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Everything to Know About the South African National Anthem

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Did you know that, for three years in the previous century, South Africa had two official national anthems

Former South African President FW De Klerk instituted them approximately a month before a uniquely peaceful regime change in May 1994, when Nelson Mandela became the country’s first black president.

The two songs were the South African national anthem of the old dispensation, Die Stem van Suid Afrika (“The Call of South Africa”), and a Xhosa Christian hymn called Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (“God bless Africa”).

Later, in 1997, these were adapted into one national anthem. The name of the hymn, Nkosi Sikelel’ i Afrika, was the title of choice, which is unsurprising as the song has a rich history stretching back two centuries. Keep reading to learn more!

An African Woman Singing with Passion into a Mic on Stage.

Die sing van die Suid Afrikaanse volkslied word dikwels gelei deur ‘n solo kunstenaar tydens seremonies. / “Singing of the South African anthem is often lead by a solo artist during ceremonies.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. South African National Anthem Lyrics and Melody
  2. History of South Africa’s National Anthem
  3. Purpose of Anthems and their Protocols
  4. Where/When is the South African Anthem Typically Sung?
  5. BONUS: National Anthem Vocabulary and Phrases
  6. AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Learn the South African National Anthem

1. South African National Anthem Lyrics and Melody

The lyrics of the South African national anthem were taken from five of the country’s official languages, of which there are eleven. These five are the most widely spoken in the country:

  • Xhosa
  • Zulu
  • Sesotho
  • Afrikaans
  • English

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika
The South African National Anthem
OriginalTranslated to English

(Xhosa) Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo, 
(Zulu) Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho Iwayo.

(Sesotho) Morena, boloka setjhaba sa heso.
O fedise dintwa le matshwenyeho,
o se boloke, o se boloke. Setjhaba sa heso,
setjhaba sa South Afrika, South Afrika. 

(Afrikaans) Uit die blou van onse hemel,
Uit die diepte van ons see,
Oor ons ewige gebergtes,
Waar die kranse antwoord gee.

(English) Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom,
In South Africa, our land.

Lord, bless Africa.
Let it/us be exalted/raised up.
Hear our prayer.
Lord, bless us, your family/children.

Lord, save my community/people.
End wars and suffering—don’t keep it,
don’t keep it. My community/people,
the people of South Africa, South Africa.

From the blue of our heavens,
From the depths of our seas,
Over everlasting/eternal mountains,
Where the crags/cliffs resound.



A Multiracial Crowd Praying.

Die Suid Afrikaanse volkslied is ‘n getoonsette gebed. / “The South African anthem is a prayer set to music.”

Here’s also the anthem’s sheet music

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika has a couple of unique attributes:

  • Each stanza is in a different language, except the first, which is in two languages.
  • It’s the world’s only neo-modal anthem, meaning it starts off in one key and finishes in another.
  • The first couple of stanzas comprise a petition to a higher power not only for the freedom, happiness, and protection of South African nationals, but also for the exultation of the whole continent of Africa and all its people.

Now let’s take a look at the history of this soulful anthem.

2. History of South Africa’s National Anthem

As previously mentioned, the South African national anthem combined two songs, each with their own history.

Musical Score.

Let’s start with the song that lend the South African anthem its title and first two stanzas.

2.1 Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (“God save Africa”)

As mentioned, the first two stanzas of the anthem is a prayer to a higher power for the freedom, happiness, and safety of South African nationals, and the continent of Africa. The second stanza is a more secular call, which we’ll look at that in the next section.

Most Recent Political Influence

The anthem’s religious roots are important, as world history has shown that politics and religion tend to be inseparable. History also showed that this combination is, sadly more often than not, a double-edged sword. Great atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, and Christianity, in particular, was often abused as an instrument of oppression by the corrosive apartheid (literally: “apart-ness”) government. (Apartheid is the political term used to describe deliberate and forced racial segregation, as was practiced by the previous South African regime.)

However, South Africa’s transition from authoritarian rule to a democracy on April 27, 1994, was largely peaceful. This was a remarkable feat, given the history of regime changes. Typically, great unrest, civil war, and civilian casualties mark most of these, but despite many people’s misgivings and fears, South Africa’s transition didn’t follow this path.

A Black Woman's Hands Holding Rosary Beads with a Cross.

Meeste godsdienstige Suid Afrikaners glo dat die vreedsame nasionale verkiesing van 1994 gedra is deur menigte gebede. / “Most religious South Africans believe that the peaceful national elections of 1994 were carried by many prayers.”

Many historians feel that this outcome was, if not driven, then largely influenced by a few remarkable political activists and religious leaders, including the likes of Nelson Mandela, archbishop Desmond Tutu, Beyers Naudé, etc. These and other individuals notably allowed the unifying and peaceful messages at the core of all great religions to inform their actions and attitudes. 

Even the country’s new constitution speaks of this benevolent approach, and to date, this constitution is touted to be the world’s most representative, inclusive, and liberal.

So, given this background, it’s not surprising that a religious hymn was included in South Africa’s new anthem. Let’s further investigate this hymn, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

Short History of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is essentially a liberation song. Here’s a timeline of its illustrious history:

  • The first or original version of the hymn comprised only one verse and a chorus. It was written in 1897 by Xhosa-speaking Enoch Mankayi Sontonga, who was at the time a choirmaster and teacher at the Methodist Mission School in Nancefield, Johannesburg. It was one of many songs Sontonga wrote for his pupils, and he also composed the music. 
  • Later, a celebrated Xhosa writer and poet called Samuel Mqhayi wrote seven more stanzas for the hymn.
  • The hymn was immediately well received. It was often sung by Sontonga’s own choir, followed by other choirs in the Johannesburg vicinity and the composer’s birth-province, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
  • After Sontonga’s death in 1905, it was included in the Presbyterian Xhosa hymn book and a Xhosa poetry anthology for schools.
  • It was also sung at the very first meeting in 1912 of what would later become the African National Congress, or ANC—currently South Africa’s ruling party. Over a decade later, the ANC officially adopted Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika as the closing song for their meetings.
  • Sol Plaatje, a famous South African writer and founding member of the ANC, had it recorded in Londen in 1923.

As Anthem:

  • Adaptations of the hymn are still the national anthems of Tanzania and Zambia, two other African countries.
Close-up of Beadwork from the National Gear of the Maasai Mara Tribe Who Live in Tanzania and Kenya.

Variasies van Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is ook Tanzanië en Zambië se volksliedere. / “Adaptations of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika are also Tanzania and Zambia’s national anthems.”

  • Its Shona version, Ishe Komborera Africa, was the first national anthem of Zimbabwe when the country gained independence from British rule in 1980. It was replaced by another anthem in 1994, but the old one remains a popular hymn to this day.
  • Nkosi Sikelel’ Afrika was Namibia’s anthem for a year in 1990 after the country gained independence.

Other Facts:

  • This hymn, though originally Christian, became syncretic in nature, meaning it’s now a fusion of diverse cultures and beliefs.
  • In Finland, its melody is used to accompany a children’s religious song called Kuule, Isä taivaan, pyyntö tää (“Hear, Heavenly Father”).
  • It featured in the highly-acclaimed movie “Cry Freedom” (1987), which told the true story of South African political activist Steve Biko’s torture and eventual death at the hands of the previous South African government.

2.2 Die Stem van Suid Afrika (“The Call of South Africa”)

Note: The literal translation of stem is “voice.” However, “The Call of South Africa” is the official English title of this old national anthem.

Die Stem, as it is colloquially called, has a somewhat more controversial, if not less inspiring, history than its counterpart. However, it is still majestic and a heartfelt call for national unity and strength in its own right, especially when we consider the story from which it was born—a story that sounds terribly similar to the one of those who suffered under apartheid.

    ➜ Despite its checkered political history, Afrikaans remains an enriching and beautiful language. Learn here why you should study it!

Historical Influences

It’s impossible to encapsulate the history of any people in only a few sentences, and remembering how the Western white Afrikaners liberated themselves from British colonial rule to came into power in South Africa is not a popular memory right now. Yet, this part of the country’s history is no less sad or horrific than any other tale of suffering under oppressive, cruel rulership of any kind.

Suffering is not exclusive or relative to anyone. Historically, white Afrikaners, or more specifically Boere (literally “Farmers”), suffered unspeakable atrocities under colonial British rule during and after the Boereoorlog (“Boer war”). Prior to that, they were deliberately oppressed and branded as inferior human beings by diverse colonial forces.

Illustration of Late 18th Century Battle Scene.

The real (but universally common) tragedy here is probably that collectively, the Boerenasie (“Boer nation”) has never dealt with its own generational pain and fear, which made the birth of an apartheid government possible. Unaddressed trauma and an un-scrutinized personal history will always give rise to the repetition of history, no matter the scale. That’s just human nature. Hélène Opperman Lewis (PhD) explores this difficult theme quite thoroughly in her psycho-historical book.

