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50+ Delicious Phrases for Eating Out in Afrikaans


South Africa is known for its delicious cuisine, and many of our chefs are rated among the best in the world. Eating out is, therefore, a must for any visitor or tourist! Also, knowing a few of the most common restaurant phrases in Afrikaans could really enhance your dining experience—read on to learn why.

A Waiter in Formal Gear Holding Three Plates of Food.

Afrikaner kelners verskaf gewoonlik uitstekende diens. / “African waiters usually provide excellent service.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Why is it Important to Know Afrikaans Restaurant Phrases?
  2. Finding a Good Restaurant in South Africa
  3. Booking at a Restaurant
  4. At the Restaurant
  5. Recommending the Restaurant
  6. Bonus: Food and Restaurant Vocabulary
  7. Eating out in Afrikaans with AfrikaansPod101!

1. Why is it Important to Know Afrikaans Restaurant Phrases?

One excellent reason for knowing a few strategic Afrikaans restaurant phrases is that it will likely result in a heartwarming, even mind-blowing experience for the foreign patron! This is not only because many South African chefs are exceptionally skilled.

In general, Afrikaner restauranteurs are consummate hosts who love socializing, but it’s guaranteed that they will, enthusiastically and with wide open arms, welcome any international visitor who shows an interest in their language and culture. This will demonstrate that you view them as people and not robots or slaves—a brilliant strategy in human relationships in general.

A Laid Restaurant Table with a Candle and Wine Glasses.

‘n Mooi omgewing maak ‘n ete meer genotlik. / “An attractive setting enhances a meal.”

Also, a restaurant can be an amazingly pleasant setting to practice your Afrikaans speaking and pronunciation skills. So, let’s get cracking with a few of the most common restaurant phrases in Afrikaans!

2. Finding a Good Restaurant in South Africa

Eating out is a favorite pastime among South Africans, so you won’t have any difficulty finding an excellent restaurant in South Africa. Doing a little research online or getting a recommendation from someone you know will point you in the right direction. Do so in Afrikaans!

Following are some Afrikaans restaurant phrases that you can use when asking someone for recommendations. 

Asking For Recommendations
Afrikaans QuestionsEnglish Translations
Is hier ‘n goeie restaurant in die omgewing?“Is there a good restaurant nearby?”
Is daar ‘n goeie vegetariese / vegan restaurant hier naby?“Is there a good vegetarian / vegan restaurant nearby?”
Watter is jou gunsteling eetplek? “Which is your favorite eatery?”
Kan jy ‘n luukse restaurant aanbeveel?“Can you recommend an upmarket / luxurious restaurant?”
Watter eetplek sou jy voorstel vir ‘n baie spesiale afspraak?“Which eatery would you propose for a very special date?”
Waarheen kan ek my gesin neem vir ‘n lekker middagete?“Where can I take my family for a nice lunch?”
Watter is die beste restaurant in Suid-Afrika?“Which is the best restaurant in South Africa?”
Wat dink jy van Pienkie se Plek? Kan jy dit aanbeveel?“What do you think of Pinky’s Place? Can you recommend it?”
Is daardie ‘n wegneem-ete restaurant?“Is that a fast-food restaurant?”
Moet ‘n mens vooraf bespreek?“Should one book ahead of time?”

One Colleague Asking the Other for a Restaurant Recommendation.

Is daar ‘n goeie restaurant in die omgewing? / “Is there a good restaurant nearby?”

Great, so you’ve established where you’d like to go. Now let’s make sure you’ll be able to get a place in the restaurant by making a reservation!

3. Booking at a Restaurant

Typically, reservations might be necessary, but not required for popular restaurants with an excellent reputation. These accept walk-in customers too, but you might find yourself waiting exceedingly long for a table. Reservations are required, though, at exclusive fine restaurants where meal preparation takes a lot of time and is only done per booking.

If the eatery is not high-end, such as bistros, teagardens, family restaurants, or steakhouses, walk-ins are welcome and the norm. Only in the case of large groups will you still need to book a table or tables, if you want to be sure of your place.

1- Making a Booking

Below is a list of phrases you can use for different scenarios such as booking for a couple, a group, or to book out the entire restaurant. It also includes other, more general questions, such as opening and closing times, whether children are welcome, and so forth.

    ➜ To make a reservation, you can visit the restaurant yourself, but most people simply call. Therefore, consider this list of Afrikaans phone call phrases to make sure you get that booking. The article also includes helpful tips about Afrikaner phone etiquette.

Making a Booking
Afrikaans Questions and PhrasesEnglish Translation or Approximate
Is julle oop vanaand / oor naweke?“Are you open tonight / over weekends?”
Hoe laat sluit die kombuis?“What time does the kitchen close?”
Neem die sjef / kok spesiale bestellings?“Will the chef / cook take special orders?”
Mag ons ons eie wyn bring?“Are we allowed to bring our own wine?”
Hoeveel is die kurkgeld per bottel wyn?“How much is the corkage fee per bottle of wine?”
Bedien julle Halaal kos?“Do you serve Halal food?”
Is kinders welkom?“Are children welcome?”
Is daar veilige speelplek vir kinders buite?“Is there a safe place for children to play outside?”
Verskaf julle volwasse toesig by die speelarea?“Do you provide adult supervision at the play area?”
Ek wil graag ‘n tafel bespreek vir vanaand, asseblief.“I’d like to book a table for this evening, please.”
Het julle plek vir vier mense buitekant?“Do you have a table for four people on the patio / outside?”
Ons is twee volwassenes en twee kinders.“We’re two adults and two children.”
Ek wil asseblief ‘n bespreking maak vir twee mense op Dinsdag om eenuur. “I’d like to make a booking for two people on Tuesday at one o’clock.”
Ek wil graag ‘n bespreking maak vir ‘n groep van tien. Dis vir ‘n werksfunksie / verjaarsdagpartytjie.“I’d like to make a reservation for a group of ten. It’s for a work-related event / birthday party.”
Neem julle besprekings vir troues?“Do you take bookings for weddings?”
Watter datums het julle beskikbaar?“Which are the available dates?”
Ek wil graag die hele restaurant bespreek vir die aand van die sewe-en-twintigste Desember.“I’d like to book the whole restaurant for the evening of December twenty-seventh.”
Sal daar genoeg parkeerplek vir meer as vyftig mense wees?“Will there be enough parking space for more than fifty people?”

When calling the restaurant to make a reservation, you will need to give them your contact details for several possible reasons. 

They might be full and would want to let you know if a place becomes available, for instance. Or perhaps you want confirmation of the booking in writing. Also, especially if your reservation is for a large group and/or a special occasion, they might want to keep you up-to-date regarding special requests, wine lists, the menu, etc.

Below are a few useful phrases for this purpose.

Giving Contact Information
Afrikaans PhraseEnglish Translation or Approximate
Asseblief stuur vir my bevestiging van die bespreking.“Please send me confirmation of the booking.”
My epos adres is…“My email address is…”
My foonnommer is…“My phone number is…”
Hier is ‘n alternatiewe foonnommer.“Here is an alternative phone number.”
Ek het nie ‘n landlyn nie.“I don’t have a landline.”
Jy kan my op WhatsApp of Telegram kontak by…“You can contact me on WhatsApp or Telegram at…”
As jy my nie in die hande kan kry nie kan jy my eggenoot / vriend / kollega kontak by…“If you can’t get hold of me, you can contact my partner / friend / colleague at…”

2- Special Requests

A Large Buffet Table Laden with Food.

Ons hou van buffet etes. / “We like buffet meals.”

When you book at a restaurant, sometimes it’s not as simple as just reserving a table for the number of people who will be dining there and then showing up on the day. Often, there are arrangements that must be made ahead of time. 

This is especially true if you are making a reservation for a large group, of course, but even if you are just booking for a couple, you might have some specific requirements. 

However, eating out in Afrikaans need not be a headache at all. Here are some more excellent phrases that will help you to make your requirements known in the language of many of the natives in South Africa. 

Note: Many of these phrases can be used as is when you’re already at the restaurant as a walk-in.

Special Requests
Afrikaans SentenceEnglish Translation
Waar wil jy / julle sit?“Where would you like to sit?”
Watter is jou / julle gunsteling tafel?“Which is your favorite table?”
Kan jy asseblief seker maak dat die tafel buite is?“Can you make sure the table is outside, please?”
Ek wil daar sit.“I want to sit there.”
Ons wil graag buite sit.“We’d like to be seated outside.”
Ek sal ‘n tafel binne verkies.“I’d prefer a table inside.”
Ons wil graag by ‘n venster met ‘n uitsig sit.“We’d like to sit by a window with a view.”
Waar is julle privaatste tafel?“Where is your most private table?”
Kan ons ‘n groter tafel kry, asseblief?“Could we have a bigger table, please?”
Ons gaan ons huweliksherdenking vier. Het julle miskien ‘n tafel vir twee in ‘n private area?“We’ll be celebrating our wedding anniversary. Do you have a table for two in a private space, by any chance?”
Verskaf julle babastoele?“Do you provide baby chairs?”
My pa is allergies vir neute. Gaan dit ‘n probleem vir die kok wees?“My father is allergic to nuts. Will that be a problem for the cook?”
Is julle restaurant maklik toegangbaar vir rolstoele?“Does your restaurant have easy wheelchair access?”
Is die toiletgeriewe maklik toegangbaar vir rolstoele?“Does the restroom have easy wheelchair access?”

Whether or not you are making a booking ahead of time, there are likely going to be special menu-related requirements. Not everybody likes, or can eat, the same food! It will be wise to determine, in advance, if the restaurant caters to the various gastronomic preferences and dietary restrictions, especially those of a group.

Three Young Women Enjoying a Salad Meal al Fresco.

Buitelug eetplekke is baie gewild in Suid Afrika. / “Outdoor eateries are very popular in South Africa.”

Below is a list of useful phrases that will help you make sure everyone is happy with the menu. Again, many of these can be used when making a booking, and when you’re already in the restaurant.

Bookings and Requests for Groups
Afrikaans SentenceEnglish Translation
Wats jou gunsteling dis?“What’s your favorite dish?”
Sal jy asseblief julle spyskaartopsies aanstuur?“Would you please forward your menu options?”
Het julle enige vasgestelde spyskaarte?“Do you have any set menus?”
Die spyskaart moet a la carte wees, asseblief.“The menu must be a la carte, please.”
Ons sal die buffet-opsie neem.“We’ll take the buffet option.”
Ek wil graag my eie spyskaart skep, gebaseer op die disse wat julle aanbied.“I’d like to create my own menu, based on the dishes you offer.”
Het julle ‘n spyskaart vir kinders?“Do you have a menu for children?”
Ek wil afsonderlike spyskaarte vir vegane, vegetariërs en vleiseters hê.“I’d like separate menus for vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters.”
Ek wil spyskaarte met die maatskappy se logo spesiaal vir hierdie geleentheid gedruk hê.“I want menus with the company logo printed specially for this occasion.”
Ons wil graag spesiale spyskaarte laat druk vir die troue.“We’d like to have special menus printed for the wedding.”

Naturally, if you are planning a wedding, a birthday party, a work function, or any other group outing, there are likely to be specific requirements when it comes to decor, seating arrangements, and the like. In the table below, you will find some useful phrases that will help you when it comes to planning these things. 

An Opera Singer in a Tuxedo.

Baie restaurante maak voorsiening vir musiekopvoerings. / “Many restaurants make provision for live music performances.”

Bookings and Requests for Groups Cont.
Afrikaans SentenceEnglish Translation
Ek wil graag die hele restaurant bespreek vir ‘n huweliksonthaal.“I’d like to book the entire restaurant for a wedding reception.”
Sal dit moontlik wees om ‘n tafel vir twintig te bespreek?“Would it possible to book a table for twenty?”
Ek wil graag twee tafels bespreek, elk vir tien mense.“I’d like to book two tables, each for ten people.”
Met wie kan ek praat oor dekor en sitplekreëlings?“Who can I speak to about decor and seating arrangements?”
Asseblief hou my op datum van enige vordering met die dekor en spyskaartbeplanning.“Please keep me updated about progress with the decor and menu planning.”
Ek wil graag naamkaartjies op die tafels hê.“I’d like to have name cards on the tables.”
Verskaf julle verjaarsdag versierings/ blomme?“Do you provide birthday decorations / flowers?”
Verskaf julle versierings vir herdenkings / troues?“Do you provide decorations for anniversaries / weddings?”
Kan julle ‘n verjaarsdagkoek voorsien?“Can you provide a birthday cake?”
Asseblief maak seker daar is ‘n tafel vir die geskenke.“Please, ensure there’s a table for the gifts.”
Ek wil graag sjampanje bestel vir die heildronk.“I’d like to order champagne for the toast.”
Die wynlys sal spesiaal gedruk word.“The wine list will be specially printed.”
Hierdie is my verkose wyne.“These are my preferred wines.”
Ek wil vroeg begin met die voorbereidings.“I’d like to start early with the preparations.”
Is daar genoeg spasie om ‘n vertoning te hou?“Is there sufficient space to put up a show / performance?”
Kan jy enige musikante / bands / komediante aanbeveel?“Can you recommend any musicians / bands / comedians?”
Verskaf julle die klanktoerusting vir toesprake?“Do you provide sound equipment for speeches?”
Stel julle die klanktoerusting op?“Do you set up the sound equipment?”
Ek wil graag die klank self toets, asseblief.“I’d like to test the sound myself, please.”
Kan ons asseblief vier kelners spesifiek vir die geleentheid kry?“May we please have four designated waiters for the event?”

Time to eat out!

4. At the Restaurant

You’re at the restaurant and are instructed to wait for waiter to assist you, or you’re taken directly to your table. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes you’ll have to ask for assistance.

Whatever the scenario, and irrespective of who you’re with, ordering from the waiter in Afrikaans will definitely increase the regard everyone has for you!

A Wrap Sandwich with Chicken, Avocado, Tomato, etc.

In sommige Suid Afrikaanse restaurante word ‘n wrap sandwich ‘n boerekombersie genoem. / “In some South African restaurants, a wrap sandwich is called a farmer’s blanket.

Afrikaans menus are often quite creative and amusing when it comes to naming the dishes they offer. If you are already familiar with some Afrikaans, you will no doubt have learned that some Afrikaans words can seem almost nonsensical when translated directly. 

