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Afrikaans is spoken by 12 million people.
The majority of Afrikaans speakers live in South Africa.
Afrikaans is viewed by linguists as a young language.
Its development began in the 17th Century when Dutch colonists began to build a supply station for the Dutch East India Company at the Cape of Good Hope.
The Dutch settlers naturally brought their language with them.
This changed so much in following years that it could soon be recognised as a separate language, from then on spoken in South Africa.
Afrikaans inherits much of its vocabulary from its parent language Dutch, but also contains traces of influences from other languages.
For example the various Bantu and Khoisan indigenous languages have also influenced the vocabulary of the new language.
The settlers on the Cape of Good Hope began to expand their settlements.
For the cultivation of their ever growing land holdings, the colonists brought in slaves from Indonesia, Madagascar and Angola.
These slaves spoke Malay and Creole Portuguese.
These languages have also influenced the vocabulary of Afrikaans.
In 1806 the British conquered South Africa and established a colony of the British Empire there, resulting in English influencing Afrikaans.
In 1875 the
“Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners”
(“Society for Real Afrikaners”) was founded with the objective
of raising the profile of Afrikaans in South Africa and to regulate written Afrikaans.
A year after the founding of the society the first newspaper in Afrikaans appeared.
It was followed by literary works and the first work about Afrikaans grammar.
A number of differences exist between Afrikaans and Dutch:
Generally one can see that in the course of its development Afrikaans has become simplified in comparison to Dutch.
The pronunciation and writing of Afrikaans has diverged from Dutch and become simpler.
For a German Afrikaans is perhaps easier to learn than Dutch, because written Afrikaans is strongly reflective of the pronunciation like German.
Other differences are to be found in the vocabulary:
During its development Afrikaans has been influenced by other languages, English and German from other European settlers, Malay and Portuguese spoken by the slaves and native languages such as Bhantu and Khoisan.
All these languages have left traces in Afrikaans.
However the most differences are to be found in comparing the grammar of the two languages.
In Afrikaans has completely lost the inflection of verbs.
In contrast Dutch inflects the verbs.
A further distinction of Afrikaans is the double negation.
As a rule a negation in Afrikaans always ends with a nie (Eng. not).
However the sentence that this negation refers to, will also contain its own negation word.
This results in the double negation typical of Afrikaans.
Examples for the double negation in Afrikaans:
So that last sentence doesn’t apply to you, begin learning the language with the Afrikaans Course from 17 Minute Languages.