Afrikaans/Lesson 01

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This page has 34 words and 3 sentences that you can learn
Afrikaans Les Een: The Basics

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Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

These vocabulary words can be found through this lesson, in the examples, in the dialogues, and to assist you in doing the exercises. Anytime there is a word you don't know in the lesson, refer to this comprehensive list.

English Afrikaans
and en
be wees (present tense: is)
eat eet
food kos
good afternoon goeiemiddag
goodbye totsiens
good evening goeienaand
good morning goeiemôre
goodnight goeienag
hello hallo/goeiedag
hi haai
How are you? Hoe gaan dit (met jou/U/julle)?
I'm fine Goed dankie/ Dit gaan goed met my
My name is... My naam is.../ Ek is...
see sien
sleep slaap
thanks dankie
please asseblief

Vocabulary similarities between English and Afrikaans[edit | edit source]

One can take just a few simple transformations to your English vocabulary and then acquire an Afrikaans vocabulary easily. Afrikaans is a part of the Indo-European language group thus its shares a lot of history that in language development as the its European counterparts. Take for example that all words in English ending in -tion you can replace with -sie to have the Afrikaans equivalent of the word. So the English words position, action, condition, etc. will be posisie, aksie, kondisie etc. And then with minor changes to the spelling such as replacing the c with k, because in Afrikaans the c changes to a k-sound. These are only a few of the "language tricks" that you can use to transform your English into Afrikaans and gain a few nouns to your vocabulary.

Dialogue[edit | edit source]

Each lesson's dialogue will provide a conversation with features that will be discussed in the lesson, so that by the time you finish the lesson you should be able to understand without looking at the translation why the conversation is structured the way it is.

Valerie Goeiemôre!
Johan Hallo! Hoe gaan dit met jou?
Valerie Dit gaan goed dankie. My naam is Valerie, en joune?
Johan My naam is Johan.
Valerie Totsiens, Johan!

Translation[edit | edit source]

Valerie Good morning!
Johan Hello! How are you?
Valerie I'm fine, thanks. My name is Valerie, and yours?
Johan My name is Johan.
Valerie Goodbye, Johan!

Greetings[edit | edit source]

Afrikaans greetings are used in the same way as English ones are. What this means is that when speaking informally, you will usually greet someone with a haai rather than saying hallo or goeiedag to them. It is important to know that goeienaand is how you greet someone in the evening while goeienag is something you say when you're leaving someone at nighttime. Finally, the informal way to ask how someone it is Hoe gaan dit with the addition of met jou at the end being optional. If you are in a formal situation, or speaking to more than one person, you will add met u (formal) or met julle (plural). The pronoun section will clarify when to use jou/u/julle, which all translate into English as you.

Pronouns[edit | edit source]

Subject Pronouns[edit | edit source]

The subject of a sentence corresponds to who is doing the action (She loves him).

English Afrikaans
I ek
you (singular, familiar) jy
you (singular/polite) u
he hy
she sy
it dit
we ons
you (plural) julle
they hulle


Object Pronouns[edit | edit source]

The object of a sentence is who the action is directed towards (She loves him, I gave it to her).

English Afrikaans
me my
you (singular, familiar) jou
you (singular/polite) u
him hom
her haar
it dit
us ons
you (plural) julle
them hulle

The most obvious difference is the three forms of "you". Jy is most like the English "you", and is used more generally and when addressing a friend. U is the formal or polite version of "you", and is used when addressing an elder, your boss, a stranger or anyone whom you wish to show respect. Note that it is capitalized when referring to the Christian God. Julle is used when addressing more than one person.

Word Order[edit | edit source]

In Afrikaans, simple, present tense sentences are in SVO word order. English is an SVO language too. SVO stands for subject-verb-object. This means who does the verb comes first, then the verb comes next, and lastly, if the verb is directed towards something or someone it comes last. For example, in the sentence "I eat fruit" "I" is the person doing the action so it is first. "Eating" is what I'm doing so it comes second, and the eating is done to the fruit, so it's the object. So "I'm eating food" in Afrikaans is therefore "Ek eet kos".

Verb "To Be"[edit | edit source]

The infinitive is the form of a verb when it has no subject. In English this is to+verb, or just the verb. In Afrikaans the infinitive is the "regular" form you'll find in the dictionary, but even easier than English, the present tense and the infinitive are the same so the only difference between them is one has a subject and one doesn't. What this means is that while in many languages the verb changes forms when talking about different people ("I love-->She loves"), in Afrikaans we depend on the subject. There are two big exceptions to this, and we're going to learn the first one in this lesson. "To be" in Afrikaans is "wees" (infinitive form). The present form of "wees" is "is"—similar to English.

Another important thing to know is that the Afrikaans present can be both regular present and the present continuous ("Sally eet" can mean either "Sally eats" or "Sally is eating").

Exercises[edit | edit source]

Translate these sentences into English.

  • Jy is Johan.
  • Hoe gaan dit?
  • Valerie slaap.
  • Goeienag!
  • Ek sien hulle.
  • Sy is goed.
  • Ek eet kos.

Translate these sentences into Afrikaans.

  • I am Sally.
  • My name is Johan.
  • You (plural) eat it.
  • We are sleeping.
  • Hi!
  • You (formal) see him.

Exercise Answers[edit | edit source]

Answers to the above exercises.

  • You (singular) are Johan.
  • hi? (informal)
  • Valerie sleeps/is sleeping.
  • Goodnight
  • I see them.
  • She's fine.
  • I eat food.
  • Ek is Sally.
  • My naam is Johan.
  • Julle eet dit.
  • Ons slaap.
  • Hallo!
  • U sien hom.

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