’t rust.”

Meaning: 

This quote means that if love is true, it endures eternally. Unlike most metals (a.k.a. superficial relationships), true love is long-lasting because it doesn’t degrade (i.e. rust) with age. 

This is what you can say of that couple who met and fell in love when they were young, but who were kept apart by circumstances. Then, they meet again when they’re older and find that their special connection is intact. In such a case, you would say that Ou liefde roes nie (“Old love doesn’t rust”).

It’s also a nice anniversary affirmation for a couple that’s been together for years and years. Especially, or maybe only, if it’s clear that they still love one another!

15. Ek was nie jou eerste liefde nie, maar ek wil beslis jou laaste wees.

Translation: “I wasn’t your first love, but I definitely want to be your last.”

Meaning: 

This quote is pretty straightforward, and it’s especially good for use among couples who are a bit older. But even if you and your partner are younger, you can use this phrase if you know they’ve been in love before. It’s a nice proposal quote, too.

Old Couple Playing on the Beach

16. Vriendskap in ‘n huwelik is die vonk wat ‘n ewige vlam aansteek.

Translation: “Friendship in marriage is the spark that lights an everlasting flame.”

Meaning: 

This quote is attributed to the writer and creator of The Happy Wives Club, Fawn Weaver. It’s self-explanatory and underscores the importance of marrying someone you can be friends with, too.

17. Hou jou hart vol liefde. ‘n Lewe daarsonder is soos ‘n sonlose tuin wanneer die blomme dood is. Die bewussyn van liefde en om liefgehê te word bring warmte en rykdom aan die lewe wat niks anders kan bring nie.

Translation: “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.”

Meaning: 

This quote is attributed to author and playwright Oscar Wilde. He died lonely, so it’s poignant that he knew how important love was, but never got to fully experience it himself. This quote is great for wedding or engagement speeches, as well as a meaningful anniversary affirmation.

Couple Holding Hands in Front of a White Wall, Smiling at Each Other

18. As ek my lewe kon oorhê, sou ek jou vroeër wou vind.

Translation: “If I could repeat my life, I would want to find you sooner.”

Meaning: 

This is a bittersweet sentiment from someone who is regretful that they haven’t spent their whole life with the person they love. It implies that with their beloved, life is sweeter and better than ever before. It’s suitable as an intimate love message to the one you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, or even someone you’ve already been with for a long time.

19. Sonder jou liefde is die graaf te swaar vir my en val die geil reëns van die berge sonder doel.

Translation: Literally, “Without your love, the shovel is too heavy for me and the wanton rain in the mountains falls without purpose.”

Meaning: 

This beautiful line is from a poem called Dank (“Thank”), written by one of South Africa’s finest poets from a different era, D.J. Opperman. It expresses how the poet valued his wife’s love—his life would have been meaningless without it. How quietly passionate and intimate!

Couple in Love Laughing with Mountains in the Background

20. Liefde is ‘n beter onderwyser as ‘n sin vir verantwoordelikheid.

Translation: “Love is a better teacher than a sense of duty.”

Meaning: 

This is a quote from Einstein, taken from a letter he wrote. Biography writer Walter Isaacson used these letters to tell the story of the genius’ life in a book called Einstein: His Life and Universe

With this quote, Einstein was probably referring to something other than romantic love, but the principle still applies. Love will always be the most inspiring quality of any relationship, and it ensures we don’t miss the lessons we need to learn in life. And remaining in a relationship only because of a sense of duty will surely teach you how barren a loveless existence is.

Sometimes love comes to an end and you need to break up with someone. Here are some Breakup Quotes to consider—but we hope you won’t need to use or receive them often!

3. Top Birthday Quotes in Afrikaans

Birthdays are special. Make sure to enchant your Afrikaans friends with one of the best Afrikaans quotes for the occasion on their special day.

21. Mag jou lewe elke jaar beter wees.

Translation: “May your life get better every year.”

Meaning: 

This is a simple birthday wish that is universally useful. It expresses a positive and benevolent wish for someone to enjoy an exceedingly good life.

Friends at a Table Raising Their Wine Glasses in a Toast

22. Ek hoop hierdie verjaarsdag is net so wonderlik soos jy!

Translation: “I hope this birthday is just as wonderful as you are!”

Meaning: 

The meaning is pretty straightforward. This is a positive and uplifting birthday message for a friend, a family member, or any special person! 

23. Navorsing wys dat mense met die meeste verjaarsdae leef die langste.

Translation: “Research shows that people with the most birthdays live the longest.”

Meaning: 

Yeah well, duh…! This is a funny birthday quote in Afrikaans that could, for instance, be used in a speech before a birthday party.

24. Tel jou seëninge en nie jou plooie nie!

Translation: “Count your blessings and not your wrinkles!”

Meaning: 

Another fun birthday quote you can use to tease the birthday person! However, it’s best not to use this with a woman if you don’t know her well yet.

Three Older Woman and One Man Playing Cards while Laughing

25. Oudword is onvermydelik; grootword is nie!

Translation: “Growing old is inevitable; growing up is not!”

Meaning: 

Another lighthearted quote that invites you to enjoy life with the innocence of a child, no matter what age you are.

26. ’n Warm hart steek ander aan die brand. Dankie vir jou wonderlike hart!

Translation: “A warm heart ignites others. Thank you for your wonderful heart!”

Meaning: 

This is a flattering character testimonial that’s well-suited for a speech at a birthday party or as a message in a card. Use this only if the person is indeed inspiring and warm-hearted, of course.

4. Top Afrikaans Friendship Quotes

What would our world be without friends and friendship? Celebrate your Afrikaner friends with these Afrikaans quotes on friendship, or simply marvel in their wisdom.

Older Ladies in the Same Funny Clothes Having Fun Next to a Pool

27. Allemansvriend is niemandsvriend.

Translation: “Everyman’s friend is no man’s friend.”

Meaning: 

This is an admonition to strive for more than likeability in your relationships. Not every person will like you or want to be your friend—that’s just life! Authenticity and being who you really are, no matter who you deal with, is of the greatest importance if you want good outcomes in life.

28. As die berg nie na Mohammed wil kom nie, moet Mohammed na die berg toe gaan.

Translation: “If the mountain doesn’t want to come to Mohammed, Mohammed should go to the mountain.”

Meaning: 

This quote, which is also well-known in English, refers to humility and the necessity of sometimes giving in in relationships. Every friendship involves both giving and taking. In essence, this saying reminds us to not always take or be stubborn.

Hiker Standing with Spread Arms on a Mountain

29. Hulle breek nie brandhout van dieselfde tak nie. 

Translation: “They don’t make firewood of the same branch.”

Meaning: 

This Afrikaans quote refers to people who cannot stand each other, so it could be used to describe a friendship or relationship gone wrong.

30. Boontjie kry sy loontjie.

Translation: Literally, “Every bean gets his rightful dues.” 

Meaning: 

This somewhat gleeful quote simply means that what comes to you is probably what you deserve. It’s not always used in a positive sense, though, especially not in friendships. If someone has done you harm, for instance, and then harm comes to them in some way or another, you might use this saying to comment on the situation. 

31. ‘n Ware vriend stap in wanneer ander uitstap.

Translation: “A true friend walks in when others walk out.”

Meaning: 

Another well-known saying in English. Sometimes, friends walk away from you when things get hard. But the true friends remain by your side, which is what the quote refers to. The saying is popularly attributed to columnist Walter Winchell, yet a version of it was recorded as early as 1916 in an Atlanta magazine called The Presbyterian of the South.

Young Man Opening a Door and Waving Hello

32. ‘n Enkele roos kan my tuin wees; ‘n enkele vriend, my wêreld.

Translation: “A single rose can be my garden; a single friend my world.”

Meaning: 

This quote expresses the value of true friendship. It’s accredited to American author and motivational speaker Felice Leonardo “Leo” Buscaglia, also known as “Dr. Love.” It means that one doesn’t need a lot of friends to be happy in life. A single good friend can mean the world and make all the difference.

33. Vriendskap is die enigste sement wat die wêreld by mekaar sal hou.

Translation: “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”

Meaning: 

Attributed to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, this quote expresses the superior value of true friendship. It suggests that the world would fall apart if it weren’t for friendships.

Two Happy Couples, with the Men Carrying the Women on Their Backs

34. Vriende is daardie rare mense wat vra hoe dit met jou gaan en dan wag om jou antwoord te hoor.

Translation: “Friends are those rare people who ask how (we) are and then wait to hear the answer.”

Meaning: 

This slightly adapted quote was said to be first uttered by Ed Cunningham, U.S. TV sports announcer and personality. It suggests that people who care really listen to one another.


5. Top Funny Afrikaans Quotes

Sometimes you need a funny one-liner to open a meeting or lighten the mood in a conversation! We’ve translated a few great quotes in the Afrikaans language that you can use to this effect.

35. Dis beter om stil te bly en dwaas voor te kom as om te praat en so alle twyfel te verwyder.

Translation: “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Meaning: 

This quote means that it’s better to keep quiet and only appear stupid than to say something that is actually stupid! It’s popularly attributed to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, but it more likely belongs to Maurice Switzer, who mentioned it in his book Mrs. Goose, Her Book (1906). Yet, a similar bit of wisdom was expressed much earlier in the Christian Bible, in Proverbs 17:28: “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”

Young Man with His Forefinger in Front of His Mouth, Indicating: Keep Quiet

36. As ek ‘n tweegesig was, sou ek hierdie een gedra het?

Translation: “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

Meaning: 

A variation of this funny quote was apparently uttered by President Abraham Lincoln in a debate with Stephen Douglas, who accused him of being two-faced. Lincoln’s original retort was: “If I had two faces, would I be wearing this one?” 

To be “two-faced” means that you’re being inconsistent in what you say and how you deal with people. This quote often refers to someone who adapts the truth to suit the company they’re in, a trait which makes you unreliable, or even dishonest.

The particular saying is self-deprecating (joking about your own looks!) and a marvelous retort to an unfair accusation of duplicity.

37. Wat het oor jou lewer geloop?

Translation: “What walked over your liver?”

Meaning: 

This is an original Afrikaans saying and a funny way of asking someone why they’re angry. Just as the heart is traditionally considered the “seat” of love, the liver is the “seat” of anger. If asked in a non-confrontational manner, it could ease the atmosphere and allow the angry person to blow off steam.

38. As een deur toegaan en ‘n ander maak oop spook dit waarskynlik in jou huis.

Translation: “If one door closes and another opens, your house is probably haunted.”

Meaning: 

This line makes fun of the cliché that when one opportunity is lost, another one appears. While true, clichés can sound insincere when you’re placating or consoling someone.

If a friend feels really stuck, trying to soothe them with words that don’t correspond to their current life experiences could alienate them, even if you mean well! Rather, spoil them with something you know they like (such as chocolate or a glass of wine), and just hang around as a friend. Using this funny saying could also help lighten the mood!

Spooky Old House

39. Wees lief vir jou vyande. Dit maak hulle so kwaad.

Translation: “Love your enemies. It makes them so (damned) mad.”

Meaning: 

This quote is attributed to a P.D. East from the book Of Wit N Humor by Vincent Thnay.

It’s a reference to the verses in all holy scriptures that teach us to forgive and love our enemies, so as to relieve ourselves of the burden of pain and/or guilt. The quote is obviously a humorous take on this truth!

40. Natuurlik praat ek met myself. Soms het ek kundige advies nodig.

Translation: “Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice.”

Meaning: 

This is a well-known quip that’s been doing the rounds. It’s unclear where the saying originated from, but it’s a good retort if someone complains about you mumbling to yourself.

41. Die pen is magtiger as die swaard en heelwat makliker om mee te skryf.

Translation: “The pen is mightier than the sword and considerably easier to write with.”

Meaning: 

Comedian Marty Feldman was the first to utter this silliness, which could underscore the need to negotiate first and fight later! However, the saying originally referred to the immense power of the word, which should not be underestimated.

Hand and Books of a Person Busy Writing

42. Te veel van ‘n goeie ding is fantasties!

Translation: “Too much of a good thing is fantastic!”

Meaning: 

The literal wisdom of this quote is debatable, but that probably depends on the context! It’s a celebratory remark that could be a reminder to enjoy life.

43. Hy is so skelm, hy bid onder ‘ n skuilnaam.

Translation: “He’s such a crook, he prays under a pseudonym.”

Meaning: 

This funny quote is pretty self-explanatory! However, don’t use it to describe someone whose favor you want to win or keep, unless they know you’re joking.

44. Ondervinding is iets wat jy eers kry nadat jy dit nodig het.

Translation: “Experience is something you only get after you need it.”

Meaning: 

A truthful observation about life and how experience is gained!

6. Good Ways To Use Afrikaans Quotes

This is not difficult to do! Show off your newly learned Afrikaans in the following ways:

1. Puzzle and/or impress your friends with these quotes on Facebook or Twitter. 

2. Create a graphic with a stunning photo and an inspirational quote for your desktop background. But post it on Insta first!

3. Use a suitable quote in a birthday or wedding card for your Afrikaans friend and make their day! Your gesture will show that you care enough to wish them well in their own language, which will be appreciated.

4. Combine creativity and Afrikaans—paint or draw a poster for your room or classroom with a suitable quote in Afrikaans.

5. Make your own learning tool! Create a video or other visual media (with one of the many apps available online), using all of these quotes plus your favorite images or footage! Playing this over and over again will help you learn and remember full Afrikaans sentences. There are countless possibilities.

6. Memorize the quotes and their meanings, and pepper your Afrikaans conversations with them! Using idioms will make you sound more like a native Afrikaans speaker.

7. Make Use of AfrikaansPod101‘s Lessons and Tools to Learn Afrikaans!

With more than a decade of experience behind us, we’ve taught thousands of satisfied users to speak foreign languages. How do we do this? First, we inject fun and ease into learning! 

With us, students are assisted as they master vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation through state-of-the-art and fun online learning methods. 

A library replete with learning resources allows self-paced learning, in your own space at home! Our resources include thousands of video and audio recordings, culturally relevant lessons, and learning apps for your mobile devices. Each month, we add benefits with FREE bonuses and gifts to improve your experience. Our online Afrikaans Dictionary is indispensable and free!

Speed up your learning by enrolling in Premium PLUS, which will give you your own teacher! Our lively, friendly native-Afrikaans hosts will do an assessment test to determine your level, and then tailor lessons to suit your needs. 

Happy learning!

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

Useful Phrases for Conducting Business in Afrikaans

Thumbnail

So, you’re dealing with an Afrikaans client and really want to impress them. Excellent! You can do this instantly by speaking good business language in Afrikaans! 

As you know, speaking someone’s native language is a speedy and easy way to gain their favor. To Afrikaans business owners, this could demonstrate that you’re serious about…well, business! It will also show that you’ve invested personal effort into the business relationship. 

Why not start straight away with our excellent video, “Learn Afrikaans Business Language in 15 Minutes,” featured at the beginning of this article? Or read our blog post about How to Find a Job in South Africa!

A Group of People in Business Gear, Sitting and Standing in the Glass Office

AfrikaansPod101 employs numerous means to support you while you learn business Afrikaans phrases and other important aspects of the language. Our lessons are culturally relevant, which should be important to you! Because knowing the details of Afrikaans culture can only benefit your business dealings with the natives. 

We meet you at your current level, so you never have to worry about falling behind. That said, our Premium PLUS option supplies a guided learning system to help ensure you don’t make a fool of yourself when meeting your Afrikaans business client. That’s our business—to make you shine in Afrikaans! 

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the most relevant and commonly used Afrikaans business phrases and vocabulary so you can easily find what you’re looking for. Most of these phrases can be used across all communication media: in person, or via phone, email, letter, text, voicemail, and so forth.

Let’s imagine a business meeting from the beginning…

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. The Meeting
  2. The Business
  3. Tips for Afrikaans Business Etiquette
  4. Why AfrikaansPod101 Can Really Boost Your Business!

1. The Meeting

Business Phrases

Following are some phrases you’re likely to use when setting up (and at the start of) a business meeting with an Afrikaans businessperson.

1.1 Making the Appointment

Afrikaans businesspeople are, as a rule, organized, and they value the same quality in others. Below are some business Afrikaans phrases you may find helpful when making an appointment. For the first two phrases, always remember to follow good phone etiquette for business.