South Africans still have a long road ahead of them to rectify the mistakes of the past, and some wounds take unbearably long to heal. But the hope remains that these will heal, as demonstrated by the beautiful merging of these two seemingly ‘un-unifiable’ anthems: Die Stem van Suid Afrika and Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

Head and Shoulders of a Beautiful, Smiling, Modern Young African Woman.

Let’s take a quick time-line historical view of the original Die Stem / “The Call”.

  • Die Stem van Suid Afrika was originally a poem, written in 1918 by one of the country’s best-known Afrikaans poets and authors, CJ Langenhoven.
  • In 1921, Reverent Marthinus Lourens de Villiers set the poem to music. Then the South African Broadcasting Corporation gradually started using it to close daily broadcasts, alongside with “God Save The King”.
  • In 1926, it was recorded in England, and 1928, was sung publicly for the first time at the raising of the then-new South African flag.
  • In 1952, it was translated into English, and gained official status as a national anthem. However, it was only in 1957 that it was no longer sung together with “God Save the Queen”.

Other Facts

  • The poem was originally only three stanzas long. The government asked for a fourth stanza to be added, specifically one with a more religious message.
  • It was, understandably, disliked by the Black South Africans, who associated it with forced racial segregation and its cruel fallouts.
  • The original version’s use has declined sharply since the 1990s, internationally and in South Africa. Only super-conservative nationalists (mainly among white Afrikaners) occasionally sing the full version, which still sparks controversy every now and then.

*Note: South Africans don’t consider the terms “colored” or “people of color” to be derogatory or offensive.

3. Purpose of Anthems and their Protocols

Why do countries have national anthems?

All countries have national symbols that represent something about the people and the country, for the people and the world at large. National symbols furthermore depict or illustrate a country’s constitutional values and are always unifying and patriotic in meaning.

The South African Flag.

Die Suid-Afrikaanse vlag. / “The South African flag.”

The symbols are visual, iconic, or verbal. They tend to represent long-held traditions and history, as well as the beliefs and hopes of the country’s people.

Common national symbols include: 

  • a country’s flag or banner,
  • a coat of arms,
  • a stamp or seal,
  • national colors,
  • a head of state (in a monarchy), and so forth.

Some countries also have national emblems such as flowers and animals. For instance, the rose is the American flora emblem, while the beautiful protea is South Africa’s. The country’s national animal is the springbok (literally: “spring buck”); our national rugby team, called the Springbokke (“Springbucks)” is named after this emblem and wear it on their rugby jerseys.

National symbols are either officially recognized by a country’s government, or they’re unofficially accepted as such through popular use. This is especially so in the case of anthems.

A Pink Protea Flower with Leaves.

Die protea is ‘n nasionale Suid Afrikaanse flora embleem. / “The protea is South Africa’s national flora emblem.”

Anthems are probably the most powerful of all national symbols. Music is a conveyer of emotion and feeling, and the act of singing together can be extremely unifying. That’s why the lyrics of anthems tend to be deeply meaningful, as they represent the heart of every nation, so to speak.

Each country has its own etiquette or protocol when their national anthem is sung, mainly to show respect for what the song represents. For instance, in the USA, it’s custom to stand up straight, remove your hat, and place your right hand over your heart when singing the US anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner”. If the country’s flag is also being raised, you’re expected to face it while singing the anthem.

The South African protocol is somewhat simpler. Only civilians have to take their hats off, but everyone should stand at attention (straight, with feet together and arms by the sides), and sing the anthem in a respectful manner.

4. Where/When is the South African Anthem Typically Sung?

As explained, anthems are national symbols, meaning they are musical representations of the patriotic values and ideals held by the people of a country. In South Africa, we sing or play our beautiful anthem in various contexts, such as:

  • the opening of parliament; 
  • at diplomatic or PR receptions, such as when high-ranking government officials visit schools, etc.;
  • at military ceremonies and events;
  • during big sports events;
  • at festivals celebrated on special national holidays; 
  • at some school openings after a weekend or holiday break.

A Hand Painted in the Colors of the South African Flag Showing the Universal, 2-finger Peace-sign.

Die volkslied word altyd gesing tydens seremonies vir Vryheidsdagviering. / The anthem is always being sung at ceremonies held during Freedom Day celebrations.

Just as in many other countries, it is also sung at big sports events. For these, we often have a chorus leader or orchestra, usually of local talent. To be invited to lead the performance is obviously an extremely great honor.

Previously, it was sung as a matter of routine at government schools too, but only some schools still practice this custom.

5. BONUS: National Anthem Vocabulary and Phrases

Use the following vocabulary to talk about South Africa’s national anthem and its other symbols. Also, consider this easy guide to understanding Afrikaans grammar.

AfrikaansEnglish
volksliedanthem (n)
nasionaalnational (n)
vlagflag (n)
staan op aandagstand at attention
erfenisheritage (n)
nasionaliteitnationalism (n)
trotspride (adj)
eerhonor (n)
eer(biedig)to honor (v)
seremonieceremony (n)
seremonieelceremonial (adj)
ritueelritual (n)
paradeparade (n)
paradeerto parade (v)
weermagmilitary (n)
saluutsalute (n)
saluteerto salute (v)
patriotpatriot (n)
patriotiespatriotic (adj)
simboolsymbol (n)
kultuurculture (n)
kultureelcultural (adj)
geskiedenishistory (n)
tradisietradition (n)
landcountry (n)
nasienation (n)
marsmarch (n)
gesanghymn (n)
komposisiecomposition (n)
liriekelyrics (n)
bladmusieksheet music (n)
opvoeringperformance (n)
orkesorchestra (n)
koperblaasorkesbrass band (n)
offisieelofficial (n)
statigstately (adj)
respekrespect (n)

6. AfrikaansPod101 Can Help You Learn the South African National Anthem

…and so much more!!

At AfrikaansPod101.com, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our fun and practical learning materials, such as recorded videos and free vocabulary lists. With our help, you’ll be able to use Afrikaans and even sing the Afrikaans part of the national anthem with ease!

Also, decipher Afrikaans songs and texts yourself by using 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 close by for easy translation! 

Don’t wait—subscribe immediately!

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.

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

Your Guide to 50+ Afrikaans Classroom Phrases

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The first official school in South Africa, called the South African College Schools, or SACS, as it is still known, was founded in 1829 in Cape Town. A boys-only school, it’s still located in the former Cape Town home of a mining magnate where, in 2012, the estate was the majestic location for the second film in the successful South African movie franchise, Spud. 

Despite it being an English medium school, its halls nevertheless ring with Afrikaans school phrases too, as Afrikaans language learning is important in all South African schools.

School Children in Uniform Walking with Their Backpacks at School.

Afrikaans word in elke skool in Suid Afrika aangebied as ‘n vak. / “Afrikaans is taught in every school in South Africa.”

    ➜ Afrikaans language learning can be a rich and rewarding experience for students of all ages. Learn ten good reasons for studying Afrikaans in this informative article.

Now let’s get cracking with probably the most comprehensive list of Afrikaans classroom phrases in English!

A Brother and Sister in School Uniform.

Alle Suid Afrikaanse publieke skole vereis dat leerlinge skooluniforms dra. / “The wearing of school uniforms is mandatory in all South African public schools.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Afrikaans Table of Contents
  1. Forms of Address in Afrikaans Schools
  2. Start Of Class
  3. During Class
  4. End of Class
  5. Supplies and Equipment in the Classroom
  6. BONUS: Useful Afrikaans School Vocabulary
  7. South African Schools—A Few Facts
  8. Learn Useful Afrikaans School Phrases at AfrikaansPod101.com!

1. Forms of Address in Afrikaans Schools

But before we start looking at Afrikaans classroom greetings—forms of address are significant in especially Afrikaans-medium schools, where a culture of respect for all adult staff is still important. In fact, this is a hallmark of nearly every native Afrikaans speaker.

In practice, this means that if there is an age gap of more than 10 years, adults are typically not addressed with the casual jy and jou pronouns or by their first names. Instead, they are addressed, rather stiltedly, by their titles.

At school, then, learners replace all pronouns with titles when addressing a teacher, and using the teacher’s first name is avoided. Doing this is seen as a form of disrespect.

Teachers, however, address pupils by their first names and use informal or casual pronouns.

Here are the two main titles Afrikaans pupils use to address teachers in South African schools:

Juffrou

Note: This is the form of address pupils use to refer to their female teachers from Gr. R – Gr. 12—irrespective of her marital status.
“Miss” or “Ma’am”
Meneer“Sir”

Example Dialogue:

Teacher: Lekker middag vir jou, Bertus.  
Approximate: “Have an enjoyable afternoon, Bertus.”

Bertus: Meneer moet Meneer se middag ook geniet!
Literally: “Sir must also enjoy Sir’s afternoon!”