This works in reverse too. When English, or any other language, is translated into Afrikaans, the results can be, well…interesting. Have a look at these translations of some menu items that can be found when eating out in Afrikaans restaurants. 

Item in Original LanguageAfrikaans Menu VersionLiteral Translation in English
pulled porkvlentervark“tattered pig”
mixed grillmanpan“man’s dish”
malvapoeding (malva “pudding”)“mal vir haar” poeding

In Afrikaans, the word “malva” sounds a bit like mal vir haar (“crazy about her”), if one says the phrase quickly.
“‘crazy about her’ pudding”
a wrap sandwichboerekombersie“farmer’s little blanket”
a jaffle

Note: Unlike the U.S. jaffle, the South African jaffle only refers to a  closed sandwich which is toasted in a round, handheld jaffle or pie iron. This delicious snack typically has a savory filling such as cooked minced meat, curry vegetables, steak-and-kidneys, etc.
boerpens-broodjie“farmer’s-paunch sandwich”
a beer towerplaasdam“farm dam”
a pizzaossewa-wiele“ox-wagon wheels”

The ossewa (“ox-wagon”) has a special place in the European Afrikaner heart because of its association with the Great Trek when the Boers trekked north from the Cape to escape British rule.  
a cabbage rolloumens onder die kombers“old person under the blanket” 

You might have noticed that the word boer is used liberally in these fun names for items on the menus. This is because speakers of Standard Afrikaans associate strongly with farming life. Farming is part of their heritage, to the extent that, historically, Afrikaners of European origin were called Boers in English. The name “Boer” is based on the Afrikaans word boer which means “farmer.”

Now let’s proceed to a few good phrases for ordering from a menu. 

1- How to Order in Afrikaans

In South Africa, ordering items from a menu is no different than anywhere else in the world. You’ll be met at the door by a waiter, who will seat you at your booked table or at the available table of your choice. When you’re seated, you should be handed the menu immediately.

Two Wine Glasses with White and Red Wine.

Suid Afrikaanse wyn is wêreldwyd bekend. / “South African wines are world renowned.”

If the restaurant is licensed to serve alcohol, the wine list often forms part of the food menu. At more upmarket eateries, you can expect to be offered an extensive, separate wine menu.

1.1- Ordering Drinks

While you’re making weighty decisions about your meal, you can just as well have something to drink. Use these phrases to make sure you please your palate with the best.

Ordering Drinks
Afrikaans PhrasesEnglish Translation or Approximate
Wat is jou gunsteling drankie?“What is your favorite drink?”
Kan ons die wynlys sien, asseblief?“Could we see the wine list, please?”
Ek wil graag drankies bestel.I would like to order drinks.
Watter witwyn kan jy aanbeveel?“Which white wine can you recommend?”
Het julle enige goeie wyn op special?“Do you have any good wines on special?”
Bestel mens drankies by die kroeg?“Does one order drinks at the bar?”
Ek wil hierdie wyn hê, asseblief.“I’d like this wine, please.”
Ek bestuur vanaand, so geen alkohol vir my nie, dankie.“I’m the (designated) driver tonight, so no alcohol for me, thanks.”
Ek sal ‘n glas vars lemoensap neem, dankie.“I’ll have a glass of fresh orange juice, thank you.”
Kan ek ‘n glas droë, rooi huiswyn kry, asseblief.

In South Africa, many licensed restaurants offer wine by the glass, but it tends to be from undisclosed, cheaper wine labels and is referred to as huiswyn or “house wine”. Label wines are offered by glass only at upmarket or luxury restaurants and these are typically more expensive.
“May I have a glass of dry, red house wine, please.”
Bring vir ons ‘n bottel van die De Wetshof Bateleur Chardonnay.“Bring us a bottle of the De Wetshof Bateleur Chardonnay.”
Ek wil graag ‘n heildronk instel.“I’d like to make a toast.”
Heildronk tyd!“Time to make a toast!”
Sal jy ‘n bakkie met ys bring, asseblief?“Would you bring us some ice, please?”
My seun wil ‘n Coke hê en my dogter mangosap.“My son wants a Coke and my daughter mango juice.”
Sy sal ‘n filterkoffie neem.“She’ll have a filter coffee.”
Ek verkies warm melk.“I prefer warm milk.”
Mag ek bietjie room kry vir my koffie, asseblief?
Unlike Americans, South Africans don’t, as a rule, serve cream with coffee. However, you’re welcome to ask for some; if the restaurant has in stock, they will serve it gladly and often at no extra cost.
“May I have a bit of cream for my coffee, please?”
Ek verkies swart koffie.“I prefer black coffee.”
Kan ons nog suiker vir die tafel kry, asseblief?“Can we have extra sugar for the table, please?”

1.2- Ordering Food

Alcohol often serves as an appetizer, so you should be hungry by now.

A Young Couple Ordering Food from a Menu in a Restaurant.

Ek wil hierdie gereg hê, asseblief. / “I’d like this dish, please.”

Order your food with the following basic Afrikaans restaurant phrases.

Ordering Food
Afrikaans PhrasesEnglish Translation or Approximate
Kan ons ‘n spyskaart kry, asseblief?“Can we have a menu, please?”
Is ons te laat vir ontbyt?

In South Africa, not all, but most eateries serve breakfast only till noon.
“Are we too late for breakfast?”
Watter dis kan jy aanbeveel?“Which dish can you recommend?”
Watter geregte op die spyskaart is die gewildste?“Which dishes on the menu are the most popular?”
Bedien julle wildsvleis?“Do you serve venison?”
Bedien julle enige vegetariese of vegan geregte?“Do you serve any vegetarian or vegan dishes?”
Ek wil hierdie gereg hê, asseblief.“I’d like this dish, please.”
Ek eet nie rooivleis nie.“I don’t eat red meat.”
Ek verkies seekos.“I prefer seafood.”
Bring vir my ses oesters as voorgereg, asseblief.“Bring me six oysters as a starter, please.”
Ek wil ‘n medium-rare fillet steak hê en ‘n gebakte aartappel met suurroom.“I would like a medium-rare fillet steak and a baked potato with sour cream.”
Ons sal die groente deel.“We’ll share the vegetables.”
Spaghetti Bolognaise vir die kinders, asseblief.“Spaghetti Bolognaise for the children, please.”
Kan ek dalk die helfte van hierdie gereg bestel vir my kind?Could I perhaps order half of this dish for my child?
Ek’s allergies vir XYZ. Weet jy of hierdie gereg dit bevat?“I’m allergic to XYZ. Do you know if this dish contains it?”
Sy’s laktose intolerant.“She is lactose intolerant.”
Ek het regtig lus vir ‘n kerriegereg.“I really feel like having a curry dish.”
Geen uieringe vir my nie, dankie.

Onion rings are a popular side dish at restaurants like, for instance, steakhouses. You’ll typically be asked if these should be included in your meal.
“No onion rings for me, thanks.”
Sal dit moontlik wees om die uieringe te ruil vir ‘n mengelslaai?“Would it be possible to swap the onion rings for a mixed salad?”
Brand hierdie gereg erg?Is this dish very spicy?
Het hierdie tipe vis baie grate?Does this kind of fish have a lot of bones?
Sal jy vir die kok vra om nie groenpeper by die slaai te sit nie, asseblief?Please could you ask the cook not to add green peppers to the salad, please?
Waar is die badkamer?Where is the restroom?

Two Women Holding Delicious Ice Cream Desserts.

Wat is jou gunsteling nagereg? / “What is your favorite dessert?”

With the ordering done, you can now sit back and enjoy your drink or beverage.

2- Phrases to use During the Meal

But the chatting doesn’t stop! Comment on the food or voice your requests in Afrikaans with these phrases.

During the Meal
Afrikaans PhrasesEnglish Translation or Approximate
Geniet jy jou kos?“Are you enjoying your food?”
Geniet julle die ete?“Are you enjoying your meal?”
Wats jou gunsteling gereg?“What’s your favorite dish?”
Gee vir my die tamatiesous aan, seblief?“Pass me the ketchup, please?”
Sout, asseblief?“Salt, please?”
Ek wil nog chips / aartappelskyfies hê, asseblief.

Here you can see that South Africans have two words for French fries.
“I’d like more French fries, please.”
Jy eet soos ‘n voëltjie.

This Afrikaans saying comments on a person’s low appetite.
“You eat like a little bird.”
Ek’s nie baie honger nie.“I’m not very hungry.”
Ek’s so honger soos ‘n wolf!

This is a common Afrikaans saying for expressing great hunger.
“I’m as hungry as a wolf!”
Bring vir ons tafel sout en peper, asseblief.Fetch salt and pepper for our table, please.
Kan ek ‘n servet kry, asseblief? “May I have a serviette, please?”
Wow, hierdie is heerlik.“Wow, this is delicious.”
Hier, vat ‘n happie.“Here, try a (small) bite.”
Proe net hoe lekker.“Have a taste, it’s very pleasant.”
Wil jy van my aartappelskyfies hê?

Note: In most casual eateries in South Africa, it’s common for family and close friends to share or even swap their food. Romantic partners can feed each other tasty bits, it’s acceptable behavior in most restaurants.
“Would you like some of my French fries?”
Die vleis is so sappig en geurig.“The meat is so juicy and flavorful.”
My groente is kraakvars.“My vegetables are very fresh.”
Is jy nog honger?“Are you still hungry?”
Is jy seker jy het genoeg gehad?

Note: This is usually a courtesy question; nobody will force you to eat more food than you want or can handle, and hosts understand this. That said—your host will be pleased and flattered if you agree to an extra portion, even if it’s only the size of a teaspoon!
“Are you sure you’ve had enough?”
Ek is nog honger.“I’m still hungry.”
Ek het genoeg gehad, dankie.“I’ve had enough, thank you.”
Ek is versadig.“I’m full.”
Ons is reg / gereed vir nagereg.“We’re ready for dessert”
Kan ek die nageregspyskaart sien, asseblief?“May I see the dessert menu, please?”
My man het ‘n baie soet tand.

Note: Just like in English, when we use this saying to describe someone, it means they love eating sweet and sugary food.
“My husband has a very sweet tooth.”
Het julle enigiets vir diabete op die nageregspyskaart?“Do you have anything for diabetics on the dessert menu?”

3- Phrases to use After the Meal

The meal’s done, and it’s time to go. Do so in style with these Afrikaans restaurant phrases.

A Couple at a Restaurant Table Asking for the Bill.

Mag ons die rekening kry, asseblief? / “May we have the bill, please?”

1.1- Asking for the Bill

An attentive waiter will notice that you’re near completion and will ask if they can bring you the bill, but it’s also customary to ask for it yourself. If the bill needs to be split, remember to alert the waiter beforehand.

After the Meal
Afrikaans PhrasesEnglish Translation or Approximate
Jy kan maar die rekening bring, dankie.“You may bring the bill, thank you.”
Mag ons die rekening kry, asseblief?“May we have the bill, please?”
Ons gaan die rekening verdeel.“We’re going to split the bill.”
Ons wag al lank vir die rekening; asseblief sal jy dit gaan haal?“We’ve already been waiting a while for the bill; will you please fetch it?”
Hier is ‘n fout op die rekening.“There’s a mistake on the bill.”
Sal jy dit so vinnig as moontlik regstel, asseblief?“Will you fix this as quickly as possible, please?”
Dankie vir die afslag.“Thank you for the discount.”
Is die fooitjie ingesluit by die rekening?“Is the tip included in the bill?”
Ek los vir jou ‘n kontantfooitjie.

Note: Most restaurants accept debit and credit cards, and it’s fine to include the tip in the bill. However, it’s OK to tip in cash too, if you prefer. Place it with the bill, or hand it over to the waiter personally.
“I’m leaving you a cash tip.”
Ek wil die oorblyfsels wegneem, asseblief.

Note: Most often, patrons simply need to indicate that they want to take left-over food with. The waiter will then either remove their plate from the table and deposit the leftovers in a box in the kitchen, or they will bring a box for you to pack the food yourself.
“I want the leftover for take-away, please.”
Kan ek ‘n wegneem-boks kry, asseblief?“May I have a take-away box, please?”

Most often, our dining experiences are enjoyable and meet our expectations. What is the custom in South Africa to express your appreciation and gratitude? And what if you were not pleased with your experience?

1.2- Compliments and Complaints

A wonderful meal with loved ones in a beautiful setting is probably one of the most pleasant experiences one can wish for. Keep these tips in mind when dealing with staff:

  • In South Africa, if the serving staff adds to this pleasure, it is customary to show your appreciation with a generous tip and a sincere compliment or two.
  • Likewise, if the meal or your dining experience has been spoiled in any way, it’s OK, even appreciated, to immediately alert the staff of the issue. You can also wait till after the meal to express displeasure or disappointment. Negative feedback is important because it helps restaurants to maintain a high standard of service delivery.
  • However, avoid diva behavior. In South Africa, temper tantrums and rudeness towards restaurant staff are socially unacceptable and will probably reduce your chances of getting a positive outcome. Also, your tantrum may just end up trending on social media for embarrassing reasons!
  • What’s more, lodging a complaint in a friendly, respectful manner is more likely to result in the restaurant manager offering you drinks, beverages, or desserts on the house as added compensation. And if the mistake or problem was big and clearly on the side of the restaurant, they might even give you the meal on the house. This is solely for management discretion, though.
  • Afrikaner patrons are generally not nitpickers, so they tend to overlook minor mistakes or issues. If the service was unsatisfactory but not terribly so, their dissatisfaction will probably reflect in the small size of the tip, or even lack thereof.
  • Conversely, sometimes just trying extremely hard to fix a problem or delivering good service, all while maintaining a positive attitude, will earn a waiter a good tip. Afrikaners are typically generous and tolerant at heart.

A Dissatisfied Customer Holding a Plate of Food in a Restaurant.

Dis onnodig om ‘n vloermoer te gooi wanneer jy kla oor iets. / “It’s unnecessary to throw a tantrum when complaining about something.”

But don’t forget to thank the staff and express appreciation. Sincere compliments can make the heart glow, and sometimes hardworking restaurant staff really need this type of acknowledgment of their effort. You never know whose day you’ll be making!

