Basic Afrikaans Words and Slangs for Beginners

Afrikaans is a language that is indigenous to about 10 million people in different countries of southern Africa, from South Africa to Botswana, some parts of Namibia and Zimbabwe. Afrikaans words and slangs are predominantly a blend of the African culture and the English language. It would interest you to know that this language is closely related to Dutch, and to an extent German as well. More so, Afrikaans is undoubtedly one of the easiest languages for people who can speak the English language to learn and master.

Afrikaans Words For Beginners

Peradventure you find yourself in one of the Afrikaans communities and you intend to thrill them a little and show them a sense of belonging, it is worth knowing a couple of basic Afrikaans words. More so, in case you want to teach your young ones Afrikaans (which is necessary in order to prevent the language from becoming extinct), you can use these words as a guide.

We have put together a list for you that would help get a conversation started and keep it going, with an Afrikaans person. Below is the list of basic Afrikaans Words for beginners:

1. How to say “Hello” in Afrikaans

Hello – “Hallo”

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Remember the Afrikaans language is a mix of English and African culture, so it bears some similarities to the English language in a lot of ways. The word ‘hallo’ could be used as an icebreaker, and get you set on the path of a good discussion.

2. How to say “Good Morning” in Afrikaans

Good morning – “Goeie more”

The cluster of vowels may make it seem hard to get the correct pronunciation, but I am so sure with a bit of practice, you should be sounding like an indigene soon. Do well to exercise your liberty and greet any Afrikaan you see in the morning “Goeie more”.

3. How to say “Good Night” in Afrikaans

Good night – “Goeie nag”

This sounds like good morning, only with the night being called “nag”. Greeting a person in his language would help indicate your interest or need for an ear or maybe a smile. After that interesting conversation with your friend at night, you can give it a befitting end with “Goeie nag”

4. How to say “How are you?” in Afrikaans

How are you? – “Hoe gaan dit met jou?”

You may have to battle with a lot of vowel clusters in the language, but it is nothing that the right practice can’t treat. So, after greeting and extending a hand of fellowship, to keep the conversation going, adding the words, “Hoe gaan dit met jou?” is not out of place. It clearly would help you gain a few more words out of the hearer.

5. How to say “I’m fine, thanks, and you?”

I’m fine, thanks, and you? – “Goed dankie, en met jou?”

In a case where the hearer beats you to it and asks you first, how are you and you are in need of the right words to give for a reply, “Goed dankie, en met jou?” does the job. Aside from meaning ‘I am fine, and you?’ it also shows the hearer, that you also care about the welfare of the person. That response may just be the beginning of an awesome relationship to come.

6. How to say “My love” in Afrikaans

My love – “my liefde”

To show the ancestral heritage of the English language, the word I remains unchanged. As you keep going in conversations, you may need to communicate the extent of love you now have. It would not be out of place to begin by calling out “my liefde”.

7. How to say “I love you” in Afrikaans

I love you – “ek het jou lief”

The communication of how you care or cherish for someone can no longer be impeded by a language barrier when you are in an Afrikaans-speaking country. Just make use of these words, “ek het jou lief”, which means ‘I love you’ – and see the face of your loved one lit with a smile.

8. How to say “Appreciate” in Afrikaans

Appreciate – “waardeer”

You can be able to put together a good expression to show appreciation in Afrikaan by simply putting together popular words like ‘ek’ and ‘jou’ to makeup, I appreciate you.

9. How to say “Friend” in Afrikaans

Friend – “vriend”

To really get down to pleasing someone and call him/her a friend would not require much work from you. Just replace the ‘f’ in the spelling of friend with a ‘v’ and you are good to go. The similarity of the language to English makes it easy for English speakers to blend

10. How to say “Pleasure” in Afrikaans

Pleasure – “plesier”

Remember that the word ‘my’ in English language is also the same in Afrikaans, so making use of the word ‘plesier’ in sentences or as a response would not require much efforts. You can simply say: ‘My plesier’ to express how you feel about something.

11. How to say “Please” in Afrikaans

Please – “asseblief”

In an unlikely situation, maybe you unknowingly offend someone or you are in dire need of something, learning these words would help make better your communication. For example, ‘asseblief, my vriend’, said with a bit of remorse on the face should do justice to the situation as this means – please my friend.

12. How to say “Beautiful” in Afrikaans

Beautiful – “pragtige”

“Oh, pragtige!” or “hallo pragtige” are some of the few ways one can use the Afrikaans word for beautiful. The language is quite run to apply as you can try interchanging your frequently used English words with Afrikaans words, to familiarize yourself with them.

13. How to say “Family” in Afrikaans

Family – “Familie”

In case you happen to be lodged somewhere and have grown fond of the people around, such that you now consider them as family, or they consider you as one. When you want to express such a bond, you can use the word “familie” to say family.

14. How to say “Sister” in Afrikaans

Sister – “Suster”

Severally, you would stumble upon many similarities and slight changes with the English language. In case you happened to travel with your family, and you are doing an introduction of all our family members, to indicate that she is your sister, you just need to say, ‘my suster’.

15. How to say “Cousin” in Afrikaans

Cousin – “Neef”

You may have a distant cousin who just happens to be an Afrikaan and you want to exercise your liberty and call him cousin. Well, the Afrikaan word for cousin does not harm the tongue in any way. It is ‘neef’.