Bertus sounds a bit like a previous-century butler working in an old English abbey, doesn’t he?!

In tutoring settings, however, such as when studying or teaching Afrikaans privately or via an online class, the use of casual pronouns and first names is completely acceptable.

Students in Private Gear Greeting One Another Outside.

Senior leerlinge mag soms in privaatdrag eksamen skryf. / “Senior pupils may sometimes write exams in private wear.”

Anyway, whatever your need for intricate or basic Afrikaans classroom phrases, we’ve got you covered in this article!

2. Start Of Class

So, the bell rang, and the pupils are seated. Looking out over their charges, teachers will start the day with  suitable Afrikaans classroom greetings and other Afrikaans language phrases to connect with the children.

1 – Teacher Phrases

Afrikaans Classroom Greetings

Noise and bustle are endemic to classrooms, there’s just no escaping that! Classroom management is not always easy, and any person might be tempted to subdue the noise with shouting or harsh discipline.

However, a wise teacher will know that her attitude and demeanor will set the tone for everyone in the class, probably for the rest of the day. Therefore, she strives to start every school day with a friendly greeting, showing personal interest in her young charges, and keeping a calm manner. Maintaining authority and order without sacrificing anyone’s dignity are always worthy aims.

Here are a few friendly, standard greetings, plus excellent customizable phrases with which to make pupils feel welcome.

Goeiemore, Graad Twees“Goodmorning, Grade Two’s.”
Middag, julle.Literally: “Afternoon, (all of) you.”
Haai daar, Francis“Hi there, Francis.”
Goeiedag, almal.“Good day, everyone.”
Hello, Klas.“Hello, Class.”
Hoe gaan dit vandag?“How are you doing today?”
Voel jy beter vanoggend, Dawie?“Are you feeling better this morning, Davey?”
Welkom terug, Annabel.“Welcome back, Annabel.”
Hoe voel jou been?“How does your leg feel?”
Sjoe, maar dis koud vandag.“Wow, it’s cold today.”
Wat ‘n lieflike oggend is die nie?!Approximate: “What a beautiful morning it is!”

Two Young School Children Give Their Teacher a Bunch of Flowers.

Vra enige onderwyser—enige gebaar van waardering is altyd welkom! / “Ask any teacher—any gesture of appreciation is always welcome!”


Taking Roll Call

Now it’s time for the teacher to check who’s in attendance. This usually takes place only at the start of the day for all juniors and seniors, or during what is called the register klas (“register class”) for learners from Grade 5 onwards.

From Grades 1 through 4, learners remain in the same class all day long and receive tuition from only one teacher for all subjects. From Grade 5 onwards, they change classes and teachers for most subjects.

The Afrikaans expression for taking roll call is register neem. It’s derived from British English, which means “to take register”.

Stilte vir register, asseblief!“Silence for roll call, please!”
Enigiemand afwesig?“Anybody absent?”
Wie’s nie hier vandag nie?“Who’s not here today?”
Is Emma al terug?“Is Emma back?”
Almal is hier / aanwesig.“Everyone’s here / present.”
Waarom was jy laasweek afwesig, Francois?“Why were you absent last week, Francois?”
Wat’s fout met Anya? Weet iemand?“What’s wrong with Anya? Does anyone know?”
Weet iemand wanneer Petra terugkom klastoe?“Does anyone know when Petra will return to class?”
Is Gert aanwesig?“Is Gert present?”

An Empty Classroom.

Meeste Suid Afrikaanse skole het standaard klaskamers. / “Most South African schools have standard classrooms.”


2 – Class and Pupil Phrases

The relationship is reciprocal—pupils also greet and respond to their teacher’s enquiries.

Afrikaans Classroom Greetings

More Juffrou, more Maatjies.

Note: In the pre-school and junior classes, the children are usually taught one appropriate greeting phrase, which they then use in the same sing-song fashion every morning.
“Good morning, Miss, good morning, Buddies.”
Goeiemore, Juffrou.“Good morning, Miss.”
More, Juffrou.“Morning, Miss.
Goeiemiddag, Meneer.“Good afternoon, Sir.”
Middag, Meneer.“Afternoon, Sir.”
Hello Juffrou / Meneer.“Hello Miss / Sir.”
Dit gaan goed, dankie. En met Juffrou?Literally: “It’s going well, thank you. And with Miss?”
Dit gaan goed met my, dankie Meneer.“I’m doing well, thank you, Sir.”
Goed dankie, en met Meneer?“Well thanks, and with Sir?”

Smiling Teacher in Front of Her Class.

Wie weet die antwoord? / “Who knows the answer?”

Answering Roll Call

During roll call, learners are usually expected to indicate their presence by announcing it out loud.

Below are a few basic Afrikaans classroom phrases to demonstrate how pupils typically respond during roll call in a South African school. 

Teenwoordig!“Present!”
Ek’s hier.“I’m here.”
Gert is aanwesig / afwesig.“Gert is present / absent.”
Ek’s terug, Juffrou.“I’m back, Miss.”
Emma is terug.“Emma is back.”
Petronel is nie hier nie.“Petronel isn’t here.”
Petra kom nie terug nie.“Petra won’t return.”
Anya is siek met verkoue.“Anya is sick with a cold.”
Ek voel beter, dankie Juffrou.“I feel better, thanks Miss.”
Ek was siek gewees, Juffrou.“I was sick, Miss.”
Hier’s my siekbrief / dokter’s brief.

Note: In South African public schools, school fees are largely subsidized by the state, so truancy is unfortunately a problem. Therefore, a child must produce a doctor’s note if their prolonged absence was due to illness.

Absenteeism is not a typical problem in private schools, because fees are not subsidized, and parents are therefore more motivated to make sure their children attend school. For this reason, the parents’ word instead of a doctor’s note is usually acceptable.
“Here’s my doctor’s note.”

A Young Schoolgirl Introducing Herself to the Class in Front of a Blackboard.

My naam is Tina. / “My name is Tina.”

Exercise: Above, the teachers’ greetings and roll-taking questions are matched with the student’s replies. Why not turn these into an Afrikaans listening comprehension exercise? Ask an Afrikaans speaker or your AfrikaansPod101 tutor to record the questions and answers for you. Then, while listening to the questions, choose the correct reply, and vice versa!

3 – Introducing Yourself to the Class—Teacher and Pupil

In many schools, it’s a custom for new pupils and teachers to introduce themselves to the class at the beginning of the year. They are also sometimes expected to share a detail or two about themselves.

Below are a few great phrases for such an occasion.

Ons gaan onsself nou aan mekaar voorstel.“Now we’re going to introduce ourselves to each other.”
Vertel die klas wat jou naam is, of jy ‘n broer of suster het, en wat jou gunsteling … is.“Tell the class your name and surname, if you have siblings, and what your favorite … is.”
My naam is …“My name is …”
Ek is …“I am …”
My gunsteling (noun) is (noun).“My favorite (noun) is (noun).”
Ek het (‘n) …“I have (a) …”
Ek woon …“I live …”

Examples:

Pupil: Ek is Sebastiaan Steenkamp. Ek is agt jaar oud en ek het een boetie. Ek hou van karre.
I am Sebastian Steenkamp. I’m eight years old and I have one brother. I like cars.”

Teacher: My naam is Juffrou Sandra Van Rooyen. Ek is julle nuwe Afrikaanse onderwyser en ek bly naby die skool in Vishoek. My gunsteling fliek is ‘Die Wonderwerker’.
“My name is Teacher Sandra Van Rooyen. I’m your new Afrikaans teacher and I live close to the school in Fish Hoek. My favorite movie is Die Wonderwerker. (The Miracle Worker)”

    ➜ For the most common Afrikaans nouns you could use when talking about yourself, take a look at this article!

3. During Class

Two School Children in a Classroom Learning Geography with an Earth Ball.

Skool moet genotvol wees om suksesvolle ‘n leerervaring te verseker. / “School must be enjoyable in order to ensure a successful learning experience. “

1 – Phrases and Questions for Teachers

Time to start the lessons! A successful teacher will have done their preparation and ensures that everyone knows what’s expected of them for the duration of the class. But first, they want to make sure the environment is pleasant and conducive to learning.

Classroom Duties

While all schools have cleaners or make use of cleaning services, it’s expected of the learners to help keep the classrooms neat, tidy, and well ventilated. Here are a few good phrases the teacher could use to rally up assistance.

Maak al die vensters oop, asseblief.“Please open all the windows.”
Maak die deur toe, asseblief.“Close the door, please.
Dis jou beurt om die witbord skoon te maak.“It’s your turn to clean the whiteboard.”
Gooi asseblief julle rommel in die asblik.“Please put your garbage in the trashcan.”
Maak skoon, asseblief.“Clean up, please.”
Vee daardie op.“Sweep that up.”
Saamwerk laat die droom werk!“Teamwork makes the dream work!”
Handewas tyd!

