Afrikaans, which was first brought into South Africa by Dutch settlers, is the youngest official language in the world. Part of the West Germanic language group, its origins can be traced back to the late 17th century, and for centuries, it was used only as a spoken language. Nowadays, it can be heard in places like South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
Are you thinking about travelling to one of these countries to grow in your career or visit your family? Learn Afrikaans phrases and idioms for everyday use and be ready to make the most of the experience.
For an English speaker, learning Afrikaans is like learning Dutch. In fact, it’s even easier than that. This is because Afrikaans verbs are simplified. Saying things like “you is” is not correct English or good Dutch, but it is completely acceptable in Afrikaans.
Of course, we are not saying you should attempt to completely master the Afrikaans language before moving to Zimbabwe. No matter how easy a language is, that’s always a huge task.
However, we do encourage you to learn at least a few basic phrases before you travel. By memorising the key words and expressions below, you should be able to get by and make a good impression on your hosts until you can get settled and go more in-depth with your learning.
- Goeie more.(Good morning)
- Goeie middag.(Good afternoon)
- Goeie nag.(Good night)
- Wat is jou naam?(What’s your name?)
- Aangenaame kennis.(Nice to meet you)
- Hoe gaan dit met jou?(How are you?)
- Sien jou later.(See you later)
- Asseblief. (Please)
- Dankie. (Thank you)
- Jy is welkom.(You’re welcome)
Afrikaans-speaking places like Botswana have fascinated tourists for decades thanks to their incredible wildlife. The array of species that reside in or pass through this country is breathtaking. Ranging from endangered animals such as rhinos and wild dogs to the numerous and exotic birds that inhabit the area, Botswana offers paradise on Earth for animal lovers.
And what can we say about Namibia, which boasts one of the most beautiful towns in Africa?
That’s right, we are talking about Swakopmund, a coastal town in central Namibia that is sandwiched between the ocean and the Namib Desert. Its colonial architecture, historical sights, oceanfront promenades, cosy guesthouses, and amazing gastronomy make Swakopmund a must-see place for tourists of all ages.
Before you book your flight to any of these wonderful places, make sure you practise these Afrikaans phrases:
- Hoeveel kos dit? (How much is this?)
- Help! (Help!)
- Praat jy Engels? (Do you speak English?)
- Hoeveel kos dit? (How much does it cost?)
- Waar is….? (Where is…?)
- Kan jy asseblief stadiger praat? (Could you please talk more slowly?)
Botswana is not only a beautiful tourist spot. Thanks to a stable political system, high levels of development and a strong economy based on mineral riches and diamonds, this country is also a great location for job-seekers.
Looking for professional opportunities in Botswana, South Africa, or any other Afrikaans-speaking region? Then you should definitely learn a few Afrikaans phrases for business.
Have you just been called for a job interview? Use this phrase to express interest and gratitude, as well as some handy language skills.
2. Ons het al baie oor die foon gesels! Dis goed om jou persoonlik te ontmoet. (We’ve spoken a lot over the phone already! It’s good to meet you in person.)
When you step into the office for your first interview, you’ll need more than a nice tie if you want to make a good impression. By using the phrase above, you get to show a solid command of the Afrikaans language and, especially, a good knowledge of business etiquette.
Want to show how in-demand you are? Say this to let them know you’re being showered with all kinds of attractive offers!
Whether you’re talking to a recruiter or a business partner, you can use this phrase to show your good disposition.
Sometimes things don’t go as expected. However, politeness and gratitude always come first. Say this phrase to show a co-worker that you acknowledge their hard work.
Places like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana are so incredibly beautiful, you might find yourself delaying your return flight so you can stay longer than you’d originally planned.
Now, that means you’ll have more time to socialise, right? I mean, you might even make a new friend… A special friend, even.
Below, you’ll find some of the most useful phrases in the Afrikaans language: phrases to express love.
Let’s just hope you’re the one saying this phrase, if you know what I mean.
That’s sweet. Just make sure you don’t wait until the very last day to say it.
Cool. A nice, not-too-serious way of letting someone know you’re interested.
Looking for a more romantic option, I see.
Now this is huge. Are you sure it’s not all those drinks speaking for you?
There’s a fine line between sweet and saccharine. Be careful. Just saying.
Oh no! What happened?
Well, considering you two live on different continents… yeah, that should be a wise choice.
Want to show your hosts that you’ve really made an effort with their language? Learn a few informal and idiomatic expressions and wow them with your knowledge of colloquial Afrikaans.
Literal translation: Hang onto a branch
Is someone speaking too fast? Did they just say something that sounded really implausible? Ask them to hold on a second so you can process what they’re saying (and decide if it came out too fast or it was just silly).
Literal translation: Walk in two lines.
The city of Swakopmund, in Namibia, is known for its great beer houses. All you have to do to use this phrase is get drunk and say it out loud to whoever happens to walk by.
Literal translation: Like a monkey on a stick.
How confused would a monkey look on a stick? Apparently, it would look perplexed.
If you say one of the romantic phrases above to a local and they just stare at you, you can use this phrase to release some of the tension.
Literal translation: Don’t shake the chicken.
If you’re working in a team and someone is making a fuss about something when they really shouldn’t, use this phrase to ask them to keep things simple.
Literal translation: Have a monkey up your sleeve.
Okay, what’s up with monkeys and the Afrikaans language?
Are you thinking about staying a few extra days in Zimbabwe? Use this phrase to let your new friends know about your plan.
Would you like to go beyond Afrikaans phrases and start working on your fluency?
Learn Afrikaans for free with a qualified native teacher! How? By exploring our Free Trial Afrikaans Classes and get your first lesson at no cost!
We’ll pair you up with a professional tutor who will prepare a course tailored to your needs and interests. Want to start tomorrow? Contact us now and we’ll get back to you in no time!