And to reiterate—complaints delivered politely and without drama tend to get far better results than aggressive, entitled demands. To be shouted at in front of others is demeaning and humiliating; nobody wants to be treated like that.

Here are a few good phrases with which to compliment or complain.

Compliments and Complaints
Afrikaans PhrasesEnglish Translation or Approximate
Baie dankie vir goeie diens.“Thank you very much for the good service.”
Dankie, dit was ‘n heerlike aand.“Thank you, it was a really enjoyable evening.”
Die kos was heerlik, baie dankie.“The food was delicious, thank you very much.”
Hierdie gereg was iets besonders.“This dish was exceptional.”
Ons het alles regtig geniet. Baie dankie vir jou / julle moeite.“We really enjoyed everything. Thank you so much for your effort.”
Julle sal ons beslis weer sien.“You will definitely see us again.”
Ek sal hierdie restaurant met graagte aanbeveel.“I will recommend will restaurant with pleasure.”
Baie dankie, jou diens was uitstekend.“Thank you very much, your service was excellent.”
Dankie vir ‘n heerlike aand.“Thank you for a wonderful evening.”
Ek wil graag met die bestuurder / kok / sjef praat, asseblief?“I’d like to speak to the manager / cook / sjef, please?”
Haar diens was werklik uitnemend.“Her service was truly exceptional.”
Gee asseblief my komplimente aan die kok!“Please give my compliments to the cook!”
Die maaltyd was absoluut voortreflik, die beste wat ek nog ooit geniet het.“The meal was absolutely excellent, the best I’ve ever enjoyed.”
Jammer maar ek moet ongelukkig ‘n probleem aanmeld.“Sorry, but unfortunately I must report a problem.”
Ek is nie gelukkig hieroor nie.“I’m not happy about this.”
Hierdie is nie wat ek bestel het nie.“This is not what I ordered.”
Ons tafel het twee hiervan bestel, nie net een nie.“Our table ordered two of these, not only one.”
Jammer maar my vleis is nie voorberei volgens bestelling nie.“Sorry, but my meat was not prepared to order.”
Hierdie steak is oordoen en gebrand.“This steak is burnt and overdone.”
Hier is ‘n vreemde voorwerp in my kos.“There’s a foreign object in my food.”
My bord / koppie / wynglas / eetgerei is vuil.“My plate / cup / wine glass / cutlery is dirty.”
Die slaai is nie eetbaar nie.“The salad is not edible.”
Dis nie vars nie.“It’s not fresh.”
Sal jy vir my ‘n ander een bring, asseblief?“Will you fetch me another one, please?”
Nee dankie, jy hoef dit nie te vervang nie.“No thanks, you don’t need to replace it.”
Verwyder dit net van die rekening.“Just remove it from the bill.”
Kan jy die fout regstel, asseblief?“Could you fix the mistake, please?”
Ons wag nog steeds vir die sous, en dis al ‘n ruk sedert ons dit bestel het.“We’re still waiting for the gravy, and it’s been a while since we ordered it.”
Dankie vir jou begrip.“Thanks for understanding.”
Moenie worry nie, enigiemand kan ‘n fout maak. “Don’t worry, anybody can make a mistake.”

A Cook or Chef Preparing a Flambé Dish on a Restaurant Stove.

Onthou om die sjef ook te komplimenteer. / “Remember to also compliment the chef.”

5. Recommending the Restaurant

Has your dining experience been so fantastic, that you want to recommend the restaurant? Or perhaps an Afrikaans friend is asking you for recommendations? Recommendations are probably even better than the biggest tip or the highest praise because it could mean extra business for the restaurant.

Below are some handy Afrikaans restaurant phrases you could use.

Recommending the Restaurant
Afrikaans PhrasesEnglish Translation or Approximate
Daardie is ‘n uitstekende restaurant.“That’s an excellent restaurant.”
Ek kan La Colombe sterk aanbeveel.“I can strongly recommend La Colombe.”
Ons het nog net goeie ervaringe daar gehad.“We’ve had only good experiences there.”
Julle móét daardie restaurant probeer.“You must try that restaurant.”
Die uitsig is asemrowend.“The view is breathtaking.”
Die plek is wonderlik atmosferies.“The place is wonderfully atmospheric.”
Jy sal nie spyt wees jy’t TK’s probeer nie.“You won’t regret trying TK’s.”
Hulle kos is uit die boonste rakke.“Their food is superb.”
Die diens is uiters professioneel en vriendelik.“The service is exceptionally professional and friendly.”
Hulle het ons baie welkom laat voel.“They made us feel very welcome.”

6. Bonus: Food and Restaurant Vocabulary

Note that any of the above Afrikaans restaurant phrases can be adapted by using different nouns or pronouns. 

A Festive Table Stacked with Delicious Food.

Geniet die ete! / “Enjoy the meal!”

Bonus Food and Restaurant Vocab
Afrikaans English Translation or Approximate
spek en eiers“bacon and eggs”
tamatiesous“tomato ketchup”
Balsamiese asyn“Balsamic vinegar”
olyfolie“olive oil”
brandsous“hot sauce”
gerookte vis“smoked fish”
mes en vurk“knife and fork”
steak-mes“steak knife”
vismes“fish knife”
voorgereg“appetizer” / hors d’oeuvre
hoofgereg“main course” / entrée
bygereg“side dish”
verjaarsdagpartytjie“birthday party”
werksfunksie“formal work event”
werkspartytjie“work party”
spesiale geleentheid“special occasion”

7. Eating out in Afrikaans with AfrikaansPod101!

Are you more prepared for a uniquely South African restaurant experience, now that you’ve read this blog? Do you feel that you know how to order in Afrikaans? 

If you enjoyed this article, consider signing up immediately to learn about much more than only restaurant vocabulary and Afrikaans restaurant phrases.

With over a decade of experience, draws on expert knowledge of online language learning techniques to offer you a unique learning space. Thousands of Afrikaans lessons are available at your fingertips, with free resources such as apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and Kindle Fire

With AfrikaansPod101, you can also create your own collection of vocab lists, learn the Afrikaans alphabet, and so much more!

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

Enroll straight away!!

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

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Guaranteed Tips for Better Conversation Skills in Afrikaans


Searching for ways to fast-track your conversation skills in Afrikaans? The Internet is replete with techniques and advice to improve this ability. With a thorough search, you will even find specific Afrikaans lessons about conversation skills. 

Many of these are excellent, and they all offer (basically) the same tried-and-tested tips and ideas. In this article, I’m going to discuss some of the tips at length because they work well if you apply and practice them consistently. I will also give examples of useful phrases to memorize for easy conversations in Afrikaans.

A Young Couple Laughing Together.

Goeie gespreksvaardighede verseker goeie gesprekke. / “Good conversation skills ensure good conversations.”

However, in addition, I will offer something exclusive—expert advice from a master language learner. Be sure to read on for it because applying this tip will take your basic Afrikaans conversation skills to the next level—guaranteed!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Excellent Ways to Improve your Afrikaans Speaking Skills
  2. Listen Up!
  3. Learn and Use Afrikaans Filler Words
  4. Learn Common Afrikaans Questions and Answers
  5. Afrikaans Conversation Starters
  6. The Secret is the Sheet…!

1. Excellent Ways to Improve your Afrikaans Speaking Skills

Improving your conversation skills in Afrikaans should not require a degree or cost truckloads of money. Acquiring a new language is not rocket science; even babies do it all the time!

So, if you’re serious about how to improve your Afrikaans speaking skills, here are a few pointers to get things going.

1- Get A Native Afrikaans Tutor or Instructor

Depending on your budget and specific needs, enlisting the help of a native Afrikaans-speaking personal tutor or instructor is your best option to quickly improve your Afrikaans conversation skills. 

If the person is affiliated with an online language platform, such as, this option will have a few distinct advantages that practically guarantee success.

  • There’d be a set curriculum and lesson plan already in place, so you don’t have to scramble for these.
  • Your teacher’s guidance, assessment, and feedback will be invaluable in terms of easier learning and also staying on track with it.
  • Most will allow you to learn at your own pace and even customize your lessons. makes this exceedingly easy with features such as this free mobile app for creating your own lists. Paid-for features and options are even more helpful, and their cost really won’t break the bank.
  • Your native Afrikaans teacher will continuously assess and improve your pronunciation and inflection—essential if you want to be understood by other Afrikaans speakers.
  • One of the secrets to successfully improving your conversation skills in Afrikaans (and any other language, really) is to keep your motivation high. Your teacher or tutor is an invaluable resource in this regard; it’s like having your own cheerleader almost literally by your side every day. This will boost your speaking confidence considerably.
  • You’d have free learning resources available to play with on the site—too many to list here! But for instance, check out this helpful Afrikaans Key Phrase List—essential for conducting basic Afrikaans conversations.
  • Also, the fact that tutoring takes place online means it’s never been easier to study Afrikaans from home or wherever you are connected to the Internet—at the pace that best suits your needs and lifestyle. It’s really that simple.

The Neck and Torso of a Woman Tapping on a Tablet or iPad Screen.

‘n Persoonlike aanlyn taalinstrukteur kan jou studies aansienlik bevorder. / “A personal online language instructor can significantly improve your studies.”

2- Practice with a Native Afrikaans Partner

If a paid-for tutor or instructor is not an option, and especially if you don’t have regular access to the Internet, that’s not the end of the world. Consider finding an Afrikaans speaking buddy with whom you can practice live and improve your Afrikaans conversation skills.

Here are a few ideas to procure such a buddy.

  • If you’re so lucky to be in South Africa already, finding one might prove quite easy. Be bold—reach out, and ask Afrikaner friends, colleagues, or even strangers for assistance with your Afrikaans conversation skills. For a head-start and to show that you’re serious about learning the language, acquaint yourself with the Afrikaner culture. Or at least master the excellent skill of greeting someone in Afrikaans
  • Alternatively, consider enrolling in a language school, such as the Mzansi Language School in Pretoria that offers Afrikaans classes on site, with a focus on building conversation skills.
  • If you’re not in South Africa, you could still search for a native Afrikaans buddy. Most foreign countries have communities of Afrikaans expats, and these you may find through the South African consulate or embassy in your own country of residence. The embassy or consulate might even have free resources or Afrikaans learning programs available for students, or they may know of Afrikaans expats willing to take students or conversation buddies.
  • Especially countries such as the USA, the UK, Australia, many Asian countries, the UAE, etc., have large Afrikaans expat communities, and most of these communities have formed Afrikaans churches. Many Afrikaans-speaking South Africans are Christians, and if you are too, attending Afrikaans church services might be a way to connect meaningfully with someone.
  • Alternatively, there might be English language schools if you live in a non-English country such as China, South Korea, and Japan. Many South Africans teach English at these schools, so pay them a visit. Who knows, you may end up making a friend this way, because especially the new teachers are pretty lonely so far away from home!
  • This is not a conventional tip, and of course, I mean it light-heartedly (only somewhat!), but one of the best ways to learn and practice your Afrikaans conversation skills is to date a native speaker. Provided you spend a good amount of time talking, of course. ‘Nuff said!

A Couple Watching a Scary Film in a Movie Theatre.

‘n Romantiese verhouding met ‘n Afrikaanssprekende persoon kan jou motiveer om die taal vinnig te bemeester. / “A romantic relationship with a native Afrikaner could motivate you to master the language fast.”

However, simply practicing random words and phrases in Afrikaans with a native speaker doesn’t guarantee success, and it’s a slow way to go about improving your conversation skills in Afrikaans. You’ll need some structure, or your efforts will be wasted. If study materials and Afrikaans lessons about conversation skills are in short supply, you might have to create your own. 

Creating your own learning materials should be attempted only by the advanced Afrikaans learner. And only if you have lots of time on your hands because it involves a lot of work. Plus, you will still need a native speaker to assist you, or you may end up learning incorrect language or poor conversational habits.

If you’re willing to put in the effort, it will be worth the investment, so let’s get down to it.

3- Be Your Own Master Teacher

The following guiding tips will show you how to improve your Afrikaans speaking skills by creating your own conversation-learning curriculum and practices. But don’t stop here—read on for the promised expert advice…

Choose A Topic

Make things easy for yourself by keeping it ‘bite-sized’. Start by choosing an interesting topic you’d like to chat about in Afrikaans. Then search for level-appropriate base material in Afrikaans, such as this topic for advanced students (whales), for instance.

A Breaching Humpback Whale.

Walvisse is ‘n interessante onderwerp om oor te gesels. / “Whales are an interesting topic for discussion.”

And if you’re a beginner, you may find this article about Afrikaans beginner words (with a good dash of grammar!), or this one, with easy phrases for beginners, especially helpful.

Write Out Phrases, Dialogues, Expressions, Etc.
Now it’s time to create and write down your own dialogues, using topic-focused lines, proverbs, sayings, expressions, etc. Depending on your level of proficiency, keep the phrases concise at first.

At this point, it might be best to enlist the help of a native Afrikaner friend or colleague to ensure accuracy.

Record the Dialogues
Next, record your dialogue, which offers three advantages:

  • You get to hear yourself speaking in Afrikaans and can easily compare it with correct recorded samples.
  • Using recordings offers more freedom in your learning. For instance, your native-speaking friend won’t need to be with you to be able to correct your pronunciation. They can simply listen to your recording and then record corrections that you can use.
  • The correct dialogue or phrases can be listened to repeatedly. So, it’s a valuable resource.

A Young Listening to a Recording with Headphones.

Gebruik opnames om jou Afrikaanse gespreksvaardighede mee te verbeter. / “Use recordings to improve your Afrikaans conversation skills.”

    Memorize and Shadow Practice
    Now use your own recordings as learning tools by listening and shadow practicing. Shadow practicing means you listen to a phrase and then repeat it aloud after the speaker.

    Your aim is to memorize the dialogues. Once you’ve done that, it would be best to keep practicing them live with a native speaker too.
    Just Go with an Established Online Language School Already!
    These tips so far are great, and I know you’ll succeed using them if you urgently need to learn how to improve your Afrikaans speaking and listening skills.

    But really, this is the long way to go about learning good Afrikaans conversation skills. You’ll be practically reinventing the wheel here, especially if you have access to the Internet.