Note: Higiëne is taught as a subject in the pre-school and Junior classes. Also, little ones tend to get a lot dirtier during class time than the seniors, so before breaks, the teacher makes sure those grubby paws are washed. Junior classrooms usually have facilities for this activity.
“Time to wash our hands!”

Dustpan with Brush.

Kinders word in die klaskamer geleer om hul omgewing te beheer deur dit netjies te hou. / “Children are being taught in the classroom to control their environment by keeping it tidy.”

Learning can only take place when focus is disciplined. It’s a valuable skill everyone needs to learn at school, even though acquiring it is not always enjoyable for youngsters. 

It’s also imperative for a teacher to maintain good Afrikaans classroom management to accomplish successful learning outcomes. For that, a few rules establishing boundaries and order must be in place at the start of every class. Knowing exactly what is expected of them adds to the children’s sense of security, and an ordered environment helps classroom activities run smoothly.

Class Practice – Keeping the Order

Order in the classroom is not easily accomplished! Learners, especially the younger ones, often need repeated reminders of the class rules. This can be tough on everyone at the start, but with persistence, pupils learn and peace reigns. Then enjoyable Afrikaans language learning can start!

Here are a number of useful phrases for maintaining a classroom atmosphere conducive to learning. 

Steek asseblief julle hande op as julle ‘n vraag het.“Please raise your hand if you have a question.” 
Steek op jou hand as jy die antwoord ken.“Put up your hand if you know the answer.”
Moenie die antwoord uitroep nie.“Don’t shout out the answer.”
Hande op, asseblief!“Hands up, please!”
Stilte, asseblief!“Quiet, please!”
Hou op praat, asseblief.“Please stop talking.”

Three School Children being Assisted by Their Teacher in a Classroom.

‘n Kalm onderwyser beteken rustige leerlinge. / “A calm teacher means peaceful learners.”

Tip: Memorizing the rules are often an excellent classroom practice, especially for younger students. It could also be turned into an Afrikaans listening comprehension exercise by simply ask the students to translate the rules from Afrikaans to English. Language learning is made easier the more interactive it is. To ensure proper pronunciation, a native Afrikaans speaker should recite the rules in Afrikaans.

Class Practice—About Learning Content

At last it’s time to start with the lesson itself… 

Ideally, the teacher will guide the students to discover and explore the learning material for and by themselves. For this, open-ended statements and questions are ideal.

Yet, clear instructions are often necessary too. Here are a few helpful Afrikaans school phrases for these purposes.

Is almal gereed?“Is everyone ready?”
Kan ons begin?“Can we start?”
Vandag gaan ons leer van …“Today we’re going to learn about …”
Ons gaan kyk na …“We’ll be looking at …”
Sê agter my aan.“Repeat after me.”
Herhaal wat jy gesê het?“Repeat what you said?”
Sê weer?“Say again?”
Lees dit hardop vir die klas.“Read it out loud for the class.”
Praat bietjie harder dat almal kan hoor.Approximate: “Speak up a little so everybody can hear.”
Maak julle handboeke oop op bladsy …“Open your textbooks on page ….”
Blaai na die volgende bladsy.“Turn to the next page.”
Lees vanaf die tweede paragraaf.“Read from the second paragraph”
Kyk na punt vyf.“Look at point five.”
Hou my lippe dop terwyl ek die woord sê.“Watch my lips as I pronounce the word.”
Mens spreek dit so uit.“One pronounces it like this.”
Kyk mooi.“Look carefully.”
Kyk weer.“Look again.”
Onderstreep al die … met ‘n potlood.“Underline all the … with a pencil.”
Luister mooi.“Listen carefully.”
Luister weer.“Listen again.”
Op watter lettergreep val die klem in die woord …?“Which syllable is emphasized in the word …?”
Wie gaan eerste wees?“Who wants to go first?”
Wie’s volgende?“Who’s next?”
Verduidelik dit in jou eie woorde.“Explain it in your own words.”
Wat bedoel jy hiermee? Approximate: “What do you mean to say here?”
Dink daaroor.“Consider it.”
Skryf jou antwoord in jou notaboek.“Write your answer in your notebook.”
Enige vrae?“Any questions?”

Geometry Homework on a Writing Pad, with a Pen and Scientific Calculator.

Afrikaans Grammar—Targeted Teaching Phrases

Grammar in every language has certain unique distinctions and quirks. Here are a few pertaining to Afrikaans grammar—stated in excellent Afrikaans classroom phrases! 
Let op na die gebruik van dubbel-negasie in hierdie sin.“Notice the use of double-negation in this sentence.”
Afrikaanse werkwoorde vervoeg nie volgens onderwerp nie.“Afrikaans verbs don’t conjugate for the subject.”
Let op dat Afrikaans nie grammatikale geslag het nie.“Note that Afrikaans has no grammatical gender.”
Afrikaans het drie geslagsverwante voornaamwoorde.“Afrikaans has three gender-related pronouns.”
In Afrikaans is daar geen onderskeiding tussen die infinitiewe en teenwoordige-tyd werkwoordvorme nie.Approximate: “Afrikaans doesn’t differentiate between the infinitive and present tense verb forms.”
Sommige Afrikaanse byvoeglike naamwoorde verbuig na gelang van hul posisie ten opsigte van die naamwoord in ‘n sin.“Some Afrikaans adjectives inflect based on their position relative to the noun in a sentence.”

Homework

South Africa, assigning homework especially in junior classes are on the decline. It’s almost counter-intuitive, yet research suggests that not getting homework may improve performance and increase school attendance.

Many private schools have adopted the attitude that if work is completed to a satisfactory standard during class time, no homework is assigned. This seems to be a remarkable motivator for many learners!

However, mastering subjects as they increase in difficulty means that homework is still necessary for senior classes. Manage that well with these phrases.

Note: Afrikaans pronouns change for number and gender. See how this differs from English in the section below. (The distinction is noted between brackets in the English translation.)

Julle huiswerk is …“Your (plural) homework is …”
Huiswerk vir vandag is … “Homework for today is …
Dit moet … in wees.“It must be in by …”
Handig dit … in.“Hand it in …”
Maak ‘n nota van die huiswerk, asseblief. “Make a note of the homework, please.”
Geen huiswerk vir more nie.“No homework for tomorrow.”
Het almal hulle huiswerk gedoen?“Has everyone done their homework?”
Het jy jou huiswerk gedoen?“Have you (singular) done your (singular) homework?”
Hoekom is joune nie voltooi nie?“Why isn’t yours (singular) completed?”
Wanneer kan jy dit inhandig?“When can you (singular) hand it in?”
Daai moes gister al voltooi gewees het.

Note: The word daai is a contraction of two words that form a uniquely Afrikaans demonstrative pronoun: daar + die > daardie (Literally: “there + the > that”). It’s very commonly used in the vernacular.
“That was supposed to be completed yesterday already.”
Sal julle hierdie oordoen, asseblief?“Will you (plural) redo this, please?”
Doen sommer die korreksies nou.“Just make the corrections now.”

A Hand Showing a Thumb-up.

Almal hou van ‘n welverdiende kompliment. / “Everyone likes a well-deserved compliment.”


Commenting on a Pupil’s Work

Teaching includes constantly assessing learners work and progress. It’s easy to focus only on correcting mistakes, but this strategy can create negative vibes of discouragement in the classroom!

South African teachers are unlikely to give credit where it’s not due. However, they also know that praising a learner for noticeable effort and performance encourages a sense of well-being for everyone. 

Do so like a boss with these excellent phrases.

Dis die korrekte antwoord.“That’s the correct answer.”
Die antwoord is …“The answer is …”
Mooi so!“Well done!”
Dis beter.“That’s better.”
Dis reg.“That’s right.”
Dis verkeerd.“That’s incorrect.”
Nie so nie.“Not like that.”
Probeer weer.“Try again.”
Daarsy, nou’s dit reg.Approximate: “There you go, now it’s correct.”
Dit lyk goed.“It’s looking good.”
Jou uitspraak is uitstekend.“Your pronunciation is excellent.”
Goeie werk!“Good work!”
Dis fantasties, hou so aan!“That’s fantastic, keep going!”
Ek kan sien julle het moeite gedoen.“I can see you’ve made an effort.”
Mooi so, julle het baie verbeter.“Well done, you’ve improved a lot.”


Tests and Exams

All gained knowledge and skills need to be tested. The teacher will guide the students to focus on the most relevant learning material, encourage them to study, and then all wait together, anxiously, for the results.

