Afrikaans I Tutorial: Basic Phrases, Vocabulary and Grammar

Written by Selçuk Mert Köseoğlu
Proofread & recorded by Sarien


About the author: Hello! My name is Selçuk Mert Köseoğlu. I am 15 and from Turkey. I love languages. I can speak English, German, Swedish and Esperanto. I also have a conlang named Olesi. If you are interested in constructed languages you can visit my website. I learnt basic Swedish from this website so I am so glad that now I can help people who want to learn Afrikaans by themselves. Enjoy!

 


1. Basic Phrases


Goeie môre (often shortened to Môre!) Haai / Hallo / Hoi
Good Morning Hello / Good Day
Goeie naand Goeie nag
Good Evening Good Night
Totsiens Asseblief
Goodbye Please
(Baie) dankie Nie te danke / Dis 'n plesier
Thank you (very much) Don't mention it / You're welcome
Ja / Nee Meneer / Mevrou / Mejuffrou
Yes / No Mister / Misses / Miss
Hoe gaan dit met jou? Hoe voel jy?
How are you? How are you? (How are you feeling?)
Goed, dankie Nie so goed nie
Good, thank you Not so good
Wat is jou naam? My naam is ...
What's your name? My name is...
Lekker om jou te ontmoet! / Aangename Kennis Welkom!
Pleased to meet you! Welcome! 
Waar kom jy vandaan? Ek kom van ...
Where are you from? I'm from...
Waar woon jy? Ek woon in ...
Where do you live? I live in...
Hoe oud is jy? Ek is ___ jaar (oud).
How old are you? I am ____ years old.
Praat jy Afrikaans? Ek praat [nie] Afrikaans [nie]
Do you speak Afrikaans? I [don't] speak Afrikaans
Nederlands, Duits, Engels, Sweeds, Deens, Noors
Dutch, German, English, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian
Frans, Italiaans, Spaans, Portugees, Russies, Japanees, Sjinees
French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Chinese
Ja, 'n bietjie Nee, glad nie.
Yes, a little bit. No, not at all.
Ek verstaan nie.  Ek weet [nie]
I [don't] understand. I [don't] know.
Verskoon my / Pardon Wees versigtig!
Excuse me / Pardon me Take care!
Sien jou later Sien jou gou weer
See you later See you soon
Ek is lief vir jou. Ek mis jou.
I love you. I miss you.

 


2. Pronunciation

Spelling IPA Approximate English pronunciation
a /ɐ/ short ah (sound like arr)
aa /ɑː/ long ah (sounds like arr)
ai /aj/ similar to diphthong in eye or high
ce, ci, cy /s/ as in soon
ca, co, ca /k/ as in kite
ch /ʃ/ /k/ /x/ as in shut, kite, or guttural Bach (mostly in loan words)
ë /ə/ schwa sound, as in sofa
ee /iə/ ee and uh together
ei /ɛi/ short eh and ih together; similar to play but shorter
eu /eø/ long eh and ih together, but with lips rounded for ih
g /x/ guttural Bach
gh /g/ as in go
i, ie /i/ as in eat
j /j/ as in yes
oe /u/ as in boot
oei /ui/ oo and ee together
oo /uə/ oo and uh together
ou /ɵu/ similar to oh
q /k/ as in kite
r /r/ rolled / trilled r
sj /ʃ/ as in shut
tj /tʃ/ /k/ as in chat; but also kite in the ending -tjie
u /œ/ long eh with rounded lips
ui /œy/ ay like bait
uu /y/ ee but with rounded lips
v /f/ as in fine
w /v/ as in vase
x /ks/ as in box
y /ɛi/ short eh and ih together; similar to play but shorter

 

At the end of word, the /d/ and /b/ sounds become /t/ and /p/.


3. Alphabet

 

a

ah

j

yee

s

ess

b

bee

k

kah

t

tee

c

see

l

el

u

oo

d

dee

m

em

v

fee

e

ee

n

en

w

vee

f

eff

o

oh

x

ehks

g

khee

p

pee

y

ay

h

hah

q

koo

z

zed

i

e

r

ehr

 

The letters c, q, x and z are not native to Afrikaans but of course can be found in loan words.

