20 Afrikaans words with interesting English literal translations

When learning a new language, some of the issues we encounter are translating those crafty closed compound words – combinations of two or more words that function as a single unit and mean something different than the individual words they are built from.

  1. Aasvoël

Direct translation: bait bird

Actual meaning: vulture

Aasvoël  - bait bird - vulture
Aasvoël – bait bird – vulture

2. Jagluiperd

Direct translation: Hunting lazy horse

Actual meaning: cheetah

Jagluiperd - lazy horse - cheetah
Jagluiperd – lazy horse – cheetah

3. Keelvol

Direct translation: full throat

Actual meaning: sick of it all

Keelvol - full throat - sick of it all
Keelvol – full throat – sick of it all

4. Knormoer

Direct translation: Growl nut

Actual meaning: starter motor

Knormoer - Growl nut - starter motor
Knormoer – Growl nut – starter motor

5. Klapkassie

Direct translation: Little Flap cupboard

Actual meaning: cubby hole

Klapkassie - Little Flap cupboard - cubby hole
Klapkassie – Little Flap cupboard – cubby hole

6. Kameelperd

Direct translation: Camel horse

Actual meaning: Giraffe

Kameelperd - Camel horse - Giraffe. Hello :)
Kameelperd – Camel horse – Giraffe

7. Kattekwaad

Direct translation: Cats mischief

Actual meaning: getting up to no good

Kattekwaad - Cats mischief - getting up to no good
Kattekwaad – Cats mischief – getting up to no good

8. Koggelmannetjie

Direct translation: teasing little man

Actual meaning: a male rock lizard

Koggelmannetjie - teasing little man - a male rock lizard
Koggelmannetjie – teasing little man – a male rock lizard

9. Luiperd

Direct translation: Lazy horse

Actual meaning: Leopard

Luiperd - Lazy horse - Leopard. A translation with spots
Luiperd – Lazy horse – Leopard

10. Laatlammetjie

Direct translation: late lamb

Actual meaning: a child born many years after its siblings

Laatlammetjie - late lamb - a child born many years after its siblings. Family
Laatlammetjie – late lamb – a child born many years after its siblings

11. Padkos

Direct translation: road food

Actual meaning: Southern African snacks and provisions for a journey

padkos - road food - Southern African snacks and provisions for a journey. Culinary translations
padkos – road food – Southern African snacks and provisions for a journey

12. Perdeby

Direct translation: horse fly

Actual meaning: wasp

perdeby - horse fly - wasp. A literal translation that could sting.
perdeby – horse fly – wasp

13. Pletterpet

Direct translation: falling hat

Actual meaning: helmet

Pletterpet - falling hat - helmet, Afrikaans English literal translations
Pletterpet – falling hat – helmet

14. Papier vampier

Direct translation: paper vampire

Actual meaning: stapler

Papier vampier - paper vampire - stapler. Fun example of literal translations
Papier vampier – paper vampire – stapler

15. Springmielies

Direct translation: Jumping corn

Actual meaning: popcorn

Springmielies - Jumping corn - popcorn. Afrikaans English literal translations
Springmielies – Jumping corn – popcorn

16. Trapsuutjie

Direct translation: step softly

Actual meaning: chameleon

Trapsuutjie - step softly - chameleon. Afrikaans English literal translations
Trapsuutjie – step softly – chameleon

17. Verkykers

Direct translation: far lookers

Actual meaning: binoculars

Verkykers - far lookers - binoculars. Afrikaans English literal translations
Verkykers – far lookers – binoculars

18. Vergrootglas

Direct translation: making big glass

Actual meaning: magnifying glass

Vergrootglas - making big glass - magnifying glass. Afrikaans English literal translations
Vergrootglas – making big glass – magnifying glass. Afrikaans English literal translations

19. Windmeulvliegtuig

Direct translation: wind mill flying plane

Actual meaning: helicopter

Windmeulvliegtuig - wind mill flying plane - helicopter. Afrikaans English literal translations
Windmeulvliegtuig – wind mill flying plane – helicopter

20. Ystervark

Direct translation: iron pig

Actual meaning: porcupine

Ystervark  - iron pig – porcupine -Afrikaans English literal translations
Ystervark – iron pig – porcupine. Afrikaans – English literal translations

Nou in Afrikaans, geliefde kinderboeke:

Die Leeu en die Hond

Die Jagluiperd en die Hond

Die Olifant en die Skaap

Did you know that South Africans can now order my books through LOOT?

You can order my latest novel, Silent Heroes, a #1 New Release in Amazon US in History of Afghanistan for kindle category for a couple of months, a #2 Best Sellers in Arms Control as well as #4 Best Seller in Middle Eastern Literature from Loot.

Silent Heroes: When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for Patricia Furstenberg
Loot

You might also enjoy reading:

Afrikaanse Vergelykings – Afrikaans Simile – Your Comprehensive & Fun Guide

A Poem You Can Read in English and Afrikaans

32 original Afrikaans idioms sure to make you smile once translated into English

19 German Compound Words with Surprising Translations: Mammutwörter and the Longest German, English and Welsh Words

A Journey through the Medieval City of Sighisoara.

Vlad the Impaler’s (Dracula’s) Medieval Feast. Wine or Blood?

 

Follow this blog: