Afrikaans Explained

Afrikaans
States: South Africa
Namibia
Elsewhere in Africa, notably Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Emigrant and expatriate communities worldwide, notably Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, Argentina, Ireland, Brazil, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Region:Southern Africa
Speakers:4.93 - 6.4 million(est), 5 983 423 - South Africa(2001), 208 658 - Namibia(2001)
Date:2001-2006
Ref:[1] [2]
Speakers2:Total: 15–23 million
Familycolor:Indo-European
Fam2:Germanic
Fam3:West Germanic
Fam4:Low Franconian
Fam5:Dutch
Agency:Die Taalkommissie
Iso1:af
Iso2:afr
Iso3:afr
Lingua:52-ACB-ba
Notice:IPA

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa, Namibia and to a lesser extent in Botswana and Zimbabwe. It originates from 17th century Dutch dialects of the mainly Dutch settlers, that further developed in South Africa. Hence, historically, it is a daughter language of Dutch, and was previously referred to as "Cape Dutch" (a term also used to refer collectively to the early Cape settlers).[3] Although Afrikaans adopted words from languages such as Malay, Portuguese, the Bantu languages, and the Khoisan languages, an estimated 90 to 95 percent of Afrikaans vocabulary is ultimately of Dutch origin. Therefore, differences with Dutch often lie in a more regular morphology, grammar, and spelling of Afrikaans. There is a large degree of mutual intelligibility between the two languages—especially in written form—although it is easier for Dutch-speakers to understand Afrikaans than the other way around.

With about 6 million native speakers in South Africa, or 13.3 percent of the population, it is the third most spoken mother tongue in the country.[4] [5] It has the widest geographical and racial distribution of all the official languages of South Africa, and is widely spoken and understood as a second or third language. It is the majority language of the western half of South Africa—the provinces of the Northern Cape and Western Cape—and the primary language of the coloured and white communities.[6] In neighbouring Namibia, Afrikaans is widely spoken as a second language and used as lingua franca, while as a native language it is spoken in 11 percent of households, mainly concentrated in the capital Windhoek and the southern regions of Hardap and Karas. Estimates of the total number of Afrikaans-speakers range between 15 and 23 million.[7]

Vowel sounds

rowspan=2colspan=2Frontrowspan=2Centralrowspan=2Back
plainlab.
Closeiu
Midɛ, ɛːœəɔ, ɔː
Openɐɑː

Orthography

There are many parallels to the Dutch orthography conventions and those used for Afrikaans. There are 26 letters.

In Afrikaans, many consonants are dropped from the earlier Dutch spelling. For example, slechts ('only') in Dutch becomes slegs in Afrikaans. Part of this is because the spelling of Afrikaans words is considerably more phonemic than that of Dutch. For example, Afrikaans and some Dutch dialects make no distinction between and, having merged the latter into the former; while the word for "south" is written "Dutch; Flemish: zuid" in Dutch, it is spelled "Afrikaans: suid" in Afrikaans to represent this merger. Similarly, the Dutch digraph "ij" is written as "y", except where it replaces the Dutch suffix –lijk, as in Dutch; Flemish: waarschijnlijk > Afrikaans: waarskynlik.

Another difference is the indefinite article, Afrikaans: 'n in Afrikaans and Dutch; Flemish: ''een'' in Dutch. 'A book' is Afrikaans: 'n boek in Afrikaans, whereas it is either Dutch; Flemish: een boek or Dutch; Flemish: 'n boek in Dutch. This Afrikaans: 'n is usually pronounced as just a weak vowel, .

The diminutive suffix in Afrikaans is "-tjie", whereas in Dutch it is "-tje", hence a "bit" is in Afrikaans and in Dutch.