 


4. Nouns & verbs

 

Nouns in Afrikaans have no gender and no cases. To indicate possession, se is used just like 's in English.

Jack se boek Jack’s book
Piet se boek Piet’s book

 

Verbs in Afrikaans have no separate conjugated forms in the present tense. The infinitive is identical to the present tense as well as the imperative (command form), except for two verbs (wees - to be and - to have). Essentially you will only need to learn two forms for each verb: the infinitive/present/imperative form and the past form.


5. Articles & Demonstratives

 

The definite and indefinite articles are quite easy to learn in Afrikaans. The is translated by die in both the singular and plural while a or an is translated by 'n. There is no plural indefinite article. ('n is pronounced as a schwa, i.e. "uh" as in the last syllable of sofa)

 

die boek the book 'n boek a book
die boeke the books boeke books

 

Die vrug is duur. The fruit is expensive. 
Die seun sien ‘n meisie. The boy sees a girl. 
Hy gee vir haar ‘n blom. He gives her a flower.

 

Demonstratives

hierdie boek this book daardie boek that book
hierdie boeke these books daardie boeke those books

 


6. Pronouns & possessives

 

subject pronouns object pronouns
ek I my me
jy / u you (singular / formal) jou / u you (singular / formal)
hy he hom him
sy she haar her
dit it dit it
ons we ons us
julle you (plural of jy) julle you (plural)
hulle they hulle them

 

There are three forms of you in Afrikaans. Jy is used in informal situations and for people you know. U is used in formal situations, where you don't know the person well. Julle is the plural form of jy.

 

possessive adjectives possessive pronouns
my my myne mine
jou / u your (singular / formal) joune / u s'n yours (singular / formal)
sy his syne his
haar her hare hers
sy its syne its
ons our ons s'n ours
julle your (plural) julle s'n yours (plural)
hulle their hulle s'n theirs

 


7. To Be & to Have

 

wees - to be
I am ek is I was ek was
you are jy / u is you were jy / u was
he is hy is he was hy was
she is sy is she was sy was
it is dit is it was dit was
we are ons is we were ons was
you are julle is you were julle was
they are hulle is they were hulle was
 
- to have
I have ek het I had ek het ... gehad
you have jy / u het you had jy / u het ... gehad
he has hy het he had hy het ... gehad
she has sy het she had sy het ... gehad
it has dit het it had dit het ... gehad
we have ons het we had ons het ... gehad
you have julle het you had julle het ... gehad
they have hulle het they had hulle het ... gehad

 

Wees and are the only two verbs that have irregular forms in the present tense. In speech, is and het are often reduced to 's and 't and fused to the preceding subject pronoun: ek's = ek is; sy't = sy het

The past tense included above is the simple past tense or preterite for wees and the present perfect tense for , which is also used for almost every other verb in Afrikaans. The present perfect tense uses the present tense of hê (het) and the past participle of the main verb, which is usually formed by adding the prefix ge- to the infinitive/present/imperative form. The verb hê, however, has an irregular past participle (gehad, not gehê!)

The major difference with word order in English is that the past participle is placed at the very end of the sentence.

Ons het 'n wonderlike dag gehad. We had a wonderful day.

 

For the future tense, use sal before the infinitive just as we use will before the infinitive in English. The infinitive of the main verb is placed at the very end of the sentence. Any objects must go before the infinitive.

Ek sal die boek lees. I will read the book. (literally: I will the book read)

 

For basic negation , add nie (not) after the verb and another nie at the end of the sentence. The second nie is not required if the sentence only contains a subject and verb or a subject, verb and personal object (either a pronoun or noun).

