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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Welcome back to AfrikaansPod101.com. This is All About lesson 3, Painless Afrikaans Grammar. I’m Eric.
Pieter: I’m Pieter. And congratulations to you for having the guts to click play on a grammar lesson!
Eric: Yeah, the word "grammar" seems so foreboding. But what we do in this lesson is take all that grammar and make it easy for you.
Pieter: Yes. We're going to prove it to you with a grammar head start.
Eric: Yes! Let’s do this.
Pieter: So if you hate conjugating verbs, can't accept that words have a gender, or can't really be bothered with the correct tenses, Afrikaans is the language for you!
Eric: Wait a minute, no verb conjugation? No gender? And no tenses? Are you serious?
Pieter: Well, almost no tenses! Afrikaans has by far one of the simplest grammars in the world, and for that reason it’s a really good language to start with in the Germanic family. So here we go! We're about to tell you everything you need to know right off the bat to give you a jump-start in Afrikaans.
Eric: Great. I’m all ears!
Pieter: Okay, first of all, I’ve got more good news. Afrikaans is just like English. That is, it’s an SVO language…Subject - Verb - Object. So if you know this basic structure, you should be okay.
Eric: Are you sure? Nothing's that easy!
Pieter: In a normal Afrikaans declarative sentence, the word order is the same as what we use in a normal English declarative sentence…Subject - Verb - Object.
Eric: So, for example, how do you say "I study Afrikaans"?
Pieter: We say.. Ek studeer Afrikaans. It means "I study Afrikaans" and it’s precisely the same as English. Ek is "I," studeer is "study," and Afrikaans is the word for "Afrikaans." When we want to turn this into a question we simply change the word order.
Eric: You just shuffle them around?
Pieter: Yeah, you could say that. The order will become VSO. For example, Studeer ek Afrikaans?
Eric: So that literally would translate to “Study I Afrikaans?”
Pieter: It is actually easier than English here, where you would say “Do I study Afrikaans?”
Eric: Let's have some more!
Pieter: How about Hy drink koffie.
Eric: “He drinks coffee.” Again, the same order as English.
Pieter: Now can you make it into a question?
Eric: I have to say the verb first, right?
Pieter: Right. As a question, you can say Drink hy koffie?
Eric: “Does he drink coffee?”, or literally “Drink he coffee?”
Pieter: See how easy it is? But now, I'm sorry, we’re going to get negative.
Eric: What? Ah man, are things going to get harder now?
Pieter: No. We’re just going to be negating verbs!
Eric: Ah yes, making sentences negative. Okay, this is a little bit different to English, but it’s still easy.
Pieter: Negation occurs before and after the object and any prepositional phrase, and all we have to do is add our negation words there. So in the example we just had, to make it negative, you just add a negation word, in this case geen, in front of the object, and nie afterwards.
Eric: So "I don't study Afrikaans” in Afrikaans is..?
Pieter: Ek studeer geen Afrikaans nie.
Eric: So you would say “I study no Afrikaans not?”
Pieter: That’s right. It might seem a bit strange at first, but let’s just say that South Africans like to be doubly sure when they don’t do something!
Eric: Okay, but we are studying Afrikaans, so let's talk about something else. Let's have a closer look at the gender.
Pieter: Eric, this is Afrikaans, remember? There is no gender!
Eric: Of course! I forgot how much I love this language!
Pieter:Okay, then let's have a look at articles. English has three articles, "a," "an," and "the," right? "The" is the definite article in English. Well, the articles in Afrikaans work in almost exactly the same way.
Eric : That’s great news. First, let’s go over the definite article..
Pieter: die.
Eric: Then the indefinite article
Pieter: ‘n.
Eric : Do some extra examples come with that?
Pieter : Sure! I'll throw them all in there! But let's make them easy. Die vader means "the father." Die moeder means "the mother." Die potlood means "the pencil." And then for “a father” you would say ‘n vader, “a mother” would be ‘n moeder, and so on.
Eric : That's not too difficult I guess… So what's next?
Pieter : Plurals! To make an English noun plural, you usually add "-s" or "-es" to the end. "Book" becomes "books," "fox" becomes "foxes," and so forth. Making a noun plural in Afrikaans requires, in most cases, just adding the letter “e.”
Eric : That sounds pretty simple.
Pieter: Yes. So it would be 1 aardvark, 2 aardvarke, “one aardvark, two aardvarks.”
Eric: What about with newspapers?
Pieter: That will be... 1 koerant, 2 koerante.
Eric: So you just added “e” to make it plural.
Pieter: Exactly.
Eric: What about “one friend and three friends?”
Pieter: The same rule applies here. So, you can say.. 1 vriend, 3 vriende. But of course there are always exceptions. Sometimes the plural is formed by adding an -s instead. This happens most often with words that are borrowed from English, but also with some words of Dutch origin too.
Eric : Give me some examples please.
Pieter : Let's see. arm, meaning “arm,” becomes, arms and voël, “bird,” becomes voëls.
Eric: I see. What about conjugation?
Pieter: Let’s start with the easy ones that sound very similar to the ones in English. For example, “he is,” “she is,” and “it is.” In Afrikaans: hy is, sy is, and dit is respectively
Eric: Easy as pie!
Pieter: In Afrikaans, we never change “is” to “are.” So, while in English you wouldn’t say “we is” or “they is” but rather “we are” and “they are,” in Afrikaans the verb does not change. So we would say ons is, julle is, and hulle is.
Eric: It sounds like we’re almost there.
Pieter: Indeed! “I am” in Afrikaans would be Ek is.
Eric: Well, that leaves us with only “you are” in the singular, which is..
Pieter: Jy is in Afrikaans.
Eric : Wow. That was an enlightening shot of grammar indeed! We promised painless, and I think we delivered! That’s it for this lesson.
Pieter: Thanks for listening!
Eric: We’ll see you next time. Bye!
Pieter: Totsiens!