A Man and Woman's Arms and Hands in a Handshake, While Exchanging Business Cards

Phone Calls

Let’s start with two basic phrases for phone conversations: how to make a call and how to answer one.

Making a call:

Goeiedag, Sanjay. Dis Seo-yun wat praat.“Good day, Sanjay. It’s Seo-yun speaking.”

Answering a call:

Goeiedag. Dis Seo-yun hier.“Good day. It’s Seo-yun here.”

Business Cards

Exchanging business cards in Afrikaans business settings is common during an initial meeting. Here’s how you can initiate a business card exchange:

Kan ons besigheidskaartjies ruil, asseblief?“Can we exchange business cards, please?”

Hier is my besigheidskaartjie.“Here is my business card.”

Setting Up Appointments and Keeping in Touch

Bel my gerus.“Feel free to call me.”

Kan ons dit telefonies bespreek?“Can we discuss this over the phone?”

Bel gerus my sekretaresse vir ‘n afspraak.“Feel free to call my secretary for an appointment.”
In Afrikaans, sekretaresse / “secretary” is used interchangeably with ontvangsdame / “receptionist.”

Ek wil graag ‘n videokonferensie reël.“I would like to organize a video conference.”

Hoe besig is jou skedule?“How busy is your schedule?”

Kan ons volgende week ontmoet?“Can we meet next week?”

Watter tyd sal jou die beste pas?“What time will suit you best?”

Ek stel voor ons ontmoet by die kantoor.“I suggest we meet at the office.”

Sal ek vir ons plek bespreek by die restaurant vir middagete?“Shall I book us a table at the restaurant for lunch?”

Daardie tyd pas my goed.“That time suits me well.”

Sal jy my jou adres gee, asseblief?“Would you give me your address, please?”

Ek sien uit na ons afspraak.“I’m looking forward to our meeting.”

1.2 The Greeting

Greeting someone is an important part of any business meeting, especially when you meet for the first time—you’ll be sizing each other up and forming all sorts of ideas! Now you can make a great first impression with these Afrikaans business phrases.

Smiling Woman in a Business Suit Shaking Hands with a Man
Aangename kennis. My naam is Sanjay Patel.“Pleased to meet you. My name is Sanjay Patel.”

Laat ek jou voorstel aan my vennoot.“Let me introduce you to my business partner.”
Vennoot / “business partner” can be replaced with kollega / “colleague,” and so on. This phrase can be used interchangeably with the next one.

Laat my toe om julle voor te stel.“Allow me to introduce you.”

Mevrou Van Heerden, ontmoet vir Morgan. Morgan, ontmoet vir Mevrou Van Heerden.“Mrs. Van Heerden, meet Morgan. Morgan, meet Mrs. Van Heerden.”
In Afrikaans business environments, always introduce the younger person to the older person first.

Goeiedag. Dis goed om jou te ontmoet.“Good day. It’s good to meet you.”
Use this phrase when you’re being introduced to another person.

Ons het al baie oor die foon gesels! Dis goed om jou persoonlik te ontmoet.“We’ve spoken a lot over the phone already! It’s good to meet you in person.”

Dis goed om jou weer te sien!“It’s good seeing you again!” 

Jammer ek is laat!“Sorry I am late!”

Also be sure to check out even more tips on How To Say Hello in Afrikaans Like a Native Speaker!

1.3 The Small Talk

Afrikaners are affable and friendly people by nature, so small talk is good! Asking questions concerning their wellbeing will make them feel like you’re interested in them. They will likely pay attention to what you share about your personal life, so make sure you take careful note of their details, too.

Group of Four in Business Gear Chatting in an Office Setting

Use the following questions to open a small talk conversation with an Afrikaans businessperson:

Gaan dit goed? / Hoe gaan dit?“Are you doing well?” / “How are you doing?”

Het jy ons maklik gevind?“Did you find us easily?”

Het jy goed gereis? / Hoe was jou reis?“Have you traveled well?” / “How was your journey?”

Is dit jou eerste besoek aan ___?“Is this your first visit to ___?”
In the blank, simply add the name of the country you’re inquiring about, if not South Africa.

Jy lyk goed!“You’re looking well!”
Like any other person, Afrikaners love compliments. However, keep these for when you know them a bit better, and only if you really mean it. Nobody likes false flattery.

Hoe gaan dit met jou familie?“How is your family doing?”
This is another question better left for later in the business relationship. Afrikaners will always appreciate you asking this as long as you’re sincere—family is big for Afrikaners.

Hoe was jou vakansie gewees?“How was your holiday?”
Asking questions based on your previous conversations with your client, or based on what you know about them, will show that you’re interested in them as a person, not just a business asset.

Sal ons begin? / Goed, laat ons begin.“Shall we start?” / “Okay, let us start.”

Ek het ‘n ander vergadering om een-uur, so…“I have another meeting at one o’clock, so…” 
This open-ended statement can be used on its own, since its implications are clear. Or, it can be paired nicely with the next sentence.

Sal jy omgee as ons begin?“Would you mind if we started?”

Sekerlik, kom ons begin.“Sure, let us start.”

1.4 The Parting

Obviously, etiquette at the end of a business meeting is just as important as at the beginning. Here are some phrases you might find helpful:

Baie dankie, dit was goed gewees om jou weer te sien.“Thank you very much, it’s been good seeing you again.”

Dankie vir jou tyd, ek waardeer dit.“Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.”

Dankie dat jy al die pad hiernatoe gekom het.“Thank you for coming all the way here.”

Hierdie was produktief gewees, dankie.“This was productive, thank you.”

Sal ons volgende week dieselfde tyd ontmoet?“Shall we meet again the same time next week?”

My sekretaresse sal jou kontak vir ons volgende afspraak, as dit reg is?“My secretary will contact you for our next appointment, if it’s okay?”

Ek waardeer jou moeite, baie dankie.“I appreciate your effort, thank you very much.”
This is also a good phrase for managing people. Sincere compliments are motivating!

Jobs

2. The Business

Despite their affable appearance, Afrikaners are private at heart. In fact, they tend to appreciate good, somewhat English manners that (at least initially) honor politeness and a certain social distance. 

Some of them can appear a bit gruff and unpolished in their manner, but more often than not, this tough exterior hides a sensitive and very loyal soul. Because of this “soft core,” so to speak, they tend to be careful—if not somewhat cynical—about business partners at first. 

But no worries, the secret into their hearts and pockets is pretty simple: be attentive to their needs, always be respectful in how you treat them, and consistently demonstrate honesty, reliability, and transparency in all business dealings. If, over time, they find that they can trust you, good business partners very often turn into friends. And you’ll find that you’ve made a friend for life!

Afrikaans businesspeople won’t expect from you what they don’t offer themselves. They tend to be extremely loyal to old and trusted business partners and clients, and they’re reliable, very hard workers themselves.

Two Men in a Business Suits Discussing Something in a Folder

Afrikaners are also tenacious and real problem-solvers. In fact, we have an old saying in Afrikaans: ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan, which means “A farmer makes a plan.” It’s a population trait—Afrikaners don’t give up, because they always make a plan! So, if you need to get things done properly in business and the workplace, appoint an Afrikaner.

When doing business in South Africa, also keep in mind that Afrikaners prefer to keep things simple and straightforward in business. Don’t mess with them, though; you’ll soon find doors closing not-so-quietly in your face. Trust is strictly earned, and it’s an expensive thing in the Afrikaner culture! Of course, every batch has some bad apples, but you’ll find that everywhere in the world.

2.1 The Business Talk

Man and Woman in a Business Meeting

Following are some Afrikaans business phrases you could find useful in any business setting.

Note that Ek / “I” can be replaced with other pronouns, such as jou (you, plural) / julle (you) / ons (we) / sy (she) / hy (he) / hulle (they).

Het almal ‘n kopie van die agenda?“Does everyone have a copy of the agenda?”

Wat dink jy hiervan?“What do you think about this?”

Ek stem saam.“I agree.”

Ek voel dieselfde.“I feel the same.”

Jy is heeltemal reg.“You are entirely correct.”

Jy kan dalk reg wees.“You may / could / might be right.”

My ervaring is dieselfde.“My experience is the same.”

Dis nie my ervaring nie.“That’s not my experience.”

Jammer, maar ek stem nie saam nie.“Sorry, but I don’t agree.”

Ek stem nie regtig saam nie.“I don’t really agree.”

Ek’s nie seker of ek saamstem nie.“I’m not sure that I agree.”

Dis ‘n uitstekende punt.“That’s an excellent point.”

Hierdie is net my opinie.“This is only my opinion.”

Hierdie is ‘n belangrike saak.“This is an important matter.”

Sal jy ‘n kompromie oorweeg?“Would you consider a compromise?”

Jammer om jou te onderbreek.“Sorry to interrupt you.”

Mag ek gou onderbreek, asseblief?“May I interrupt, please?”

Natuurlik, gaan voort.“Of course, go ahead.”
Combine this phrase with the next one, if preferred.

Wat wil jy sê?“What do you want to say?”

Verskoon my, as ek net gou eers hierdie punt kan maak?“Sorry, if I could just finish this point first?”

Dit is ‘n baie goeie voorstel.“It is a very good suggestion.”

Dis ‘n goeie offer.“It’s a good offer.”

Hierdie my beste offer.“This is my best offer.”

Ek voel sterk hieroor.“I feel strongly about this.”

Ek wil graag hieroor gaan dink, asseblief.“I would like to think about this, please.”

Dit klink goed vir my!“That sounds good to me!”

Enige verdere gedagtes of kommentaar?“Any other thoughts or comments?”

Dalk moet ons ‘n breuk vat?“Maybe we should take a break?”

Ons het hierdie reeds afgehandel.“We’ve dealt with this already.”

Is daar nog iets wat ons moet bespreek?“Is there anything else we need to discuss?”

Stem almal saam?“Do we all agree?”

2.2 The Management Talk

Two Women in a Meeting

If you’re a manager, treating subordinates fairly, respectfully, and transparently will score you a lot of points. Following are some handy phrases you can use as a manager (though you could also use any of the phrases from the previous section).

Ek het die verslag moreoggend nodig, asseblief.“I need the report by tomorrow morning, please.”

Dankie, dit lyk goed.“Thanks, this looks good.”

Wat stel jy voor?“What do you suggest?”

Asseblief maak vir ons ‘n afspraak met Meneer De Beer.“Please make us an appointment with Mr. De Beer.”

Kontak EdCon kantore vir ‘n vergadering volgende week, asseblief.“Contact EdCon offices for a meeting next week, please.”
Of course, you can replace the business name with one of your choice.

Asseblief kanselleer al my afsprake vir Vrydag.“Please cancel all my appointments for Friday.”

Sal jy vir ons koffie en tee reël, asseblief?“Would you organize tea and coffee for us, please?”

Hoe laat begin die vergadering?“What time does the meeting start?”

Bel vir Martie en vra of ons via Zoom kan ontmoet, asseblief.“Call Martie and ask if we could meet via Zoom, please.”

Bespreek vir my ‘n vlug Dubai toe, asseblief.“Book me a flight to Dubai, please.”

Is die “boardroom” voorberei?“Is the boardroom prepared?”
The official Afrikaans word for “boardroom” is raadskamer, but this is almost completely out of use. As a rule, we just use the English word.

Druk asseblief my notas uit.“Please print my notes.”

Dankie vir jou harde werk.“Thank you for your hard work.”


Businessman Giving a Presentation with a Whiteboard and Graph to Two Businesswomen

Essential Afrikaans Business Vocabulary

  • witbord / “whiteboard”
  • witbord pen / “whiteboard marker”
  • harde kopie / “hard copy”
  • voorlegging OR aanbedding / “presentation” (This is a noun, and what you would give to your boss or prospective client in the form of a document or PowerPoint presentation.)
  • aanbied / “present”
  • grafiek / “chart”
  • dagboek / “diary”
  • sakeonderneming / “business enterprise”
  • handel / “commerce”
  • verslag gee / “to report”
  • rapporteer aan / “report to”
  • adviseur / “adviser”
  • aanbeveel / “advise”
  • kontrak / “contract”
  • ooreenkoms / “agreement”

3. Tips for Afrikaans Business Etiquette

Friendly Businesswoman Reaching Out for a Handshake

Many business rules in South Africa are similar to those in most Western countries. However, there are still some culturally specific (and often unspoken!) ones that should be observed for optimal effect. Adhering to them could make the difference between a failed or successful meeting, so pay attention!

3.1 Dress and Hygiene

Depending on the nature of your business, we recommend dressing neatly and only semi-casually. 

Men, if you’re in white collar business, like finance, stick to the European dress-style and wear a modern suit. (If you’re going to meet with a person of great seniority, wear a tie. Otherwise, feel free to lose the noose!) 

Ladies, avoid deeply plunging necklines, micro miniskirts, or body-hugging gear. You really don’t want to look like you’re advertising something other than your business or products. No decent Afrikaner businessman respects that! However, there’s no need to be prudish either. Rather, think stylish, business-like, and classy, and apply makeup and perfume sparingly.

That said, if you normally wear traditional gear, such as a thawb and keffiyeh, there’s no need to change into Western-style clothing. We appreciate authenticity and openness over so-called political correctness, especially in business.

Good personal hygiene is important to Afrikaners, though. Smelling like you only bathe once a year, having oily, unkempt hair, and sporting filthy nails will not score you any points. And do brush your teeth before the meeting! Halitosis is never a deal-maker. Overall, it makes a good impression when your appearance shows that you take care of yourself, even if you’re dressed inexpensively. You don’t need to show off; you just need to be presentable by regular Western standards. To Afrikaners, a good appearance is a sign of respect to the person you’re meeting with.

3.2 Being Punctual

Be on time for the meeting, or even better, be five minutes early! Showing respect for another’s time is big for Afrikaans businesspeople. They will be punctual and expect the same of you. In case arriving on time is impossible, a text or call to inform them of the delay will be far more acceptable than making them wait for longer than a few minutes.

However, if they are not on time, and you haven’t received any notification of the delay, you’re very likely either dealing with a “bad apple,” or you’ve lost their respect or trust for some reason. It doesn’t need explanation that neither are good signs! Of course, sometimes faulty technology can be to blame, but the point is that notification of delay is basic Afrikaans business protocol for meetings.

3.3 General In-Meeting Etiquette

If you’re seated when they arrive, stand up (or at least get up halfway from your chair) for a formal handshake greeting. This is a sign of respect, especially upon meeting for the first time. 

If you’re meeting them for the first time, and they remain seated when you arrive, it could be a sign of arrogance or reservations about your business. This is especially true of hardened Afrikaans businesspeople. It’s not necessarily a bad sign, but you may have to read and assess the situation carefully before signing on the dotted line. Yet, as a rule, only bad-*ss gang leaders stay seated when a prospective client or business partner arrives for a meeting!

If you’re hosting the meeting, offer your right hand first for a handshake greeting. Keep your grip firm but not crushing—it’s not a Push Hands competition! If you are the guest, though, it’s better to wait for your Afrikaans client to offer their hand first. Remember to look them straight in the eye with a friendly smile for the duration of the handshake. 

3.4 What to Say and How to Say It

If the person you’re meeting for the first time has a military or professional title, like General, Doctor, or Professor, don’t be shy to use this (together with their surname) until they invite you to do otherwise.

Over-familiarity is never cool, especially in the beginning of your business partnership.

It’s best to address people much older or senior-in-rank as Meneer (“Mister”), Mevrou (“Mrs.”), or Mejuffrou (“Miss”) when you first meet them, especially at a formal event. Even if they’re being introduced to you by their first names, wait for them to give you permission to address them informally. This is just good manners and a sign that you respect their seniority.

And last but not least, gratitude is a wonderful attitude! Get the low-down on How to Say Thank You in Afrikaans in different contexts.

4. Why AfrikaansPod101 Can Really Boost Your Business!

We hope you learned a lot from our article about how to conduct business in Afrikaans, and that you found our collection of Afrikaans business phrases helpful. Do you have any questions? Let us have them in the comments below!

At AfrikaansPod101, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded videos, themed vocabulary lists, and much more. Speak like a native in no time!