Ek weet nie. I don't know. (subject + verb; second nie not required)
Hy praat nie Russies nie. He doesn't speak Russian. (subejct + verb + non-personal object; second nie required)


8. Useful Words

 

sometimes soms already reeds
always altyd perhaps dalk
never nooit both beide
often dikwels some ‘n paar
usually gewoonlik again weer
now nou between tussen
and en a lot, many baie
but maar of course natuurlik
or of a little ‘n bietjie
very baie not at all glad nie
here hier almost amper
there daar really? regtig?
with met it is dit is
each other mekaar there is/are daar is

 


9. Question Words

 

what wat who wie
why waarom whose wie se
when wanneer how hoe
where waar how much / many hoeveel
where to waarheen how come / why hoekom
which watter how often hoe dikwels

 

Waar was jy? Where were you?
Waar gaan jy? Where are you going?
Waar kom jy vandaan? Where do you come from?
Watter een is jou suster? Which one is your sister?

 


10. Cardinal & Ordinal Numbers

 

0 nul  
1 een 1st eerste
2 twee 2nd tweede
3 drie 3rd derde
4 vier 4th vierde
5 vyf 5th vyfde
6 ses 6th sesde
7 sewe 7th sewede
8 agt 8th agtste
9 nege  9th negende
10 tien 10th tiende
11 elf 11th elfde
12 twaalf 12th twaalfde
13 dertien 13th dertiende
14 veertien 14th veertiende
15 vyftien 15th vyftiende
16 sestien 16th sestiende
17 sewentien 17th sewentiende
18 agttien 18th agtiende
19 negentien 19th negentiende
20 twintig 20th twintigste
21 een-en-twintig 21st een-en-twintigste
22 twee-en-twintig 22nd twee-en-twintigste
30 dertig 30th dertigste
40 veertig 40th veertigste
50 vyftig 50th vyftigste
60 sestig 60th sestigste
70 sewentig 70th sewentigste
80 tagtig 80th tagtigste
90 negentig 90th negentigste
100 honderd 100th honderdste
1,000 duisend 1000th duisendste
million miljoen millionth miljoenste
billion biljoen billionth biljoenste
trillion triljoen trillionth triljoenste

 


11. Days of the Week

 

Monday Maandag
Tuesday Dinsdag
Wednesday Woensdag
Thursday Donderdag
Friday Vrydag
Saturday Saterdag
Sunday Sondag
day dag
morning môre
afternoon middag
evening aand
night nag
today vandag
tomorrow môre
day after tomorrow oormôre
tonight vanaand
yesterday gister
day before yesterday dag voor gister / eergister
last night laas nag
week week
weekend naweek
daily daagliks
weekly weekliks

 

To say "on" a certain day, use op before the day.

 


12. Months of the Year

January Januarie
February Februarie
March Maart
April April
May Mei
June Junie
July Julie
August Augustus
September September
October Oktober
November November
December Desember
month maand
year jaar
monthly maandelikse
yearly jaarlikse

 

To say "in" a certain month, use in before the month.

 


13. Seasons

 

winter winter
spring lente
summer somer
fall herfs

To say "in" a certain season, use in die before the month.

 


14. Directions

 

north noord northeast noord-oos
south suid northwest noord-wes
east oos southeast suid-oos
west wes southwest suid-wes
       
right regs    
left links    
straight ahead reguit vorentoe    

 


15. Colors

 

orange oranje
pink pienk
purple pers
blue blou
yellow geel
red rooi
black swart
brown bruin
gray grys
white wit
green groen

 


16. Time

 

What time is it? Hoe laat is dit?
It is 2 o'clock dit is twee-uur
6:20 ses twintig / twintig minute oor ses
half past 3 halfvier
quarter past 4 kwart oor vier
quarter to 5 kwart voor vyf
20 to 7 twintig-voor-sewe
noon middag
midnight middernag
in the morning in die oggend
in the evening in die aand
It's exactly... dit is presies ...
about/around 8 about / ongeveer agt
at 8 om agt
early vroeg
late(r) laat / later

 


17. Weather

 

How's the weather today? Hoe is die weer vandag?
It's cold dit is koud
cool dit is koel
hot dit is warm
clear dit is helder
icy dit is ysige
warm dit is warm
windy dit is winderig
cloudy dit is bewolk
hazy dit is deinserig
muggy dit is bedompig
humid dit is vogtig
foggy dit is mistig
It's snowing dit sneeu
It's raining dit reën
It's freezing dit is yskoud