    It would be much easier to just subscribe to what is arguably the best Afrikaans resource site available for free. There are paid-for learning paths available but enrolling at for a lifetime free account means immediate free access to a massive library of study material and other resources. The site focuses on conversational Afrikaans for learners of all levels, so this step is actually a no-brainer, really!

OK, so these are the basics. If you put these tips to use, you’ll see more than an uptick in your Afrikaans basic conversation skills.

Now it’s time to take things to the next level by learning a few other conversation superpowers.

A Drawing of an Ear Listening to a Mouth Speaking.

Luisteroefeninge is essensiëel om gespreksvaardighede te ontwikkel. / “Listening exercises are essential for developing conversation skills.”

2. Listen Up!

Irrespective of whether you enroll with a tutor or a language school or go the DIY route—listening exercises are vital for developing polite conversation skills in Afrikaans and in every other language, really. After all, dialogues or conversations are a two-way business—one person speaks while the other listens. 

To make sure your Afrikaans listening ability is on point, here are a few tips.

  • Something that will help to improve your Afrikaans conversation skills is ensuring that your recorded samples of speech, mentioned under the previous heading, are of excellent quality, meaning the grammar and pronunciation is correct Standard Afrikaans. You don’t want to train your ear to what typical Afrikaans doesn’t sound like.
  • Search online for Afrikaans podcasts, or, if you’re so lucky to be in South Africa already, visit a local library for free resources such as recorded books, radio dramas, TV series, etc. Also, consider using YouTube videos, other recorded readings, or speeches in Afrikaans. 
  • Also, why not create a playlist of excellent Afrikaans songs on platforms such as YouTube? Listening to Afrikaans music is not only an excellent language-acquisition exercise, but it’s also a pleasurable one that can be enjoyed anywhere, any time. Consider this article to help you select the best Afrikaans music (with the correct pronunciation and syntax) on YouTube.

A Cell Phone Camera on a Stand, Busy Recording a Woman.

Daar is uitstekende Afrikaanse potgooie aanlyn om jou luistervaardighede mee op te skerp. / “There are excellent Afrikaans podcasts online with which to practice your listening skills.”

3. Learn and Use Afrikaans Filler Words

Fillers are those seemingly meaningless words (or even noises) in conversational speech that can serve multiple purposes. For instance, they can convey:

    ➜ the speaker’s general emotional state,
    ➜ that the speaker needs a moment to think before speaking, or
    ➜ the speaker’s true thoughts or feelings about the topic under discussion (which can include feeling unsure, scared, or fearful, caught off guard, flustered, embarrassed, surprised, etc.).

Adding appropriate filler words to your Afrikaans conversations is a surefire way to dramatically enhance them. For instance, they will help your Afrikaans speech sound more natural, provided they’re used correctly. Too many of them can be irritating and are not advised if you’re expected to give a speech, for instance. However, they’re such a natural part of the vernacular that they shouldn’t be avoided altogether either.

Some filler words are universal and have the same meaning in many languages. Think, for instance, of the ubiquitous “Uhm”.

To give an example: 

Imagine your Afrikaans friend Magda’s birthday is coming up. You want to get her something special as a gift and decide to ask rather than guess. The conversation then goes something like this:

You: Wat wil jy graag vir jou verjaarsdag hê, Magda? / “What would you like for your birthday, Magda?”
Magda: Uhm, laat ek bietjie dink… / “Uhm, let me think a bit…”

This hesitation noise typically indicates that the speaker is feeling unsure or insecure about what it is they should or want to say, so they use it to communicate that they’re thinking.

As mentioned, it’s a universal filler word, so you’ll probably find yourself using it quite naturally anyway. Remember to include the closing “M” in “Uhm”, which is typical in Afrikaans, but not in languages such as French and Italian, for instance.

1- How to Use Filler Words to Build Conversation Skills in Afrikaans

How to use fillers to enhance your conversation skills in Afrikaans is a dense topic that we answer comprehensively in another article: Afrikaans Filler Words to Make You Sound Like a Native

Young Woman Sitting at a Desk, Thinking about Something.

Uhm, laat ek ‘n bietjie dink… / “Uhm, let me think a bit…”

The secret is to know exactly what the fillers mean, and how to use them. Now let’s look at a few more typical Afrikaans filler words, with examples of their use in conversational speech.

2- Common Filler Words in Afrikaans

Afrikaans is an expressive language that “says it as it is”. Also, the more personal, emotional, or dramatic the conversation, the more filler words you’ll hear. For this reason, many of them are reserved for the less formal types of conversations.

Not that the Afrikaans Language Police will make an arrest if a filler is used in a more formal milieu. If it’s used in a specific context or serves a purpose such as comic relief, the following fillers are pretty ‘safe’ in less informal situations too.

Here’s an example of a few filler words and how they’re used in Afrikaans.

Imagine it’s an icy winter morning, and you and your friend Magda have just met up in town for a coffee date. Presently, the two of you are standing shivering outside in the street.

Magda: Sjoe, maar dis baie koud vandag! / “Wow, it’s very cold today!”
You: Ja-nee, dit is wraggies koud. / “Yea, it’s really cold.”

Did you spot the two fillers? Yup, they’re sjoe (“wow”), and ja-nee (Literally: “yes-no”). 

Ja-nee is a uniquely Afrikaans filler word and is most commonly used to express agreement or confirmation. It sometimes occurs in American and South African English conversations too, but not in a similar format, so to speak.

A Thermometer Showing below Freezing Point.

Sjoe, maar dis baie koud vandag! / “Wow, it’s very cold today!”

Ja-nee is pronounced as one word, and it always indicates almost implicit agreement with the speaker or indicates confirmation of something as fact. In English, it’s never expressed as “Yes, no”, which is the literal translation, but rather “Yeah, no”, and it can sometimes denote a certain degree of uncertainty or hesitation in the speaker. Like this, for instance:

“Yeah, no, I understand what you’re saying, and I agree, but…”

Interestingly, the adverb wraggies, the diminutive form of wragtag (“Truly / Really!”), is also used as a filler word in Afrikaans. It’s remarkably similar in meaning to ja-nee but can also denote a sense of amazement or surprise. It’s typically used together with another filler: né, and it sounds like you’re asking a rhetorical question.  Here’s a demonstration:

Two students are having a conversation about exams.

A: Dis eienaardig. Hierdie jaar se Gevorderde Afrikaanse eksamen was baie makliker geweesas laasjaar s’n.
“It’s weird, but this year’s Advanced Afrikaans exam was way easier than last year’s.”

B: Wraggies, né?! 
Approximate: “Awesome, yeah?!”

The following are two other, very commonly used Afrikaans fillers.

Picture this: you and a few Afrikaans friends are watching a game of rugby, one of the most popular national ball sports of South Africa. On the field, one of the players looks like he’s going to score a try, but just before he reaches the goal line, he trips and falls hard. Everyone in the room goes:

Shssssss, eina!

(Pronunciation: Shssss is the hissing sound you’d make when taking in a long breath through your front teeth with your jaw clenched. And eina! (“ouch!”) is often but not always a loud, emphasized exclamation in Afrikaans.)

These two filler words (Shsssss and Eina) can indicate that you’re experiencing pain yourself or that you’re commiserating with someone else’s pain. This can be physical pain or the “injury” of embarrassment, or a bruised ego.

A Woman's Sunburnt Back.

Eina, dit lyk seer! / “Ouch, that looks painful!”

It’s also common to say Eina, shssss!

Now let’s discuss another conversation skill—using Afrikaans questions and answering them correctly.

4. Learn Common Afrikaans Questions and Answers

One of the best ways to keep any conversation going is to ask questions and answer them appropriately. This is another elaborate topic that’s impossible to do justice to in only a few paragraphs. Also, it’s a skill that’s learned only with persistence and practice and is best supported by a native Afrikaans tutor or speaking friend.

Three Blocs with Drawings of Heads with Question Marks, and a Light Bulb.

Om vrae te vra is ‘n uitstekende gespreksvaardigheid. / “Asking questions is an excellent conversation skill.”

For a longer list of questions and answers in Afrikaans, consider this article. It’s complete with cultural context and tips—invaluable for meaningful conversations with native Afrikaners.

Also, remember that you need to raise your voice towards the end of the sentence when you ask a question in Afrikaans. Let’s take a look at some Afrikaans questions and answers commonly used in conversations.

1- Examples of Common Afrikaans Questions and Answers

The following are easy, beginner questions and answers in a relaxed, social situation.

Imagine, for instance, that you’re at a language school party where you’ve just met a girl whom you’d like to get to know better. The conversation will be informal, and after greeting her with a friendly smile and a simple “Hello”, it could go something like this:

Q: Wat is jou naam?
“What is your name?”

A: My naam is Anna.
“My name is Anna.”

She may ask you the same question in return, to which you can reply in the same fashion—just insert your own name, of course!

For more advanced speakers, the questions and answers could look like this:

Q: Wat kan ek jou noem?
“What can I call you?”

A: Jy kan my sommer Anna noem.
“You can simply call me Anna.”

Another variation of the question is Wie is jy? (“Who are you?”), but just like in English, it’s not the friendliest or most polite question in Afrikaans vernacular.

Let’s suppose you’re interested to hear where Anna is from. Then you ask:

Q: Waar kom jy vandaan?
“Where are you from?”

A: Ek is van die V.S.A.
“I’m from the U.S.A.”

Anna may now ask where you’re from, or you could keep the conversation going by simply offering:

A: Ek is van Engeland.
“I’m from England.”

More advanced questions and answers include:

Q: Van waar in die V.S.A is jy? 
“Where in the U.S.A. are you from?”


Q: Waar het jy grootgeword?
“Where did you grow up?”

The Seattle Skyline at Night.

Ek het grootgeword in Seattle, Washington. / “I grew up in Seattle, Washington.”

A: Ek kom oorspronklik van die noorde af.
“I’m originally from the north.”


A: Ek het grootgeword in Seattle, Washington.
“I grew up in Seattle, Washington.”

Now that you know where Anna is from, you’d like to know where she’s currently living.

Q: Waar bly jy?
“Where do you live?”

A: Ek bly in New York.
“I’m living in New York.”

And the advanced versions are:

Q: In watter stad of dorp woon jy tans?
“In which city or town do you currently live?”

A: Ek woon tans in New York.
“Currently, I’m living in New York.”

5. Afrikaans Conversation Starters

Finding yourself in a situation where you must start a conversation can be daunting if you don’t know the other person. This could be even more so when speaking a foreign language!

1- Examples of Afrikaans Conversation Starters

The questions under the previous heading or simply introducing yourself can also serve as excellent conversation starters for beginner learners of Afrikaans. 

If you’re at a more advanced level, consider giving a sincere compliment to open a conversation with someone. Here are a few to consider.

Imagine, for instance, you’re meeting someone for the first time. (This can be any scenario—a date, at a work function, or at a party.) You’re nervous and can see that the other person feels the same. To put them at ease, you could greet and then open a conversation with: 
  • Jy lyk fantasties! / “You look fantastic!”
  • Wow, jy lyk goed in daardie rok. / “Wow, you look good in that dress.”
  • Ek hou van jou haarstyl, dis regtig cool. / “I like your hairstyle, it’s really cool.”
  • Jy’t ‘n wonderlike tafel vir ons gekies, baie dankie. / “You’ve chosen a wonderful table for us, thank you.”
  • Jou toespraak was inspirerend. / “Your speech was inspiring.”
  • Ek het jou toespraak baie geniet. / “I really enjoyed your speech.”

And now, finally—the promised expert advice for developing the Afrikaans conversation skills of a winner.

6. The Secret is the Sheet…!

Peter Galante, one of the founding members of, can speak several languages. He makes language acquisition look super easy, but this is because, over the years, he developed certain methods and tricks that helped him become a language-learning master.

The method I’m going to discuss is what he calls “a cheat sheet for making fast progress”, and it entails compiling and then memorizing a list of phrases that are most relevant and specific to you. Simple as that! Yet don’t be deceived—using this tip will significantly improve your conversation skills in Afrikaans.

Keep the following in mind when creating your own cheat sheet:

  • The phrases should include an introduction, plus details about yourself and your lifein an idiom and language style that suits different situations or scenarios, your age, and your generation. For instance, if you’re young, add Afrikaans slang words and phrases that young people will typically use. Fortunately, Afrikaans nouns and pronouns don’t change for gender, so you don’t have to worry about this.
  • Especially if you’re a beginner student, you might want to ask an Afrikaans tutor or native Afrikaans speaker to help you with this task.
  • It’s OK if, at first, you overdo the list! Compile as many phrases you can think of for as many hypothetical conversations as you prefer. Then, whittle the list down to the twenty most important phrases and memorize them. The other phrases will not be a waste, as you could always refer to them as your situations and skills change.

A Pretty Young Female Student Holding Books.

Ek is 20 jaar oud en ek studeer voltyds. / “I’m 20 years old and I study full time.”

Let me demonstrate with a few examples. Remember that these phrases are not in a specific order. They are simply appropriate responses to specific questions or situations that you may encounter.

1-Examples of Cheat Sheet Phrases

Our first example profile is of an ambitious young woman who works extremely hard at her studies, which means she barely has time to hang out. The following are a few phrases she might consider for her list. The conversation is with a peer who introduces themselves to her and asks her out, so it’s very casual.
  • Haai, ek’s Kim. / “Hi, I’m Kim.”
  • Ek’s 20 jaar oud en studeer voltyds. / “I’m 20 years old and I’m studying full time.
  • Ek swot rekenaarprogrammering. / “I’m studying computer programming.”
  • Ek’s vodde vandag. / “I’m exhausted today.”
  • Wat is vrye tyd?! My studies neem al my tyd op. / “What is free time?! My studies take up all my time.”
  • Dis baie werk, ja. / “It’s a lot of work, yes.”
  • Sorry, nie vandag nie. Maar dankie vir die invite. / “Sorry, not today. But thanks for the invite.”

A Forty-Something Doctor in a White Coat and a Stethoscope Around His Neck.

Goeiedag, ek is dokter Michael Williams. / “Good day. I’m doctor Michael Williams.”

