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Lesson Transcript


Antoni: Which greetings depend on the time of day in Afrikaans?
Dewan: And can they be replaced with time-neutral greetings?
Antoni: At AfrikaansPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following scenario: Ben Lee is greeting his friend, Rentia Oosthuizen, but he hasn't noticed how late it has become. Ben says,
"Good morning!"
Ben Lee: Goeiemôre!
Ben Lee: Goeiemôre!
Rentia Oosthuizen: Dit is reeds een uur. Goeiemiddag!
Antoni: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Goeiemôre!
Antoni: "Good morning!"
Rentia Oosthuizen: Dit is reeds een uur. Goeiemiddag!
Antoni: "It's already one o'clock. Good afternoon!"

Lesson focus

Antoni: In this lesson, you will be learning about Afrikaans greetings that depend on the time of day or, in Afrikaans,
Dewan: die tyd van die dag.
Antoni: Afrikaans speakers, like most nationalities, recognize three main times of day in their greetings.
In the morning, the most common greeting that Afrikaans speakers will use is:
Dewan: Goeiemôre!
Antoni: This is the same as the English "good morning."
When greeting someone in the afternoon, between the hours of 12:00 p.m. to about 6:00 p.m., an Afrikaans speaker will greet you with
Dewan: Goeiemiddag!
Antoni: This translates to "good afternoon" in English, so it is not difficult to remember.
The Afrikaans evening greeting is:
Dewan: Goeienaand
Antoni: and it also translates to the same as the English greeting "Good evening."
So, the English and Afrikaans greetings correspond exactly when it comes to time of day and choice of words. That being said, there are other ways to greet another person at those times of day, and there are greetings one can use which are not time-based. We will discuss those in a moment.
[Recall 1]
Antoni: Let’s use the dialogue as the starting point for our discussion of other greetings.
Do you remember how Ben says, "Good morning?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Dewan as Ben Lee: Goeiemôre!
Antoni: You will recognize this from our earlier discussion. It is the most common greeting to use in the morning and is used from about 5 am to about noon as a general rule. Ben could also have used a different, time-neutral word to greet his friend. A simple
Dewan: Hallo!
Antoni: would have sufficed, for instance. As you can hear, it is very similar to the English word "hello," and it means the same thing too. In English, a more casual greeting is the word "hi" which can also be used in Afrikaans but is spelled differently.
Dewan: Haai!
Antoni: Be careful using this if you are on the beach though because it means and sounds exactly the same as the Afrikaans word for "shark!"
Another thing to consider is that these two greetings are less formal than the time-sensitive greetings.
[Recall 2]
Antoni: Do you remember how Rentia says "It's already one o'clock. Good afternoon?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Dewan as Rentia Oosthuizen: Dit is reeds een uur. Goeiemiddag!
Antoni: Here, Rentia corrects Ben by pointing out that it is already afternoon. She uses the afternoon greeting we are already familiar with. Afrikaans speakers also use the evening greeting
Dewan: Goeienaand
Antoni: from about 6:00 pm to the end of the day. If an Afrikaner wants to say goodbye at night, they might use the greeting
Dewan: Goeienag!
Antoni: which is the same as the English "Good night," but it is only used as a farewell.
Another way to say "goodbye" that is not time-sensitive is to say
Dewan: Totsiens!
Antoni: This means the same as "goodbye" but translates more literally to "till we see each other again." This is the more formal farewell greeting. An informal way of saying goodbye sounds a lot like the English "‘bye!"
Dewan: Baai!
Antoni: Interestingly, this word also has an ocean-themed alternative meaning. It can mean "bay." We’re pretty sure that the alternative ocean-themed meanings are purely coincidental, but knowing this does help one to remember both meanings.
Antoni: In this lesson, we learned that, in Afrikaans, there are three main times of day with which time-sensitive greetings are associated. These correspond with English conventions as well. The first greeting is
Dewan: Goeiemôre!
Antoni: which means "Good morning" and is used between the hours of 5:00 am to noon. The second greeting is
Dewan: Goeiemiddag!
Antoni: which means "good afternoon" and is used between the hours of noon and about 6:00 pm. And, lastly, the evening greeting is
Dewan: Goeienaand!
Antoni: The most common time-neutral greeting is
Dewan: Hallo!
Expansion/Contrast (Optional)
Antoni: Thus far, when it comes to time-sensitive greetings, we have discussed the formal options, but there are informal time-sensitive greetings too. Fortunately, they are very easy to remember. All you have to do to form them is drop the word that means "good" from each greeting. You will recall that, in Afrikaans, "good" is
Dewan: goeie.
Antoni: So, in Afrikaans, instead of saying
Dewan: Goeiemôre,
Antoni: we can shorten it to simply
Dewan: Môre!
Antoni: Exactly the same principles apply to the afternoon greeting, which becomes
Dewan: Middag!
Antoni: and to the evening greeting, which becomes
Dewan: Naand!
Antoni: Do keep in mind that these are less formal greetings, just as they are in English, and it is advisable, therefore, to use them only when conversing with people you know well and can interact with on a casual basis.
Cultural Insight/Expansion (Optional)
Antoni: Afrikaans people tend to be warm and friendly, so you will probably find that you can quickly switch to the less formal greetings once you are on friendly terms with someone. That being said, if the person is significantly older than you or is your senior in a work situation, it’s probably best to stick to the more formal greetings, unless specifically requested to be less formal. Afrikaners can be quite traditional and the language and culture still retain some formal elements.
The greetings you have learned thus far were quite specific to certain times of the day, but there are two related greetings that, while still time-sensitive, are less specific. There is, for instance, the greeting which means the same as the English "good day."
Dewan: Goeiedag!
Antoni: It can be shortened to an informal
Dewan: Dag!
Antoni: which translates to, simply, "day." The same can be done with the farewell nighttime greeting
Dewan: Goeienag
Antoni: meaning "good night," which can be shortened to the informal
Dewan: Nag!
Antoni: This is the same as saying "Night!" in English. You could also say goodbye with:
Dewan: Lekker dag!
Antoni: The word
Dewan: lekker
Antoni: is a very versatile and almost ubiquitous word in Afrikaans. It originally meant "tasty" but has come to mean "nice," "cool," or "good," and other adjectives that are similar in meaning. In this context, it means "good" or "nice," resulting in the translation of the above being "Have a nice day" or "Have a good day."


Antoni: Do you have any more questions? We’re here to answer them!
Dewan: Totsiens!
Antoni: See you soon!
Credits: Dewan (Afrikaans, Pietermaritzburg), Antoni (English, synthetic voice)