The letters "c", "q", "x", and "z" occur almost exclusively in borrowings from French, English, Greek and Latin. This is usually because words that had "c" and "ch" in the original Dutch are spelled with "k" and "g", respectively, in Afrikaans. Similarly original "qu" and "x" are spelt "kw" and "ks" respectively. For example "Afrikaans: ekwatoriaal" instead of "equatoriaal", and "Afrikaans: ekskuus" instead of "excuus".

The vowels with diacritics in non-loanword Afrikaans are: "á, é, è, ê, ë, í, î, ï, ó, ô, ú, û, ý". Diacritics are ignored when alphabetising, though they are still important, even when typing the diacritic forms may be difficult.

Initial apostrophes

A few short words in Afrikaans take initial apostrophes. In modern Afrikaans, these words are always written in lower case (except if the entire line is uppercase), and if they occur at the beginning of a sentence, the next word is capitalised. Three examples of such apostrophed words are Afrikaans: 'k, 't, 'n. The last (the indefinite article) is the only apostrophed word that is common in modern written Afrikaans, since the other examples are shortened versions of other words (Afrikaans: ek and Afrikaans: het respectively) and are rarely found outside of a poetic context.[8]

Here are a few examples:

Apostrophed VersionUsual VersionTranslationNotes
'n Man loop daarA man walks thereStandard Afrikaans pronounces "'n" as a schwa vowel.
'k 't Dit gesêEk het dit gesêI said itUncommon, more common: Ek't dit gesê
't Jy dit geëet?Het jy dit geëet?Did you eat it?Extremely uncommon

The apostrophe and the following letter are regarded as two separate characters, and are never written using a single glyph, although a single character variant of the indefinite article appears in Unicode, .

Table of characters

For more on the pronunciation of the below letters, see .

Afrikaans letters and pronunciation
GraphemeIPAExamples
aappel ('apple')
aaaap ('ape')
aaidraai ('turn')
aibaie ('many', 'much' or 'very')
bboom ('tree')
c, (found mainly in borrowed words; the former pronunciation occurs before 'e', 'i', or 'y'; featured in the plural form -ici, as in the plural of medikus (medic), medici)
ch,, chirurg ('surgeon';, typically 'sj' is used instead), chemie ('chemistry';), chitien ('chitin';). Found only in loanwords and proper names
ddae ('days'), dag ('day')
djdjati ('teak') (used to transcribe foreign words)
e,, bed, ete, se (, indicates possessive, for example 'Jan se boom', meaning 'John's tree')
ê ('say' or 'says')
ênê? ('yes?' or 'right?')
ë ('eyes')
eeweet ('know' or 'knows'), eet ('eat'), een ('one')
eeusneeu ('snow'), eeu, ('century')
eiMei ('May")
euseun ('son' or 'lad')
ffiets ('bicycle')
ggoed ('good'), geel ('yellow')
ghgholf ('golf'). Used for when it is not an allophone of ; found only in borrowed words
hhael ('hail'), hond ('dog')
ikind ('child') ink ('ink')
ieiets ('something')
jjonk ('young')
kkat ('cat'), kan ('can' (verb) or 'jug')
llag ('laugh')
mman ('man')
nnael ('nail')
ngsing ('sing')
oop ('on' or 'up')
ômôre ('morrow')
oeboek ('book'), koel ('cool')
oeikoei ('cow')
oimooi ('pretty' or 'beautiful') – Sometimes spelled 'oy' in loanwords and surnames
oooor ('ear' or 'over')
ooinooi (saying for little girl)
ououpa ('grand(pa/father), koud ('cold')
ppot ('pot'), pers ('purple')
q(found only in foreign words with original spelling maintained; typically "k" is used instead)
rrooi ('red')
sses ('six'), stem ('steven')
sjsjaal ('shawl')
ttafel ('table')
tj, tjank ('whine like a dog' or 'to cry incessantly'). (The former pronunciation occurs at the beginning of a word and the latter in "-tjie")
ukus ('coast')
ûbrûe ('bridges')
uiuit ('out')
uuuur ('hour')
vvis ('fish'), vir ('for')
wwater ('water')
xxifoïed ('xiphoid')
ybyt ('bite')
zZoeloe ('Zulu'). Found only in onomatopoeia and loanwords