Also be sure to arm yourself with the Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List to make a superb impression at your business meetings. Approach Afrikaans businesses with confidence and ease—you got this!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Afrikaans

Eleven Common Ways to Say Goodbye in Afrikaans

Thumbnail

Time to say goodbye? In Afrikaans, this can be just as difficult to do as in any other language. Because hey, who likes goodbyes?! Wishing friends and loved ones farewell is never pleasant nor easy, especially if the parting is permanent or long-term.

But even this depends on how you look at it. As Winnie the Pooh wisely says:

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Not all goodbyes are terribly hard or sad, though. In this article, AfrikaansPod101 will show you several ways to say goodbye in Afrikaans and how to use the right one for every occasion. 

As a complement, you can also learn How to Say Hello in Afrikaans in our dedicated blog post before continuing with this one. It’s super-easy! 

Like saying hello, saying goodbye in Afrikaans isn’t really that difficult to master. Most Afrikaans goodbyes are Anglicized, meaning they’re taken from the English language. Let’s dig in! Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE!(Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. How to Say Goodbye in Afrikaans
  2. Body Language and Gestures When You Say Goodbye in Afrikaans
  3. How AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Saying Goodbye in Afrikaans!

1. How to Say Goodbye in Afrikaans

Most Common Goodbyes

1. Totsiens / “Goodbye”

Totsiens is a contraction of Tot weersiens, which literally means “Till I see you again.” Of course, the implication is that you wish the person well until you see each other again.

Like its English equivalent, Totsiens is used on its own, and is a common way of indicating that you’re taking leave of someone’s presence. You can use it in both formal and informal situations, and it’s often used when you won’t be seeing that person for a long time. 

When addressing a boss or someone important, some Afrikaners like to add the person’s name, like this: 

  • Totsiens, Meneer De Beer. (“Goodbye, Mister De Beer.”)

This form of address is slightly more respectful than only using Totsiens, but it’s not by any means required for proper social etiquette. You won’t have committed an unforgivable social gaffe by omitting the person’s name.

Pretty Blonde Girl Waving Goodbye Next to a Blue Train

2. Baai! / “Cheers!”

Baai is used among people who know each other well—like family, friends, and close colleagues—because it’s super-informal and should be used mostly in casual situations. The word is a rather cheerful way of saying goodbye in Afrikaans, so it’s best not to use it for solemn or sad partings.

It’s common to say Baai! when you’re going to see or have contact with that person again soon, though you can also use it in other situations. For instance, you could say this when parting with a friendly shop assistant whom you just had a casual, friendly chat with. 

Afrikaners like chatting with everyone, especially in the rural areas of the country! We tend to be a bit more reticent and private in cities like Johannesburg and Pretoria, but even in those places, foreigners making friendly small talk with Afrikaners won’t be rebuffed. Cape Town, in particular, is known to be a very friendly city, so chat away when you visit there! Sincerity and politeness in your dealings with people are key, though.

Baai is a contraction of Koebaai, which is Afrikaans slang for “Goodbye.” (Check out some of the other cool Afrikaans slang words we use in South Africa!)

A fairly common, yet new, convention is to say Baai-baai-baai in a hasty, almost absent-minded manner. Heaven knows where this originated from. Alternatively, you could say Baai-baai! or Ba-baai, which are both translations of the English “Bye-bye!” Children often greet this way.

Boy and Girl Standing at a Door Waving Goodbye.

A variation of this goodbye is the English Ta-Ta! It could be derived from the English slang for “thanks, which is “Ta!” So, then it would be like saying “Thanks-thanks!” Anyway, this is a very casual, informal way to say goodbye in Afrikaans, most often used with babies and children. Smile widely and wave enthusiastically while saying this!

3. Sien jou later! / “See you later!”

Like its English equivalent, this Afrikaans goodbye phrase is fairly casual and normally used when the parting is temporary. You could use this when you’ve made a fixed appointment or have a date with someone, or when you know you’re going to see them later in class or at work, for instance.

This phrase is considered an Anglicism, and is almost always used among people who are of equal status. However, it wouldn’t be considered rude to say this to your supervisor or boss.

The nuance is very subtle, but young people—or other Afrikaners who know each other extremely well—won’t, as a rule, say goodbye in Afrikaans this way. It’s just a smidgen more formal and polite than other phrases, and more common among older folks living in rural areas. That said, there’s nothing wrong with saying bye in Afrikaans this way if you opt to do so!

A Girl with a Book and a Bag Waving Goodbye to Fellow Students.

4. Sien jou weer. / “See you again.” 

This one’s a variation of the previous greeting. It’s typically not used literally, though, meaning you don’t need to have a fixed date or appointment with someone to use this phrase. It’s more of a polite and friendly way for equals to part ways when they don’t know each other very well. 

For instance, you could confidently use this goodbye phrase with acquaintances in the workplace or when parting ways with someone you met at a party. It’s more of a polite conversation filler than a sincere wish.

Businessman Greeting a Woman with a Handshake.

The phrase is often used with the adverbial graag, like this: Sien jou graag weer. There’s no literal translation for graag in English. It adds a sense of willingness and eagerness to the phrase (such as “really” does, in English), and it could indicate that you mean what you say. Use this one with some care, though, as you don’t want to appear overly eager or needy.

5. Geniet die dag. / “Have a good day.”

This is another popular Anglicism, and it’s slightly more formal than the previous one. Often, the local dominee (“pastor”), apteker (“pharmacist”), or skoolhoof (“school headmaster”) will use it as a friendly, benevolent phrase to see people off with.

Woman in Green Top Waving Goodbye.

While a wave and a smile will do, this one can be accompanied by a handshake. It’s also common to combine it with Totsiens, as in: Totsiens, Magda. Geniet die dag! (“Goodbye, Magda. Enjoy your day!”)

A common variation is: Geniet jou dag. (Literally: “Enjoy your day.”)

6. Kyk mooi na jouself. / “Take care.”

Kyk mooi na jouself is used a little differently from the English “Take care,” even though it means the same thing. It’s seldom used as a stand-alone goodbye in Afrikaans, but rather gets used like this: Totsiens en kyk mooi na jouself, Magda. (“Goodbye and take care, Magda.”) 

Changing the word order is also acceptable, like this: Kyk mooi na jouself, Magda. Totsiens. (“Take care. Goodbye, Magda.”)

This is often used by someone who wants to express concern for the other person. A parent would say goodbye like this to their child who’s leaving for college in another city, for example. Or a caring colleague would say this to someone on sick leave. You could also round off a conversation with this phrase when visiting a friend, colleague, or loved one in the hospital.

Female Patient in Wheelchair Greeting Someone with a Handshake

7. Mooi loop! / Literally: “Walk well!”

This phrase is a more casual variation of the former Kyk mooi na jouself (“Take care”), and it’s a very typical Afrikaans saying. These days, it’s mostly used by older Afrikaners.

It can be used in any situation, and implies that you wish a pleasant journey for the other person. However, it’s not reserved only for people who are actually going on a journey!

Mooi loop! can be used as a stand-alone goodbye. However, it’s not really appropriate if the person you’re greeting is of much higher rank than you, or if your relationship with them is formal.

Pretty Woman Waving Goodbye

8. Goed gewees om jou te sien. / “Good seeing you.”

This colloquial goodbye phrase is pretty self-explanatory—use it when you want to indicate that an encounter with someone has been a pleasant experience. It can be used when meeting up with, or bumping into, an acquaintance or friend you haven’t seen for a long while. In such a case, you would probably add the adverb: weer (“again”), as in: Goed gewees om jou weer te sien. (“Good seeing you again.”) However, the additional adverb is completely optional.

Two Businesswomen Exchanging a Friendly Handshake.

This phrase can also be written in a thank-you note to the hosts after an event such as a wedding or school reunion. It can denote slight formality, but older, very polite or official Afrikaners often use it as a standard parting phrase.

9. Ek gaan nou loop. OR Ek loop nou. / “I’m leaving now.” OR “I’m out.”

There are two distinct ways of using this goodbye in Afrikaans. 

First, the positive scenario: 

Picture yourself at work after a long Friday at the office, or after an exhausting shift at the hospital. You’ve just gotten done with work and are free to go. That’s it! You grab your stuff and cheerfully announce your departure (to nobody in particular) with this phrase. Whoever hears it will perfectly get your mood and intention, and may even follow suit. This is a very casual phrase and most often followed by a friendly, if not absent-minded, Baai! or Totsiens!

Man Putting Jacket on to Leave Office Work

Then there’s the less positive scenario: 

You’re engaged in an argument with a friend or Special Person (SP), but it’s clear that the conversation is going nowhere. Perhaps one of you gives up and leaves with a curt, unfriendly: Ek loop nou. (“I’m out.”) Just like the English expression, the way you say it makes all the difference. We recommend that you don’t use this too often, though, as it can be somewhat passive-aggressive if you’re the stubborn, unrelenting one! 

10. Ek moet hardloop. / “I gotta run.”

Like its English counterpart, this phrase denotes a sense of urgency, and it could imply that you’re late for another appointment. 

It’s actually more of a statement than a real goodbye in Afrikaans! Therefore, it’s most often used with the prefix Dis laat (“It’s late”), as in: Dis laat, ek moet hardloop. (“It’s late, I must run.”)

However, Afrikaners sometimes use it as an out when we feel a bit stuck in a conversation or situation! You know, to escape from that person who seems unable to read your body language. Or from your slightly inebriated colleagues who don’t want to let you leave after a work party.

In these cases, a more serious phrase would be appropriate, such as: Ek moet gaan. (“I must go.”) If said with a tone of urgency and a glance at your phone or watch, it could be all you need to get away! Legitimate and useful, but don’t use it too often with people you care about. They might feel that you don’t have time for them.

This phrase is always used with Baai! or the slightly more formal Totsiens.

Businessman Looking at His Watch, Ready to Leave Work.

11. Vaarwel. / “Farewell.”

Vaarwel is no longer used in spoken Afrikaans, unless you’re on stage and wishing your beloved from another era a melodramatic goodbye. It means you’re never going to see that person again, but these days (fortunately), its use is pretty outdated. 

The word originates from a time when it was more common to say goodbye to people forever. Imagine a girl from the 1600s sobbing inconsolably on a harbor, while waving to her sailor lover on a ship that’s heading out toward new, uncharted worlds. It literally means the same as the English version: “Sail well.” The chances of their reunification were very slim, though, so saying Vaarwel usually meant goodbye forever.

Two Male Hands in a Handshake.

2. Body Language and Gestures When You Say Goodbye in Afrikaans

When you say goodbye, body language is just as important as the words you use.

A) Eye Contact, Smiling, and Keeping a Distance

Afrikaners like friendly people! But more than that, it’s important to remember that natural, spontaneous eye contact, in particular, is big among Afrikaners. It shows that you’ve got nothing to hide and are willing to allow other people to “read” you. 

Ferociously staring in a deadly eyelock is unnecessary, though. No need to impersonate Ghengis Khan or Derren Brown to show your sincerity! Afrikaners would find this inappropriate and scary. 

In the same vein, saying goodbye with eye contact that says “Helloooo Baby…” is not appropriate either. Maintaining eye contact for too long, or doing so in an intimate manner, will make Afrikaners feel uncomfortable. Unless you intend to seduce, of course! In this case, different etiquette will apply—seduction is an art best approached with circumspection. 

Afrikaners are a warm and friendly people, but we don’t like over-explicit sensual gestures in public, especially in more conservative communities and rural areas. We make reasonable allowance for couples in love, of course, but our manners in this regard are still rather British.

Beautiful Girl Looking Seductively Over Her Shoulder.

Afrikaners tend to be private people, even when you know them well. So keeping at least a meter (or three feet)’s distance when saying goodbye is a safe move. If they indicate that they want you closer for a bear hug or an air kiss, then fine, but it’s better for you not to initiate this yourself.

How you say goodbye in Afrikaans, concerning your gestures and actions, will definitely depend on how well you know the people.

B) Close Friends and Family

If you know the person very well, hugs are not only permitted when you say goodbye—they’re often required! This is especially true if the parting is going to be a long, sad one. Unless they’re family or your SP, don’t hug too tightly though. 

Kissing is also allowed, even on the lips, if you’re close. But then, only a peck. A kiss on the cheek is also appropriate for friends.

As a rule, Afrikaner men avoid public displays of affection, especially with other men. Most often, they will shake hands, just like they do when they first greet. That said, even men are known to briefly hug a close friend with a casual arm slung over the shoulders. Cameradie is important, especially if the goodbye is difficult.

Couple Saying Goodbye to Friends at Home, Men Shaking Hands

Fist-bump goodbyes are increasingly popular among young people and school kids, as is throwing the V-sign (or victory sign), with the fore and middle fingers raised in a fist. It’s also called the Peace Sign. However, this gesture is particular to a specific demographic. So, don’t use it with the bank manager, a police officer, or your boss, for instance. Unless they’re also a rapper, of course.

Young Rapper Showing the Victory Sign (also Called Peace Sign) with Both Hands

While we don’t like melodrama, we’ll understand if you’re too sad for a smile. A few tears are acceptable, even welcomed, but save the total breakdown for when you’re alone in private. Your Afrikaner friends will understand if you cry, and will try to console you—but they might feel a bit embarrassed, too. As mentioned, we don’t love public displays of strong emotion, as it makes us feel vulnerable.

Unless you’re very close! Then go ahead; a good bawling session will likely be infectious and solidify your bond even more. Make sure to keep the tissues close for everyone, though; your efficiency will be appreciated.

Couple Saying a Sad Goodbye at An Airport or Railway Station.

C) Informal and Formal Situations: Etiquette When Saying Goodbye to Women

Men, be respectful when you hug an Afrikaner woman who’s not your significant other. Be sensitive to the signals she sends you, and if she doesn’t indicate that it’s okay, or if you’re not sure, don’t reach for a hug at all! 

An air kiss by the ear or cheek while lightly touching her shoulder would probably be the safest option (if she’s a relatively close friend). You don’t want to look for trouble with her Afrikaner husband; they’re notoriously protective of their women! The best thing may be to just offer your hand for a handshake, regardless of the situation. Allow her to take the lead.

D) Informal and Formal Situations: Etiquette for Colleagues and Strangers

In most cases, a smile, eye contact, and a handshake would be appropriate and acceptable among Afrikaner men and women. Offer your right hand and keep a respectful distance.

If the person is senior to you, wait for them to offer their hand first, though. This is a sign of respect. Jutting your hand out first toward the CEO of your company or a dignitary, such as a cabinet minister, would be considered a bit too forward.

3. How AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Saying Goodbye in Afrikaans!

We hope you enjoyed learning about how to say goodbye in Afrikaans with us. Are you ready to start practicing the vocabulary, or do you still have questions? Let us know in the comments!

AfrikaansPod101 takes the lead with many excellent Afrikaans learning tools to help you master the language easily and almost effortlessly. We have so many learning options for you! 

Our well-researched tools include:

1. An extensive series of vocabulary lists, updated regularly.

2. A new Afrikaans word to learn every day. Master these words easily with our recordings and flashcards!

3. Access to numerous recordings, such as this Afrikaans Vocab Builder.

4. A free Afrikaans online dictionary.

5. An excellent 100 Core Afrikaans Words list!

Learn much faster with the help of a personal tutor, who will first let you take an assessment to personalize your training.

These teachers are very helpful when you bump into challenges during your studies. Your very own friendly, Afrikaans-speaking teacher will be only a text away on a special app, anywhere, anytime. Using a guided learning system, which was developed by experts in language and online education, they’ll be giving you personal feedback and constant support so you can learn and improve quickly. You’ll also be tasked with weekly assignments in reading, writing, and speaking, to really hone your Afrikaans language skills. 

Don’t hesitate—enroll with AfrikaansPod101 now!

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

How Hard is it to Learn Afrikaans?

Thumbnail

This is not an easy question to answer! How hard it is to learn Afrikaans depends on a few things, really.

Afrikaans is the world’s youngest official language. Known as “Cape Dutch” or “Colonial Dutch” back in the day, Afrikaans was only considered a “real language” in the previous century. Over the years, it has been influenced by many other languages, including Arabic, French, and Russian. So it can appear pretty daunting to learn!