16. How to say “Happy” in Afrikaans

Happy – “Gelukkig”

Many feelings could be expressed by paying attention to body language, and words can be used to describe such feelings. Happiness is one of such. Hence, when someone is showing a lot of excitement, you can ask ‘why are you happy?’ and this can be said in Afrikaans as ‘is jy gelukkig’

17. How to say “Brother” in Afrikaans

Brother – “broer”

Men love to call other men whom they have grown fond of, brother. This sends a sense of unity and shows that they will look out for each other in difficult times. Calling your biological male sibling or a male friend brother basically binds your together and makes the relationship you share very easy-going. To belong to such a clique and call out a brother, you just need to say, ‘broer’ which means brother.

18. How to say “When” in Afrikaans

When – “Waneer”

When would my car be arriving?, when would I be getting my package? when will the visitor arrive?- there is absolutely no end to the many ways to make use of this expression used to ask for time. The Afrikaans word for when is ‘waneer’ which can be used in diverse forms to make inquiries.

19. How to say “Address” in Afrikaans

Address – “Adres”

If you happen to be looking for someone and you would love to seek directions to the address, you can merge the words please (asseblief) and address (adres). With a little bit of gesturing and the use of ‘asseblief’ and ‘adres’, you should be able to communicate your need for direction.

20. How to say “Food” in Afrikaans

Food – “Kos”

We always have a need for food and if you happen to find yourself in any Afrikaans speaking country, you can simply use the word ‘kros’ to indicate that you want food.

21. How to say “Water” in Afrikaans

Water – “natiel”

The word that literally means water in Afrikaans is ‘natiel’. It can be used in various ways to show that you want some water.

Basic Afrikaans Slangs

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It would interest you to know that there are also some slangs that are used in South Africa that owes their origin to the Afrikaans language. Here are a few Afrikaans slangs and their meaning preceding them:

22. How is it or Hello – “Awe”

The word ‘Awe’ which is an English word to show surprise is actually used as slang in the Afrikaans language. The slang this basically used by Afrikaans to greet people.

23. Clear – “Duidelik”

This is used to depict clarity on a thing or excitement. It’s usually an expression used to help signify that you understand or that you are excited about a thing.

24. I say – “Eksê”

Another variant for ekse is Whakind eksê. Although it literally means ‘I say’, it is used in greeting.

25. Hello – “Hosh”

Hosh is usually used to get someone’s attention and a variant of this expression is ‘Hosh, jy raak wys’ which means “Hello, show me what you are made of”. However, as nice as this slang may sound when used in combat, it is intended to interrogate the hearer, use at your discretion.

26. Nice – “Lekker/lukka”

This Afrikaans slang is mostly heard in the first form, but the second form is also quite popular in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

27. Aunt – “Tannie”

It means aunt which is also the same meaning for Afrikaans speakers.

28. Old man – “Toppie”

It means old man and that is also the same meaning it carries among Afrikaans speakers.

29. What say/What you say – “Wat sê jy”

A variant of this slang is “Whakind” and it is usually used for greeting.

30. Bang – “Bung”

It originates from the Afrikaan word ‘bang’ and it is used to scare people or make the person be afraid.

31. Pleasant/nice – “Lakkaz”

This slang word for pleasant or nice originates from the Afrikaan word ‘lekker’.

32. My wife – “Vrou”.

Vrou is a slang that originates from the Afrikaans and is used to address a wife or sometimes a woman.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Afrikaans Language

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about the Afrikaans language:

1. What is the Longest Word in Afrikaans?

The longest word in Afrikaan is – Tweedehandsemotorverkoopsmannevakbondstakingsvergaderingsameroeperstoespraakskrywerspersverklaringuitreikingsmediakonferensieaankondiging.

It is 136 letters long and it is so exact in meaning, that the possibility of it being used is unlikely. It means an issuable media conference’s announcement at a press release.

2. How old is the Afrikaans language?

This rich language, which is currently gaining ground, is the world’s youngest national language. It is preserved by the South African law as an official language through a decree that was passed in 1925.

3. How many countries speak Afrikaans?

There are majorly four countries that speak this language; South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. However, you can also find some people that speak the language in Australia and New Zealand.

4. Does the Afrikaans language have other variants?

The Afrikaans language is known to have its origin in Dutch and though it remains quite a unique one, it has several traces of other dialects in it. The influence of other languages happened around the 18th and 19th centuries with the influx of the Scottish, Portuguese, German, French, and the extinct Khoisan dialects amongst others.

5. Is the Afrikaans Language a Creole, sub-Dutch language, or part Creole language?

Even though the Afrikaans language has grown to have its own identity, it is still considered a Dutch-daughter language. However, the Dutch were not pleased initially when this ‘distorted’ version of their language began to spread in the late 17th century although they began to recognize and accept it with time. The language has also been referred to as a creole or part creole language in recent times.

Tyna G
Tyna G
A digital nomad with a never-ending curiosity and passion for discovering new places, cultures and creative outlets - this author has been writing her way around the globe for many years. Everything from entertainment to biographies, reviews to travel tips, you’ll always find stunning high quality content coming from her


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