History

The Afrikaans language originated mainly from 17th century Dutch dialects[9] [10] and developed in South Africa. The Afrikaans language was also known as the Kitchen Language (Kombuistaal) nearly 60 years ago.[11] As an estimated 90 to 95% of Afrikaans vocabulary is ultimately of Dutch origin,[12] [13] [14] there are few lexical differences between the two languages; however, Afrikaans has a considerably more regular morphology, grammar, and spelling.[15] There is a degree of mutual intelligibility between the two languages,[16] [17] [18] particularly in written form.[15] [19]

Afrikaans acquired some lexical and syntactical borrowings from other languages such as Malay, Khoisan languages, Portuguese,[20] and of the Bantu languages,[21] and to a lesser extent, French. Afrikaans has also been significantly influenced by South African English.[22] Nevertheless, Dutch-speakers are confronted with fewer non-cognates when listening to Afrikaans than the other way round. Mutual intelligibility thus tends to be asymmetrical, as it is easier for Dutch-speakers to understand Afrikaans than for Afrikaans-speakers to understand Dutch.[23] In general, research suggests that mutual intelligibility between Dutch and Afrikaans is better than between Dutch and Frisian[24] or between Danish and Swedish.[23]

Afrikaans was considered a Dutch dialect in South Africa up until the late 19th century when it became recognised as a distinct language.[25] A relative majority of the first settlers whose descendants today are the Afrikaners were from the United Provinces (now Netherlands and Belgium), though there were also many from Germany, a considerable number from France, and some from Norway, Portugal, Scotland, and various other countries.

The workers and slaves who contributed to the development of Afrikaans were Asians (especially Malays), Malagasys, as well as the Khoi, Bushmen and Bantu peoples who also lived in the area. African creole people in the early 18th century — documented on the cases of Hendrik Bibault and patriarch Oude Ram — were the first to call themselves Afrikaner (Africans). This is where Afrikaans got its name from.[26] Only much later in the second half of the 19th century did the Boers adopt this attribution, too.[27] The Khoi and mixed-race groups became collectively referred to as Coloureds.[26]

Dialects

Following early dialectical studies of Afrikaans, it was theorised that three main historical dialects probably existed after the Great Trek in the 1830s. These dialects are defined as the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape dialects. Remnants of these dialects still remain in present-day Afrikaans although the standardising effect of Standard Afrikaans has contributed to a great levelling of differences in modern times.

There is also a prison cant known as soebela, or sombela which is based on Afrikaans yet heavily influenced by Zulu. This language is used as a secret language in prison and is taught to initiates.[28]

Expatriate geolect

Although mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia, smaller Afrikaans-speaking populations live in Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Lesotho, Malawi, New Zealand, Swaziland, the United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Most if not all Afrikaans-speaking people living outside of Africa are emigrants who have left South Africa or their descendants. Because of emigration and migrant labour, there are possibly over 100,000 Afrikaans speakers in the United Kingdom.

Standardisation

The linguist Paul Roberge suggests that the earliest 'truly Afrikaans' texts are doggerel verse from 1795 and a dialogue transcribed by a Dutch traveller in 1825. Printed material among the Afrikaners at first used only standard European Dutch. By the mid-19th century, more and more were appearing in Afrikaans, which was very much still regarded as a set of regional dialects.

In 1861, L.H. Meurant published his Afrikaans: Zamenspraak tusschen Klaas Waarzegger en Jan Twyfelaar ("Conversation between Claus Truthsayer and John Doubter"), which is considered by some to be the first authoritative Afrikaans text. Abu Bakr Effendi also compiled his Arabic Afrikaans Islamic instruction book between 1862 and 1869, although this was only published and printed in 1877. The first Afrikaans grammars and dictionaries were published in 1875 by the Afrikaans: [[Genootskap vir Regte Afrikaners]] ('Society for Real Afrikaners') in Cape Town.