However, AfrikaansPod101 is an easy way to learn Afrikaans because we simplify the learning steps for you. We introduce many simple but effective ways to learn Afrikaans while having fun at the same time! And our blog posts are informative and culturally relevant, such as this one on Afrikaans Etiquette in South Africa, and this one on Learning Dates in Afrikaans.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Is Afrikaans Hard to Learn?
  2. Reasons Why Afrikaans is Easy to Learn
  3. Reasons Why Afrikaans Can Be Difficult to Learn
  4. How to Learn Afrikaans with AfrikaansPod101 – Fast and Easy Ways at Your Fingertips!

1. Is Afrikaans Hard to Learn?

Hard for whom? 

If your own language has Germanic roots, then no, it’s not that difficult at all. In fact, you may find it much easier to master than other languages, in most respects. 

Afrikaans is the fourth most-spoken Germanic language in the world, preceded by English, German, and Dutch. It’s the majority language of Namibia and South Africa, estimated to be spoken by over 20 million people. This number includes second-language speakers.

Given Afrikaans’ roots, if you can speak Dutch, you’ll find that learning Afrikaans is quite a lot easier, too. The languages are very closely related, even though they differ in grammatical structure. Dutch is the older and, in some respects, more intricate of the two.

Dutch Cultural Symbols Shoes and Tulips

Let’s look at what makes Afrikaans hard to learn for so many people, and a few ways it might be easier than English.

2. Reasons Why Afrikaans is Easy to Learn

Compared to English and most other languages, Afrikaans is simpler in many ways. 

Here are some examples of things that make Afrikaans so easy to learn.

2.1 Inflections /Infleksies

Generally speaking, Afrikaans has fewer inflections than most European languages. According to Writing Explained, inflections are the changes made to verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc., depending on what is being expressed (number, gender, case, voice, and so on).

Young Smiling Male Student Learning Language in Front of Laptop with Earphones

These changes can be anything from a simple letter to a more complex affix. An affix is a morpheme (one or more letters) that you can add to a word to change that word’s meaning to some extent. Such as the genitive ‘s to indicate possession (“America’s finest”), the plural “s” to indicate numbers (“husbands”), the comparative “-er” to indicate degree (“faster”), and so forth.

The best-known difference compared to English is probably the fact that Afrikaans verbs don’t conjugate for subject. This is really super-uncomplicated and very easy to learn and understand!

Conjugations are a subset of inflections that occur only in verbs. Afrikaans is very simple that way because, irrespective of the noun, the verb remains the same. It only conjugates for tense, mood, aspect, and voice. 

Following are two examples of Afrikaans verb conjugation. You’ll see that the verb remains the same, irrespective of noun number and gender.

2.1.1 Verb Conjugations – Simple Present Tense / Werkwoord Verbuigings – Teenwoordige Tyd

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Ek isI am
Jy isYou are (singular)
Hy/sy isHe/she is
Julle isYou are (plural)
Hulle isThey are
Ons isWe are
Dit isIt is

2.1.2 Verb Conjugations – Simple Past Tense / Werkwoord Verbuigings – Verlede Tyd

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Ek wasI was
Jy wasYou were (singular)
Hy/sy wasHe/she was
Julle wasYou were (plural)
Hulle wasThey were
Ons wasWe were
Dit wasIt was

Afrikaans only has a simple past tense, a phenomenon not found in other Germanic languages. For instance, in English, we have “I was ill” and “I had been ill.” In Afrikaans, the past remains simple: Ek was siek.

2.2 Gender Classification / Geslag Klassifikasie

Just like English, Afrikaans nouns are not gendered. Therefore, there’s no noun classification or corresponding verb conjugation like in, for instance, French and Italian.

2.3 Definite & Indefinite Articles / Bepaalde & Onbepaalde Lidwoorde

Afrikaans is as easy as English regarding the use of different articles. (In fact, it’s a bit easier, because there’s only one indefinite article in Afrikaans.)

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Bepaalde lidwoorde: die/hierdie/daardieDefinite articles: the/this/that
Onbepaalde lidwoord: ‘nIndefinite articles: an/a
Note: The indefinite article ‘n ALWAYS gets written like this, even at the start of a sentence. In this case, the second word in the sentence (the noun it refers to) starts with a capital letter. 

Like this: ‘n Hond sit voor die deur.





A dog sits in front of the door.
Cute Puppy Sitting in Front of Blue Wooden Wall or Door

2.4 Questions Starting with a Verb / Vrae Wat Met ‘n Werkwoord Begin

Question words are pretty common in most languages, and Afrikaans is no different. However, sometimes questions that are about an action start with a verb instead of a traditional question word. English is more complex in this way compared to Afrikaans, as two or more verbs are needed: “Do/does” + Verb. 

In most instances, this is not the case in Afrikaans. Depending on what it is we want to say, only one verb is necessary in simple questions.

Afrikaans: Waai die wind?
English: “Does the wind blow?”

or

Afrikaans: Werk die plan goed?
English: “Does the plan work well?”

or

Afrikaans: Is die man siek?
English: “Is the man ill?”

or

Afrikaans: Was die maaltyd smaaklik?
English: “Was the meal tasty?”

Happy People at Dining Table, Making a Toast

2.5 Spelling / Spelling

Over the years, Afrikaans spelling has been adapted from Dutch and simplified. For instance: the Dutch mij (“me”) became my in Afrikaans. The pronunciation of zon (“sun”) became son in Afrikaans. English-speakers find many Afrikaans words intuitive and easy to learn.

Afrikaans does pose some challenges, however. So, why is Afrikaans so hard to learn despite the simpler aspects we covered above?

3. Reasons Why Afrikaans Can Be Difficult to Learn

First, let’s clarify this—no language is objectively easy to learn. Asking: “How hard is it to learn Afrikaans?” is the same as asking: “How hard is it to learn the piano?” Learning the piano may be comparatively easier than learning the oboe, for instance, but it still requires a lot of work and effort. If you want to become good at it, it’s going to take effort and commitment. 

At AfrikaansPod101, we know this, which is why we keep our lessons short and accessible—not to mention fun and tailored to your personal needs.

Let’s look at the ways in which Afrikaans is slightly more complex than other Germanic languages.

Asian Girl in Classroom Looking Unhappy

3.1 Afrikaans Negation / Afrikaanse Ontkennende Vorm

This is probably one of the better-known syntactic properties that poses challenges when learning Afrikaans: the so-called “double negative.”

Afrikaners need to make very sure that you get it when they say “No!” A simple word won’t do, nope; we have to repeat ourselves. The basic principle is this: Add a second ‘negation word’ in the final position. This means that a second nie (“no”) is added after the verb, noun, or clause.

Here are a few examples:

Afrikaans Ontkennende Vorm – Double NegativeEnglish
Ek drink nie alkohol NIE.“I don’t drink alcohol.”
Sy kan nie Afrikaans praat NIE.“She can’t speak Afrikaans.”
Hulle is nie so arm NIE.“They are not that poor.”
Wie het nie opgedaag NIE?“Who didn’t arrive?”
Moenie dit doen NIE!“Don’t do it!”

This rule doesn’t apply in simple statement sentences.

For instance:

Afrikaans Ontkennende Vorm – Simple NegativeEnglish
Ek drink nie.“I don’t drink.”
Sy praat nooit.“She never talks.”
Die kat hardloop nie.“The cat doesn’t run.”

Another way in which Afrikaans is slightly more intricate is the way nouns inflect for numbers.

3.2 Numbers / Syfers

In Afrikaans sentences, the noun inflects for numbers with a few suffixes, such as: “-s” / “-e” / “-te.”

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Singular: meisieSingular: “girl”
Plural: meisiesPlural: “girls”
Singular: hondSingular: dog
Plural: hondePlural: dogs
Singular: koffiebekerSingular: “coffee mug”
Plural: koffiebekersPlural: “coffee mugs”
Singular: landSingular: “country”
Plural: landePlural: “countries”

3.3 Afrikaans Trilled “R” / Trillende Afrikaanse “R”

Learning to speak Afrikaans correctly comes a bit difficult for English-speakers. It’s easy to spot a non-native speaker by this one trait only: they battle with their Rs! 

Unlike the guttural R of the Dutch and the French, and the rolling R of the English, the Russian and Afrikaans trilling R is formed in the front of the mouth. This is done by pressing the tongue firmly against the little ridge behind the upper front teeth, like when you form a “t.” Then, air is pressed over the tip of the tongue so that the tongue trills. Not easy to master, but neither is it impossible!

What makes things even more complex is that phonology, or the way the Rs are pronounced, differs by region. Learn a bit more about that in this pronunciation article

But don’t despair. Like learning how to drive, cook properly, or fix a car, learning to speak Afrikaans just takes commitment and a bit of effort. And we have your back all the way!

Woman in Car with Driving Instructor

4. How to Learn Afrikaans with AfrikaansPod101 – Fast and Easy Ways at Your Fingertips!

We hope you enjoyed our article about the difficulties of learning the Afrikaans language! Do you feel more confident about learning now, or are there still some things you feel unsure about? Feel free to ask us in the comments!

Also, let us make it easier for you with our innovative approach to language-learning. You can expect the following when you enroll:

  • Many free online tools upon subscription to make your life easier while learning to speak Afrikaans. For instance, this free Afrikaans dictionary
  • Thousands of lessons tailored to meet you at your level of language proficiency, while giving you enough content to help yourself straight away, such as this free list of Afrikaans Key Phrases
  • Several learning options that suit your pocket and your language needs. For instance, fast track your fluency with access to your own online teacher.

Make your Afrikaans learning experience much easier today by enrolling with us at AfrikaansPod101!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Afrikaans

The Most Common Afrikaans Language Learning Mistakes

Thumbnail

We tend to experience mistakes as either Tyrants or Teachers. Sometimes, we make regrettable mistakes that we berate ourselves over; other mistakes slide off us like rainwater.

In Afrikaans, we have a popular idiom: Probeer maak die beste geweer. (Lit. “Trying makes the best gun.”) This roughly means that you won’t know if you can hit a target unless you shoot!

Woman with Gun

The secret is simply to not give up, no matter how often you repeat a mistake in Afrikaans! We understand this very well at AfrikaansPod101.com.

Dig into this guide to avoid making any of these common Afrikaans language mistakes!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Vocabulary and Grammatical Mistakes
  2. Pronunciation Mistakes
  3. Spelling Mistakes – Compounds and Emphasis
  4. Other Common Afrikaans Spelling Mistakes
  5. Why Afrikaans Mistakes are Nothing to Worry About
  6. The Many Ways AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Correct Afrikaans Mistakes

1. Vocabulary and Grammatical Mistakes

There are a number of mistakes in Afrikaans concerning vocabulary and grammar that you should keep an eye out for.

1.1 Don’t be English!

One of the biggest Afrikaans mistakes is to use English syntax or English idiomatic language

Don’t beat yourself up about this, though! The truth is, very few native speakers are educated (or stuck-up!) enough to not engage in some serious language mixing themselves.

English is, after all, one of our national languages, and South Africa is very English in culture. So, this cross-pollination is to be expected.

Three Women Chatting

However, if you want to be taken seriously by the academic intelligencia, then try your best to avoid this. You will undoubtedly hear your Afrikaans friends say:

  • Dit was baie nice gewees! 
    “That was very nice!”

Or, translating “I was like so pissed off with him” to Ek was soos in so kwaad met hom gewees. The errors include using a very modern English interjection (“like so”), and the preposition met, instead of vir. The correct Afrikaans translation would be: Ek was so kwaad vir hom gewees.

By all means, you can talk like this too, if your audience is young and casual. Our young people, especially, talk like this. 

But if your goal is to impress your Afrikaans academic friends or colleagues, then ditch Anglicizing the language.

The following are very popular English terms to pepper your Afrikaans with. Depending on the situation, slang is quite acceptable in our society.

English NounsCorrect Afrikaans
“boot” (not the shoe)kattebak
“cubbyhole”paneelkissie
“show”vertoning, opvoering
“song”liedjie, lied
“jam” (confectionary)konfyt
“lift”hysbak
“movie”film, rolprent
“poet”digter
“chips” (crisps)aartappelskyfies
“fabulous,” “amazing,” “awesome” (pronouns)fantasties, wonderlik, asemrowend

1.2 The pesky plurals

Afrikaans is a bit more difficult than English when it comes to indicating plurals. In English, you just add an “s,” most of the time. Think “one car” but “two cars.” Or “one tree” but “two trees.”

This rule works for some words in Afrikaans. For example: een meisie vs. twee meisies (“one girl” vs. “two girls”) or een seun vs. twee seuns (“one son” vs. “two sons”).

There are very few exceptions to this rule in English. But Afrikaans is a whole different kettle of fish. For the plural, we often modify the noun, and there are plenty of exceptions to the rule of simply adding an “s.” Confusion about this can lead to many mistakes in Afrikaans!

Many Trees in a Forest

For instance, saying booms instead of bome (“trees”) won’t work in Afrikaans. And saying vliegtuigs or vliegtuige instead of vliegtuie (“airplanes”) will earn a few smiles from your Afrikaans friends.

It’s best to dig in and master Afrikaans grammar! 

2. Pronunciation Mistakes

For starters, see this lesson about Afrikaans pronunciation. This will give you a good idea of a broader range of pronunciation issues.

You’ll soon see that Afrikaans pronunciation can be a bit tricky. We have a few uncommon sounds that have no approximates in, for instance, English.

The most common pronunciation mistake Afrikaans learners make is definitely with the pesky “r.”

2.1 The Afrikaans R—Don’t roll with it

Like in some other languages, Afrikaans has trilled Rs. This trilling sound is called the “dental and alveolar tap or flap” or an “alveolar consonant.”

Closed Mouth with Scribbles

It’s made like this: 

  • Lightly press the tip of your tongue against the front edge of your hard palate, where the alveoli are situated. (The alveoli are the sockets of your superior, or front, teeth.) 
  • Your tongue tip should be close to your two front teeth, but not touching them
  • Now, say “t” (like in “train”), but push air through the opening between your tongue tip and your front palate.
  • Your tongue will slightly contract and change position and shape—not a problem. If you’re doing it correctly, your tongue tip will trill.

This is quite a difficult skill to master at first, and we understand that. Trilled Rs definitely don’t have the same sound as the gentler-sounding rolled R common in English pronunciation. 

You won’t sound like a native if you roll your Rs in Afrikaans, but we won’t berate you!

Learn more about pronouncing consonants in Afrikaans with our recorded lessons by native speakers, like this one: The Pronunciation of Consonants in Afrikaans.

2.2 Those difficult diphthongs

The Google dictionary defines a diphthong as a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable. When pronouncing a diphthong, the sound begins as one vowel and moves toward the other (as in “coin” and “loud”).

Afrikaans has a few diphthongs of its own that non-native speakers find challenging to pronounce:

IPA Phonetic SymbolAfrikaans DiphthongEnglish Translation
ɪøseun“son”
ɪəmeet“measure”
œimuis“mouse”
ʊəstoot“push”
ɔigoiing“burlap”
œːbrûe“bridges”

To master these, you’ll probably need to learn from a native! Consider signing up for your own Afrikaans tutor with AfrikaansPod101 for nearly constant guidance.

2.3 The guttural G

This is another sound in Afrikaans that learners find difficult!

The “g” is pronounced in the back of the throat for most Afrikaans “g”-words. This sound is called a “fricative,” meaning that it’s produced by passing air through the partly constricted opening of your throat.

The only English approximation is “loch,” as in the Lochness monster. However, don’t pronounce it as “log,” or worse, “lock!” 

Make the sound you would if you had a fishbone stuck in your throat. Or if you were emulating an angry, hissing cat—there, you got the Afrikaans G!

Angry Hissing Cat

2.4 Emphasis is everything

Where you put the emphasis in a word can change its meaning in Afrikaans. This is especially true of compounds.

The part of the compound with the emphasized syllable holds an important focus for the meaning of the word.

For instance, a native will say mieliepap (“grits,” or literally “cornmeal porridge”), with the emphasis on the first syllable. Mielies are corn, which is used to make cornmeal. 

So, by emphasizing this syllable, the exact meaning is conferred—i.e., it’s not porridge made with oats, sorghum, rice, etc.

Sample: Ek eet mieliepap.
Translation: “I eat grits.”

  • If you pronounce the word with the emphasis on the second syllable, you’ll probably not be understood. Mieliepap just sounds funny.

