Afrikaans

Language History

Afrikaans, also known as the Cape Dutch, is a language that is part of the west Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. It was originally a language spoken between 1652 and 1705 by Dutch settlers and workers in areas of South Africa. Until the 20th century, Afrikaans was considered a Dutch dialect and in the mid 1920s, it became recognised as a distinct language from Dutch.

There are many debates on the origins of this language. Some believe it was used as a creole between Dutch settlers and their African and South Asian workers, while others believe the language kept a lot of Dutch structure and vocabulary to be dubbed a creole.

According to World Data, there around 23 million people that speak Afrikaans worldwide.

Where is Afrikaans Spoken?

Afrikaans is one of the official languages of South Africa among Venda, English, Northern and Southern Sotho, Swati, Zulu, Tswana, Ndebele, Xhosa and Tsonga. Afrikaans is also spoken in other countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia.

Afrikaans_inner page

FACT

‘Afrikaans’ means ‘African’ in Dutch! In fact, the two languages have a lot in common. 90 to 95% of Afrikaans vocabulary is of Dutch origin.

Did you Know?

English has borrowed several words from Afrikaans including “trek”, “wildebeest” (in Afrikaans, ‘wildebees’) and ‘command’ (in Afrikaans, ‘commandeer’).

Dialects

According to Must Go, there are several Afrikaans dialects that have developed due to contact with different immigrant groups and local languages:

• Cape Afrikaans: influenced by the language of Malay slaves.

• Orange River Afrikaans: influenced by the Khoi languages.

• East Cape Afrikaans: developed through contact between Dutch and English settlers.

“Afrikaans is the youngest official language in the world as it was only recognised in 1925 by the South African government.”

4 Easy Phrases in Afrikaans!

AfrikaansEnglish
WelkomHello
Lekker dag!Have a nice day!
Dankie
Baie dankie
Thank you
Hoe gaan dit met jou? (inf)
Hoe gaan dit met u? (frm)
How are you?
Waarvandaan kom jy?Where are you from?

Population vs. Internet Penetration

South Africa Population:

11,193,725

Internet Users:

887,722

Penetration:

7.9%

As of 2020. Source:
www.internetworldstats.com

FACT

In South African prisons, a secret language known as ‘sabela’ is spoken among the prisoners which is based on Afrikaans, but also has influences from Zulu and Xhosa. Released inmates have brought the language out to the general populace.

Afrikaans Translation Tips

• The stress in Afrikaans words are on the first syllable, however there are some exceptions.

• Definite articles in Afrikaans is die and indefinite articles is ‘n.

• Nouns are not marked for gender or case, but for number, instead.

• In the present tense, verbs are not marked for person.

• Word structure in Afrikaans is Subject-Verb-Object.

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