The Afrikaans Language Monument

Image Details: ‘The Afrikaans Language Monument’ by teachandlearn, via Flickr

Following the recent theme of not strictly craft related posts, this one is about my attempts at learning Afrikaans. Or Afrikaant, as I prefer to call it at the moment! I am using ‘Teach Yourself Complete Afrikaans’ by Lydia McDermott, which is available as a book, a CD or as a package with both included. I went for the package, which I ordered from The Book Depository, a company I’ve used before and who, rather helpfully, do free worldwide delivery! This was delivered to an address in the UK before I left, and took about 5 days to arrive. This book should take me up to A-Level standard in the UK.


So far, the most difficult thing I have found is the pronunciation. Some of the English letters don’t exist in Afrikaans really unless they are in a word that has been ‘borrowed’ from English, and other letters are pronounced in a totally different way e.g. a ‘g’ is not a ‘geh’ sound, it’s more of a ‘heh’, but in a scouse-sounding, throat clearing way. A lot of the verbs, adjectives and nouns sound like the English word pronounced with an Afrikaans accent, or are quite similar to words I learnt when studying German at school.

The CD and book are actually quite good and I feel like I am picking up quite a lot of different random words, albeit none that I might actually need yet, such as ‘Excuse me Sir, where is the nearest knitting emporium?’ or ‘Does this come in a DK weight?’. I can say ‘I have two dogs’ and ‘I am a pilot’ though! The book also recommends listening to the CD repeatedly to get the rhythm of the language, which I have been doing whilst crafting, as my Podcast consumption has taken a nose-dive here due to the cost of internet connection. It was also recommended to me to watch a soap here called ‘7 de Laan’, which is in Afrikaans and has English subtitles. It’s actually rather good in a ‘Sunset Beach’ terrible acting but compulsive viewing sort of way. The pleasing thing is that the acting is so camped up, so they speak quite slowly for dramatic effect, and I can catch the drift of what they are saying! I would use the ‘Teach Yourself’ series again if I wanted to learn another language.

So, to measure my progress, I shall do a monthly ‘Afrikaant’ blog post, detailing what I have learnt so far, with a view to doing an entire blog post in Afrikaans by the time I leave here, with an English translation. Hopefully this will keep me on track, even if I do sound a bit like a comedy extra from Allo Allo at the moment!