Ignoreer daardie afdeling.“Ignore that section.”
Dis nie belangrik vir die eksamen nie.“It’s not important for the exam.”
Hierdie is belangrik vir die toets / eksamen.“This is important for the test / exam.”
Maak seker julle memoriseer hierdie lys.“Make sure you memorize this list.”
Julle toetsdatums is …“Your test dates are …”
Die eksamen begin op …“The exams start on …”
Dit maak klaar op …“They finish on …”
Hier is die rooster vir die praktiese eksamen. “Here is the timetable for the practical exam.”
Vandag se Afrikaanse eksamen bestaan uit twee vraestelle.“Today’s Afrikaans exam comprises two papers.”
Julle het twee ure tyd vir hierdie vraestel.“You have two hours to complete this paper.”
Sterkte, Klas!“Good luck, Class!”
Julle mag begin.“You may start.”
Julle het nog net ‘n halfuur oor.“You only have half an hour left.”
Tyd is verby!“Time’s up!”
Sit die penne neer.“Put down the pens.”
Was die eksamen maklik gewees?“Was the exam easy?”
Hoe het dit met die toets gegaan?“How did it go with the test?”

A Triumphant Male Student Holding Up an A-graded Paper.

Goeie voorbereiding skep geluk. / “Good preparation creates (its own) luck.”

When a Pupil is Battling in Class

Sometimes a test result shows it, or sometimes a teacher picks up in class that a learner is battling with the learning material. Then they should step in to help a learner.

If resources are available, remedial assistance is so important, as timely intervention can make all the difference in a child’s education.

Also, a teacher might pick up that a learner is feeling unwell physically. Use these phrases to assist them in Afrikaans.

Hoe kan ek help?“How can I help?”
Waarmee kan ek help?“With what can I help?”
Waarmee sukkel julle ouens die meeste?“What are you guys struggling with the most?”
Wat dink jy is die probleem?“What do you think is the problem?”
Wat dink jy is die beste manier om hierdie probleem aan te pak?“What do you think is the best way to tackle this problem?”
Ek stel voor…“I suggest that…”
Kyk of jy die fout kan raaksien.“See if you can spot the mistake.”
Kom laat ek verduidelik.Approximate: “Let me explain (it).”
Maak dit nou meer sin?“Does it make more sense now?”
Is dinge nou duideliker?“Are things clearer now?”
Moenie moed opgee nie.Literally: “Don’t give up courage.”
Jy het dit amper onder die knie.

Note: This phrase, which employs a uniquely Afrikaans expression, literally translates to: “You almost have it under the knee.” 

To have something onder die knie (“under the knee”) means a person has mastered it.
Approximate: “You’re close to mastering it.”
Ek weet jy kan!Approximate: “I know that you got this!”
Ek glo in jou.“I believe in you.”
Toemaar. Met bietjie oefening sal julle almal dit gou baasraak.Approximate: “Don’t worry. With some practice you’ll all soon master it.”
Voel jy siek?“Are you feeling ill?”
Jy lyk nie goed nie.“You don’t look well.”
Gaan sien liewer die skoolverpleegster.

Note: In South Africa, only certain boarding schools have resident medical staff.
“Rather go see the school nurse.”
Wil jy in die siekeboeg / siekekamer gaan lê?“Do you want to go lie down in the infirmary?”
Dalk moet jy maar huistoe gaan.“Perhaps you should go home.”
Gaan kantoor toe, laat die sekretaresse jou ouers bel.“Go to the office so the school secretary can call your parents.”

A Female Teacher or Parent Caringly Helping a Little Girl with Schoolwork.

Persoonlike aandag kan baie waardevol vir ‘n sukkelende leerling wees. / “Personal attention can prove very helpful to a struggling learner.”

Example Dialogue:

Klas: Ons sukkel baie om hierdie woorde uit te spreek.
Class: “We’re really battling to pronounce these words.”

Onderwyser: Toemaar. Met bietjie oefening sal julle almal dit gou baasraak.Teacher: “Don’t worry. With some practice you’ll all soon master it.”

2 – Phrases and Questions for Pupils

What if you’re the learner? 

When You Need Help From the Teacher

There’s a saying that the student who never admits failure or ignorance will always remain a fool, while the one who asks for assistance may seem like a fool only for a minute. 

So, knowing how to ask for help is at top of the list of all our student Afrikaans classroom phrases!

Ek het hulp nodig.“I need assistance.”
Mag ek iets vra?“May I ask something?”
Kan Meneer my help, asseblief?“Could you help me, please Sir?”
Wat beteken hierdie?“What does this mean?”
Hoe sê mens hierdie in Afrikaans?“How does one say this in Afrikaans?”
Hoe sê mens in Afrikaans: … ?

Note: If, instead, you ask: Hoe sê ek … in Afrikaans? (“How do I say … in Afrikaans?”), the natives will understand you. However, it’s neither the best Afrikaans, nor the vernacular, if you want to sound natural.
“How does one say in Afrikaans: …?”
Wat is Afrikaans vir … ?“What is Afrikaans for …?”
Wat’s die vertaling vir …?“What’s the translation for …?”
Wat’s die regte uitspraak?“What’s the correct pronunciation?”
Sal Juffrou dit asseblief weer verduidelik?“Will you please explain it again, Miss?”
Ek verstaan nie.“I don’t understand.”
Ek verstaan nie die … nie.“I don’t understand the …”
Kan Juffrou bietjie stadiger praat, asseblief?“Can you talk a bit slower, please Miss?”
Kan Meneer dit bietjie stadiger herhaal?“Can you repeat it a bit slower, Sir?”
Sê weer, asseblief?“Say again, please?”
Jammer, dis nog steeds onduidelik.“Sorry, it’s still unclear.”
Hierdie deel maak nie vir my sin nie.“This part doesn’t make sense to me.”
Is hierdie reg / korrek?“Is this correct?”
Nou verstaan ek!“Now I understand!”
Dankie, ek verstaan dit nou beter.“Thanks, I understand it better now.”
Dankie vir die verduideliking.“Thanks for the explanation.”
Dankie vir die hulp, Meneer.“Thanks for the help, Sir.”
Example Dialogue:

Leerling: Hoe sê mens in Afrikaans: “The homework is difficult”?
Pupil: “How does one say in Afrikaans: ‘The homework is difficult’?”

Onderwyser: Mens sê: Die huiswerk is moeilik.
Teacher: “One says: Die huiswerk is moeilik.

A Young Boy Sitting at a Desk, Struggling with Schoolwork.

Om te vra vir hulp is nie ‘n skande nie. / “Asking for help is never shameful.”


Borrowing and Lending

It happens to the best of us—we forget stuff at home. Ask these question to borrow what you need and know how to reply to a mate who wants to borrow from you using these cool phrases.

Ek het my … by die huis vergeet.“I forgot my … at home.”
Ek het my … verloor.“I lost my …”
Kan ek joune leen, seblief?“May I borrow yours, please?”
Mag ek gou jou … leen, asseblief?“May I quickly borrow your …, please?”
Het jy dalk ‘n ekstra … wat ek kan leen?“Do you perhaps have an extra … I can borrow?”
Jy mag, ek wil net gou self klaarmaak.“You may, I just quickly want to finish (using it) myself.”
Jammer, ek het net een.“Sorry, I only have one.”
Hier, leen myne.“Here, borrow mine.”
Dankie. Ek gee dit nou terug.“Thanks. I’ll return it just now.”
Mag ek my … terugkry, asseblief?“May I have my … back, please?”
Example Dialogue:

Leerling A: Mag ek gou jou rooi pen leen, asseblief?
Pupil A: “May I quickly borrow your red pen, please?”

Leerling B: Jy mag, ek wil net gou self klaarmaak.
Pupil B: “You may, I just quickly want to finish (using it) myself.”

Asking and Giving Assistance

Sometimes it’s easier to try and figure stuff out by asking a classmate for assistance. Following are a few helpful questions and replies.

Verstaan jy hierdie …?“Do you understand this …?”
Wat beteken dit?“What does it mean?”
Kan jy my gou help, asseblief?“Could you quickly help me, please?”
Ek’s nie seker nie. Vra liewer vir Juffrou.“I’m not sure. Rather ask (the) teacher.”
Seker. Gee my net ‘n oomblik.“Sure. Just give me a minute.”
Dit beteken …“It means …”
Ons hoef nie daai te doen nie.“We don’t need to do that.”
Example Dialogue:

Leerling A: Verstaan jy hierdie paragraaf? Kan jy my gou help, asseblief?
Pupil A: “Do you understand this paragraph? Can you quickly help me, please?”

Leerling B: Ek’s nie seker nie. Vra liewer vir Juffrou.
Pupil B: “I’m not sure. Rather ask Miss.”

Talking About Tests / Exams

Unlike in the U.S., pupils attending South African public schools write exams from grade 7 onward. These take place quarterly, with a big, final exam for each grade at the end of each year. This is a government standard. 

Class tests are usually written from Grade 3 throughout the year, as designed by the school’s government or the class teachers.

Some independent or private schools employ a slightly different grading and testing system, but all schools must comply with the same regulatory education standards to pass students to the next Grade, or to issue official Matric certificates (also called National Senior Certificates), in the case of high schools. This certificate signifies that the pupil completed their official or mandated schooling.

