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14 Afrikaans words that just can’t be translated

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A Facebook friend recently posted about actor / rapper / writer Lin-Manuel Miranda Tweeting about the word “spookasem” this week. Miranda was chuffed to find out that the direct translation for this was “ghost breath”.

https://twitter.com/Lin_Manuel/status/824931085884731392

That direct translation – and the subsequent thread on said friend’s wall – got me thinking about some other words that just translate so wonderfully hilariously. Afrikaans sayings are often so very literal.

Note: not all of these words are official translations and not all of them are commonly used. Many are slang words. Chances are if you mention them to your parents or grandparents, they’d have heard of them.

Vroeteldoos

Direct translation: fiddlebox

Actual meaning: cubbyhole

Koggelmannetjie

Direct translation: teasing little man

Actual meaning: a sort of lizard, usually an agama

Trapsuutjie

Direct translation: step softly

Actual meaning: chameleon

Skouervlieg

Direction translation: shoulder fly

Actual meaning: backseat driver

Knaterflater

Direction translation: balls failure

Actual meaning: balls up

Rondkyktwak

Direct translation: look around tobacco

Actual meaning: weed

Brakkie sakkie / woefkardoes

Direct translation: doggie bag

Actual meaning: Same

Pletterpet

Direction translation: falling hat

Actual meaning: helmet

Rymkletser

Direction translation: rhyme speaker

Actual meaning: rapper

Papier vampier

Direction translation: paper vampire

Actual meaning: stapler

Springmielies

Direct translation: Jumping corn

Actual meaning: popcorn

Papbroek

Direct translation: flat pants

Actual meaning: coward

Kattekwaad

Direct translation: kitten anger

Actual meaning: getting up to no good

 

*Source: www.thesouthafrican.com

 

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