July 5, 2017

What does cricket sound like in Afrikaans?

Coming up to the South Africa Tests in England, we present a quick glossary

Oh dear, these two will never reach their kolfkampies © AFP

There's only one South African, Keaton Jennings, in the England Test squad but there are dozens playing on the county circuit and plenty behind the scenes. Add to that the recent history of Saffers turning Poms - eight newly capped Test players signed Kolpak deals at the start of this season - and the cricket lingo must be crossing the boundary too. To prepare for the upcoming four-Test series we've put together a dictionary with some of the words you might hear over the next six weeks.

First, the basics:

Pronounced: Krii-ket

Pronounced: Coal-ver
Literal Translation: Batter
In English: Batsman

Pronounced: Snell-bowler
Literal translation: Speed bowler
In English: Fast bowler

Pronounced: Dry-bowler
Literal translation: Turn bowler
In English: Spin bowler

Pronounced paal-kie-wagghh-ter
Literal translation: Small-pole watcher
In English: Wicketkeeper

Pronounced: skates-regghh-ter
Literal translation: Separate judge
In English: Umpire

Pronounced: Colf-kamp-y
Literal translation: Batting camp
In English: Crease

Pronounced: Nil-le-kie
Literal translation: Baby zero or little zero
In English: Duck

And now a few more specific terms:

Nag Uiltjie
Pronounced: Nagghh-eil-kie
Literal translation: Night owl
In English: Nightwatchman

Pronounced: Vegghh-breek-bowler
Literal translation: Getaway bowler
In English: Offspinner

Pronounced: Ghoel-bal
Literal translation: Magic or ghost ball
In English: Googly

And here's one we all remember because it was part of incriminating messages sent by a certain Englishman about one of his team-mates:

Literal meaning: Box
Also used as a profanity in the same line as "idiot" (and other, ruder, terms)

© ESPNcricinfo Ltd

And then there are the fielding positions:

Pronounced: Ghh-ang-e-kie
Literal translation: Small hallway
In English: Gully

Slagyster Posisie
Pronounced: Slagghh-ayster-po-zees-ee
Literal translation: Slaughter-rron position
In English: Short leg

Vlak weg
Pronounced: Flak-vegghh
Literal translation: Shallow away
In English: Silly mid-off

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kendal6601268 on July 6, 2017, 16:07 GMT

    @Ballonbat: No worries. Yes I agree that Afrikaans in our historical context is not a "minority language" as the other fella was calling it. Still helps to know some as a South African, as well as an African second language. English speakers are a bit lazy about that (in general) for all the obvious reasons.

  • khanyi9447613 on July 6, 2017, 14:07 GMT

    Though I understand the need to use Afrikaans for this article, I disagree with some of your comments. English is not the first language in South Africa, by first I mean the most spoken language, it's the 4th, Zulu is the first, then Xhosa and Afrikaans. A few things I agree with; A. Most professional cricket players in SA are white therefore speak English and Afrikaans. B. Most Black South Africans who play cricket are from the Eastern Cape where Xhosa is the most spoken language, also where Ntini, Ngam, Zondeki, Lopsy are from which is probably why SuperSport has Xhosa commentary. So based on that it is understandable that the most used languages for cricket is South Africa should be English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, respectively.

  • Martin on July 6, 2017, 12:02 GMT

    Gimme-a-Greentop, thanks for that link. A great article. And shows that I'm wrong about commentary in languages other than English and Afrikaans. However, it remains true that Afrikaans is a widely spoken second language as well as being spoken by 6 m people as a first language. My Afrikaans is not great but I can easily follow cricket commentary on the radio or TV. I certainly could not follow Xhosa. I doubt there are many non-native Xhosa speakers who could do so.

  • Martin on July 6, 2017, 11:48 GMT

    @CRICFAN4660578655, have you ever heard cricket commentary in any of the other SA languages? I admit I haven't searched it out, but I'd be surprised if there is any or much at all. Cricket is played mostly by English and Afrikaans-speaking South Africans. The players that you see on the international stage who come from Xhosa or other ethnic groups, such as Ntini, Bavuma, Rabada and Zondeki, mostly went to top sporting schools like Dale and St Stithians, where English and Afrikaans would be the medium. The exception is Ngam.

    Also, note that Afrikaans definitely IS a language very many South Africans can relate to. It is the most widely spoken second language in the country. People equate the language with 'Afrikaners' - a white minority - but in fact more Coloured people speak Afrikaans at home.

  •   cricfan78338774 on July 6, 2017, 9:03 GMT

    @CRICFAN4660578655, wow, you had to get a niggle in there didn't you. So by your logic, we should comment in the majority, which would be isiZulu? So if we apply that to Cricinfo in general, which language should everything be done in? It would be great to see similar articles from the other journos, where English is not the most spoken language.

  • Aaron Chaim on July 5, 2017, 21:37 GMT

    I learned Afrikaans from listening to the SABC's version of TMS through the 80s & 90s. There was 20 min English and 20 min Afrikaans on the same channel.

  • nihari4763165 on July 5, 2017, 16:38 GMT

    Where I come from (Maharashtra, India), taking a wicket is referred to as claiming a 'balee', which literally translates to claiming a dead victim. Not that too many people use this bygone terminology these days, but it used to be a pretty standard newspaper and commentary jargon.

  • kendal6601268 on July 5, 2017, 16:08 GMT

    @Cricfan....655: She already wrote this fairly lengthy article about cricket commentary in Xhosa: http://phone.espncricinfo.com/tcm/content/story/888423.html

  •   cricfan4660578655 on July 5, 2017, 15:41 GMT

    A little closed minded considering that afrikaans is a minority language and not a representation of the majority in South Africa. Why not something in a language that most South Africans can relate to, not just one minority group.

  • Amir on July 5, 2017, 14:28 GMT

    Loved the Paaltjiewagter; small pole watcher (wicket keeper). Very funny.

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