Exam and test time is characterized by certain preparatory activities, intensive studying … and feeling nervous about results! Here are a few phrases to discuss your exam experiences with your classmates.

Het jy voorberei?“Have you prepared?”
Ken jy die werk?“Do you know the material?”
Waar skryf ons …?“Where do we write …?
Waar is die eksamenlokaal?Literally: “Where is the exam venue?”
Hoe’t dit met jou toets /  eksamen gegaan?

Note: Hoe’t is a contraction of the question words Hoe het (“How did”).
“How’d it go with your test/ exam?”
Dit het goed gegaan, dankie. En met jou?Approximate: “It went well, thanks. And with you?”
Nie te sleg nie.“Not too bad.”
Ek het ongelukkig die toets gepluk.“I unfortunately failed the test.”
Ek het die eksamen geslaag.“I passed the exam.”
Wanneer is die volgende toets?“When is the next test?”
Ek moet die hereksamen vir … doen.“I need to rewrite the … exam.”
Eksamen is verby!

Note: Eksamen is in the singular form here, but in Afrikaans, it means that all the papers have been completed.
“Exams are done!”
Example Dialogue:

Leerling A: Waar skryf ons Biologie?
Pupil A: “Where are we taking the Biology exams?” (Approximate)

Leerling B: In die saal.
Pupil B: “In the hall.”

Jubilant Students Running Down the Stairs on Campus.

Eksamen is verby! / “Exams are done!”

Excusing Yourself in / from Class

Sometimes a break from class is necessary! In South African schools, it’s expected of learners to first ask the teacher for permission to leave. Also, when a pupil pitches late for class, it’s polite to apologize and give a reason for their tardiness.

Verskoon my, Juffrou. “Excuse me, Miss.”
Mag ek asseblief toilet toe gaan?“May I please go to the bathroom?”
Ek moet die klas verlaat.

Note: In South Africa, seniors are most likely to use this phrase (or an equivalent) to indicate that they need to go to the bathroom.
“I need to leave class.”
Mag ek die klas verlaat?“May I leave class?”
Jammer dat ek laat is.“Sorry that I’m late.”
Askies, Juffrou / Meneer.

Note: Saying Askies is an informal way of apologizing in Afrikaans.
“Sorry, Miss / Sir.”
Ek vra om verskoning.“I apologize.”
Ek is jammer, die hond het my huiswerk opgeëet.“I am sorry, the dog ate my homework.”
Ek sal nie volgende week klas kan bywoon nie.“I won’t be able to attend class next week.”
Ek voel nie goed nie. My … is baie seer.“I don’t feel well. My … hurts badly.”
Ek wil huistoe gaan.“I want to go home.”
Example:

Leerling: Verskoon my, Juffrou. Ek voel nie goed nie. My kop is baie seer. Mag ek die klas verlaat?
Pupil: “Excuse me, Miss. I don’t feel good. My head is very sore. May I leave class?”

Onderwyser: Dis reg so. Gaan kantoor toe dat die sekretaresse jou ouers kan bel.
Teacher: “It’s OK. Go to the office so the secretary can call your parents.”

3 – Talking about Subjects—Teachers and Pupils

In every country, the subjects taught at schools change and adapt according to the needs of the particular demographic, as well as global development.

However, some school subjects are universal and have remained the same in most countries over the ages. They may not all have the same names everywhere, but the basic content remains the same.

Retro School Paraphernalia, Magnifying Glass with Herbaria Viva, Quill and Ink, Bundle of Books Bound with a String etc.

Also, globally, many schools teach the country’s mother tongue/s, plus English and a few other major languages. 

List of School Subjects

Below are the universal subjects taught in all schools in South Africa, but for the purpose of this article, the country-specific subjects and electives are excluded.

Afrikaans“Afrikaans”
Engels“English”
Wiskunde“Mathematics”
Algebra“Algebra”
Meetkunde“Geometry”
Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie

Note: This subject is offered from Gr. 1 – 7 and is commonly called Wetenskap (“Science”).
“Natural science and Technology”
Fisiese wetenskap“Physical science”
Chemie“Chemistry”
Fisika“Physics”
Biology“Biology”
Geskiedenis“History”
Aardrykskunde“Geography”
Ekonomie“Economic studies”
Rekenkunde“Accounting”
Besigheidstudies“Business studies
Visuele kunste en musiek“Visual arts and music”
Liggaamsopvoeding“Physical Education”

Young Schoolchildren Engrossed in a Creative Drawing Activity in Class.

Skeppende kunste is ‘n belangrike vak veral in die junior skooljare. / “Creative arts are an important subject especially during the junior school years.”

A Few Questions and Answers About Subjects

School conversations with mates will highly likely include chatting about subjects. 

Remember to use the list above, plus the vocabulary list further on to complete the following questions and answers!

Wat is jou hoofvakke?Approximate: “What are your majors?”
Wat is jou gunsteling vak?

Note: There’s no equivalent for the phrase “least favorite” in Afrikaans.
“What is your favorite subject?”
Van watter vak hou jy die minste?“Which subject do you like the least?”
Van watter vak hou jy die meeste?“Which subject do you like the most?”
Met watter vak sukkel jy?“Which subject do you struggle with?”
In watter vak doen jy die …?“In which subject do you do the …?”
Wat is jou … vak?“What is your … subject?”
Watter vak is vir jou die … ?Approximate: “Which subject do you find the …?”
My hoofvakke is … en …“My majors are … and …”
Ek hou die meeste van …“I like … the most.”
Ek hou die minste van …“I like … the least.”
Afrikaans is my gunsteling vak.“Afrikaans is my favorite subject.”
Ek hou nie van … nie.“I don’t like …”
Afrikaans is vir my die … vak.“Afrikaans is the (most) … subject for me.”
Watter vakke het mens nodig vir toelating tot mediese studies?“Which subjects does one need for medical study admission?”
Jy’t beslis Wiskunde, Wetenskap, en Biologie nodig vir ‘n mediese graad.“You’ll definitely need Math, Science, and Biology for a medical degree.”
Useful Adjectives

Choose from this list of adjectives to complete the phrases above.
maklik“easy”
maklikste“easiest”
moeilik“difficult”
moeilikste“most difficult”
beste“best”
slegste“worst”
sterkste“strongest”
swakste“weakest”
opwindend“exciting”
opwindendste“most exciting”
vervelig“boring”
verveligste“most boring”
interessant“interesting”
interessantste“most interesting”

South Africa has 11 national languages, but the majority is taught only at the regional schools where the language is widely spoken. From Gr. 1 through 12, English is the only non-elective language subject, plus one of the other national languages, including Afrikaans.

Many schools also offer French, German, and Mandarin as electives, non-national languages which are not widely spoken in the country.

A Colorful Stack of Different Language Dictionaries.

4. End of Class

So, class is over for the day or longer, and it’s time to greet. 

A good teacher will know that a proper conclusion to the day is as important as a proper start. This signifies the end of work and allows the students to take a break, psychologically and intellectually, from learning. Also, saying goodbye is a polite and important societal convention in South Africa!

1 – Teacher Phrases

Goed, klastyd is verby.“OK, class is over.”
Dis tyd om op te pak.“It’s time to pack your things away.”
Huistoe-gaan-tyd!Approximate: “Time to go home!”
Onthou more se klastoets.“Remember tomorrow’s class test.”
Totsiens, Klas.“Goodbye, Class.”
Sien julle more / volgende week.“See you tomorrow / next week.”
Sien julle weer.Approximate: “See you next time.”
Lekker middag vir almal.Approximate: “Enjoy your afternoon.”
Geniet julle naweek.“Enjoy your weekend.”

A Senior Pupil Greeting His Teacher after Class.

Geniet Meneer se middag. / Approximate: “Enjoy your weekend, Sir”

2 – Pupil Phrases

Totsiens, Juffrou!“Goodbye, Ma’am!”
Juffrou ook!“You too, Miss!”
Sien Juffrou more.“See you tomorrow, Ma’am.”
Baai, Meneer.“Bye, Sir.”
Geniet Meneer se middag.“Enjoy your afternoon, Sir.”

Onderwyser: Totsiens, Klas! Geniet julle naweek!
Teacher: “Goodbye, Class! Enjoy your weekend!”

Klas: Totsiens, en Juffrou ook!
Class: “Goodbye, and same to you, Miss!” (Approximate)

5. Supplies and Equipment in the Classroom

School supplies are often necessary to ensure that effective teaching and learning takes place. Not all schools in South Africa are equally well equipped, but the basics are usually present.