The First and Second Boer Wars further strengthened the position of Afrikaans. The official languages of the Union of South Africa were English and Dutch until Afrikaans was subsumed under Dutch on 5 May 1925.

The main Afrikaans dictionary is the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT) (Dictionary of the Afrikaans Language), which is as yet incomplete owing to the scale of the project, but the one-volume dictionary in household use is the Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (HAT). The official orthography of Afrikaans is the Afrikaanse Woordelys en Spelreëls, compiled by Die Taalkommissie.

The Afrikaans Bible

See main article: Bible translations (Afrikaans). A major landmark in the development of Afrikaans was the full translation of the Bible into the language. Prior to this most Cape Dutch-Afrikaans speakers had to rely on the Dutch Statenbijbel. The aforementioned Statenvertaling had its origins with the Synod of Dordrecht of 1618 and was thus in an archaic form of Dutch. This rendered understanding difficult at best to Dutch and Cape Dutch speakers, moreover increasingly unintelligible to Afrikaans speakers.

C. P. Hoogehout, Arnoldus Pannevis, and Stephanus Jacobus du Toit were the first Afrikaans Bible translators. Important landmarks in the translation of the Scriptures were in 1878 with C. P. Hoogehout's translation of the Evangelie volgens Markus (Gospel of Mark, lit. Gospel according to Mark), however this translation was never published. The manuscript is to be found in the South African National Library, Cape Town.

The first official Bible translation of the entire Bible into Afrikaans was in 1933 by J. D. du Toit, E. E. van Rooyen, J. D. Kestell, H. C. M. Fourie, and BB Keet.[29] [30] This monumental work established Afrikaans as Afrikaans: 'n suiwer en oordentlike taal, that is "a pure and proper language" for religious purposes, especially amongst the deeply Calvinist Afrikaans religious community that had hitherto been somewhat sceptical of a Bible translation out of the original Dutch language to which they were accustomed.

In 1983 there was a fresh translation in order to mark the 50th anniversary of the original 1933 translation and provide much needed revision. The final editing of this edition was done by E. P. Groenewald, A. H. van Zyl, P. A. Verhoef, J. L. Helberg and W. Kempen.

Afrikaans Version of the Lord's Prayer. Afrikaans: Onse Vader.[31]

Onse Vader wat in die hemele is,laat U naam geheilig word.Laat U koninkryk kom,laat U wil geskied,soos in die hemel net so ook op die aarde.Gee ons vandag ons daaglikse brood,en vergeef ook al ons sonde,soos ons ook ons skuldenaars vergewe.En lei ons nie in versoeking nie,maar verlos ons van die bose.Amen.

Grammar

See main article: Afrikaans grammar.

In Afrikaans grammar, there is no distinction between the infinitive and present forms of verbs, with the exception of the verbs 'to be' and 'to have':

infinitive formpresent indicative formDutchEnglishGerman
weesiszijn / wezenbesein
hethebbenhavehaben

In addition, verbs do not conjugate differently depending on the subject. For example,

AfrikaansDutchEnglishGerman
ek isik benI amich bin
jy/u isjij/u bentyou are (sing.)du bist (informal sing.)
hy/sy/dit ishij/zij/het ishe/she/it iser/sie/es ist
ons iswij zijnwe arewir sind
julle isjullie zijnyou are (plur.)ihr seid (informal pl.)
hulle iszij zijnthey areSie (formal sing. & pl.)/sie sind

The preterite looks exactly like the present but is indicated by adverbs like toe (when), the exceptions being 'to be', 'to be able to', 'to have to', 'to want to', and the modal verb 'shall'.