  • Emphasis on the third syllable will sound like you split the words. This will change their meaning. (Splitting the words changes “cornmeal” to “corn” in meaning. And “porridge” changes to “a pulp” in meaning. Not a combination of mielie and pap you’re ever likely to use! Think: Hy slaan die mielie pap. / “He beats the corn to a pulp.”)
Grits

3. Spelling Mistakes – Compounds and Emphasis

Let’s start with a spelling mistake in Afrikaans that trips up native speakers, too: when to join words and when to separate them.

3.1 To join or not to join? — Compound words in Afrikaans

This is an important Afrikaans mistake to avoid, because splitting words that belong together can completely change the meaning of what you’re writing.

Afrikaans language tutors often preach that the rule of thumb is to compound. They’ll tell you that your spelling will, more likely than not, be correct. 

And they’re right! 

Take, for instance: vinger + nael (“fingernail”). This is correctly spelled vingernael. 

Also, tafel + poot (“table leg”), which gets written as one word: tafelpoot.

Female Hand with Fingernail

Exceptions

There are exceptions to the rule, of course. For instance: skool + visse (“shoal of fish”). Joining these two words would completely change the meaning of the word. (Skoolvisse is not incorrect, but it would be a neologism—a newly created word—that’s rarely used. It would refer to fish belonging to a human school.)

Another exception is mediese fonds (“medical aid”). In Afrikaans, like in English, it’s incorrect to join these two words, and it should never be written that way.

Tip: For the more advanced Afrikaans students—a linguist once gave me a tip about compound words in Afrikaans. He pointed out that these, or other words that get written together, are always pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable.

3.2 Sometimes it’s good to split…

Splitting words sometimes changes the meaning legitimately.

Take, for instance, the word opsoek.

This means “looking up someone or something,” like from a directory or at a specific address. Pronounce it with the emphasis on the first syllable.

Sample: Ek gaan my niggie opsoek. (Stress the first syllable when pronouncing.)
Translation: “I’m going to look up my cousin.”

However, splitting the words will turn them into a known term: op soek. This means “to look for someone or something.” (Here, again, pronunciation is important. The emphasis will fall on the second word, which changes the meaning somewhat.)

Sample: Ek is op soek na my niggie.
Translation: “I am looking for my cousin.”

Woman Waving Hi

As you can see, opsoek and op soek are closely related, and the difference in meaning is nuanced. Let me explain by adding context in an example situation.

You, chatting with your partner at the breakfast table: 

  • Ek gaan my niggie Riana opsoek vandag. 
    “I’m going to look up my cousin Riana today.”

Also you, addressing the guy who opened the door at your cousin’s last known address: 

  • Ek is op soek na my niggie Riana. 
    “I’m looking for my cousin Riana.”

4. Other Common Afrikaans Spelling Mistakes

The following mistakes are even common among native Afrikaans-speakers! Avoid embarrassment and impress your Afrikaner boss or friend with your superior spelling skills!

This list is not exhaustive, and you’ll see that some are loan words from other languages.

Mistake in AfrikaansCorrect Afrikaans SpellingTranslation
agressieaggressie“aggression”
asperineasperien“aspirin”
AustralieAustralië“Australia”
brocollibroccoli“broccoli”
burgermeesterburgemeester“mayor”
cappucino / capucinocappuccino“cappuccino”
deurgansdeurgaans“throughout”
defnitiefdefinitief“definitely”
dieëtdieet“diet”
Epos / epose-pos“email”
geintereseerd / geinterresseerdgeïnteresseerd“interested”
graffitti / grafiti / grafittigraffiti“graffiti”
herhinderherinner“remind”
huistoe / winkeltoe / skooltoehuis toe / winkel toe /  skool toe“going home / to the shop / to school”
ingeneur ingenieur“engineer”
interresantinteressant“interesting”
JapanneesJapanees“Japanese”
knië, kniee knieë“knees”
kominukasie / komunikasiekommunikasie“communication”
komittee, kommitee, kommitteekomitee“committee”
leêr lêer“file”
nogalsnogal“kind of”
NamibiaNamibië“Namibia”
ommelet / omelletomelet“omelette”
onmiddelikonmiddellik“immediately”
satelietsatelliet“satelite”
sedertiensedertdien“since”
waardeur / wardeerwaardeer“appreciate”
yogurtjogurt“yogurt”

5. Why Afrikaans Mistakes are Nothing to Worry About

Apparently, children and Nobel Prize winners have a specific trait in common: they don’t allow mistakes to throw them off course.

Girl Learning Chemistry

And it makes sense! Think of how you learned to speak your native tongue. It took many adorable mistakes (and even more tries) before you started sounding human. 

But you didn’t give up just because your speech wasn’t perfect after the third try! You kept at it and now you can speak fluently.

Expect to make many Afrikaans language-learning mistakes. Learn to love them for the teachers they are—over time, they will disappear. Almost like they’re friends for a season.

However, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared! So, while this list of common mistakes in Afrikaans is not exhaustive, we hope that it will help you master the language. That’s our main aim at AfrikaansPod101!

In fact—ask us in the comments if you’re wondering if something is a mistake in Afrikaans! We’d be happy to help you this way.

6. The Many Ways AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Correct Afrikaans Mistakes

With AfrikaansPod101.com, you’ll be learning with the best team!

Sign up for a free online course now, and create a lifetime account. You’ll have access to the following and more:

What’s not to love?!

If you’re serious about your learning, make use of our three different learning plans.
We’ve got you covered!

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

Your List of the Top 10 Afrikaans Questions and Answers

Thumbnail

Questions are language constructs we use to elicit information from other people, making them crucial in communication! Knowing stuff helps you navigate your way in this world—every child knows this. 

And any parent will tell you that even babies know how to “ask”!

So, if your plan is to connect and communicate with Afrikaners, it’s very important to learn or brush up on the  most common Afrikaans questions and answers.

Afrikaners are nice—like the country’s climate, they’re warm and friendly. And they love to chat, especially with new friends! So at AfrikaansPod101.com, we make sure that you master the Afrikaans you need to connect with them.

Three People with Drinks Chatting

Learn the most useful Afrikaans questions and answers quickly and easily in this article (and even more when you sign up)! This way, you’ll be able to converse in Afrikaans in no time, and reap all sorts of benefits.

Using Afrikaans questions, and making use of the Afrikaans question word list in this article, will boost your confidence, and can even help you make new friends. Not a bad prospect.

So, let’s not waste time. Get cracking on this list of the top Afrikaans questions and answers!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Wat is jou naam? / What is your name?
  2. Waarvandaan is jy? / “Where are you from (originally)?”
  3. Waar bly jy? / “Where do you live?”
  4. Waar bly jou familie? / “Where does your family live?”
  5. Waar werk jy? / “Where do you work?”
  6. Kan jy Engels praat? / “Can you speak English?”
  7. Hoe oud is jy? / “How old are you?”
  8. Wat is jou foonnommer? / “What is your phone number?”
  9. Wanneer is jou verjaarsdag? / “When is your birthday?”
  10. Hoeveel kos hierdie? / “How much does this cost?”
  11. Bonus: Hoe sê mens ___ in Afrikaans? / “How do you say ___ in Afrikaans?”
  12. AfrikaansPod101 Makes Learning Afrikaans Questions and Answers Super-Easy!

1. Wat is jou naam? / What is your name?

First Encounter

This is a very important question in Afrikaans when introducing yourself and getting to know someone. (Okay, well, it’s important in every language, if you want to get on with people!)

This is a pretty straightforward question, and it’s commonly used in a variety of situations. 

However, there are other ways to ask the same thing.

Alternate Ways of Asking

1.1 Hoe heet jy? / “What are you called?” (Roughly translated)

This is an antiquated way to ask for someone’s name. Because this Afrikaans question is related to Dutch, it doesn’t get used that often anymore; when it does get used, it’s usually by older folks.  

1.2 Wat kan ek jou noem? / “What can I call you?”

Even in English, this question sounds slightly flirtatious, doesn’t it? But fortunately, there’s nothing improper about it. So, if you need to put an Afrikaans-speaking person at ease, this is a nice phrase to use—with a calm, friendly smile and eye contact, of course.

1.3 Wat is jou volle name, asseblief? / “What are your full names, please?”

This is a phrase used to ask for one’s name and surname, and it’s mostly used in official situations. 

Possible Answers

Now, let’s look at some different ways you can answer these Afrikaans questions.

1.4 My naam is Annabel. / “My name is Annabel.”

A straightforward, simple answer, suitable for use in any situation.

1.5 Noem my Annabel. / “Call me Annabel.”

This is a slightly informal response, and it’s good to use if you need to be friendly and engaging.

1.6 Ek heet Annabel. / “I am called Annabel.”

The antiquated response to the antiquated Afrikaans question above (1.2).

1.7 Jy mag my op my naam noem. / “You may call me by my name.”

If someone knows your name and you want to put them at ease, you can tell them this. It indicates that you’re comfortable with a certain level of trust and informality between the two of you. 

If you guessed that this can also be the flirtatious, playful (and cheeky!) reply to question 1.3 above, you’d be right! 

It could also be a rather facetious response, so better not use it when you’re talking to someone very senior to you (e.g. a police officer, the traffic cop stopping you on the road, or a doctor).

2. Waarvandaan is jy? / “Where are you from (originally)?”

Afrikaans-speaking South Africans are, by nature, inquisitive people who want to know things about your personal history straight away! 

Fear not, they’ll be willing to share the same information about themselves. “Open” and “gregarious” are terms that describe Afrikaners well. So, start unpacking your family history already—beginning with one of the most common questions in Afrikaans asked of foreigners!

This Afrikaans question is used interchangeably with another one:

2.1 Waar kom jy vandaan? / “Where do you hail from?”

Most of the time, both questions specifically ask about your place of birth and/or where you grew up.

Possible Answers

2.2 Ek kom van Utrecht af. / “I’m from Utrecht.”

This could imply that you’re still living there, but not necessarily.

2.3 Ek is gebore in Utrecht en het daar grootgeword. / “I was born in Utrecht and grew up there.”

This is a more specific answer that leaves little room for interpretation. 

These Afrikaans questions and answers are often confused with the ones directly below, even by locals! 

3. Waar bly jy? / “Where do you live?”

Yup, this person wants to know where you’re currently residing. This can mean that they’re asking for the location of your temporary or permanent residence. Depending on the situation and how much you trust the person, answer with as many (or as few) details as you prefer.

Next is a question that’s a bit more informal, and asks for the same information but with more details.

3.1 Wat is jou huisadres? / “What is your home address?”

Have it ready on a piece of paper, in case it’s the taxi driver asking! Or better—learn it by heart. Your address is an important bit of information, no matter which country you’re visiting.

Possible Answers

3.2 Ek bly tans in Kaapstad. / “I currently live in Cape Town.”

Obviously, fill in your own city or town of residence!

Answering question 3.1:

3.3 My woonadres is ___ [e.g. Stay Nice Guest House; Main Straat, 48 Blouberg Strand]. / “My residential address is ___.”

The sample (between brackets) is for a temporary address. Again, fill in your own details. You could add your permanent residential address here, too.

As an aside: Just like in any other country, don’t ditch your gut feeling or the habit of keeping personal information safe when visiting.

South Africans are, as a rule, friendly and helpful people, but charlatans and criminals can live anywhere. So, if someone or something looks or feels too good to be true…well, you know how the saying goes.

House

4. Waar bly jou familie? / “Where does your family live?”

This question can be asked in official situations, such as at a police station, in a hospital, or by your South African employer. Answer truthfully. And keep in mind that you’ll very likely be asked this in informal situations too, so don’t say you weren’t warned!

Relax, though. Your newly acquired Afrikaans friend is not a plotting serial killer.

They’re showing that they like and want to know more about you. This instant intimacy is a hallmark of the way we roll at the very southern point of Africa.

Answer vaguely if you don’t feel comfortable with this level of info-sharing yet. Don’t worry! Your Afrikaner friend will understand. 

That said—just don’t lie, especially if you can see this friendship going somewhere good. Later, you’ll regret not being honest. Truthfulness is an important quality in Afrikaner relationships.

Possible Answers

4.1 My familie bly in Utrecht in Nederland. / “My family lives in Utrecht in the Netherlands.”

Pretty self-explanatory. This can refer to where your birth and/or extended family still resides.

A variation of this answer is:

4.2 My familie is van Utrecht. / “My family hails from Utrecht.”

Like in English, there is a distinction. This means that your family is from that area, but not necessarily living there still.

Traditional Family Gathering with Kwanzaa

5. Waar werk jy? / “Where do you work?”

This is very likely something you’ll be asked in both official and social situations. Your answer will probably include the name of a company and a location.

Here’s a similar question:

5.1. Wat doen jy vir ‘n lewe? / “What do you do for a living?”

The difference is nuanced, but, like in English, the answer doesn’t necessarily include the name of your employer.

Possible Answers

5.2 Ek werk vir Vodacom in Kaapstad. / “I work for Vodacom in Cape Town.”

This one is self-explanatory, but keep in mind that it’s the short version. If an official person asks this question, you could include your actual work address. Insert your own employment details, of course.

5.3 Ek is ‘n vliëenier. / “I am a pilot.”

If the conversation is informal, this is all you need to say in reply to question 5.1. 

5.4 Ek het my eie besigheid en werk van die huis af. / “I have my own business and I work from home.”

For the entrepreneurs!

Introduce Yourself

6. Kan jy Engels praat? / “Can you speak English?”

A vital question in Afrikaans! Especially if you’ll battle just to understand the replies. 

Here’s a variation of this question:

6.1 Praat jy Engels? / “Do you speak English?”

This is a slightly more informal way of asking the same thing. Obviously, replace “English” with the language of your choice.

Possible Answers

6.2 Ek praat Afrikaans. / “I speak Afrikaans.”

This reply will imply that you can speak it rather well.

6.3 Ek praat nie Afrikaans nie. / “I don’t speak Afrikaans.”

This is a handy phrase, especially if you’re in deep-rural South Africa. You’d be more likely to get swift assistance if the native speaker understands that you can’t speak Afrikaans well yet.

6.4 Ek leer nog Afrikaans praat. / “I’m still learning to speak Afrikaans.”

At least you’re trying! Like in most other countries, your effort to learn the natives’ language will be much appreciated, admired, and encouraged.
6.5 Ek praat ‘n bietjie Afrikaans. / “I speak a bit of Afrikaans.”

Boy Learning Language

7. Hoe oud is jy? / “How old are you?”

Uhm, not considered the most polite question in social settings—especially when addressing older women!

We also won’t ask you to divulge your age…unless you look twenty years younger than you are. But then, you’re probably used to getting this question anyway.

On the topic of social etiquette, Afrikaners are pretty down-to-earth, pragmatic, and easy-going people. 

So, in our books, there are very few unforgivable social gaffes. These are not even, strictly speaking, social gaffes. It’s your common, garden-variety bad behavior that we frown upon socially.

For instance, don’t hit a child. Nowadays, that’s a crime in South Africa, even if the child is yours. Actually, just don’t hit anyone. 

And don’t be rude, selfish, or insulting. This type of behavior lands guests on the other side of the welcome mat—probably on their butt. Most Afrikaners are great at setting boundaries.

Woman with

You’ll be forgiven many small social sins, especially once we sense that you’re reliable, transparent, and a cool person!

Anyway, take the cue and rather don’t ask this Afrikaans question unless you’re making conversation with one of the kiddos! Then make a fuss of the reply, no matter what.

Possible Answers

7.1 Ek is ___. / “I am ___.”

Insert your age in the blank. (To learn Afrikaans numbers, do visit us at AfrikaansPod101.com. You can learn to count straight away—anywhere and for free!)

The longer version of this reply is:

7.2 Ek is vyf-en-twintig jaar oud. / “I am twenty-five years old.”

Again, just add your own age. Both are commonly used, but the former is the more colloquial reply.

7.3 Ek is vyftig jaar en ses maande oud. / “I’m fifty years and six months old.”

In case you need to be very specific.

Numbers

8. Wat is jou foonnommer? / “What is your phone number?”

Uncomplicated and self-evident, this question can be used in any situation. You can also ask a simpler question:

8.1 Wat is jou nommer? / “What is your number?”

This will only work if the context is clear, of course.

