32 original Afrikaans idioms sure to make you smile once translated into English via @PatFurstenberg, #SouthAfrica #languages #learning #fun #amreading

South Africa thumbs up - Afrikaans Idioms translated into English

Afrikaans, a language rich in idioms and emotions, is the world’s youngest national language and one of South Africa’s 11 official languages. Born about 350 years ago through a blend of Dutch, German and French spoken by settlers in what is now South Africa, Afrikaans is part of the West Germanic languages and is currently spoken by approximately 13 million people found mostly in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Idioms are reputable for having a meaning not deductible from that of the individual words. Let’s see how some Afrikaans idioms translate into English.

1. Alle grappies op ‘n stokkie

English: All jokes on a stick

Meaning: On a more serious note

2. As die hemel val is ons almal dood

English: If heaven falls, we’re all dead

Meaning: To complain less; let’s not always think about what could go wrong

3. Die aap uit die mou laat

English: To let the monkey out of the sleeve

Meaning: To release the cat out of the bag; to spill the beans

Die aap uit die mou laat - To spill the beans
Die aap uit die mou laat – To spill the beans

4. Die berge het ‘n muis gebaar

English: The mountain gave birth to a mouse

Meaning: When you put in a lot of effort into a project but have very little to show for it

5. Die bobbejaan agter die bult gaan uithaal

English: To fetch a baboon from behind the hill

Meaning: To think or talk about problems that haven’t happened yet, thus possibly making them happen.

6. Dis die klein jakkalsies wat die wingerde verniel

English: It is the small jackals that ruined the vineyard

Meaning: Small mistakes can cause big troubles

Nou in Afrikaans - kinderboeke 4+ - Get them on Amazon
Nou in Afrikaans – kinderboeke 4+ – Get them on Amazon

7. Die doodskleed het geen sakke nie

English: A dead man’s suit does not have pockets

Meaning: When you die, your possessions mean nothing

8. Die geel baadjie aan hê

English: To wear a yellow jacket

Meaning: To be jealous

9. Die poppe gaan dans

English: The dolls will dance

Meaning: There’s going to be trouble

Die poppe gaan dans - There's going to be trouble
Die poppe gaan dans – There’s going to be trouble

10. Dis ‘n feit soos ‘n koei

English:  It’s a fact like a cow

Meaning: It is a fact you can’t argue with

11. Dit weet die aap se stert

English: What the monkey’s tail knows

Meaning: Something everyone knows

12. Hang aan ‘n tak

English: Hanging onto a branch

Meaning: Hold on for a second

Die Leeu en die Hond - Get it on Amazon
Die Leeu en die Hond – Get it on Amazon

13. Hoe kaler die jakkals, hoe groter die stert

English: The more naked the jackal, the bigger its tail is

Meaning: Those who have the least to show for themselves, brag the most

14. Hy het ‘n klap van die windmeul weg

English: He’s been hit by a windmill

Meaning: To not be sound of mind

15. Hy skil sy aartappels nie twee keer nie

English: You don’t peel your potatoes twice

Meaning: Get it right the first time.

Hy skil sy aartappels nie twee keer nie - Get it right the first time
Hy skil sy aartappels nie twee keer nie – Get it right the first time

16. Iemand heuning om die mond smeer

English: To rub honey on someone’s mouth

Meaning: To butter someone up with flattery

17. Iemand ‘n gat in die kop praat

English: To talk a hole in someone’s head

Meaning: To find a way to persuade someone (to do something bad)

18. Jakkals trou met wolf se vrou

English: The jackal is marrying the wolf’s wife

Meaning: Used when the weather is surprising: it rains on a sunny day

Die Jagluiperd en die Hond - Get it on Amazon
Die Jagluiperd en die Hond – Get it on Amazon

19. Jy krap met ‘n kort stokkie aan ‘n groot leeu se bal

English: You scratch a big lion’s bollocks with a shot stick

Meaning: To be arrogant; to push one’s luck

20. Katjie van die baan

English: A kitten from the track

Meaning: Used to describe someone with social skills, with humor. It can also be used when children stay up too late at night.

21. ‘n Aap in die mou hê

English: To have a monkey up your sleeve

Meaning: To have something up your sleeve; to hide a mischievous plan

‘n Aap in die mou hê - to have something up your sleeve
‘n Aap in die mou hê – to have something up your sleeve

22. ‘n Hond uit ‘n bos gesels

English: To talk a dog out of a bush

Meaning: To have a great conversation or to describe someone very chatty

23. ‘n Gat in die dag slaap

English: To sleep a hole in the day

Meaning: To sleep very late

24. ʼn Man van twaalf ambagte en dertien ongelukke

English: A man of twelve trades and thirteen accidents

Meaning: Used to describe a Jack of all trades, but a master of none

Die Olifant en die Skaap - Get it on Amazon
Die Olifant en die Skaap – Get it on Amazon

25. Moenie die hoender ruk nie

English: Don’t shake the chicken

Meaning: Don’t overdo it

26. Nes ‘n aap op ‘n stokkie

English: Like a monkey on a stick

Meaning: To look perplexed

27. Nou nou

English: Now now
Meaning: In a little while, in a bit

Nou nou - In a little while, in a bit
Nou nou – In a little while, in a bit

28. So ‘n bek moet jam kry

English: such a mouth should get jam

Meaning: Used when someone says something you agree with or when someone is witty and deserves a praise.

29. So skaars soos ‘n tweedehandse doodskis

English: As scarce as a second hand coffin

Meaning: Something extremely rare

30. Sy kerk is uit

English: His church is out

Meaning:It’s all over for him; he doesn’t stand another chance.