1 – All Classrooms

Irrespective of the grade, most classrooms will have the following.

klaskamer“classroom”
stoel“school chair”
tafel“school desk”
skooltas“school bag”
jaarbeplanner“year planner”
skryfbehoeftes“school stationery”
HB potloodHB pencil
balpunt pen“ballpen / ballpoint pen”
uitveër“eraser”
potloodskerpmaker“pencil sharpener”
lineaal“ruler”
krammasjien

Note: This is the official, somewhat clumsy Afrikaans name for the device, but the word’s use is uncommon these days. Most often, we simply use the English.
“stapler”
krammetjies
Note: Same as above!
“staples”
ponsmasjien

Note: This is also called the ponser.
“puncher”
potloodsakkie“pencil case”
witlyn notaboek“white line notebook”
notaboek“notebook”
oefenskrif

Note: This is often only referred to as a skrif.
“exercise notebook”
werkboek“workbook”
studiegids“study guide”
huiswerkboek“homework book”
papier“paper”
handboek“textbook”
witbord“whiteboard”
swartbord“blackboard”
bord“chalkboard”
witkryt“white chalk”
bordkrytLiterally: “board chalk”
witbordpen“white board marker”
borduitveër“board eraser”
bordmagneet“board magnet”
blaaibord“flipchart”
Prestik

Note: This popular reusable adhesive is known mostly by its first brand name that was introduced to South Africans over 50 years ago—irrespective of the brand!
“reusable adhesive putty / Blu Stik”
duimspyker“thumb tack”
waterbottel“water bottle”
kosbakkieLiterally: “little food box”
kosbak“lunch box”

School Supplies for Junior Class; Color Pencils, Scissors, White Chalk, an Apple Pencil Sharpener, Clay.

Tipiese skryfbehoeftes vir ‘n junior klas. / “Typical school supplies for a junior class.”

2 – Junior Class

Schooling in the junior phases focuses a lot more on creativity and imagination than in the senior phase, and this is reflected in the school supplies.

kleurpotlode“coloring pencils”
waskryte“wax crayons”
pastelle“pastels”
inkleurboek“coloring book”
klei“clay”
kleideeg / speeldeeg“play dough”
skêr“scissors”
gom“glue”
gompapier“self-adhesive paper”
verf“paint”
kwas“paintbrush”
flitskaarte“flashcards”

3 – Senior Class

kleurpenne“color pens”
sakrekenaar“scientific calculator”
rekenaar“computer”
tablet“tablet”
passer“compass”
leër“binder”
highlighters“highlighters”
merker / koki

Note: A koki is the unique name South Africans gave to the well-known fiber-tipped marker pen.
“marker”

A black permanent marker pen.

In Suid Afrika word hierdie penne koki’s genoem. / “In South Africa, these marker pens are called koki’s.”

6. BONUS: Useful Afrikaans School Vocabulary

Below is a list of vocabulary you might find useful to play with and create your very own basic Afrikaans classroom phrases!

termyn“term”
skooljaar“school year”
skoolvakansie“school holiday”
pouse“breaktime”
voorskools“pre-school”
kleuterskool“crèche / kindergarten”
publieke skool“public school”
privaatskool“private school”
leerling“pupil”
klasmaat“classmate”
skoolhoof“headmaster”
onderhoof“deputy headmaster”
departementshoof“head of department”
klaskamer“classroom”
skoolsaal“school hall”
skoolbiblioteek“school library”
kantoor“office”
skoolbus“school bus”
atletiekbaanLiterally: “athletics track”
rugbyveld“rugby field”
pawiljoenpavilion
universiteit“university”
kollege“college”
student“student”
leerplan“learning plan”
Hoërgraad (HG)“Higher Grade”
Standaardgraad (SG)

Note: These two subject levels exist for a few high school subjects in South African schools. 

In Gr. 8, and usually depending on their planned career path, pupils get to choose at which level they want to pass a certain subject. Some schools also offer only one level in certain subjects, e.g. Standard Grade Afrikaans.

The names are somewhat misleading because one level isn’t necessarily ‘easier’ to pass than the other. They simply indicate a difference of focus in the curriculum. 
“Standard Grade”
die projek (n)“the project”
navors (v)“to research”
die navorsing (n)“the research”
studeer (v)“to study”
die studie (n)“the study”
oefen (v)“to practice / exercise”
oefening (n)“the exercise”
hersien (v)“revise”
hersiening (n)“revision”
rapport“report”

7. South African Schools—A Few Facts

To conclude, a few facts about South African education and the school scene in general.

An Empty School Gymnasium.

Sport is belangrik in meeste Afrikaanse skole. / “Sport is important in most Afrikaans schools.”

  •  In order to be registered as a school, an institution has to offer a curriculum that complies with the government-mandated CAPS (Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements) for all subjects from Gr R to Gr. 12.
  • A 2019 survey showed that South Africa had a total of 24 998 schools, of which less than 2000 were private. 
  • Since 2019, government-endorsed E-learning, or online schooling, has increased significantly, especially for the higher grades.
  • In 2018, a survey demonstrated that hundreds of thousands of children in the country were unfortunately not enrolled in a school—a number that has probably grown since the COVID-pandemic.
  • Corporal punishment of any kind is unlawful in South African schools.
  • The majority of schools are English medium, with over 1600 schools Afrikaans medium. In Namibia, only one school is Afrikaans medium, but most schools offer Afrikaans as a subject.
  • Just like schools in most other countries, South African schools differ in quality of education, ethos, character, and so forth.
  • Numerous private or independent schools have, either completely or partially, done away with school uniforms. Wearing a school uniform is still mandatory in all public schools. 
  • All schools offer sport or physical education as a subject, but only the top (usually private) schools have fully-equipped gymnasiums.

8. Learn Useful Afrikaans School Phrases at AfrikaansPod101.com!

And so much more…

Don’t wait, enroll now for a free lifetime account. And why not upgrade immediately to an affordable Premium Plus account for your personal Afrikaans online tutor!

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

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50+ Delicious Phrases for Eating Out in Afrikaans

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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”
tamatie“tomato”
groente“vegetables”
melkskommel“milkshake”
kondimente“condiments”
geurmiddels“seasoning”
tamatiesous“tomato ketchup”
chutney“chutney”
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”
teelepel“teaspoon”
eetlepel“tablespoon”
voorgereg“appetizer” / hors d’oeuvre
hoofgereg“main course” / entrée
nagereg“dessert”
bygereg“side dish”
verjaarsdagpartytjie“birthday party”
werksfunksie“formal work event”
werkspartytjie“work party”
spesiale geleentheid“special occasion”
diens“service”

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, AfrikaansPod101.com 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

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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 AfrikaansPod101.com, 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. AfrikaansPod101.com 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 AfrikaansPod101.com 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?”

OR

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.”

OR

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 InnovativeLanguage.com, 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 AfrikaansPod101.com 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 InnovativeLanguage.com since 2017.

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

Guide to the Most Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases

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

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

A Young Female Student Holding Books and a Pencil

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

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

1. Why Learn Advanced Afrikaans Phrases?

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

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

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

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

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

2. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Academic Writing

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

A Student Busy Working on Her Dissertation

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

AfrikaansEnglish
Eerstens; tweedens; derdens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Resumé

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

A Hand with a Pen, Filling in an Application Form

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

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

4. Useful Advanced Afrikaans Phrases—Business and Meetings

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

Office Workers Fighting at a Business Meeting

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

AfrikaansEnglish Equivalent
Rompslomp vermy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

To be suspicious of something; to suspect foul play

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

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

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

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

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

Two Young Women Chatting Animatedly

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

AfrikaansEnglish
‘n Nuuskierige agie





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

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

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


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

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


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

AND

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

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

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

AND

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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








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

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

“She’s suspiciously clever.”
Moed begewe

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up now!

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

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Your Best Guide to Intermediate-Level Afrikaans Phrases

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


Partygoers Wearing Costumes and Animal Masks.

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

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

1. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Talking About Past Events

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

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


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

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

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

A Sitting Black-and-White Cat.

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

2. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Making and Changing Plans

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

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


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

Italian Food.

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

3. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Explaining and Listing Reasons

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


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

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

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


A Gourmet Chocolate Dessert with Raspberries and Green Garnish.

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

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

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

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

5. Intermediate Afrikaans Phrases—Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations

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

A Smiling Young Woman Showing the Thumbs-up Gesture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meaning:

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

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

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


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

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

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Bly te kenne, ek’s Carol.

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Learn the best intermediate Afrikaans phrases for all occasions at AfrikaansPod101.com!

At AfrikaansPod101.com, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our hundreds of recorded videos and variety of themed vocabulary lists. With our help, your transition to the intermediate phase in Afrikaans will be smooth and enjoyable. We’ll make sure you’re able to use essential phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time!

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

Sign up now!

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

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The Best Guide to Easy Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners

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

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

A Nurse Talking with an Elderly Patient

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

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

1. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: Social Etiquette

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

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

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

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

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

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

Informal
Dis ‘n plesier.

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

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







Formal and semi-formal
Asseblief

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

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

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

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

Formal
Jammer! / Askies!

