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Must-Know Afrikaans Verbs for Beginners

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Learning a new language can feel like a daunting task, especially when it comes to verbs – they’re the action words that bring a sentence to life! If you’re starting out with Afrikaans, getting familiar with some basic verbs can help you begin forming simple sentences and expressing ideas. Here’s a list of must-know Afrikaans verbs for beginners, complete with definitions and examples to jump-start your language learning journey.

Wees (to be)
This verb is the equivalent of “to be” in English and is used similarly to express states of being.
Sy is my suster. (She is my sister.)

(to have)
“Hê” is the Afrikaans verb for “to have,” indicating possession of something.
Ek het ‘n hond. (I have a dog.)

Doen (to do)
A vital verb in any language, “doen” corresponds to “to do” in English.
Wat doen jy? (What are you doing?)

Gaan (to go)
This word describes the act of going somewhere and is often used to speak about future actions.
Ek gaan more winkel toe. (I am going to the shop tomorrow.)

Kom (to come)
Just like in English, “kom” is used when someone or something is coming towards the speaker.
Die kinders kom nou huis toe. (The children are coming home now.)

Sien (to see)
To describe the physical act of seeing, “sien” is the verb you would use.
Kan jy die berg sien? (Can you see the mountain?)

Hoor (to hear)
Afrikaans uses “hoor” to express the action of hearing sounds.
Ek kan jou nie hoor nie. (I can’t hear you.)

Werk (to work)
Whether you’re talking about labor or functioning correctly, “werk” is the verb that means “to work.”
Waar werk jy? (Where do you work?)

Speel (to play)
For leisure activities or playing games, “speel” is the verb you would use in Afrikaans.
Die kinders speel buite. (The children are playing outside.)

Eet (to eat)
One of the most essential verbs in any language, “eet” is used when talking about consuming food.
Ons eet aandete om sewe. (We eat dinner at seven.)

Drink (to drink)
Similar to “eet,” but for liquids, “drink” is used when you’re talking about drinking something.
Ek drink koffie in die oggend. (I drink coffee in the morning.)

Lees (to read)
When you’re looking at text and interpreting it, you’ll be using the verb “lees” in Afrikaans.
Ek lees tans ‘n interessante boek. (I am currently reading an interesting book.)

Slaap (to sleep)
When it’s time to rest and recharge, “slaap” is the verb you’ll use to describe that action.
Ek gaan nou slaap. (I am going to sleep now.)

Praat (to speak/talk)
Whether you’re having a conversation or giving a speech, “praat” is the verb for verbal communication.
Ons praat Afrikaans by die huis. (We speak Afrikaans at home.)

Liefhê (to love)
An essential verb for expressing affection, “liefhê” conveys a deep sense of love.
Ek liefhê my gesin. (I love my family.)

Leer (to learn)
As you’re gaining new knowledge, especially in Afrikaans, you’re using the verb “leer” to describe that process.
Ek leer nuwe woorde elke dag. (I learn new words every day.)

Loop (to walk)
For the basic movement of walking, use the verb “loop” in Afrikaans.
Ons loop elke oggend in die park. (We walk in the park every morning.)

These foundational verbs are just the beginning of your Afrikaans language adventure. By starting with these common actions, you’ll be well on your way to forming sentences and engaging in conversations. As with any language, practice is key, so try to use these verbs as often as possible to build your fluency. Veel geluk (good luck) with your learning!

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