20 Popular Afrikaans Idioms To English

Afrikaans Idioms

Are you looking to compare the meaning of Afrikaans idioms to the English language? It’s time to stop scratching your head when hearing expressions like jakkals trou met wolf se vrou (when it is raining while the sun shines brightly) or iemand heuning om die mond smeer(to flatter someone), as this post will walk you through the exact cultural meaning of each today! Ready to beef up your knowledge in this South African language? Let’s get it on!

Afrikaans has always been considered one of the easiest languages to learn because of its grammar and vocabulary. In fact, most of the elements of this language came from German, Portuguese, Dutch, and English! Just take the example below and see its counterparts:

  • Afrikaans: Alle paaie lei na Rome
  • Dutch: Alle wegen lijden naar Rome
  • English: All roads lead to Rome
  • German: Alle Wege führen nach Rom

If you are starting to learn Afrikaans, we highly recommend that you focus on reviewing some of its interesting idioms first because they are witty and memorable. Then, read below our 20 major examples that will make you smile and even more motivated to master Afrikaans.

Afrikaans Idioms To English

Having strong knowledge of South African idioms allows you to converse with the locals confidently since you understand the meaning behind the words. More often than not, some of the words stringed together do not make sense literally at all, but it is only with your understanding of the context that you get to unlock the true meaning. Review the examples below and take note of the meaning in case someone says something similar to these.

1. Moenie die hoender ruk nie

Direct translation: Do not shake the chicken
Meaning: Do not overdo it

2. So ń bek moet jem kry

Direct translation: That mouth should get jam
Meaning: Sharing something spot-on good

3. Dis ń feit soos n koei

Direct translation: A fact like a cow | Meaning: An concept you cannot disagree with

4. Wors in die hondestal soek

Direct translation: Searching sausage in a dog stable | Meaning: To look for a thing that you cannot really find

5. ń Klap van die windmeul weg hê

Direct translation: A slap away from the windmill
Meaning: Crazy or unstable mind

6. Die aap uit die mou laat

Direct translation: Let the monkey out of the sleeve
Meaning: Spill the beans

7. Die koeël is deur die kerk

Direct translation: The bullet went through the church
Meaning: Used when someone is madly in love.

8. Twee rye spore loop

Direct translation: To rows of tracks
Meaning: To be drunk or truly intoxicated

9. Dit weet die aap se stert

Direct translation: The monkey tail knows
Meaning: Something that everyone knows

Afrikaan Idioms to English

10. Iemand heuning om die mond smeer

Direct translation: rub honey on the mouth of someone
Meaning: Butter up with too much flattery

11. Nou nou

Direct translation: Now
Meaning: To say something will take in just a while

12. Iemand ń gat in die kop praat

Direct translation: Talk a hole in the head of someone
Meaning: Persuade someone

13. Lepel in die dak steek

Direct translation: Stick a spoon on the roof
Meaning: a sign of someone dying

14. As die hemel val is ons almal dood

Direct translation: We are all dead if the sky calls
Meaning: complain less and try to focus on the brighter side

15. Sy kerk is uit

Direct translation: Someone’s church is out and about
Meaning: It’s done for him/her.

16. Die berge het ‘n muis gebaar

Direct translation: The mountain birthed a mouse
Meaning: Not getting the results wanted despite the effort given

17. Dis die klein jakkalsies wat die wingerde verniel

Direct translation: The little foxes ruined the vineyards
Meaning: Small mistakes causing too many troubles

18. Die doodskleed het geen sakke nie

Direct translation: The robe of the dead has no pockets
Meaning: Your possessions mean nothing once you are dead

19. Die geel baadjie aan hê

Direct translation: Wearing a yellow jacket
Meaning: To say that one is jealous

20. Die poppe gaan dans

Direct translation: The dolls will dance
Meaning: There’s trouble in the world/something bad will happen

As you probably can notice from the idioms shared above, the people of South Africa enjoy involving animals, making learning easy for beginners. Linguists state that the reason behind this is that their language is heavily influenced by their physical environment (and Africa is famous for its fauna).

As we reach this part of the post, we hope you could use any of these idioms with your friends and locals in case you travel to Africa. If you enjoyed this post, be sure not to miss out on our previous posts perfectly related to language tips, such as how much time it takes to learn a new language or the different ways to say good night, yes and no, and happy birthday! Also, feel free to share this post on social media or tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Want To Learn More About The Afrikaans Language?

If ever you try to visit the visit South Africa, you will be surprised by how willing South Africans interact with foreigners like you. What better way to connect with them authentically than trying to speak with them in a language that they truly understand? If you want to discover more words, sayings, and the grammar of the Afrikaans language, we highly recommend that you try out Ling App by Simya Solutions. This platform is ideal for both casual language learners and enthusiasts. It comes with features that will truly motivate you to learn anywhere you are and on whatever device you have!

It is available for free and can be accessed using the site and the mobile application. So, what are you waiting for? Try it out today and discover a new and exciting way to learn over 60+ languages! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get insider news about the language learning community and exclusive deals!

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