The next profile is of an ophthalmologist in his early forties. He has chosen to relocate to South Africa to further his specialization in poverty-related eye diseases, and learning to speak Afrikaans is a requirement for his internship at the famous Pretoria Eye Hospital. In this scenario, he’s meeting with the Human Resource Manager of the hospital, so the situation is somewhat formal.
  • Goeiedag, ek is Dokter Michael Williams. / “Good day, I am Doctor Michael Williams.”
  • Dis goed om jou te ontmoet. / “It’s good to meet you.”
  • Ek’s dankbaar vir die geleentheid om by die hospitaal te werk. / “I’m very thankful for the opportunity to work at this hospital.”
  • Ek het reeds ingeskryf by ‘n Afrikaanse taalskool. / “I have already enrolled at an Afrikaans language school.”
  • My akkommodasie is bo verwagting goed, baie dankie. / “My accommodation exceeds expectation, thank you very much.”
  • My adres is Schoemanstraat 10, Waverley. / “My address is 10 Schoeman Street, Waverley.”
  • Ek aanvaar graag jou aanbod. / “I’ll gladly accept your offer.”

Also, consult the following articles when you create your cheat sheet:

So, are you convinced yet? How to improve your Afrikaans listening and speaking skills need not be an insurmountable task. 

Let help you achieve this—we’re expertly geared to help you get nearly as fluent as a native speaker, so enroll now!

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

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Guide to the Most Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases


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

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

A Young Female Student Holding Books and a Pencil

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

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

1. Why Learn Advanced Afrikaans Phrases?

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

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

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

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

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

2. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Academic Writing

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

A Student Busy Working on Her Dissertation

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

Eerstens; tweedens; derdens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Resumé

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

A Hand with a Pen, Filling in an Application Form

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

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

4. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Business and Meetings

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

Office Workers Fighting at a Business Meeting

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

AfrikaansEnglish Equivalent
Rompslomp vermy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be suspicious of something; to suspect foul play

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

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

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

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

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

Two Young Women Chatting Animatedly

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

‘n Nuuskierige agie

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She’s suspiciously clever.”
Moed begewe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up now!

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

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Your Best Guide to Intermediate-Level Afrikaans Phrases


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

Partygoers Wearing Costumes and Animal Masks.

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

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

1. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Talking About Past Events

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

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

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

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

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

A Sitting Black-and-White Cat.

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

2. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Making and Changing Plans

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

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

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

Italian Food.

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

3. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Explaining and Listing Reasons

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

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

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

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

A Gourmet Chocolate Dessert with Raspberries and Green Garnish.

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

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

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

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

5. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations

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

A Smiling Young Woman Showing the Thumbs-up Gesture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Bly te kenne, ek’s Carol.

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Learn the best intermediate Afrikaans phrases for all occasions at!

At, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded videos and variety of themed vocabulary lists. With our help, your transition to the intermediate phase in Afrikaans will be smooth and enjoyable. We’ll make sure you’re able to use essential phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time!

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

Sign up now!

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

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The Best Guide to Easy Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners


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

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

A Nurse Talking with an Elderly Patient

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

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

1. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: Social Etiquette

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dis ‘n plesier.

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

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

Formal and semi-formal

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

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

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

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

Jammer! / Askies!

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

2. Easy Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: Greetings and Introductions

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

Three People in the Workplace Greeting One Another

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Informal and semi-informal

A Couple Meeting in the Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Formal and semi-informal

3. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: On the Move

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

Cape Town, V&A Waterfront, South Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Ladies Enjoying a Meal at an Outdoor Restaurant

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

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

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

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

5. More Essential Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners

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

A Boy Urgently Needing to Go to the Bathroom

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

Waar is die toilet?

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

6. Formal vs. Informal Speech for Afrikaans Beginners

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

Four People in Office Attire

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

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

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

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

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

Other appropriate titles include: 

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

And more common formal forms of address include:

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

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

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

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

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

Keep It Simple, Silly!

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

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

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

7. Easily Learn Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners at!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easily Master the Most Common Advanced Afrikaans Words


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

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

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

Woman with Two Flowers in Front of Her Eyes

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

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

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

1. General Advanced Afrikaans Words

1.1 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Verbs (Werkwoorde)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Begeef / BegeweEk begeef my in die ysige water.

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

What did you get yourself into now?

Man Swimming in Ice-covered Water

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

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

VergeselVergesel die kliënt na die uitgang toe, asseblief.

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

Will you please accompany me to the function?

WeerhouSy weerhou haarself van koffie-drink tydens Lydenstyd.

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

He holds back a sharp retort.

Cup of Coffee with Coffee Beans in Saucer

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

1.2 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Adjectives (Byvoeglike Naamwoorde)

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

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

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

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

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

Pensive Author in Front of Old Typewriter, Sipping a Drink

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

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

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

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

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

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

OngeskikDis ongeskik om met jou mond vol kos te praat.

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

Advanced Afrikaans words and phrases are unsuitable for this class.

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

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

SaaiDatavaslegging is gewoonlik ‘n saai werk.

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

A bleak landscape

Man in Office Gear Sitting at Desk, Looking Bored

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.3 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Adverbs (Bywoorde)

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

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

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

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

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

Children in Costumes on a Stage with an Adult

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

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

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

MatigDit proe matig soet.
ModeratelyIt tastes moderately sweet.

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

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

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

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

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

Airport Digital Notice Board of Flights

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

SkaarsMens merk dit skaars op.
BarelyOne barely notices it.

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

VanselfsprekendVerandering voel vanselfsprekend moeilik.
ObviouslyChange obviously feels difficult.

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

1.4 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Conjunctions (Voegwoorde)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Advanced Business Vocabulary (Gevorderde Besigheidswoordeskat)

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

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

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

Accountant in Suit Working on Laptop and Calculator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Business Meeting in Progress

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

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

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

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

Die maatskappy het vinnig gegroei.
CompanyThe company grew fast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voltydse, permanente betrekking
Full-time, permanent position

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

3. Advanced Medical Vocabulary (Gevorderde Mediese Woordeskat)

Advance Medical Vocabulary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Het hy enige inwendige beserings opgedoen?
InternalInjuryHas he sustained any internal injuries?

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

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

Two Legs and Crutches, One Leg in a Blue Cast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hierdie pille sal die pyn verdoof.

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

The patient prefers to be sedated for the procedure.

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

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

4. Advanced Legal Vocabulary (Gevorderde Wetswoordeskat)

Courtroom Gavel and Law Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goed-deurdagte argument
ConsideredWell-considered argument

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

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

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

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

Wanneer is die hofdatum?
Court dateWhen is the court date?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wie is jou regsverteenwoordiger?
Legal representativeWho is your legal representative?

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

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

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

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

How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Ace Advanced Afrikaans Words?

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

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

Let us make it easier for you with our innovative approach to language learning. You can expect the following:

  • Plenty of 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, and access to plenty of learning materials straight away (such as this free list of Afrikaans Key Phrases)
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About the author: Christa Davel is an experienced bilingual (Afrikaans and English) freelance writer currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Your Guide to the Best Basic Afrikaans Phone Phrases!


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

An Old Candlestick Telephone.

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

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

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

A Woman Talking on a Smartphone.

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

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

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

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

1. Taking a Call

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

1.1 Formal & Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.2 Informal

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

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

    Goeiedag! (“Good day!”)

    Haai daar! (“Hi there!”)

    Haai jy! (“Hey you!”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Making a Call and Starting a Conversation

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

2.1 Formal & Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.2 Informal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The Rest of the Conversation…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now you need to state your reason for the call.

A Woman's Hands Dialing on an Office Telephone.

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

3.1 Formal & Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Young Man Sitting Outside, Talking on a Cellphone.

Hoe kan ek help? / “How can I help?”

3.2 Informal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pizza klink lekker.
    “Pizza sounds nice.”

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

    → ___ is goed.
    “___ is good.”

    Sien jou later!
    “See you later!”

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

4. Example Dialogues

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

4.1 Business / Formal Dialogue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dankie, Nelia.
“Thank you, Nelia.”

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

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

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


4.2 Informal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pizza klink lekker! 
“Pizza sounds good!”

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

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

Cool! Baai! Literally:
“Cool! Bye!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Afrikaans Filler Words to Make You Sound Like a Native


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

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

A Man Talking with Letters Coming Out of His Mouth.

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

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

1. The Purpose of Filler Words in Afrikaans

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Young Woman Talking with Her Friend.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

A Man and Woman Doing Work Together.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Couple Meeting Guests with Luggage at Their Front Door.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Young Women Chatting Animatedly.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Young, Surprised-looking Boy Saying Wow!

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

A Pretty Young Woman Looking Doubtful.

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

A: Ai, die land se administrasie is in flenters. 
A: “Oi, our country’s administration is in shambles.”
B: Ja, né. 
B: “Agreed.”

A: Het jy gehoor van daardie man wat gister deur die kinderbende beroof is? 
A: “Did you hear about that man who was mugged by a gang of children yesterday?”
B: Ja, ek het. Kan jy dit glo? 
B: “Yes, I did. Can you believe it?”


AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Ag tog / Ai tog“Oh dear” / “Oh shame” / “Oh my goodness”

Of all the expressions in this list of Afrikaans filler words, I think the function of expressions using tog is the most difficult to pin down. The word tog has so many semantic variants, it would be pointless to try and list them all here. Fortunately, if you would like to investigate this rather unique Afrikaans filler word further, there are resources out there that can help. 
     Ag tog and Ai tog are interchangeable. They are simply variations of each other. 

Ag tog, ek het vergeet om die kliënt te bel! +”Oh dear, I forgot to call the client!”

Ai tog, daardie buurman se hond blaf al weer die hele dag lank! 
“Oh my goodness, that neighbor’s dog has been barking all day again!”

Two of the three interjections I’m going to discuss next also contain –tog. However, they’re grouped together because of their similarity in meaning.

A Frustrated Business Woman Talking Over the Phone.

Ag tog, ek het vergeet om die kliënt te bel! (“Oh dear, I forgot to call the client!”)


AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Foeitog / Shame / Siestog“Oh dear” / “Oh shame” / “Oh my goodness”

These three words mean more or less the same thing and are used interchangeably. Ag is often added, especially when the object under discussion is particularly small and/or vulnerable.
    ❖ The interjections foeitog and siestog are similar in meaning and can be used to express sympathy, adoration, and affection. It can also be used to ask for pity or understanding.

    ❖ The interjection “shame” is used similarly to British English, such as, “Oh (what a) shame”, which expresses a mix of pity and sympathy. It also denotes affection.

Foeitog, die arme kind het nog nie ontbyt gehad nie! 
“Oh shame, the poor child hasn’t had breakfast yet!”

Foeitog, gee die arme man nog ‘n kans, asseblief! 
“For pity’s sake, give the poor man another chance, please!”

Ag siestog! Is die hondjie nie te oulik nie vir woorde nie?! 
“Oh my goodness! Isn’t the puppy too cute for words?!”

Shame, hy sukkel om sy gesondheid te herwin na hy COVID gehad het. 
Approx. “Poor man, he’s battling to regain his health after contracting COVID.”

A Smiling Boy Holding a Cute Black Puppy.

Ag siestog! Is die hondjie nie te oulik nie vir woorde nie?! (“Oh goodness! Isn’t the puppy too cute for words?!”)

I’m sure you’ll find these common Afrikaans filler words very useful. They’ll help you to hold a conversation in Afrikaans and make your speech sound a lot more natural!

3. Learn Afrikaans Filler Words with Ease on!

Which of these Afrikaans filler words do you think you’re most likely to use? Are any of them similar to filler words in your own language?

At, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our fun and practical learning materials, such as recorded videos and free vocabulary lists. With our help, you’ll be able to use the phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time.

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

If Afrikaans vernacular is important to you, then take a look at the following blog posts:

  1. The Best Afrikaans Internet Slang and How to Use it!
  2. How to Say “Hello” in Afrikaans Like a Native Speaker!
  3. How to Say ‘Thank You’ in Afrikaans

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

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

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The 30 Best Afrikaans Love Phrases for All Occasions!


L’amour, die Liebe, die liefde, любовь (lyubov’)…all of these mean “love.” 

Love is a universal language spoken mostly with the heart, but what a wonderful thing to express in any language!

Therefore, it makes sense that when people study to acquire a new language, one of the first things they learn (not long after hello and goodbye) is “I love you.” For some, being able to communicate with someone they love is their reason for learning the language in the first place! 

If you’re wondering how to say “I love you,” in Afrikaans, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve compiled for you a collection of Afrikaans love phrases you can use to express your feelings in no uncertain terms. Better still? It’s all framed in the context of a short, romantic story. Enjoy!

But before we continue—what is “love” in your native language? Tell us in the comments, please!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Pick-up Lines and the First Flush of Love
  2. Love Phrases for Long-Term Relationships
  3. Must-Know Love Quotes and Phrases
  4. Learn Afrikaans Phrases to Charm the Love of Your Life at AfrikaansPod101!

Two Hands Shaped in a Heart, Held against the Sun

Liefde verander alles! / “Love changes everything!”

1. Pick-up Lines and the First Flush of Love

The hero of our story is named Jeffrey, and when Jeffrey moved to South Africa he was quite lonely at first. Therefore, he asked his Afrikaans friend Willem to take him to a good social venue where he might meet some nice single ladies.

But…he wondered how he would approach these local Afrikaans ladies to begin with. Online, he’d tried searching for things like ‘Afrikaans love phrases,’ but there were a lot of options and they didn’t really look like good pick-up lines. He was glad that Willem would be coming along to act as his ‘wingman.’

A. Keeping it Simple

The two of them were sitting at the bar when Jeffrey noticed a very attractive Afrikaans woman chatting with her friends. She shyly glanced his way every now and then, and he thought she looked approachable, but he still wondered what he should say to her. What would be a good Afrikaans pick-up line? He knew these could sometimes be cheesy and annoying, no matter which language you speak! Also, he wasn’t sure if there was a specific way to address an Afrikaans woman or not.

Young Woman in a Red Dress Holding a Drink with a Young Man in the Background Looking at Her

Wat sal ‘n goeie “pick-up line” in Afrikaans wees? / “What would be a good Afrikaans pick-up line?”

Eventually, he asked Willem for advice, saying, “I checked online but I didn’t know which line to choose. Can you help?”

Willem explained with a smile that there were many colorful (albeit rather lewd) Afrikaans pick-up lines online, and it was definitely not advisable to use any of those. Most Afrikaans ladies like to be courted in a more romantic, old-school kind of way—they prefer a gentleman’s approach.