Possible Answers

8.2 My foonnommer is ___. / “My phone number is ___.”

The short version is:

8.3 My nommer is ___. / “My number is ___.”

Guy Pointing to His Celphone

9. Wanneer is jou verjaarsdag? / “When is your birthday?”

Like the question about age, we don’t ask this right after learning a person’s name. But it’s not such a sensitive topic, so you won’t be ostracized if you do ask this of your new Afrikaner friend. 

And we love birthday parties!

This question, though, should not be confused with:

9.1 Wat is jou geboortedatum? / “What is your birth date?”

The difference should be evident.

Possible Answers

9.2 My verjaarsdag is 22 November. / “My birthday is November 22.”

Just fill in your own birthday.

9.3 My geboortedatum is 22 November, 1969. / “My date of birth is November 22, 1969.”

Answering question 9.1.

9.4 Ek is gebore op 22 November, in 1969. / “I was born on November 22, in 1969.”

Kids at Birthday Party

10. Hoeveel kos hierdie? / “How much does this cost?”

In South Africa, you can’t haggle in shops; it’s unacceptable. An item’s price is its price, and it’s almost never negotiable. So, you won’t be using this question to quibble about the cost of something. Save that for the casual street markets!

However, it’s good to know this Afrikaans question when the price isn’t evident. 

A variation:

9.1 Wat is die prys hiervan? / “What is this thing’s price?”

You can use this in restaurants, for instance, to learn the price of a specific dish. It needs to be clear what you’re referring to, of course. 

You can also modify the question by adding: … in Amerikaanse dollars / “…in American dollars.”

Possible Answers

9.2 Dit kos ses-honderd Rand. / “It costs six-hundred Rand.”

The Rand, or ZAR, is South Africa’s monetary unit. This amount will get written like this: R600.

BTW, to learn about Afrikaans money, subscribe to AfrikaansPod101 now for access to a quick lesson!

People Handling Paper Currency

11. Bonus: Hoe sê mens ___ in Afrikaans? / “How do you say ___ in Afrikaans?”

Insert the English word, or indicate what you mean. This question is especially handy when you first start learning Afrikaans, and you’re going to ask this a lot. Shorten it by leaving out in Afrikaans

And fear not—we’re patient with students! We’ll translate for you with a smile.

You can also ask:

10.1 Wat is ___ in Afrikaans? / “What is ___ in Afrikaans?”

The difference between the questions should be evident. Choose the one that best fits your situation.

Possible Answers

10.2 Jy sê ___. / “You say ___.”

10.3 Dit is ‘n ___. / “That is a(n) ___.”

10.4 Dit is ‘n ___ in Afrikaans. / “That is a(n) ___ in Afrikaans.”

This is a more elaborate answer. Leave out the article ‘n when you’re not referring to a specific thing.

10.5 Ek weet nie. / “I don’t know.”

Well, sometimes you just don’t.

Woman Gesturing I Don't Know

Well done! If you know these Afrikaans questions and answers by heart, you’re well-equipped to start a conversation. 

Are there any other questions and answers in Afrikaans you want to know? Let us have them in the comments!

Before we conclude, here’s the promised list of Afrikaans question words:

Afrikaans Question WordEnglish Translation
Wie“Who”
Wat“What”
Waar“Where”
Wanneer“When”
Hoekom“Why”

12. AfrikaansPod101 Makes Learning Afrikaans Questions and Answers Super-Easy!

Afrikaans, which is closely related to Dutch, is both an easy and challenging language to master. This is especially true if your own language is not Germanic-based.

But don’t fear!

We make it easier for you with our innovative approach to language-learning. Outlined below are just some of the perks you can expect when you enroll:

  • Plenty of free online tools upon subscription to make your life easier while learning to speak Afrikaans. (Such as, for instance, this free Afrikaans dictionary.)
  • Thousands of lessons tailored to meet you at your level of language proficiency, while giving you all you need to help yourself straight away, such as this free list of Afrikaans Key Phrases
  • Several learning options that suit your pocket and your language needs. For instance, fast-track your fluency with access to your own online teacher.

Enroll with AfrikaansPod101.com now for a lifetime membership! You’ll be happy with us—there’s no question about it!

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

Afrikaans Sentence Patterns – Your Best Guide!

Thumbnail

Afrikaans is a daughter-language of Dutch, which informs about ninety percent of its vocabulary. However, many other languages helped shape Afrikaans! These include Malay and all of the African languages, as well as Portuguese, Arabic, French, German, and even Russian. 

With such a mixed pot, you’d think that Afrikaans sentence patterns would be very complex and difficult to learn. You would be both right and wrong! 

Certain aspects of Afrikaans sentence structures are indeed complex, but the basics are pretty easy to master. With a bit of effort, you could be speaking like a native in no time. 

Also, at AfrikaansPod101.com, we understand that in order to master the content successfully, the learning process needs to be enjoyable. So we make sure to keep our lessons easy and fun!

In this article, we offer you a good number of Afrikaans sentence pattern examples that should help you get the basics under your belt.

But before we proceed with that—why is it important to learn these sentences as soon as you start with your Afrikaans studies?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. 1. Why is it Important to Master Afrikaans Sentence Patterns?
  2. 10 Afrikaans Sentence Patterns
  3. What Makes AfrikaansPod101 Different?

1. Why is it Important to Master Afrikaans Sentence Patterns?

It’s important to quickly learn at least the basic Afrikaans sentence patterns if you wish to:

1) Understand native Afrikaans-speakers more easily

2) Be better understood by native speakers when you speak Afrikaans

3) Understand Afrikaans media, such as news, movies, TV, music, books, etc., more easily

4) Significantly ease your Afrikaans learning process 

NOTEBOOK WITH PENCIL AND WRITING ABC

In fact, mastering any language’s sentence patterns flows naturally from learning its vocabulary—it’s part of the language’s very structure!

So, let’s get you going on these Afrikaans sentence pattern examples. Once you’ve memorized them, you should find that the language will make much more sense to you.

Note: It will also help you a lot to study our Afrikaans sentence word order blog post! 

Sentence Patterns

2. 10 Afrikaans Sentence Patterns

1 – Linking Pronouns and Nouns with the Verbs “Is,” “Am,” and “Are”

The Afrikaans sentence pattern for linking nouns is very similar to that in English. You’ll see that the simplest way to join two nouns follows exactly the same structure.

Of course, more complex sentences follow different patterns, but it’s best to start with the basics first!

1.1 Ek is Gerda. / “I am Gerda.”

1.2 Ek is ‘n skrywer. / “I am a writer.”

1.3 Daardie vrou is my baas. / “That lady is my boss.”

1.4 Daardie ou is my man. / “That guy is my husband.”

1.5 Hy is ‘n vegvlieënier. / “He is a fighter pilot.”

1.6 Ons kinders is internasionale skool studente. / “Our children are international school students.”

1.7 Ons is ‘n gesin wat in die buiteland bly. / “We are a family living abroad.”

KIDS IN SCHOOL UNIFORM

Note: Did you notice that there’s only one verb (is) in Afrikaans that modifies the pronoun and noun? English has three, each one used depending on the noun or pronoun: “is,” “am,” and “are.”

2. Describing Someone or Something

Again, the basic Afrikaans sentence construction is very similar to that in English when we describe someone or something. We use adjectives (byvoeglike naamwoorde) and adverbs (bywoorde) for this purpose. 

2.1 Jy is vriendelik. / “You are friendly.” 

2.2 My man is aantreklik. / “My husband is attractive.”

2.3 Daardie man is ‘n goeie sanger. / “That man is a good singer.” 

2.4 Die groot klavier was ‘n mooi instrument. / “The big piano was a beautiful instrument.” 

2.5 Baie dankie vir die vriendelike uitnodiging. / “Thank you very much for the friendly invitation.” 

3. Expressing Want

Afrikaans phrases for expressing want are a bit more complex than those in English. 

There are two ways to express want. One involves the use of the verb and adverb wil and , and the other simply uses the verb soek.

Here are some useful examples:

3.1 Ek wil ‘n koffie hê, asseblief. / “I want a coffee, please.” (You could also leave out the article ‘n, just like in English.)

3.2 Sy wil suiker hê, asseblief. / “She wants sugar, please.”

3.3 Ek wil ‘n kamer hê, asseblief. / “I want a room, please.” 

This is good and polite Afrikaans. Wil and always flank the object (a noun, or the thing you want) on both sides. 

You could also express want in another way. But, while it’s colloquial and often used, it’s not as grammatically pure as the previous examples.

3.4 Ek soek ‘n dokter, asseblief. / “I’m looking for a doctor, please.” 

3.5 Ek soek dringend hulp, asseblief. / “I am urgently looking for assistance, please.” 

DR WITH YOUNG PATIENT

This one’s a bit tricky, because soek also means “to search for,” as in:

3.6 Ons soek my suster. / “We are searching for my sister.”

3.7 Hulle soek die verlore hond. / “They are searching for the lost dog.” 

You will, of course, be understood if you omit asseblief (“please”), but similarly to some other languages, saying “please” is an indicator of respect in Afrikaans.

4. Expressing Need

Wants are different from needs, and this is clearly expressed in Afrikaans, too. There are two ways to express your needs.

First, the simple Afrikaans sentence structure always sandwiches the noun (object of your need) between the verb het and the adverb nodig.

4.1 Ek het kos nodig. / “I need food.” 

4.2 Die man het kos nodig. / “The man needs food.”

4.3 Ek het ‘n vurk nodig. / “I need a fork.” 

4.4 Daardie vrou het ‘n vurk nodig. / “That woman needs a fork.” 

PEOPLE TOASTING BEFORE A MEAL

This is good colloquial Afrikaans, and is most popularly used.

The other, more formal way of making a need clear uses the verb benodig. Use this in formal documents or speech, such as at work or in court.

4.5 Ek benodig die verslag. / “I need the report.”

4.6 Die baas benodig die syfers. / “The boss needs the figures.” 

More Afrikaans sentence examples:

4.7 Ek het medisyne nodig, asseblief. / “I need medicine, please.” 

4.8 Sy het water nodig. / “She needs water.” 

4.9 Die siek kat het ‘n veearts nodig. / “The ill cat needs a vet.”

4.10 Die polisie benodig jou besonderhede. / “The police need your details.” 

4.11 Jy benodig ander dokumente om ‘n visa te kry. / “You need different documents to get a visa.”

5. Expressing a Like or Preference

When you like something, you use the verb and particle hou van to express it in the simplest Afrikaans, like this:

5.1 Ek hou van jou. / “I like you.”

5.2 Sy hou van roomys. / “She likes ice cream.”

5.3 Die man hou van kuns. / “The man likes art.”

5.4 Ek hou daarvan om op die strand te stap. / “I like taking a stroll on the beach.”

5.5 Hy hou daarvan om in die stort te sing. / “He likes to sing in the shower.”

5.6 Ek hou van Imagine Dragons se musiek. / “I like Imagine Dragons’ music.”

COUPLE WITH DOG ON BEACH

6. Asking Someone to Do Something

Like in English, it’s considered polite and respectful to use “please” (asseblief) when you’re asking someone to do something. It doesn’t matter whether you place it at the beginning or the end of the sentence, or just after the first verb—as long as it’s there! Here are some examples of how to make sentences in Afrikaans when asking someone to do something. 

6.1 Sit, asseblief. / “Sit, please.”

6.2 Sit dit neer, asseblief. / “Put it down, please.” 

6.3 Asseblief gee dit vir my aan. / “Please hand it to me.”

6.4 Groot-asseblief, moenie raas nie! / “Big please, don’t make a racket!”

6.5 Staan asseblief voor die kamera. / “Please stand in front of the camera.”

Note: Body language is very important, as is how you address the person whom you’re asking to do something. 

  • A sharp, short tone will sound like a command. (Try to avoid this, unless you’re in the army and can pull rank!)
  • A smile, a friendly hand gesture, and a calm voice will be more of an invitation to act than an order.
  • A polite request will only require a friendly, calm manner while looking the other person in the eye.
Sentence Components

7. Asking for Permission

Permission-asking is another part of the South African social etiquette. Be sure to memorize Asseblief mag ek … (“Please may I…”), because this phrase is what you can start most permission-asking sentences with.

You could also add asseblief to the end of the sentence; it won’t be incorrect.

7.1 Asseblief mag ek sit? / “Please may I sit?”

7.2 Asseblief mag ek gaan? / “Please may I go?”

7.3 Mag ek ingaan, asseblief? / “May I enter, please?”

7.4 Asseblief mag ek die badkamer gebruik? / “Please may I use the bathroom?”

7.5 Mag ek op hierdie stoel sit, asseblief? / “May I sit on this chair, please?”

7.6 Asseblief mag ek vroeg loop vandag? / “Please may I leave early today?”

Again, if you want a good response, look the person in the eye, and remain friendly and calm. 

You can also use this phrase to ask for something, such as tickets. Like this:

7.7 Mag ek kaartjies kry, asseblief? / “May I have tickets, please?”

7.8 Mag ek koffie kry, asseblief? / “May I have coffee, please?”

COFFEE WITH COFFEE BEANS

8. Asking for Information

South Africa is a fabulous tourist destination, and the natives are generally helpful and friendly. Yet finding your way around the country will always be easier if you know how to ask some basic questions in Afrikaans. 

When asking questions in order to obtain information, always start with a question word:

  • Wat? / “What?”
  • Wie? / “Who?”
  • Waar? / “Where?”
  • Wanneer? / “When?”
  • Hoeveel? / “How much?”
  • Waarom or Hoekom? / “Why?”
  • Hoe? / “How?”

Of course, all of these words on their own can be used as a question to ask information, if the person you’re addressing knows what you’re referring to.

Otherwise, you can use some of the following questions with the most pertinent question words.

A. Wat / “What”

A.1 Wat is hierdie? / “What is this?”

A.2 Wat doen jy? / “What are you doing?”

A.3 Wat doen jy vir ‘n lewe? / “What do you do for a living?”

A.4 Wat moet ek aantrek? / “What must I wear?”

A.5 Wat wil jy nou doen? / “What do you want to do now?”

B. Wie / “Who”

B.1 Wie is jy? / “Who are you?”

B.2 Wie kan ek help? / “Who can I help?”

B.3 Wie kan ek vra? / “Who can I ask?”

B.4 Met wie moet ek praat? / “Who should I talk to?”

B.5 Wie kan my help, asseblief? / “Who can help me, please?”

C. Waar / “Where” AND Waarheen / “Where to”

C.1 Waar is die badkamer, asseblief? / “Where is the bathroom, please?” (Replace badkamer/”bathroom” with any noun, such as polisiestasie/”police station,” hospitaal/”hospital,” lughawe/”airport,” strand/”beach,” ingang/”entrance,” and so forth.)

C.2 Waar bly jy? / “Where do you live?”

C.3 Waar kan ek kos koop? / “Where can I buy food?”

C.4 Waar is die naaste ATM, asseblief? / “Where is the closest ATM, please?” 

(Again, replace ATM with any relevant noun.)

C.5 Waar kan ek ‘n taxi kry? / “Where can I get a taxi?”

C.6 Waarheen gaan hierdie trein? / “Where does this train go?”

C.7 Waarheen kan mens gaan om te dans? / “Where can one go to dance?”

WOMAN AT STATION LOOKING AT WATCH

D. Wanneer and Hoe Laat / “When” and “What time”

D.1 Wanneer kom jy? / “When will you come?”

D.2 Wanneer kom die bus? / “When will the bus come?”

D.3 Hoe laat is jou vlug? / “What time is your flight?”

D.4 Hoe laat begin die vertoning? / “What time does the show start?”

D.5 Wanneer verwag jy hom? / “When are you expecting him?”

D.6 Wanneer arriveer ons? / “When will we arrive?”

Which Afrikaans sentence patterns do you think are the most relevant to you? Share with us in the comments!

3. What Makes AfrikaansPod101 Different?

So, these common Afrikaans sentence patterns will go a long way to help you communicate fast and with clarity. At AfrikaansPod101.com, we make that process even easier with our culturally relevant content, and our practical, fun approach to learning.

When you enroll, you can expect to receive many benefits, including different membership options. Depending on your personal needs, these will unlock functions such as a personal tutor (available via text nearly 24/7), or access to knowledgeable, energetic hosts who are native Afrikaans-speakers. 