AfrikaansDutchEnglishGerman
ek was (present: is)ik wasI wasich war
ek kon (present: kan)ik konI couldich konnte
ek moes (present: moet)ik moestI had toich musste
ek wou (present: wil)ik wilde/wouI wanted toich wollte
ek sou (present: sal)ik zouI wouldich sollte

The perfect is sometimes preferred over the preterite in literature where the preterite would be used in Dutch or English, for example, in the case of the verb to drink:

AfrikaansDutchEnglishGerman
ek het gedrink.ik dronk.I drank.ich trank.

In other respects, the perfect in Afrikaans follows Dutch and English.

AfrikaansDutchEnglishGerman
ek het gedrinkik heb gedronken.I have drunk.ich habe getrunken.

A particular feature of Afrikaans is its use of the double negative, something that is absent from the other West Germanic standard languages. For example,

Afrikaans: Hy kan nie Afrikaans praat nie. (lit. He can not Afrikaans speak not.)

Dutch: Hij kan geen Afrikaans spreken.

English: He cannot speak Afrikaans.

Both French and San origins have been suggested for double negation in Afrikaans. While double negation is still found in Low Franconian dialects in West-Flanders and in some "isolated" villages in the center of the Netherlands (i.e. Garderen), it takes a different form, which is not found in Afrikaans. The following is an example:

The -ne was the Old Franconian way to negate but it has been suggested that since -ne became highly non-voiced, nie or niet was needed to complement the -ne. With time the -ne disappeared in most Low Franconian Dutch dialects.

The double negative construction has been fully grammaticalized in standard Afrikaans and its proper use follows a set of fairly complex rules as the examples below show:

AfrikaansDutchEnglish
Ek het nie geweet dat hy sou kom nie.Ik heb niet geweten dat hij zou komen.1I did not know that he would be coming.
Ek het geweet dat hy nie sou kom nie.Ik heb geweten dat hij niet zou komen.²I knew that he would not come.
Ek het nie geweet dat hy nie sou kom nie.Ik heb niet geweten dat hij niet zou komen.³I did not know that he would not come.
Hy sal nie kom nie, want hy is siek.Hij zal niet komen, want hij is ziek.4He will not be coming because he is sick.
Dis (Dit is) nie so moeilik om Afrikaans te leer nie.Het is niet moeilijk om Afrikaans te leren.It is not so difficult to learn Afrikaans.

The word het in Dutch does not correspond to het in Afrikaans. The het in Dutch means it in English. The Dutch word that corresponds to het in Afrikaans (in these cases) is heb.

Note that in these cases, most Dutch speakers would say instead:

No.DutchEnglish
1
Ik wist niet dat hij zou komen.I knew not that he would come.
2
Ik wist dat hij niet zou komen.I knew that he would not come.
3
Ik wist niet dat hij niet zou komen.I knew not that he would not come.
4
Hij komt niet, want hij is ziek. (or more commonly Hij komt niet omdat hij ziek is.)He does not come because he is sick.

A notable exception to this is the use of the negating grammar form that coincides with negating the English present participle. In this case there is only a single negation.

Certain words in Afrikaans arise due to grammar. For example, moet nie, which literally means "must not", usually becomes moenie; although one does not have to write or say it like this, virtually all Afrikaans speakers will change the two words to moenie in the same way as do not shifts to don't in English.

Afrikaans phrases

Afrikaans is a very centralised language, meaning that most of the vowels are pronounced in a very centralised (i.e. very schwa-like) way. Although there are many different dialects and accents, the transcription should be fairly standard.