“Keep it simple, be polite, and be straightforward,” Willem advised him. 

Jeffrey asked for some examples of lines he could use and Willem thought for a bit, searching for the best lines of those he knew. Here are some polite but casual pick-up lines that Willem considered:

Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Mag ek vir jou ‘n drankie koop?

Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Gee jy om as ek by jou aansluit vir ‘n drankie?  
“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. May I buy you a drink?”

“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. Do you mind if I join you for a drink?”
One might be tempted to think that the above lines are quite formal, but what makes them casual is the pronoun used. In Afrikaans, if you were going to be formal, you would use the pronoun u instead of jy or jou

Let’s have a look at the same pick-up lines, but using the formal pronoun u
  • Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Mag ek vir u a drankie koop? (“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. May I buy you a drink?”)

  • Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Gee u om as ek by u aansluit vir ‘n drankie? (“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. Do you mind if I join you for a drink?”)

This is a very formal way of talking and would seem out of place in a bar. For more information about this and other pronouns in Afrikaans, have a look at this article
Because they are in a bar and the setting is pretty informal, a slightly more flirtatious approach might also be suitable. No person is immune to sincere compliments! However, it would be best to read the situation and say what feels natural, because pick-up lines can be very cheesy, as I mentioned earlier.
Haai daar. Jy’s wraggies baie mooi. “Hi there. You are really beautiful.”
Dame, ek dink jy’s baie mooi en ek wil graag vir jou ‘n drankie koop.“Lady, I think you’re very attractive and I’d like to buy you a drink.”
Gee jy om as ek hier sit? Jy’t my voete onder my uitgeslaan…“Do you mind if I sit here? You’ve knocked me off my feet…”
Jammer as ek pla, maar ek wil net vir jou sê – jy slaan my asem weg!“Sorry if I’m bothering you, but I just want to tell you—you take my breath away!”
Jy maak my knieë lam. Gee jy om as ek hier sit voor ek omval?Literally: “You make me weak in the knees. Would you mind if I sit here before I fall?”
Wraggies, jy lyk bekoorlik. Mag ek vir jou a drankie koop?“Really, you look enchanting. May I buy you a drink?”

Young Man and Woman Laughing and Flirting.

Jy slaan my asem weg! / “You take my breath away!”

Willem decided to stick to the polite but simple, straightforward approach, and suggested to Jeffrey that he say: 

Hello. My naam is Jeffrey. Mag ek vir jou ‘n drankie koop? (“Hello. My name is Jeffrey. May I buy you a drink?”)

After practicing this line a few times, Jeffrey made his approach and delivered it to the beautiful woman at the bar. She did not seem offended, which was a good start, at least.

Jeffrey found out that her name was Charlize. He bought them more drinks and they chatted for almost an hour until she took a break to ‘powder her nose.’ He took the opportunity to hurry back to Willem and told him that it was going really well. He also wanted to know how he could tell Charlize that he really liked her and wanted to get to know her better. In his head, Willem quickly ran through all the Afrikaans love phrases that he could think of: 

Ek weet ons het nou net ontmoet, maar ek is reeds mal / gek oor jou.“I know we’ve only just met, but I’m already mad about you.”
Jy’s regtig cool! Ek hou van jou!1“You are really cool! I like you!”
Hey, dit was nou lekker om met jou te gesels. Ek wil jou graag weer sien. Kan ek jou selnommer kry, asseblief? “Hey, it was nice to chat with you. I would really like to see you again. Could I have your cell number, please?”
Ek dink jy is great en ek het jou geselskap baie geniet vanaand. Ek wil jou graag weer sien.1“I think you are great and I enjoyed our conversation a lot tonight. I’d like to see you again.”

1) Both Afrikaans and English are spoken by a large portion of the population in South Africa. This means that even older folks mix the languages vernacularly. This “cross-contamination” is considered normal, and it’s usually suitable in casual, informal situations.

They were all good options, but in the end, Willem decided on a different one. He whispered it into Jeffrey’s ear and told him that this line was sure to win Charlize over. Jeffrey practiced it a few times, then went over to her again. When he delivered his line, she burst into laughter and blushed. 

“Wait! What does My hart pomp tjoklit vir jou mean?” he asked her nervously. This was, of course, the line he had quoted.

She laughed again and told him that it means: “My heart is pumping chocolate for you.” When she saw how embarrassed he was, she assured him that it was quite a common, cute expression in Afrikaans. She just hadn’t expected it from him. Actually, it was quite sweet, she said, giving him a light kiss on the cheek to make him feel better. 

Jeffrey glared at Willem, who grinned from ear to ear and gave him an encouraging thumbs-up.

Couple Enjoying Drinks, Man Typing the Woman's Number into His Cell Phone.

Ek wil jou graag weer sien. Kan ek jou selnommer kry, asseblief? / “I would really like to see you again. Could I have your cell number, please?”

By the end of the night, Jeffrey and Charlize were quite comfortable with each other and she liked him enough to give him her number. They went on a few dates after that and Jeffrey’s feelings for her deepened. He went to Willem again to ask him for advice on how to tell Charlize that he wanted to take the relationship to the next level…

B. Taking it to the Next Level

Despite the fact that he and Charlize had been together for some months, Jeffrey had not yet learned how to say “I love you,” in Afrikaans. He was a naturally cautious fellow, but now he was ready to commit to a more serious relationship with this pretty, wonderful woman.

Young Couple Cooking Together

My lewe is soveel beter vandat ek jou ontmoet het. / “My life has been so much better since I met you.”

Once again, he turned to the web for insight. This time, he actually found some pretty good answers, but he still decided that he’d best ask Willem for ideas anyway. 

When Willem heard that Jeffrey was getting serious about Charlize, he was happy for his friend and searched through his inner library of romantic expressions in Afrikaans to find just the right one for his friend to use. It was not an easy choice, because there are many, as you can see below:

Sal jy my meisie wees?


This “asking out” question most often serves as a formality to seal a relationship. It denotes commitment, exclusivity, and the status of being a couple. Usually, it’s preceded by the Afrikaans love phrases in this column.

However, in many modern relationships, especially among the younger generation, this step is skipped. After a few romantic dates and declarations of mutually passionate feelings, it’s assumed that you’re together as a couple.
“Will you be my girlfriend?”
Ek het romantiese gevoelens vir jou.“I’ve got romantic feelings for you.”
Ek is verlief op jou.“I am in love with you.”
Jy’t my hart heeltemal verower. 

(The word jy’t is a contraction of jy [“you”] and het [“have”]).
“You’ve conquered my heart completely.”
My lewe is soveel beter vandat ek jou ontmoet het.“My life has been so much better since I met you.”
Jy is die godin van my hart.“You are the goddess of my heart.”
Jy is kosbaar vir my en ek gee om vir jou.“You are precious to me and I care about you.”
Jy is die enigste vis in die see vir my.“You are the only fish in the sea for me.”
But what if the roles were reversed? Are there specific Afrikaans love phrases for her when it comes to asking someone to take it to the next level? The answer is “Yes!” Charlize would be able to say most of the phrases above in the exact same way, except for the gender-specific ones, of course. Let’s have a quick look at a few alternative phrases that Charlize could use.
Sal jy my kêrel wees?“Will you be my boyfriend?”
Jy is die ridder van my hart.“You are the knight of my heart.”
Jy is my held.“You are my hero.”
You’ve probably noticed that we haven’t yet looked at how to say “I love you,” in Afrikaans! It’s simply: Ek het jou lief. / Ek is lief vir jou.

The expression that Willem eventually suggested to Jeffrey was a combination of two of the expressions above. He suggested that Jeffrey say: Jy’t my hart heeltemal verower. Sal jy my meisie wees? (“You have conquered my heart completely. Will you be my girlfriend?”)

Young Couple Holding Hands in Front of a Wooden Wall

Ek is lief vir jou. / “I love you.”

Jeffrey took Charlize out on a romantic date and, just after their first glass of wine, he asked her the question. Charlize went quiet and Jeffrey wondered, for a moment, if Willem had tricked him again. But it turned out that Charlize was choking back happy tears. When she felt okay to speak again, she softly told Jeffrey that she felt the same way about him. Below are some Afrikaans love phrases for her that she could choose from as a reply.

In Afrikaans, like in English, if you want to repeat a sentence or phrase back to someone, all you have to do is add the word ook (“too” / “also”) to what they said.
Ek het gevoelens vir jou. (“I have feelings for you.”)Ek het ook gevoelens vir jou. (“I also have feelings for you.”)
Ek is verlief op jou. (“I am in love with you.”)Ek is ook verlief op jou. (“I am also in love with you.”)
Jy is die enigste vis in die see vir my. (“You are the only fish in the sea for me.”)Jy is ook die enigste vis in die see vir my. (“You are also the only fish in the sea for me.”)

Now that you know how to reciprocate what someone has said to you in Afrikaans, can you figure out how Charlize replied to Jeffrey after he said, Jy’t my hart heeltemal verower? It should be quite easy.

If you guessed that Charlize added ook to her sentence, then you were correct: Jy’t ook my hart heeltemal verower. Ek sal jou meisie wees. (“You have also conquered my heart. I will be your girlfriend.”)

Dejected, sad Young Man Sitting on the Floor in a Station

Verwerping is soms baie moeilik om te hanteer. / “Rejection is sometimes very difficult to handle.”

C. Rejection

Sadly, things don’t always work out the way we hope they will when we ask someone to take it to the next level. Sometimes we discover that they don’t feel the same way, or that they’re not ready for an exclusive commitment yet. Happily, Jeffrey did not have to experience this, but what if Charlize had said no? How would she have phrased her rejection? 

In Afrikaans, we make use of double negatives in order to negate an expression. To learn more about the grammar behind this, have a look at this article. What it means, in short, is that you add two negating words to the sentence, not unlike you would do in some English slang. For example: 
  • “I didn’t do nothing.”
  • “I ain’t got no money.” 
In Afrikaans, we often use the double nie to express negation. Below are examples of what Charlize could have said, had she rejected Jeffrey’s proposal: 
Sal jy my meisie wees? (“Will you be my girlfriend?”)Jammer, ek wil nie. Ek hou baie van jou maar ek is nie gereed vir ‘n vaste verhouding nie. (“Sorry, I don’t want to. I like you a lot but I am not ready for a steady relationship.”)
Ek is verlief op jou. (“I am in love with you.”)Jammer, ek is nie verlief op jou nie. (“Sorry, I am not in love with you.”)
Ek het gevoelens vir jou. (“I have feelings for you.”)Jammer, ek het nie dieselfde gevoelens vir jou nie. Maar kan ons vriende wees? (“Sorry, I don’t have the same feelings for you. But can we be friends?”)
Or, you could give a generic negative reply:

Jammer, maar ek voel nie dieselfde oor jou nie. (“Sorry, but I don’t feel the same way about you.”)

Tip: If you’re the one doing the let-down, then remember to do so gently and with respect and kindness. Rejection can be very hard to take, especially in matters of the heart. It would be best to stick with the Golden Rule—do to others as you would have them do to you!

Couple Standing Face to Face, Holding Hands, Man Talks Kindly to Sad Woman at Airport

Jy beteken die wêreld vir my. / “You mean the world to me.”

2. Love Phrases for Long-Term Relationships

If you, like Jeffrey, have experienced luck in love, then it’s time to learn some additional love phrases in Afrikaans you can use to strengthen and progress your relationship. 

A. Phrases that help to keep a relationship strong:

Now that Charlize had agreed to be Jeffrey’s girlfriend, they were entering into a phase of the relationship where Jeffrey no longer had to woo her—but there was still work to be done. 

I don’t know if you agree with me here, but I think that if we want a relationship to work, we have to put some effort into it. Fortunately, Jeffrey was the kind of person who did like to put effort into his relationship. Part of this included studying Afrikaans in his spare time. Naturally, he spent a lot of his study time researching romantic expressions in Afrikaans!

He found that Charlize was a very kind and considerate girlfriend and often did nice things for him, so one of the first things he learned to say was:

  • Baie dankie. Ek waardeer alles wat jy vir my doen. (“Thanks a lot. I appreciate everything you do for me.”)

Sometimes he also wanted to tell her that he appreciated her for who she was, and not just for the things she did. So he learned to say:

  • Jy beteken die wêreld vir my. (“You mean the world to me.”)

Older Couple Working in the Garden, Man Giving the Woman a Yellow Flower

Baie dankie. Ek waardeer alles wat jy vir my doen. / “Thank you. I appreciate everything you do for me.”

And then, of course, there were those occasions when, no matter how considerate he was in general, he did something that required an apology. So he learned to say: 

  • Ek het ‘n fout gemaak; ek is jammer. (“I made a mistake; I’m sorry.”)

Charlize, it turned out, was also a very wise person, and he began to find that he really valued her input when it came to making decisions. He also cared about what she wanted, and for this reason, he learned how to say:  

  • Wat dink jy hiervan? (“What do you think about this?”)
  • Wat is jou opinie? (“What is your opinion?”)
  • Wat verkies jy? (“What do you prefer?”)

And then, of course, Jeffrey often used those two absolutely essential words in Afrikaans culture: 

  • Asseblief. (“Please.”)
  • Dankie. (“Thank you.”)

This article explains exactly how to use these terms correctly in Afrikaans!

Charlize was also very good at using expressions like these and, despite the ups and downs that all relationships go through, they found that their relationship grew from strength to strength.

Man Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge

Sal jy my vrou wees, asseblief? / “Will you be my wife, please?”

B. Popping the Question

Two years after their first meeting, Jeffrey decided he was ready to pop the question! He had been studying Afrikaans almost daily, so he was pretty sure he knew how to ask Charlize to marry him, but he checked his books anyway. This was not the kind of thing you wanted to make a mistake with. He found some great expressions: 

Sal jy my vrou wees, asseblief?“Will you please be my wife?”
Sal jy met my trou, asseblief? “Will you please marry me?”
Ek wil my lewe saam met jou deurbring.“I want to spend my life with you.”
Ek wil saam met jou oud word. “I want to grow old with you.”
The following two expressions are not actually marriage proposals, but they would definitely make any marriage proposal that much more meaningful and beautiful. 
Ek het jou lief bo alles en almal.“I love you above everything and everyone.”
‘n Lewe sonder jou is vir my ondenkbaar.“A life without you is unimaginable for me.”
As uncommon as it is in Afrikaans culture, it’s not unheard of that the woman might pop the question. So, if Charlize had wanted to be the one proposing, are there similar Afrikaans love phrases for her that she could have chosen from? The fact is that all of the above phrases can be used by both men and women, except for the first one. If she had been the one proposing, Charlize would have said: 
Sal jy my man wees, asseblief? “Will you please be my husband?”