31. Twee rye spore loop

English: To walk two lines of tracks

Meaning: To be drunk

32. Wors in die hondehok soek

English: To search for a sausage in a dog’s kennel

Meaning: To look for the needle in the haystack, to look for something you cannot find

Did you know that the biggest South African communities outside of South Africa are found in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, Chile, Portugal and Greece?


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19 German Compound Words with Surprising Translations: Mammutwörter and the Longest German, English and Welsh Words via @PatFurstenberg #german #english #translation #language

For many of us, myself included, learning German is like climbing the Himalayas Mountains. If the grammar or the articles don’t get to you, the compound words without exact translation into English will – because in some German compound words the stem words don’t keep their meaning. The beauty of it is that once you do learn their meaning you grasp their beauty.

Dreikäsehoch

Literally: Three + cheese + high

Meaning: the loving nickname you would give a small child who is only as tall as three wheels of cheese stacked on top of each other.

Precious! Reminds me of Heidi!

Dreikäsehoch - three cheese high

Eselsbrücke

Literally: donkey bridge

Meaning: a mnemonic device, a memory aide

Eselsbrücke - memory aide

Flak

Flak is an acronym for a pre – World War 2 anti-aircraft gun: Fliegerabwehrkanone

Fliegerabwehr means “defense against air attack” and Kanone means cannon.

Flak - defense against air attack

Fernweh

Literally: Distance + pain

Meaning: It describes the feeling you get when you want to be somewhere else, a yearn for the freedom and adventure of travel. Similar to wanderlust (see below).

Fernweh - desire to go far away

Handschuh

Literally: hand shoe

Meaning: glove

How very logical, right?

Handschuh - glove

Handschuhschneeballwerfer

Literally: Glove + snowball + throwe

Meaning: a wimp.

If you ever tried to through more than one snowball without your gloves on you will not agree with this meaning. I second that.

Kindergarten

 Literally: Children + garden

Friedrich Froebel, a 19th Century German educator, was one of the first to believe that children needed some formal education, through play and exploration, before primary school.

Froebel opened his first kindergarten in 1837, and the curriculum included playing with toys, playing games and singing songs. By the 1880s, kindergartens opened in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States.

The word itself came into English in 1852—the same year that Froebel died.

Kindergarten, coined by Froebel in 1837, adopted in English in 1852.

Kopfkino

Literally: head cinema

Meaning: your vivid imagination

Kühlschrank

Literally: cool + cupboard

Meaning: refrigerator

To the point!

Kühlschrank  - fridge

Meerschweinschen

Literally: Sea + little pig

Meaning: guinea pig

Meerschweinschen  - guinea pig

Nacktschnecke

Literally: literally: naked snail

Meaning:: slug

Ohrwurm

Literally: Ear + worm

Meaning: This describe that song stuck in your head, the one you are singing over and over again.

Ohrwurm - a  song stuck in your head

Schwarmerei

Not exactly a compound word, schwarmerei is derived from the German verb schwärmen, which means to swarm.

Schwarmerei refers to excessive and uninhibited enthusiasm and also puppy love.

Schwarmerei  - enthusiams, puppy love

Sturmfrei

Literally: Storm (tempest) + free

Meaning: When you have the house to yourself and everyone else is away

Sturmfrei - the feeling you have when you are, finally, home alone

I wonder who they refer to as the “tempest” here…

Tagedieb

Literally: day + thief

Meaning: a dilly-dallier, a lay about, a loafer

Tagedieb - laying about doing nothing

Torschlusspanik

Literally: Gate + shut + panic

Meaning: The fear we get, as we age, that time is running out and important opportunities are slipping us away.

Tick-tock, says your biological clock.

Torschlusspanik - the feeling we get that the time is running away

Treppenwitz

Literally: Stairs (staircase) + joke

Meaning: The joke you came up with but the moment to share it has already passed.

Treppenwitz  - a joke whose time has passed

Verschlimmbessern

Literally: Make something worse + to improve

Meaning: Making something worse by trying to improve it.

Sound like any home DIY to me…

Verschlimmbessern - something worse by trying to improve it

Wanderlust

Literally: Migratory / travelling + desire / appetite

Meaning: An aching desire to travel and get away.

Desire to turn into a peripatetic, a walking wanderer.

Wanderlust - desire to travel and get away

Weltschmerz

Literally: World + pain/ grief

Meaning: A feeling of melancholy or pessimism, of having lost all faith in the world and humankind.

The word Weltschmerz was born during the Romantic literary movement of the 19th century. It was first used it to describe Lord Byron’s cynical loathing for the world.

Weltschmerz - A feeling of melancholy or pessimism, of having lost all faith in the world and humankind.

Zugzwang

Literally: Pull / tug + force

Meaning: Forced to make a decision when under stress or pressure.

Zugzwang - forced to make a decision under pressure

The longest German composed word stretches at 80 letters:

Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft

The “Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services”.

The longest English word in the Oxford Dictionary has 45 letters:

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

“an artificial long word said to mean a lung disease caused by inhaling very fine ash and sand dust.

The longest word to be found in Britain is a Welsh place name with 58 letters:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

The longest place name of the UK on a sign

You might like to read: 20 Afrikaans words with interesting English literal translations

Lesen Sie weiter:

Geliebte Kinderbücher von Patricia Furstenberg:

Der Gepard und der Hund

Der Elefant und das Lamm

Der Löwe und der Hund

JETZT AUF DEUTSCH - geliebte Kinderbücher
JETZT AUF DEUTSCH – geliebte Kinderbücher
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