AfrikaansIPADutchEnglishGerman
Afrikaans: Hallo! Hoe gaan dit?Hallo!Hoe gaat het (met je/jou/u)?
Also used: Hallo
Hoe is het?Hello!How is it going? (HelloHow are you?) Hallo!Wie geht's? (HalloWie geht's dir?)
Afrikaans: Baie goed, dankie.Heel goed, dank je.Very well, thank you.Es geht mir gut, danke.
Afrikaans: Praat jy Afrikaans?Spreek je Afrikaans?Do you speak Afrikaans?Sprichst du Afrikaans?
Afrikaans: Praat jy Engels?Spreek je Engels?Do you speak English?Sprichst du Englisch?
Afrikaans: Ja.Ja.Yes.Ja.
Afrikaans: Nee.Nee.No.Nein.
Afrikaans: 'n Bietjie.Een beetje.A bit.Ein Bisschen.
Afrikaans: Wat is jou naam?Hoe heet je?
Less common: Wat is jouw naam?
What is your name?Wie heißt du?
Afrikaans: Die kinders praat Afrikaans.De kinderen spreken Afrikaans.The children speak Afrikaans.Die Kinder sprechen Afrikaans.
Afrikaans: Ek is lief vir jou.
Less common: Ek het jou lief.
Ik hou van je/jou.
Common in Flanders: Ik heb je/jou/u lief.
I love you.Ich liebe dich.
Also: Ich habe dich lieb. (Colloquial; virtually no romantic connotation)

Note: The word Afrikaans means African (in the general sense) in the Dutch language. Since Afrikaans means African in Dutch, 'Zuid-Afrikaans' is a more common word for it, but is considered wrong, because in Afrikaans/Zuid-Afrikaans the only right word is Afrikaans. This problem also occurs in Afrikaans itself, resolved by using the words Afrika and Afrikaan to distinguish from Afrikaans(e) and Afrikaner respectively.

Some Afrikaans sentences having the same meaning and written identically in English (but pronounced differently) are:

Sample text in Afrikaans

Psalm 23. 1983 Translation:

  1. Die Here is my Herder, ek kom niks kort nie.
  2. Hy laat my in groen weivelde rus. Hy bring my by waters waar daar vrede is.
  3. Hy gee my nuwe krag. Hy lei my op die regte paaie tot eer van Sy naam.
  4. Selfs al gaan ek deur donker dieptes, sal ek nie bang wees nie, want U is by my. In U hande is ek veilig.

Translation dependant:

  1. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not be in want.
  2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.
  3. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
  4. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and staff they comfort me.

Original (Suiwer Afrikaans) Onse Vader:

Onse Vader wat in die hemel is,laat U Naam geheilig word;laat U koninkryk kom;laat U wil geskied op die aarde,net soos in die hemel.Gee ons vandag ons daaglikse brood;en vergeef ons ons skuldesoos ons ons skuldenaars vergeween laat ons nie in die versoeking niemaar verlos ons van die BoseWant aan U behoort die koninkryken die kragen die heerlikheidtot in ewigheid. Amen

Sociolinguistics

Afrikaans is the first language of over 80% of Coloured South Africans (3.5 million people) and approximately 60% of White South Africans (2.7 million). Around 200,000 black South Africans speak it as their first language.[32] Large numbers of Bantu-speaking and English-speaking South Africans also speak it as their second language.

Some state that the term Afrikaanses should be used as a term for all people who speak Afrikaans, without respect to ethnic origin, instead of "Afrikaners", which refers to an ethnic group, or "Afrikaanssprekendes" (lit. Afrikaans speakers). Linguistic identity has not yet established that one term be favoured above another and all three are used in common parlance.[33]

It is also widely spoken in Namibia, where it has had constitutional recognition as a national, but not official, language since independence in 1990. Prior to independence, Afrikaans had equal status with German as an official language. There is a much smaller number of Afrikaans speakers among Zimbabwe's white minority, as most have left the country since 1980. Afrikaans was also a medium of instruction for schools in Bophuthatswana Bantustan.[34]

Many South Africans living and working in Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and Kuwait are also Afrikaans-speaking. There are Afrikaans websites, among them, news sites such as Nuus24.com and Sake24, and radio broadcasts over the web, such as those from Radio Sonder Grense and Radio Pretoria.