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


2. Easy Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: Greetings and Introductions

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

Three People in the Workplace Greeting One Another

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Informal and semi-informal

A Couple Meeting in the Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Formal and semi-informal

3. Basic Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners: On the Move

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

Cape Town, V&A Waterfront, South Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Ladies Enjoying a Meal at an Outdoor Restaurant

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

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

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

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

5. More Essential Afrikaans Phrases for Beginners

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

A Boy Urgently Needing to Go to the Bathroom

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

AFRIKAANSENGLISH
Waar is die toilet?

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

6. Formal vs. Informal Speech for Afrikaans Beginners

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

Four People in Office Attire

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

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

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

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

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

Other appropriate titles include: 

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

And more common formal forms of address include:

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

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

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

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

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

Keep It Simple, Silly!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easily Master the Most Common Advanced Afrikaans Words

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

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

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

Woman with Two Flowers in Front of Her Eyes

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

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

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

1. General Advanced Afrikaans Words

1.1 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Verbs (Werkwoorde)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Begeef / BegeweEk begeef my in die ysige water.

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

What did you get yourself into now?

Man Swimming in Ice-covered Water

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

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

VergeselVergesel die kliënt na die uitgang toe, asseblief.

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

Will you please accompany me to the function?

WeerhouSy weerhou haarself van koffie-drink tydens Lydenstyd.

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

He holds back a sharp retort.

Cup of Coffee with Coffee Beans in Saucer

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

1.2 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Adjectives (Byvoeglike Naamwoorde)

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

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

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

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

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

Pensive Author in Front of Old Typewriter, Sipping a Drink

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

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

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

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

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

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

OngeskikDis ongeskik om met jou mond vol kos te praat.

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

Advanced Afrikaans words and phrases are unsuitable for this class.

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

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

SaaiDatavaslegging is gewoonlik ‘n saai werk.

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

A bleak landscape

Man in Office Gear Sitting at Desk, Looking Bored

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.3 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Adverbs (Bywoorde)

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

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

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

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

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

Children in Costumes on a Stage with an Adult

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

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

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

MatigDit proe matig soet.
ModeratelyIt tastes moderately sweet.

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

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

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

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

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

Airport Digital Notice Board of Flights

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

SkaarsMens merk dit skaars op.
BarelyOne barely notices it.

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

VanselfsprekendVerandering voel vanselfsprekend moeilik.
ObviouslyChange obviously feels difficult.

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

1.4 Advanced Afrikaans Words – Conjunctions (Voegwoorde)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Advanced Business Vocabulary (Gevorderde Besigheidswoordeskat)

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

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

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

Accountant in Suit Working on Laptop and Calculator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Business Meeting in Progress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voltydse, permanente betrekking
Full-time, permanent position

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

3. Advanced Medical Vocabulary (Gevorderde Mediese Woordeskat)

Advance Medical Vocabulary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Legs and Crutches, One Leg in a Blue Cast

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verdoof
v.
Hierdie pille sal die pyn verdoof.

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

The patient prefers to be sedated for the procedure.

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

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

4. Advanced Legal Vocabulary (Gevorderde Wetswoordeskat)

Courtroom Gavel and Law Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deurdagte
adj.
Goed-deurdagte argument
ConsideredWell-considered argument

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Can AfrikaansPod101 Help You Ace Advanced Afrikaans Words?

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

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  • Plenty of free online tools upon subscription to make your life easier while learning to speak Afrikaans (for instance, this free Afrikaans dictionary)
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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!

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

An Old Candlestick Telephone.

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

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

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

A Woman Talking on a Smartphone.

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

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

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

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

1. Taking a Call

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

1.1 Formal & Business

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.2 Informal

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


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

    Goeiedag! (“Good day!”)

    Haai daar! (“Hi there!”)

    Haai jy! (“Hey you!”)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Making a Call and Starting a Conversation

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

2.1 Formal & Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.2 Informal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The Rest of the Conversation…

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


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

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

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

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

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

Now you need to state your reason for the call.

A Woman's Hands Dialing on an Office Telephone.

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

3.1 Formal & Business

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Young Man Sitting Outside, Talking on a Cellphone.

Hoe kan ek help? / “How can I help?”

3.2 Informal

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pizza klink lekker.
    “Pizza sounds nice.”

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

    → ___ is goed.
    “___ is good.”

    Sien jou later!
    “See you later!”

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

4. Example Dialogues

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

4.1 Business / Formal Dialogue

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thijs: 
Totsiens.
“Goodbye.”

4.2 Informal

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 InnovativeLanguage.com since 2017.

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Afrikaans Filler Words to Make You Sound Like a Native

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

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

A Man Talking with Letters Coming Out of His Mouth.

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

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

1. The Purpose of Filler Words in Afrikaans

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Young Woman Talking with Her Friend.

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

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

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


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

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

#1


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

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

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

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

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

A Man and Woman Doing Work Together.

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

#2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Couple Meeting Guests with Luggage at Their Front Door.

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

#3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Young Women Chatting Animatedly.

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

#4

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

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

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

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

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

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

#5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Young, Surprised-looking Boy Saying Wow!

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

#6

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

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

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

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

#7

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

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

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

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

A Pretty Young Woman Looking Doubtful.

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

#8

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

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

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

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

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

#9

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

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

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

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

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

A: Ai, die land se administrasie is in flenters. 
A: “Oi, our country’s administration is in shambles.”
B: Ja, né. 
B: “Agreed.”

A: Het jy gehoor van daardie man wat gister deur die kinderbende beroof is? 
A: “Did you hear about that man who was mugged by a gang of children yesterday?”
B: Ja, ek het. Kan jy dit glo? 
B: “Yes, I did. Can you believe it?”

#10

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Ag tog / Ai tog“Oh dear” / “Oh shame” / “Oh my goodness”

Of all the expressions in this list of Afrikaans filler words, I think the function of expressions using tog is the most difficult to pin down. The word tog has so many semantic variants, it would be pointless to try and list them all here. Fortunately, if you would like to investigate this rather unique Afrikaans filler word further, there are resources out there that can help. 
     Ag tog and Ai tog are interchangeable. They are simply variations of each other. 

Ag tog, ek het vergeet om die kliënt te bel! +”Oh dear, I forgot to call the client!”

Ai tog, daardie buurman se hond blaf al weer die hele dag lank! 
“Oh my goodness, that neighbor’s dog has been barking all day again!”

Two of the three interjections I’m going to discuss next also contain –tog. However, they’re grouped together because of their similarity in meaning.

A Frustrated Business Woman Talking Over the Phone.

Ag tog, ek het vergeet om die kliënt te bel! (“Oh dear, I forgot to call the client!”)

#11

AfrikaansLiteral TranslationEnglish Equivalent
Foeitog / Shame / Siestog“Oh dear” / “Oh shame” / “Oh my goodness”

These three words mean more or less the same thing and are used interchangeably. Ag is often added, especially when the object under discussion is particularly small and/or vulnerable.
    ❖ The interjections foeitog and siestog are similar in meaning and can be used to express sympathy, adoration, and affection. It can also be used to ask for pity or understanding.

    ❖ The interjection “shame” is used similarly to British English, such as, “Oh (what a) shame”, which expresses a mix of pity and sympathy. It also denotes affection.

Foeitog, die arme kind het nog nie ontbyt gehad nie! 
“Oh shame, the poor child hasn’t had breakfast yet!”

Foeitog, gee die arme man nog ‘n kans, asseblief! 
“For pity’s sake, give the poor man another chance, please!”

Ag siestog! Is die hondjie nie te oulik nie vir woorde nie?! 
“Oh my goodness! Isn’t the puppy too cute for words?!”

Shame, hy sukkel om sy gesondheid te herwin na hy COVID gehad het. 
Approx. “Poor man, he’s battling to regain his health after contracting COVID.”

A Smiling Boy Holding a Cute Black Puppy.

Ag siestog! Is die hondjie nie te oulik nie vir woorde nie?! (“Oh goodness! Isn’t the puppy too cute for words?!”)

I’m sure you’ll find these common Afrikaans filler words very useful. They’ll help you to hold a conversation in Afrikaans and make your speech sound a lot more natural!

3. Learn Afrikaans Filler Words with Ease on AfrikaansPod101.com!

Which of these Afrikaans filler words do you think you’re most likely to use? Are any of them similar to filler words in your own language?

At AfrikaansPod101.com, we can help you understand Afrikaans easily with our fun and practical learning materials, such as recorded videos and free vocabulary lists. With our help, you’ll be able to use the phrases correctly and speak like a native in no time.

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

If Afrikaans vernacular is important to you, then take a look at the following blog posts:

  1. The Best Afrikaans Internet Slang and How to Use it!
  2. How to Say “Hello” in Afrikaans Like a Native Speaker!
  3. How to Say ‘Thank You’ in Afrikaans

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

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