 


18. Family

 

parents ouers aunt tannie / tante
father pa / pappa nephew / cousin (m) kleinneef / neef
mother ma / mamma niece / cousin (f) kleinnig / nig
children kinders cousin oomskind / tanteskind
son seun boy seun
daughter dogter girl dogter / meisie
brother broer baby baby
sister suster child kind
grandparents grootouers twins tweeling
(great) grandfather oupa (grootjie) triplets drieling
(great) grandmother ouma (grootjie) adult volwassene
grandchildren kleinkinders man / husband man
grandson kleinseun woman / wife vrou
granddaughter   kleindogter friend (m) vriend
uncle oom friend (f) vriendin

 


19. common verbs

 

to arrive aankom to lose verloor
to become word to make maak
to begin begin to meet ontmoet
to build bou to play speel
to buy koop to prefer verkies
to carry / wear dra to put sit
to close / shut toemaak / sluit to read lees
to come kom to receive ontvang
to do doen to remember onthou
to drink drink to repeat herhaal
to drive ry to see sien
to earn verdien to sell verkoop
to eat eet to send stuur
to feel voel to sit sit
to finish klaarmaak to smile glimlag
to fly vlieg to speak praat
to forget vergeet to spend bestee
to get up opstaan to study studeer
to give gee to take neem
to go gaan to teach leer
to hate haat to tell vertel
to hear hoor to think dink
to invite uitnooi to throw gooi
to know ken (iemand) / weet (iets) to try probeer
to learn leer to understand verstaan
to leave verlaat to watch kyk
to listen luister to work werk
to live woon to write skryf

 

 

Remember that verbs in Afrikaans don't exactly conjugate as in other languages. The infinitive, present tense, and imperative are identical for all verbs (except wees and ) regardless of the subject. Verbs with separable prefixes, such as aan-, op-, toe-, uit-, place this prefix at the end of the sentence in the present and imperative.

 

The verb to love has some pecularities in Afrikaans. The infinitive is liefhê and so it is conjugated with lief as a separable prefix: Ek het lief. However, is lief is much more commonly used for the present tense: Ek is lief (I love). The past tense (I loved) is ek het lief gehad. If using a personal pronoun or noun, the preposition vir is placed before it. Therefore, I love you is Ek is lief vir jou while I loved you is ek het jou lief gehad. (It is of course possible to say Ek het jou lief in the present tense as well, but it is not as common.)

 

The past tense is formed by using het and the past participle, which is usually created by adding the prefix ge- to the infinitive. The past participle is placed at the end of the sentence. Verbs beginning with inseparable prefixes, such as be-, er-, her-, ont- and ver-, do not add ge- to form the past participle. This means that there is only form of these verbs; the infinitive, present, imperative and past participle are identical. Verbs beginning with separable prefixes place the ge between the separable prefix and the verb stem.

 

The future tense uses sal where English uses will and places the infinitive at the end of the sentence. It is also possible to use gaan like in English, to express to be going to + infinitive.

 

 


20. Formation of Plural Nouns

 

Add an -e or -s to pluralize the noun in Afrikaans. In addition, some nouns add 's if they end in an accentuated a, o, or u.

As a general rule, -e is the most common plural marker. Some words ending in a consonant must double it before adding -e to reflect the short vowel sound, while others that have double vowels must drop one before adding -e.

If the noun ends in -l, -m or -r then adding an -s usually produces the plural, but this is not always the case. There are also some irregular plural forms that need to be memorized.

 

Afrikaans singular - plural English singular - plural
vriend - vriende friend - friends (masc.)
kat - katte cat - cats
hond - honde dog - dogs
aap - ape monkey - monkeys
leeu - leeus lion - lions
foto - foto's photo - photos
vrou - vrouens woman - women
kind - kinders child - children *
musikus - musici musician - musicians
teoretikus - teoretici theorist - theorists
aanbod - aanbiedinge supply - supplies

 

* not yet recorded


 


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