You can also get access to downloadable apps and many other tools you can use on your Android or IOS phone, tablet, or laptop—everywhere and anywhere! You can practice, for instance, an Afrikaans word a day or these 100 Core Afrikaans Words, anywhere you are! Or, on your own time, learn with the help of these Afrikaans vocabulary lists.

Get a new lesson delivered every day, and easily learn to speak Afrikaans like a native! Using these basic Afrikaans sentence patterns, you’ll soon be fluent in every way. And with enough practice, you’ll be using them like a native.

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

All About Verb Conjugation in Afrikaans – Your Best Guide!

Thumbnail

So, you know all about verbs in Afrikaans, but you’re still unsure about conjugations. No problem! Let’s learn about Afrikaans verb conjugation together.

In Afrikaans, it’s pretty simple, as verbs conjugate (vervoeg) in only a few instances. In other words, with most Afrikaans tenses, there are some changes to sentence structure and words, but not to the verb. The only exceptions are in the case of past tenses and the present participle. 

Fantastically easy, right? Yes! With AfrikaansPod101, this is definitely the case.

Let’s unpack this grammar rule in more detail, starting with some definitions.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Inflection vs. Conjugation
  2. Afrikaans Verb Inflections and Conjugations
  3. Quiz – Which Ones are Conjugations?
  4. How AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Your Conjugations!

1. Inflection vs. Conjugation

Top Verbs

These two terms are often confused, which is understandable. They’re very closely related. Fortunately, they’re not difficult to distinguish and can, in many instances, be used interchangeably. 

“Inflections” (verbuigings) is a general term that refers to form changes that can occur to sentences, verbs, nouns, etc., based on a number of variables. 

“Conjugations” (vervoegings) is a subset of inflections that applies only to verbs. Its counterpart for nouns is called “declensions.” So, all conjugations are inflections, but not all inflections are conjugations. Also, strictly speaking, calling them “Afrikaans verb conjugations” is a tautology, meaning that the use of “verb” is redundant. This is because, by definition, only verbs can be conjugated! (Think: “The frozen ice is cold!”)

Afrikaans verbs are conjugated for time only, as previously stated. They don’t inflect (change), for instance, for nouns and pronouns, meaning the verb stays the same no matter which noun or pronoun you use. This differs from English and some other Germanic languages, where the verb does change or inflect according to the noun or pronoun.

To illustrate this unique facet of Afrikaans conjugation, take a look at the English and Afrikaans tables below:

ENGLISH

Singular Nouns and Pronouns – Present TensePlural Nouns and Pronouns + “I” – Present Tense
he sits; she sits; it sits; the child sitsI sit; you sit; they sit; we sit; the children sit
he eats; she eats; it eats; the koala bear eatsI eat; you eat; they eat; we eat; the koala bears eat
Singular Nouns and Pronouns – Past TensePlural Nouns and Pronouns + “I” – Past Tense
he sat; she sat; it sat; the child satI sat; you sat; they sat; we sat; the children sat
he ate; she ate; it ate; the koala bear ateI ate; you ate; they ate; we ate; the koala bears ate

From the table above, you should notice that the verbs “sit” and “eat” inflect with an “-s” at the end for singular nouns and pronouns. For plural nouns and pronouns, only the base forms of the verbs are used, meaning the “-s” is omitted. All these changes take place when you’re using the present tense. For past tense use, they inflect again…can you spot the differences? Let us know in the comments! 

Afrikaans, in contrast, is totally easy:

AFRIKAANS

Singular and Plural Nouns and Pronouns – Present Tense
ek sit; sy sit; hy sit; hulle sit; ons sit; die kind sit; die kinders sit
ek eet; sy eet; hy eet; hulle eet; ons eet; die koalabeer eet; die koalabere eet

Here, it’s clear that the verbs (“sit” and “eat”) don’t inflect at all for any of the pronouns and nouns. Super easy! 

KOALA BEAR

With past tenses, as well as the present participle, conjugation in Afrikaans is a different story.

2. Afrikaans Verb Inflections and Conjugations

For the sake of good understanding, let’s take a look at when and how conjugations and verb inflections happen in different types of Afrikaans sentences.

Important Note for Table I: Just a reminder that “inflection” refers to changes that were made to the sentence and any words other than verbs. “Conjugation” refers to changes to verbs only.

Table I

Type of SentenceExamples of Verb Inflections (incl. Conjugations)
Imperative (orders and commands)1. Verb: Kniel / “Bow”
Example: Kniel! / “Bow (down)!”

2. Verb: Praat / “Talk”
Example: Praat sagter! / Lit: “Talk softer!”

Rule: 
  • There is no conjugation. 
  • Sag is inflected with the suffix -er

QUIET WOMAN IN MOVIE THEATER
Infinitive (ongoing action)Present
1. Verbs: Sukkel and Loop / “Battles” and “Walk”
Example: Die man sukkel om te loop. / “The man battles to walk.”

2. Verbs: Hou (daar)van and Lag / “Likes” and “Laugh”
Example: Ek hou daarvan om te lag. / Lit: “I enjoy it to laugh.”
 
Rule: 
  • Change in sentence – Always precede the second verb with om te. No conjugation.

Past:
1. Verbs: Sukkel and Loop / “Battles” and “Walk”
Example: Die man het gesukkel om te loop. / “The man battled to walk.”

2. Verbs: Hou (daar)van and Lag / “Likes” and “Laugh”
Example: Ek het daarvan gehou om te lag. / Lit: “I enjoyed it to laugh.”

Rule: 
  • Change in sentence – Precede the first verb with the time word het, and the second one with om te
  • Conjugation – Add the prefix ge- to the first verb.
Future: 
1. Verbs: Sukkel and Loop / “Battles” and “Walk”
Example: Die man sal sukkel om te loop. / “The man will battle to walk.”

2. Verbs: Hou (daar)van and Lag / “Likes (to)” and “Laugh”
Example: Ek gaan hou daarvan om te lag. / Lit: “I am going to like it to laugh.”

Rule: 
  • Change in sentence – Precede the first verb with the time word gaan / sal / wil, and the second one with om te
  • No conjugation.
Conditional Past, Present, and FuturePast
1. Verb: Wen / “Win” and Be-verbs
Example: Hy sou gewen het as hy fikser was. / “He would’ve won if he had been/was fitter.” 

2. Verb: Werk / “Work”
Example: Hulle sou gewerk het as dit nodig was. / “They would’ve worked if it had been/was necessary.”

Rule: 
  • Change in sentence – Always precede the first verb with sou and follow it with het as + conditional clause + appropriate be-verb (in this case, was). 
  • Conjugation – Add the prefix ge- to the verb.
Present: 
1. Verb: Eet / “Eat” and Be-verbs
Example: Die hond sou eet as daar kos was. / “The dog would eat if there were food.”

2. Verb: Dans / “Dance”
Example: Die vrou sou dans as daar musiek was. / “The woman would dance if there were music.”

Rule: 
  • Change in sentence – Always precede the first verb with sou, and follow it with as + conditional clause + appropriate be-verb (was, in this case). 
  • No conjugation.
Future: 
1. Verb: Slaap / “Sleep” 
Example: Die baba sal slaap as die kamer donker genoeg is. / “The baby will sleep if the room is dark enough.”

2. Verb: Vertrek / “Leave”
Example: Ons sal vanaand vertrek as die motor reg is. / “We’ll leave tonight if the car is ready.”

Rule: 
  • Change in sentence – Always precede the first verb with a time word like sal / gaan / wil and follow it with as + conditional clause + appropriate be-verb (in this case, is). 
  • No conjugation.
Present1. Verb: Val / “Falls”
Example: Die reën val saggies. / “The rain falls quietly.”

2. Verb: Hardloop / “Run”
Example: Hulle hardloop weg. / “They run away.”

Rule: 
  • No conjugation.
Present Participle (forms perfect and passive tenses)1. Verb: Vra / “Ask”
Example: Hy kyk vraend na die vrou. / Lit: “He looks inquiringly (lit. askingly) at the woman.”

2. Verb: Hardloop / “Run”
Example: Die hardlopende bok beweeg na links. / “The running antelope moves to the left.”

Rule: 
  • Conjugation – In the first example, the suffix -end is added to the second verb, which changes its word function to that of an adverb.
  • The second example shows a conjugation with the suffix -ende on the first verb that, in this case, changes its function to that of an adjective. It’s also an example of an irregular conjugation that changes the spelling of the word.
 
Here are other examples of irregular conjugations that change the verb into an adjective or adverb:
  • verloor to verlore / “lost”
  • aankom to aankomende / “coming”
  • vertrek to vertrekkende / “leaving” or “going”
  • beloof to belowende / “promising”
  • skryf to skrywende / “writing”
  • lag to laggende / “laughing”
    loop to lopende / “walking”
    sit to sittende / “sitting”
  • vlieg to vlieënde / “flying”
BOY HOLDING A TOY AIRPLANE
Past1. Verb: Vlieg / “Fly”
Example: Ons het gevlieg. / “We flew.”

2. Verb: Kook / “Cook”
Example: Die kok het vir ons gekook. / “The chef cooked for us.”

Rule: 
  • Change in sentence – Add the time word het before the verb. 
  • Conjugation – Add the prefix ge- to the verb.
Past Participle (forms perfect and passive tenses)1. Verb: Vra / “Ask”
Example: Hy het vraend na die vrou gekyk. / “He looked inquiringly at the woman.” (First verb changes function to an adverb.)

2. Verb: Hardloop / “Run”
Example: Die hardlopende bok het na links beweeg. / “The running antelope moved to the left.” (The first verb changes function to an adjective.)

Rule: 
  • Change in sentence – Add the time word het before the second verb. 
  • Conjugation – Add end orende to the first verb, changing its function to adverb or adjective. If the first verb changes to an adverb, add the prefix ge- to the second verb. As explained above, the second example shows an irregular conjugation.
Future1. Verb: Slaap / “Sleep”
Example: Sy sal slaap. / “She will sleep.” 

2. Verb: Blaf / “Bark”
Example: Die hond gaan blaf. / “The dog will bark.”

Rule: 
  • Change in sentence – Add the time words sal / gaan / wil before the first verb. 
  • No conjugation.

A bit confused?

WOMAN SHRUGGING HER SHOULDERS WITH PALMS FACING UP

That’s totally okay!

Let’s quickly test your knowledge with an easy quiz…

3. Quiz – Which Ones are Conjugations?

More Essential Verbs

Identify the inflected verb (conjugation) in the following sentences and let us know your answers in the comment section!

1. Die man het geëet. / “The man ate.”

2. Ons sal weer lag. / “We will laugh again.”

3. ‘n Perd het kouend gestaan by die dammetjie. / “A horse stood chewing by the pond.”

4. Die mooi vrou praat sag. / “The pretty woman speaks softly.”

5. Die motor het vinnig gery. / “The car drove fast.”

6. Al die blomme is geurig. / “All the flowers smell good.”

In any language, grammar usually takes some time to master. For this reason, it’s best if you team up with…well, the best teachers you possibly can!

4. How AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Your Conjugations!

We hope you enjoyed learning about Afrikaans verbs and their conjugations with us. Are you ready to start practicing, or do you still have questions? Let us know in the comments!

Again, AfrikaansPod101 takes the lead with many excellent Afrikaans learning tools to help you master conjugations, inflections, and so much more—easily and almost effortlessly! While you’re learning about verb conjugations in Afrikaans, lessons like these are helpful, but we have so many more learning options for you, too! 

These tools include:

1. An extensive vocabulary list, updated regularly.

2. A new Afrikaans word to learn everyday. Master these words easily with our recordings and flashcards!

3. Access to numerous recordings, such as this Afrikaans Vocab Builder.

4. A free Afrikaans online dictionary.

5. An excellent 100 Core Afrikaans Words list!

Learn much faster with the help of a personal tutor, who will first let you take an assessment test to personalize your training.

They’re very helpful when you bump into challenges during your studies. Your very own friendly, Afrikaans-speaking teacher will be only a text away on a special app, anywhere, anytime. Using a guided learning system, which was developed by experts in language and online education, they’ll be giving you personal feedback and constant support so you can learn and improve quickly. You’ll also be tasked with weekly assignments in reading, writing, and speaking, to really hone your Afrikaans language skills. 

Don’t hesitate—enroll with AfrikaansPod101 now!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Afrikaans

The Best Afrikaans Verbs List at Your Fingertips!

Thumbnail

Verbs are those words in a sentence that tell us what’s being done (or if it’s being done). In other words, a verb refers to an action. 

Afrikaans verbs are, in some ways, easier to master than those in other languages. For instance, in Afrikaans, verb conjugation depends only on time! This means that the verb form remains the same for all pronouns: 

  • Hy eet, ek eet, hulle eet, almal eet!

“He eats, I eat, they eat, everyone eats!”

Great, right?!

At AfrikaansPod101, we’re going to make sure that you understand Afrikaans verbs and their classification with our Afrikaans verbs list. In this blog, we explain the basic types of verbs found in Afrikaans, and offer you easy-to-use lists at your fingertips! 

Let’s not dally, but get busy and jump right in!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Types of Verbs
  2. Afrikaans Verbs and Sentence Construction
  3. AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Afrikaans Verbs!

1. Types of Verbs

Top Verbs

There are four types of verbs in Afrikaans.

TYPE OF VERB“Independent Verbs”

Selfstandige 

OR 

Hoofwerkwoorde
“Auxiliary Verbs” 

Hulpwerkwoorde 

OR 

Medewerkwoorde
“Linking verbs” 

Koppelwerkwoorde
“Infinitive Verbs” 

Infinitiewe
DESCRIPTIONThese are “doing” words that can only be used in the simple, incomplete present tense. There are four types of independent verbs.Afrikaans auxiliary verbs, which can never stand alone, help independent verbs express time, modality, and form. There are, therefore, three types of auxiliary verbs in Afrikaans.These verbs can also never stand alone. They’re used to link nouns, adjectives, or pronouns with nouns.The infinitive is a verb that’s used together with te or om te. These verbs can be used on their own in a sentence as well.

Let’s take a closer look at these types!

A. “Independent Verbs” / Selfstandige OR Hoofwerkwoorde

Hoofwerkwoorde can stand alone in a sentence. As mentioned in the table above, there are four types of hoofwerkwoorde, also called selfstandige werkwoorde, or “independent verbs” in Afrikaans. They are:

  • “Transitive verbs” (Oorganklike hoofwerkwoorde) AND “Intransitive verbs” (Onoorganklike hoofwerkwoorde)
  • “Reciprocal verbs” (Wederkerende hoofwerkwoorde)
  • “Impersonal verbs” (Onpersoonlike hoofwerkwoorde)

1- “Transitive & Intransitive Verbs” / Oorganklike & Onoorganklike Werkwoorde

Like in English, oorganklike hoofwerkwoorde are always followed by an object in a sentence. Or, in other words, it’s always clear that the action (depicted by the verb) is “transferred” upon a person or object.

Example: bring / “brings”

Afrikaans: Hy bring die sushi. 

Translation: “He brings the sushi.”

Another easy way to identify these types of independent verbs is by trying to answer the “what?” question. As in: “What does he bring?” (Wat bring hy?) If you can’t answer this question with a noun or pronoun, the verb is not transitive.

Man Holding Sushi Trays in Each Hand

Sentences with “intransitive verbs” (onoorganklike hoofwerkwoorde) don’t need an object—usually a noun or a pronoun—to make sense. Or, in other words, there’s no “recipient” of the action.

Example: sing / “sings”

Afrikaans: Sy sing.

Translation: “She sings.”

Also, an intransitive verb can be identified by a clause that tells more about how the action takes place.

Example: praat / “talk”

Afrikaans: Sy praat te sag op die verhoog.

Translation: “She talks too softly on stage.”

However, don’t break your head too much about these two types of independent verbs! Most transitive verbs in Afrikaans can be used as intransitive verbs too. 

In fact, there are very few true transitive verbs in Afrikaans! Here are some of them: 

  • Bring / “Bring”
  • Haak / “Hook”
  • Dra / “Carry”

All of the following independent verbs in Afrikaans can be used either as transitives or intransitives.