One night, Jeffrey took Charlize out on a romantic adventure that included a day of fun, outdoor activities together, dinner at a fancy restaurant, and eventually a romantic stroll on a beautiful, moonlit beach. While they were walking along quietly on the wet sand, he suddenly stopped in front of her, dropped to one knee, and held up a small box that contained a gorgeous engagement ring. (Afrikaans girls tend to like old-style marriage proposals, remember!)

Two Hearts Drawn in the Sand on the Beach at Sunset.

Ware liefde hou vir ewig. / “True love lasts forever.”

Combining two of the phrases he had learned, he said earnestly: “Charlize, ek wil saam met jou oud word. Sal jy met my trou, asseblief?” (“Charlize, I want to grow old with you. Please, will you marry me?”)

Of course, Charlize said ja (“yes”)!

C. Terms of Endearment

Another way of saying “I love you,” in Afrikaans, without actually using those words, is to use terms of endearment. During their engagement, Charlize and Jeffrey grew even closer and Charlize often used Afrikaans terms of endearment when talking to him. Jeffrey soon found himself beginning to emulate her. 

In English, people use terms of endearment like “darling,” “baby,” or “honey.” Afrikaans people use these too, but they are spun in a uniquely Afrikaans way. It’s not easy to find a direct English translation for some of these; hence the literal translations that I have added. You’ll see that they have a very distinct character! 

  • my liefling (“my darling”) Lit. “my loveling”
  • my skattebol (“my darling”) Lit. “my treasure ball”
  • my skatlam (“my darling”) Lit. “my treasure lamb”
  • my skat  (“my treasure”)
  • my liefste (“my beloved”)
  • my enigste (“my only”)
  • my lief (“my love”)

Other expressions Charlize sometimes used were: 

  • my lam (“my darling”) Lit. “my lamb”
  • my ander helfte (“my other half”)

Charlize and Jeffrey were still young and in a relatively new relationship, so they wouldn’t have used the following terms of endearment (except perhaps in a jocular way). However, for older people who have been in a relationship for a while and who have a strong sense of familiarity with each other, these are very common: 
ou ding / my ou dingLit. “old thing” / “my old thing”
my ou man / my ou vrou“my old man” (also husband) / “my old woman” (also wife)
The use of ou in these phrases denotes both age and a sense of fond familiarity. A similar convention occurs in English when a speaker affectionately refers to their aging pet dog as, “my old doggie,” for instance. In this case, “old” carries connotations similar to those that the word ou does in Afrikaans when used as part of a term of endearment. However, make sure you’re using it in an appropriate context, meaning only with people you know very well.

Please note that, in Afrikaans, man can mean “man” or “husband” and vrou can mean “woman” or “wife,” depending on the context. If the speakers are married, then the words connote the latter meaning. 

Charlize and Jeffrey used these terms of endearment so often that they barely used each other’s names anymore. Everyone who knew them felt it was only right that they get married—they were so perfect for each other. Their wedding was something that everyone looked forward to.

Statue of Cupid, Roman God of Love

Ek het die skoot hoog deur! / Approximate: “Love hit me hard!”

3. Must-Know Love Quotes and Phrases

Many times, the words of a poet, songwriter, or novelist can perfectly capture how we’re feeling. Below are some Afrikaans love quotes translated in English, each one written from the heart and sure to capture that of your lover…

A. The Power of Beautiful Words

In a relationship, we often share with our partner lyrics from songs we like or lines from our favorite poems. One of Charlize’s favorite poems was called Erens is jy (“Somewhere you are”), from the anthology Eerste Gedigte (“First Poems”), and it was written by her favorite Afrikaans poet Antjie Krog. Charlize’s favorite lines from the poem were:

… as ek die dag my hand in joune sitsal ek my padkaarte bêre met die wete:my reis op soek na jou is nou verby.“… the day I put my hand in yoursI will put away my maps with the knowledge:my journey in search of you is now over.”

On the day of the wedding, Jeffrey stood in front of everyone and delivered his vows in Afrikaans with no mistakes at all. He knew that if he spoke his vows to Charlize in Afrikaans, they would be far more meaningful for her. After delivering his vows, he surprised everyone by clearing his throat nervously and then, in beautiful Afrikaans, recited a rendition of the poem his wife loved so much: 

Ek sit, hierdie dag, my hand in joune
en bêre my padkaarte met die wete:
my reis op soek na jou is nou verby.

“I put, this day, my hand in yours
and stash away my roadmaps with the knowledge:
my journey in search of you is now over.”

Love Letter and a Red Rose

Sonder jou liefde is die graaf te swaar vir my en val die geil reëns van die berge sonder doel. – D.J. Opperman.
“Without your love, the shovel is too heavy for me, and the abundant rain of the mountains falls without purpose.”

Charlize was deeply moved by his beautiful gesture and Jeffrey had to help her wipe away the tears there at the altar. Once she’d collected herself, the dominee (“pastor” / “minister”) married them and they kissed to raucous applause. 

Oh, and—all of this was 25 years ago. They are still happily married. 

B. Quotations that Inspire Love

If you wish to impress the Afrikaans person you love in the way that Jeffrey impressed Charlize, perhaps you’ll benefit from looking at these wonderful quotes from famous Afrikaans poets and singers.

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

~ D.J. Opperman
“without your love the shovel is too heavy for me and the abundant rain of the mountains fallswithout purpose.”
Ek stuur vir jou ʼn berggansveermits dese wil ek vir jou sêhoe diep my liefde vir jou lê

~ Boerneef 2
“I send to you a wild goose featherwith which I want to tell youhow deep my love lies for you”
vye word suur, maar die liefde, die liefde is soeter as vye

~ Breyten Breytenbach 
“figs turn sour, but love, love is sweeter than figs”
ek wil vir jou ʼn gewelhuisie bouin die boland van my hart……maar ek wil vir jou my lewe geein die wit afdophuisie van my hart…

~ André Letoit aka Koos Kombuis

“I want to build for you a gabled housein the pastures of my heart……but I want to give you my lifein the white, dilapidated house of my heart…”
Die liefde is ʼn dubbeldoor—iets te wen en iets verloor.

~ Koos Du Plessis

“Love is a contradiction—something to win and something to lose.”
Die liefde in my 

Die liefde in my
Dis altyd jy, net altyd jy,
die een gedagte bly my by
soos skadu’s onder bome bly,
net altyd jy, net altyd jy. 

Langs baie weë gaan my smart,
blind is my oë en verward
is alle dinge in my hart. 

Maar dit sal een en enkeld bly,
en aards en diep sy laafnis kry,
al staan dit winter, kaal in my,
die liefde in my, die liefde in my.

~ NP van Wyk Louw

“The love in me,
It’s always you, always only you,
this one thought stays with me
as shadows live under trees
always only you, always only you.

Along many roads my sorrow goes,blind are my eyes and confused
are all things in my heart.

But this one thing remains,
which is nourished from deep within,
even when it’s winter, naked in me,
the love in me, the love in me.”

Happy Older Couple

Ek kan my nie ‘n lewe indink sonder jou nie. / “I can’t imagine a life without you.”

Which of these Afrikaans phrases resonates with you the most, and why? Let us know in the comments! 

4. Learn Afrikaans Phrases to Charm the Love of Your Life at AfrikaansPod101!

At AfrikaansPod101, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded videos, themed vocabulary lists, and variety of learning and study tools. With our help, you’ll be able to use the phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time!

Also, you can start deciphering Afrikaans phrases yourself with the multiple tools we make available to you upon subscription, such as the Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List. You should also make sure to keep your Afrikaans online dictionary closeby for easy translation! 

If Afrikaans vernacular is important to you, then take a look at the following pages on our website:

  1. The Best Afrikaans Internet Slang and How to Use it!
  2. How to Say “Hello” in Afrikaans Like a Native Speaker!
  3. How to Say I Love You in Afrikaans

Still hesitating? Don’t! Subscribe now, and you’ll be very happy you did!

About the author: Kurt Donald is an experienced writer and copy editor, and is currently based in Cape Town, South Africa.

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All About How to Form the Negative in Afrikaans


Negation is, very simply put, the so-called “negative form” in a language. We use it when we want to express the opposite of a positive or affirmative statement. What is the negative form in Afrikaans? Let’s dig in!

One of the most fascinating features of the Afrikaans language is its use of the double negative, which means that two negatives resolve into one negative. For instance, in English one would say, “He cannot speak Afrikaans,” and only use the word ‘not’ once. However, to express the negative in Afrikaans, we usually have to use the negating word twice:   

Sy kan nie Afrikaans praat nie.
Literally: “She cannot Afrikaans speak not.”

Young Woman Holding up Both Hands to Indicate No or Stop

The negating word in the example above is nie and, as you will have gathered, nie means “not.” It sounds like “knee” in English, but a bit shorter and sharper on the ‘ee’ (like the ‘i’ in it). Nie is equivalent to the German nicht and the Dutch niet, but it’s used differently, of course.

No one really knows where this practice of using the double negative originated. Some say it may have its roots in the French language, and others suggest that it may have been borrowed from the San languages of Southern Africa. Negating with a double negative can also be found in Middle English, such as in Chaucer’s work, who sometimes used a triple negative!

Double negation still appears in regional and ethnical dialects such as Southern American English, African American vernacular English, and various British regional dialects, according to Wikipedia. Think: “You don’t know nothing,” or “He didn’t go nowhere today.” Whatever the source may be, the double negative is not extensively employed and, especially in the dialects, its use is frowned upon by the purists.

British Flag in a Speech Bubble Shape.

Double negation also occurs in other Germanic languages, such as can be found in villages in the center of the Netherlands and in Low Franconian dialects in West-Flanders—and even then, it’s used differently. The way the negative form in Afrikaans is expressed remains unique.  

While using the Afrikaans double negative may seem strange at first, once you grow accustomed to it, it will start to feel quite natural. Learning how to use it isn’t difficult, either.

However, before we begin with that, let’s start with the exception to the rule of the double negative. This exception uses a form more similar to that of other languages and employs only one negation word.  

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. The Rule of “One Knee”
  2. The Rule of “Two Knees”
  3. Changing Meaning – Placement of the First Nie
  4. Adding Color with Adverbs and Adjectives that Express Denial
  5. Converting Instructions and Requests to the Negative
  6. Formal vs. Informal Imperatives
  7. Negating Compound Sentences
  8. Answers to Exercises:
  9. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn the Negative in Afrikaans?

1. The Rule of “One Knee”

It may be a bit convoluted, but the mnemonic “one knee” should serve to remind you of the simplicity of singularity. The one nie is used only in straightforward, relatively simple sentences.

  1. The single nie is used mostly in simple statement sentences, including those with reflexive or transitive verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and pronouns.
  2. It’s used mostly in present tense sentences. With other tenses, the single nie works only when certain hulpwerkwoorde van tyd (literally: “auxiliary verbs of time”) occur.

Let’s take a closer look at what this means.

A.1 In Simple Statement Sentences

To state the negative in Afrikaans using simple statement sentences, we put only ONE nie (knee!) after the verb, at the end of the sentence. That’s it! It looks like this:

– Short statement sentences: 

  • Hulle sien nie. – “They don’t see.”
  • Die rekenaar werk nie. – “The computer doesn’t work.”

– Statement sentences with a transitive verb and a pronoun:

Sometimes you need to be more specific and would then use a pronoun. In such a case, the One Knee rule applies mostly to statement sentences with transitive verbs in which the object is indicated with a pronoun. Read here all about Afrikaans pronouns!

  • Hulle waardeer haar nie. – “They don’t appreciate her.”
    Literally: “They appreciate her not.”
  • Sy eet dit nie. – “She doesn’t eat it.”
    Literally: “She eats it not.”
Young Woman Gesturing No for Dessert

– Statement sentences with an adjective and/or adverb:

Sometimes you need to be more descriptive in order to illuminate the subject or the action. Adding adjectives and/or adverbs won’t affect the One Knee rule.

  • Die nuwe rekenaar werk ongelukkig nie. – “The new computer, unfortunately, doesn’t work.”
    Literally: “The new computer works unfortunately not.”

A.2 Mostly in the Present Tense

As you may have noticed, these sentences are all in the simple present tense. In fact, this practice is not too dissimilar to negating the present tense verb in English by adding not

  • Hy sing. – “He is singing.” OR “He sings.”
  • Hy sing nie. – “He is not singing.” OR “He doesn’t sing.”
    Literally: “He sings not.”

Note: We don’t have a continuous tense in Afrikaans! Read all about Afrikaans tenses here.

In the Afrikaans past and future tenses, the One Knee rule applies only to very short, simple statement sentences with the following auxiliary verbs that indicate tense in Afrikaans. As mentioned, we call them hulpwerkwoorde van tyd.

Past Tense:      Hy was nie. – “He wasn’t.”
                         Hy wou nie. – “He didn’t want to.”
                         Hy het nie. – “He didn’t.”

Future Tense: Hy sal nie OR Hy gaan nie. – “He won’t.”

Women's Torn Jeans with Two Knees Showing

2. The Rule of “Two Knees”

Although things may seem to be getting a bit more complicated, there’s no need to panic about the negative form in Afrikaans! You simply need to remember to find the first part of the verb (whether it’s a base or an auxiliary verb) in the sentence, put a nie after it, and then put another nie at the very end of the sentence.

As we saw in the previous example, to negate very simply, we could say: Hy sing nie. (Lit. “He sings not.”) However, if we need to be more specific and have to introduce a direct or indirect object, the negation always doubles.

  • Hy sing (base verb) nie in Afrikaans (direct object) nie.
    “He doesn’t sing in Afrikaans.”
  • Hy sing (base verb) nie vir haar (indirect object) nie.
    “He doesn’t sing for her.”
Two Asian Girls and a Guy Singing Karaoke

When we use auxiliary verbs that indicate the past or future tenses, the negation also usually doubles:

  • Hy sal (auxiliary verb, future tense) nie sing nie.
    “He will not sing.”
  • Hy wou (auxiliary verb, past tense) nie sing nie.
    “He didn’t want to sing.”

What About the Be-Verbs?

In the present and past tenses, the be-verb is usually the main verb; in the future tense, the be-verb is an auxiliary verb. However, they all take the double negation.

Take a look at these negatives in Afrikaans:

Be-Verb Negation

PRESENT Tense Affirmative:
is (“is,” “to be”)

Die kat is oulik. 
“The cat is cute.”
PRESENT Tense Negation:
is nie (“is not”)

Die kakkerlak is nie o
ulik nie
“The cockroach is not cute.”
PAST Tense Affirmative:
was (“was”)

Die deur was toe. 
“The door was closed.”
PAST Tense Negation:
was nie (“was not”)

Die deur was nie toe nie
“The door was not closed.”
FUTURE Tense Affirmative:
sal wees / gaan wees (“will be,” “shall be”)

Die weer sal warm wees.
“The weather will be warm.”
FUTURE Tense Negation:
sal nie wees nie (“will not be”)

Die weer sal nie koud wees nie.
“The weather will not be cold.” 

Woman in Winter Gear Feeling Cold

3. Changing Meaning – Placement of the First Nie

While the rule remains true that one should put the first nie after the first verb in the sentence, sentences can sometimes become quite long and complex.

In terms of negation, this means that:

a) the first nie can be placed in various positions after the first werkwoord (“verb”) or hulpwerkwoord van tyd. (Lit. “auxiliary verb of time”); and

b) where one places it can change the meaning of the sentence. 

Consider the following sentence in the future tense: 

  • Sy gaan nie môre met haar nuwe bikini op die strand tan nie. 
    “She is not going to tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow.”

The entire sentence is negated because the nie is placed directly after what is, in Afrikaans, an auxiliary verb that indicates the future tense: gaan

  • Sy gaan môre nie met haar nuwe bikini op die strand tan nie. Sy sal iets anders dra.
    “She is not going to tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow. She will wear something else.”

In this case, the nie directly precedes “haar nuwe bikini” (her new bikini) and therefore negates only that phrase.

Young Woman in Bikini Sunbathing on the Beach
  • Sy gaan môre met haar nuwe bikini nie op die strand tan nie. Sy gaan elders tan.
    “She is not going to tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow. She will tan somewhere else.”

In this case, the nie directly precedes op die strand (on the beach) and therefore negates only that phrase. 

  • Sy gaan môre met haar nuwe bikini op die strand nie tan nie. Sy gaan iets anders doen as tan.
    “She is not going t tan on the beach in her new bikini tomorrow. She will do something other than tanning.”

In this case, the nie directly precedes the second verb “tan” (tan) and therefore negates only that action. 

It should be clear from the above explanations that one must be sure to place the first nie after the first verb in the sentence, and directly before the phrase or word one wants to negate. 

4. Adding Color with Adverbs and Adjectives that Express Denial

That said, negative sentences in Afrikaans do not always require for the word nie to be the first word of negation. Sometimes, to add a bit of color to your speech, you can use additional negation vocabulary in lieu of the first nie. This strengthens the tone of what you’re saying and makes it more specific and descriptive, like this:

Sy praat nooit Afrikaans nie.
“She never speaks Afrikaans.
“Lit. “She never speaks Afrikaans not.”
Die lesse is gladnie lank nie.
“The lessons are not long at all.
“Lit. “The lessons are not at all long not.”

These additional negation words are adverbs (bywoorde), adjectives (byvoeglike naamwoorde), and auxiliary verbs that express denial and, as you can see, they make the sentence a little more specific and descriptive. Just remember that you still need to add the nie at the end of the sentence! 

Here are some examples of auxiliary verbs, adverbs, and adjectives that can be used for denial. 

D.1 Woorde wat vir Ontkenning Gebruik Word / “Words that are Used for Denial”

enige (“any”) / een (“one”)

Daar is een oefening. 
“There is one exercise.”
geen (“no,” “none,” “not”)

Daar is geen oefeninge nie.
“There are no exercises.”
enigsins (“at all”)

Is dit enigsins moeite vir jou?
“Is it trouble for you at all?”
geensins (“by no means,” “in no way”)

Dit is geensins moeite nie.
“It is no trouble at all.”
êrens (“somewhere”)

Dit is êrens.
“It is somewhere.”
nêrens (“nowhere”)

Ek kan dit nêrens vind nie
“I can’t find it anywhere.”
iemand (“someone”)

Daar was iemand.
“There was someone.”
niemand (“nobody,” “no one”)

Daar was niemand nie
“There was no one.”
iets (“something”)

Die bobbejaan het iets oorgekom.
“Something happened to the baboon.”
niks (“nothing”)

Die bobbejaan het niks oorgekom nie
“Nothing happened to the baboon.”
ooit (“ever”)

Sal jy my ooit verraai?
“Will you ever betray me?”
nooit (“never”)

Ek sal jou nooit verraai nie
“I will never betray you!”
nog (“still”)

Ek kan nog die geraas verdra.
“I can still tolerate the noise.”
nie meer (“no longer”)

Ek kan die geraas nie meer verdra nie!
“I can’t stand that noise anymore!”
beslis (“indeed,” “definitely”)

Dit is beslis ‘n probleem.
“That is definitely a problem.”
gladnie (“not at all”)

Dit is gladnie ‘n probleem nie
“That is not a problem at all.”
al (“yet”)

Het hy al sy werk gedoen?
“Has he done his work yet?”
nog nie (“not yet”)

Hy het nog nie sy werk gedoen nie
“He has not yet done his work.” 
tog (“and yet”)

Daar was amper g’n reën nie; tog is die dam vol. 
“There’s been almost no rain, and yet the dam is full.” 
tog nie (“and yet not”)

Daar was baie reën; tog is the dam nie vol nie.
“There was a lot of rain, and yet the dam is not full.”
heeltemal (“completely”)

Ek is heeltemal verward.
“I am utterly confused.” 
nie heeltemal (“not completely”)

Ek is nie heeltemal verward nie
“I am not completely confused.”
iets (“something”)

Kan ek iets vir jou doen? 
“Can I do something for you?”
niks (“nothing”)

Ek kan niks vir jou doen nie. 
“I can’t do anything/can do nothing for you.” 
moet (“must,” “should”)

Jy moet my later bel. 
“You must call me later.”
moenie (“don’t”)

Jy moenie my later bel nie
“You mustn’t call me later.”

Note: Similar to the English “don’t,” this is the contracted form of moet nie (“do not”).
sal (“will,” “shall”)

Ek sal die boek later lees. 
“I will read the book later.”
sal nie (“will not”)

Ek sal die boek nie later lees nie
“I will not read the book later.”
gaan (“will”)

Ek gaan more studeer.
“I will study tomorrow.”
gaan nie (“will not”)

Ek gaan nie more studeer nie.
“I will not study tomorrow.”

Diploma Hat on Top of a Pile of Books, with a Scroll Next to It

5. Converting Instructions and Requests to the Negative

Giving instructions/commands and making requests are things that we often do, so it’s important to be able to convert these to their negative form. 

E.1 Giving Instructions and Commands

Converting instructions to their negative form is not that difficult. Have a look at this instruction and its negative form:

Instruction: Sit daar! / “Sit there!”
Instruction – Negative Form: Moenie daar sit nie! / “Don’t sit there!” (Literally. “Don’t sit there not.”)

As you can see, we added the word moenie to the instruction and then added nie at the end of the sentence in order to convert it to the negative form. The word moenie (“don’t”) is a contraction of the words moet (do) and nie (not)

In Afrikaans, when you add moenie to the sentence, you must then move the verb (sit, in this case) to the end and follow that with the ubiquitous nie.

A few more examples: 

Instruction – Positive FormInstruction – Negative Form
Staan op! 
“Stand up!”
Moenie opstaan nie!
“Don’t stand up!”
Lit. “Don’t up-stand not!”
Kom later terug!
“Come back later!”
Lit. Come later back! 
Moenie later terugkom nie! 
“Don’t come back later!”
Lit. “Don’t later back come not.” 
Gaan weg!
“Go away!”
Moenie weggaan nie! 
“Don’t go away!” 
Lit. “Don’t away-go not!”
Kyk daar! 
“Look there!”
Moenie daar kyk nie! 
“Don’t look there!”
Lit. “Don’t there look not!”

Two Young Women Pointing to Something on a Laptop Screen.

Did you notice that the verbs and adverbs got switched around in the negative? For example: 

Kyk daar became “Moenie daar kyk nie.”

Where the adverb usually follows the verb in Afrikaans affirmative expressions, the opposite is true of the negative. This is a rule you should take note of. This switching sometimes results in the formation of a compound verb. Consider this: 

Gaan weg!” becomes “Moenie weggaan nie!” and “Staan op!” becomes “Moenie opstaan nie!


Why not try to negate in Afrikaans yourself? Read the affirmative expressions, write your negative answers (using moenie) down somewhere, and check them against the list of answers at the end of this article. Don’t worry, you won’t have to combine any verbs and adverbs! 

Eet die kos! – “Eat the food!”
Drink jou medisyne! – “Drink your medicine!”
Sing hard! – “Sing loudly!”
Praat vinnig! – “Speak quickly!”

6. Formal vs. Informal Imperatives

While the rule is that you should add moenie to an instruction (also called an imperative) in order to make it negative, a formal, more polite imperative will get an asseblief (“please”). As soon as you do this, there is another set of rules that apply. Have a look at the following: 

Informal imperative: Moenie opstaan nie! / “Don’t stand up!”
Formal imperative: Moet asseblief nie opstaan nie. / “Please don’t stand up.”

As you can see, when you add asseblief to the negative sentence, you need to: 

  1. break the compound moenie into its component words moet and nie;
  2. put the asseblief (“please”) between the moet and the nie; and
  3. remember to add the final nie at the end! 

Here are some more examples using the same informal instructions as in exercise E.1, but now converted to formal imperatives.

Informal ImperativeFormal Imperative
Moenie later terug kom nie! 
“Don’t come back later!”
Moet asseblief nie later terugkom nie.
“Please don’t come back later.”
Moenie daar kyk nie! 
“Don’t look there!”
Moet asseblief nie daar kyk nie. 
“Please don’t look there.”
Moenie weggaan nie! 
“Don’t go away!”
Moet asseblief nie weggaan nie!
“Please don’t go away!”


Your turn again, if you’d like. Just as before, read the formal affirmative expressions and write the negative down somewhere. Then check them against the list of answers at the end of this article. 

Ry vinnig, asseblief. – “Drive fast, please.”
Loop vinniger, asseblief. – “Walk faster, please.”
Gooi die bal, asseblief. – “Throw the ball, please.”
Tel die vuilgoed op, asseblief. – “Pick the rubbish up, please.”

7. Negating Compound Sentences

Ek Sien Hom Maar hy Sien my Nie. - I See Him but He Doesn't See Me.

Quick grammar note: A simple sentence is one in which there is only a subject and a predicate, as illustrated by this sentence: 

Ek (subject) sien hom (predicate).
“I see him.”

Obviously, a compound sentence then contains more than one subject and more than one predicate. It consists of multiple clauses. Consider this compound sentence: 

Ek (subject) sien hom (predicate), maar hy (subject) sien my nie (predicate)
“I see him, but he doesn’t see me.”
Lit. “I see him, but he sees me not.”

When looking at compound sentences, an important point to remember is that if you’re negating the main clause, you should negate it as you would a standalone, simple sentence. Consider the following examples: 

Hy ry nie, want die verkeerslig is nie groen nie
“He’s not driving because the traffic light is not green.”
Lit. “He drives not, because the traffic light is not green not.”

Ek is nie fiks genoeg nie; dus sal ek nie aan the marathon deelneem nie
“I am not fit enough; therefore I won’t be participating in the marathon.”
Lit. “I am not fit enough not; therefore will I not in the marathon participate not.”

As discussed earlier, in compound sentences, we also only use negating words in the part of the sentence that we are negating

Have a look: 

Ek sal gaan stap as dit nie reën nie
“I will go for a walk if it doesn’t rain.”
Lit. “I will go walking if it not rains not.”

If only the main clause is negated, then we must put the first nie in the main clause and the second nie at the end of the sentence. Here’s an example: 

Ek het nie gedink dat jy my sal onthou nie
“I did not think that you would remember me.”
Lit. “I did not think that you me would remember not.”

8. Answers to Exercises: 

Converting instructions to the negative – Exercise I

Eet die kos! – “Eat the food!”Moenie die kos eet nie! – “Don’t eat the food!”
Drink die medisyne! – “Drink the medicine!”Moenie die medisyne drink nie! – “Don’t drink the medicine!”
Sing hard! – “Sing loudly!”Moenie hard sing nie! – “Don’t sing loudly!”
Praat vinnig! – “Speak quickly!”Moenie vinnig praat nie! – “Don’t speak quickly!”

Converting the polite affirmative to the polite negative – Exercise II

Ry vinnig, asseblief. – “Please drive fast.”Moet asseblief nie vinnig ry nie. – “Please don’t drive fast.”
Loop vinniger, asseblief. – “Walk faster, please.”Moet asseblief nie vinniger loop nie. – “Please don’t walk faster.”
Gooi die bal, asseblief. – “Throw the ball, please.”Moet asseblief nie die bal gooi nie. – “Please don’t throw the ball.”
Tel die vuilgoed op, asseblief. – “Pick the rubbish up, please.”Moet asseblief nie die vuilgoed optel nie. – “Please don’t pick up the rubbish.”

9. How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Learn the Negative in Afrikaans? 

We can assist you in learning Afrikaans negations in many ways! After all, that’s what we’re here for. Do you have any questions about the negative form in Afrikaans, or about these exercises? Please let us have them in the comments!

At AfrikaansPod101, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded video lessons, grammar and pronunciation guides, and these vocabulary lists.

Also, be sure to arm yourself with some words and phrases from our Afrikaans Key Phrase List and the Afrikaans Core 100 Word List. Remember to keep your Afrikaans online dictionary closeby for easy translation!

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

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