Gee / “Give”
Ontvang / “Receive”
– Gooi / “Throw”
Eet / “Eat”
Skink / “Pour”
Sny / “Cut”
Hoor / “Hear”
Skiet / “Shoot”
Lees / “Read”
Brei / “Knit”
Was / “Wash”
Bel / “Phone”
Verloor / “Lose”
Wen / “Win”
Sit / “Sit”
Hardloop / “Run”
Loop / “Walk”
Ry / “Ride”
Bestuur / “Drive”
Vlieg / “Fly”
Swem / “Swim”
Staan / “Stand”
Spring / “Jump”
Slaap / “Sleep”
Skryf / “Write”
Tik / “Type”
Verf / “Paint”
Speel / “Play”
Girl Jumping in Air

2- “Reciprocal verbs” / Wederkerende hoofwerkwoorde

We find these in English too, but they’re slightly different in function in Afrikaans. There are two types of reciprocal verbs in Afrikaans: 

a) Toevallig wederkerende hoofwerkwoord / “Incidental reciprocal verb”

b) Noodsaaklik wederkerende hoofwerkwoord / “Imperative reciprocal verb”

A toevallig wederkerende hoofwerkwoord can be transitive. This means that the verb will always be sandwiched between a subject and an object that can, but does not necessarily, refer to the same person. 

Example: was / “washes”

Afrikaans: Hy was hom.

Translation: “He washes him.”

In this sentence, the verb was (“wash”) can refer to a man who washes himself, or it can refer to a father washing his son, for instance. In other words, it could mean that the action is being done to a second party, which means that the verb is transitive.

The noodsaaklike wederkerende hoofwerkwoord (“imperative reciprocal verb”), however, is always sandwiched between an object and a subject that refers to the same person. There’s no doubt that only one person is being referred to here.

Example: verheug / “rejoices”

Afrikaans: Sy verheug haar oor die nuus.

Translation: “She rejoices over the news.”

Happy woman with Face in Hands

There aren’t many of these verbs in Afrikaans, and please note that their English translations aren’t always used reciprocally. Below is an Afrikaans verbs list to give you a better idea of these words. Afrikaans verbs with no direct translation to English are bolded.

  • vererg / “annoyed”
  • berus / “acquiesces” or “accepts” or “resigns”
  • beroep / “appeals to”
  • bekommer / “worry”
  • bemoei 

There’s no direct translation for this word in English. Bemoei can denote interference or inappropriate meddling with something. But it can also refer to taking action or interest in something one is not expected to, such as a charity.

  • verkyk / “gawks” or “stares in amazement”
  • verlustig

There’s no direct translation for this word either, but it means to take exquisite delight in something, truly savoring the experience.

  • verstom / “stunned”
  • begewe / “to embark on” or “to enter into”

Begewe denotes an action with a certain risk, meaning that you’re embarking on something potentially dangerous or something that could have a negative outcome.

  • bevind / “finds”
  • Misgis / “misjudges”
  • ontferm / “takes care of” (As in little animals, children, anything vulnerable)
  • verstout / “ventures to” (Taking bold action that’s slightly risky, perhaps even a bit naughty!)
  • beroem 

This word doesn’t have an English translation, and is difficult to describe! It denotes that you have a certain skill you’re proud of, almost to the point of being famous for that skill.

  • beywer

This word means something between “to work” and “to campaign” with fervor. It denotes that you put in special, dedicated, and passionate effort into doing something.

  • aanmatig / “presumes”
  • steur

No direct translation, but the closest English approximation is probably “to be bothered.” Steur means to take notice of something, or to pay attention to it. The word is usually used in this sentence: Moet jou nie daaraan steur nie. / “Don’t be bothered by it.” or “Pay it no heed.”

  • bedink / “devise”
  • gedra / “behave”
  • skaam 

This doesn’t have a direct English translation, but it means that you’re ashamed of something or someone.

3- “Impersonal verbs” / Onpersoonlike hoofwerkwoorde

Impersonal verbs are, as the name suggests, verbs that don’t refer to a specific person or place. 

List:

1. Dit reën en blits. (“There’s rain and lightning.”)

2. Dit sneeu in die berge. (“It’s snowing in the mountains.”)

3. Dit hael selde hier by ons. (“It seldom hails here.”)

4. Dit spook in daardie huis. (“The house is haunted.”)

5. Dit wasem op in die kar. (“Condensation is forming in the car.”)

6. Dit word nooit koud nie. (“It never gets cold.”)

7. Dit gaan goed. (“It’s going well.”)

8. Dit is onnodig. (“It’s unnecessary.”)

An easy way to identify impersonal verbs is by the subject in the sentence, which will always be the impersonal pronoun dit (“it”).

Confused and scared yet? Wait until you see the rest! 

Man Peeking from behind Table

No worries, though, because with a bit of consistent practice and some help from AfrikaansPod101, you’ll master all of these eventually. There are so many benefits of learning a new language—it’s worth sticking with it!

Also, for your convenience, here are other informative blog posts to expand your knowledge of Afrikaans grammar: 

B. “Auxiliary Verbs” / Hulpwerkwoorde

As the name suggests, these verbs help the selfstandige werkwoorde (“independent verbs”) in sentences. They help to express time, modality, and form.

1- Hulpwerkwoorde van Tyd / “Auxiliary Verbs of Time”

This is simple. There’s only one auxiliary verb in this category: het. Also, the other verb(s) in the sentence gets conjugated with the prefix ge-, such as in gepraat (“spoke”).

  • Ek het gewerk. (“I worked.”)
  • Hulle het fietsgery. (“They cycled.”)
  • Ons het gevlieg. (“We flew.”)

2- Hulpwerkwoorde van Wyse OR Modaliteit / “Modal Auxiliary Verbs”

Afrikaans modal verbs modulate the meaning of a sentence in regard to the probability, possibility, necessity, or need of the action taken.

  • Die vrou kan dit doen. (“The woman can do it.”)
  • Ons mag saam wees. (“We are allowed to be together.” OR “We could be together.”)
  • The man moet kosmaak. (“The man must prepare food.”)
  • Hulle probeer ‘n vlieër maak. (“They try to make a kite.”)

Other modal auxiliary verbs in Afrikaans:

  • sal / “shall”
  • wil / “will”
  • moes

This verb is used to indicate the past tense of moet, and the other verb also gets conjugated with ge-. For example: Hy moes kosgemaak het. (“He should have cooked.”)

  • behoort / “should”
  • hoef

This Afrikaans verb is always used together with nie, a verbal clause that means “needn’t.” For example: Julle hoef nie vroeg te kom nie. (“You [plural] don’t need to come early.”)

3- Hulpwerkwoorde van Vorm / “Auxiliary Verbs of Form”

There are only two of these auxiliary verbs: word and is. They’re used to indicate the passive voice.

  • Die motor word gewas. (“The car is being washed.”)
  • Daardie huis is verkoop. (“The house was sold.”)
Kite on a Nice Day

C. Koppelwerkwoorde / “Linking Verbs”

These verbs are used to link nouns, adjectives, or pronouns with other nouns. If used alone in a sentence, the latter won’t make sense. For instance:

  • Die kat is mooi. (“The cat is pretty.”)
  • Hy word groot. (“He is growing up.”)
  • Dit lyk goed. (“That looks good.”)
  • Jy bly mooi. (“You remain attractive.”)

Take note: This is not to be confused with bly, which means “live,” as in a house. Ons bly lekker in hierdie plekkie literally translates as “We live nicely in this little place,” and it means you enjoy living there. This bly is a main or independent verb, since the sentence will still make since if lekker in hierdie plekkie is removed.

  • Die kind klink moeg. (“The child sounds tired.”)
  • Dit wil voorkom asof sy skuldig is. (“It appears she might be guilty.”)

D. Infinitiewe / “Infinitive Verbs”

Negative Verbs

The infinitive form in Afrikaans is indicated with the use of te and om te together with the verb. The verb can be used alone too, where the infinitive is then implicated.

a) Te and a verb

  • Die rok is te koop. (“The dress is for sale.”)
  • Die motor is te huur. (“The car is for hire.”)
  • Hulle behoort hulle te skaam. (“They should be ashamed of themselves.”)

b) Om te and a verb

  • Die sanger hou daarvan om te jodel. (“The singer likes to yodel.”)
  • Sy vra hom om wyn te koop. (“She asks him to buy wine.”)
  • Ek is lief om te droom. (“I love dreaming.”)

c) Omitting om te (but still implicating it)

  • Swem is goed. (Instead of Om te swem is goed.) / “Exercise is good.”
  • Die kind leer klavierspeel. (Instead of Die kind leer om klavier te speel.) / “The child learns to play the piano.”
  • Help my die blomme plant. (Instead of Help my om die blomme te plant.) / “Help me plant the flowers.”
Someone Planting Flowers

Hopefully you’re not too confused! 

Now let’s take a look at the basic word order of an Afrikaans sentence to understand where verbs should take their place. 

2. Afrikaans Verbs and Sentence Construction

More Essential Verbs

The popular way to explain this is with the acronym STOMPI. But before you start, the golden rule to remember is this: In any DECLARATIVE sentence (stelsin) in Afrikaans, the first verb follows the subject

Now, to unpack STOMPI!

Note: While shortcut learning tools like STOMPI always seem more simple than they are, you’ll never be wrong if you stick to this formula! Obviously, the rules change slightly with interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences, but let’s start with declaratives. 

Subject or Who/What

This is the word indicating the person or thing taking the action, meaning pronouns, nouns, or proper nouns (voornaamwoorde, selfstandige naamwoorde en eiename). Or, in other words, the subject describes who or what is busy acting/doing something. 

Examples of a subject:

Sy

“She”

Die kat 

“The cat”

Marie

“Mary”

Silent V1 or Verb 1:

This one didn’t fit into the acronym, ergo its “silent” status! But it’s very important to remember that all declarative sentences in Afrikaans have this first verb AFTER the subject. This verb can be an auxiliary verb or a regular or conjugated verb (hulpwerkwoorde, en werkwoorde).

Time word or When:

This always comes after Verb 1, and answers the question “When?” It always mentions a time of day or a number.

Object or Who/What:

This is a noun or something upon which the action is performed. 

Manner – Adverbs (bywoorde):

These describe how something happens. In other words, they describe the action taking place.

Silent V2 or Verb 2:

This verb will mostly appear in future or past tense sentences.

Place or location:

These are words that indicate a place. 

Also called plekwoorde or “place words.”

Infinitive:

To do an action.

A. Example of STOMPI in action!

Die kat eet vandag die kos gretig uit die bak om te oorleef.

“Today the cat eagerly eats the food from the bowl to survive.”

Subject: die kat (“the cat”)

Silent verb 1: eet (“eats”)

Time word: vandag (“today”)

Object: die kos (“the food”)

Manner: gretig (“eagerly”)

Place: uit die bak (“from the bowl”)

Infinitive: om te oorleef (“to survive”)

Do you notice how the verb (Silent Verb 1) follows the subject in this sentence? (The Silent Verb 2 is omitted because this is set in the simple present tense.)

Here’s another example:

Stefan het gister die bal baie hard op die tennisbaan geslaan om te wen. 

“Yesterday, Stephen hit the ball very hard on the tennis court to win.”

Subject: Stefan (“Stephen”)

Silent verb 1: het (The word literally translates as “has,” but the sentence is written in the simple past tense. “Has” only gets used in one of the perfect past tenses in English, so it’s omitted from this sentence.)

Time word: gister (“yesterday”)

Object: die bal (“the ball”)

Manner: baie hard (“very hard”)

Place: op die tennisbaan (“on the tennis court”)

Silent verb 2: geslaan (“hit”)

Infinitive: om te wen (“to win”)

The sentence above is a simple past tense sentence. As you should see, it contains both Silent Verbs.

3. AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Master Afrikaans Verbs!

Like any language, all this may seem very daunting to master. Don’t fear! We have your back!

Also—why study in ways that are boring and demotivating, when you can learn Afrikaans while having fun?!

That’s our entire aim at AfrikaansPod101. Get access to thousands of enjoyable, culturally relevant, and very interesting lessons

For instance, check out our page on cracking the Afrikaans writing system in minutes! 

You can also explore and expand your Afrikaans vocabulary with extensive vocab lists, a free online dictionary, and a handy Word of the Day feature. Once you have the 100 Core Afrikaans Words under your belt, buckle up to master the Afrikaans Key Phrase List.

Don’t wait—enroll today!

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you think we missed any common Afrikaans verbs in our list, or if you have any questions about conjugation. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Afrikaans

Best List of Must-Know Afrikaans Pronouns

Thumbnail

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

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

An example of a sentence without pronouns:

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Personal Pronouns / Persoonlike Voornaamwoorde

Introducing Yourself

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

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

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

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

Examples:

Cellphone

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

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

Afrikaans: Hy will by julle aansluit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Impersonal Pronouns / Onpersoonlike Voornaamwoorde

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

Examples:

Afrikaans: Dit reën buite. 

Translation: “It’s raining outside.” 

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

Man with Umbrella Rain

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

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

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

3. Possessive Pronoun / Besitlike Voornaamwoord

As the name suggests, Afrikaans possessive pronouns indicate possession.

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

Examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afrikaans: Julle hond is julle s’n.

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

A Puppy

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

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

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

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

4. Relative Pronouns / Betreklike Voornaamwoorde

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

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

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

Examples:

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

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

Afrikaans: Die onderwerp waaroor sy praat is belangrik.

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

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

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

Afrikaans: Die drama waarin hy optree begin vanaand.

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

5.  Interrogative Pronouns / Vraende Voornaamwoorde

Basic Questions

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

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

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

Examples:

Afrikaans: Wie het die Lotto gewen?

Translation: “Who won the Lotto?”

Woman Standinding in Money

Afrikaans: Wat gaan jy met die geld doen?

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

Afrikaans: Waarvan hou jy die meeste?

Translation: “What do you like the most?”

Afrikaans: Waaroor wil jy skryf?

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

Afrikaans: Waarmee wil jy die koffie roer?

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

Afrikaans: Waarvoor gebruik mens hierdie ding?

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

Afrikaans: Watter take gaan jy nou aanpak?

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

Afrikaans: Wanneer is ons reis na Skotland?

Translation: “When is our trip to Scotland?”

Afrikaans: Waarom huil jy?

Translation: “Why are you crying?”

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

6. Indefinite Pronouns / Onbepaalde Voornaamwoorde

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

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

Examples:

Afrikaans: Laat hulle enige troeteldiere hier toe?

Translation: “Do they allow any pets here?”

A Cat and Dog

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

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

Afrikaans: Niemand mag ingaan nie.

Translation: “Nobody may enter.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afrikaans: Daar is verskeie resepte wat enigeen kan kook.

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

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

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

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

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

Mother with Two Kids

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

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

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

Examples of Reflexive Pronouns / Noodsaaklik Wederkerende Voornaamwoorde:

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

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

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

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

Afrikaans: Ons het ons gelukkig nie vasgeloop nie.

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

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

Examples of Intensive Pronouns / Toevallig Wederkerende Voornaamwoorde:

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

Afrikaans: Hy was homself.

Translation: “He washes himself.”

Afrikaans: Hulle prys hulself.

Translation: “They praise themselves.”

Afrikaans: Sy trek haarself aan.

Translation: “She dresses herself.”

8. Reciprocal Pronouns / Wederkerige Voornaamwoorde

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

Group Meeting Work

Afrikaans: Ons staan mekaar by met die werk .

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

Afrikaans: Ons help die een die ander met opruim.

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

9. Demonstrative Pronouns / Aanwysende Voornaamwoorde

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

Afrikaans: Hierdie vlug gaan aangenaam wees.

Translation: “This flight will be pleasant.”

Afrikaans: Daardie paartjie is gelukkig.

Translation: “That couple is happy.”

Happy Couple

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

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

Improve Listening

With us, you get to learn these pronouns and so much more in easy, fun ways from a native Afrikaans speaker! Also, you get access to free tools, such as hundreds of vocabulary lists, a comprehensive Core Word List, a Key Phrase List, and a Word of the Day every day! 

Sign up for a free lifetime account, and you’ll immediately have access to other tools, including hugely helpful flashcards and space to create your own personalized Word Bank.

With application and persistence—and the help of our fantastic team—you’ll be able to speak Afrikaans like  a native in no time at all! Enroll today.

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