Afrikaans has been influential in the development of South African English. Many Afrikaans loanwords have found their way into South African English, such as 'bakkie' ("pickup truck"), 'braai' ("barbecue"), 'naartjie' ("tangerine"), 'tekkies' (AE "sneakers"/BE "trainers"). A few words in standard English are derived from Afrikaans, such as 'aardvark' (lit. "earth pig"), 'trek' ("pioneering journey", in Afrikaans lit. "pull" but used also for "migrate"), "spoor" ("animal track"), "veld" ("Southern African grassland" in Afrikaans lit. "field"), "commando" from Afrikaans "kommando" meaning small fighting unit, "boomslang" ("tree snake") and apartheid ("segregation"; more accurately "apartness" or "the state or condition of being apart").

In 1976, high school students in Soweto began a rebellion in response to the government's decision that Afrikaans be used as the language of instruction for half the subjects taught in non-White schools (with English continuing for the other half). Although English is the mother tongue of only 8.2% of the population, it is the language most widely understood, and the second language of a majority of South Africans.[35] Afrikaans is more widely spoken than English in the Northern and Western Cape provinces, several hundred kilometers from Soweto. The Black community's opposition to Afrikaans and preference for continuing English instruction was underscored when the government rescinded the policy one month after the uprising: 96% of Black schools chose English (over Afrikaans or native languages) as the language of instruction.[36]

Under South Africa's Constitution of 1996, Afrikaans remains an official language, and has equal status to English and nine other languages. The new policy means that the use of Afrikaans is now, in effect, often reduced in favour of English, or to accommodate the other official languages. In 1996, for example, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reduced the amount of television airtime in Afrikaans, while South African Airways dropped its Afrikaans name Afrikaans: Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens from its livery. Similarly, South Africa's diplomatic missions overseas now only display the name of the country in English and their host country's language, and not in Afrikaans.

In spite of these moves, the language has remained strong, and Afrikaans newspapers and magazines continue to have large circulation figures. Indeed, the Afrikaans-language general-interest family magazine Huisgenoot has the largest readership of any magazine in the country.[37] In addition, a pay-TV channel in Afrikaans called KykNet was launched in 1999, and an Afrikaans music channel, MK, in 2005. A large number of Afrikaans books are still published every year, mainly by the publishers Human & Rousseau, Tafelberg Uitgewers, Struik, and Protea Boekhuis.

Afrikaans has two monuments erected in its honour. The first was erected in Burgersdorp, South Africa, in 1893, and the second, better-known Afrikaans Language Monument (Afrikaans: Afrikaanse Taalmonument) was built in Paarl, South Africa, in 1975.

When the British design magazine Wallpaper described Afrikaans as "one of the world's ugliest languages" in its September 2005 article about the Monument, South African billionaire Johann Rupert (chairman of the Richemont Group), responded by withdrawing advertising for brands such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Montblanc and Alfred Dunhill from the magazine.[38] The author of the article, Bronwyn Davies, was an English-speaking South African.

Modern Dutch and Afrikaans share 85-plus per cent of their vocabulary. Afrikaans speakers are able to learn Dutch within a comparatively short time. Native Dutch speakers pick up written Afrikaans even more quickly, due to its simplified grammar, whereas understanding spoken Afrikaans might need more effort. Afrikaans speakers can learn Dutch pronunciation with little training. This has enabled Dutch and Belgian companies to outsource their call centre operations to South Africa.[39]

Future of Afrikaans

Post-apartheid South Africa has seen a loss of preferential treatment by the government for Afrikaans, in terms of education, social events, media (TV and Radio), and general status throughout the country, given that it now shares its place as official language with ten other languages. Nevertheless, Afrikaans remains more prevalent in the media – radio, newspapers and television[40] – than all the other official languages, except for English. More than 300 titles in Afrikaans are published per year.[41]

Through all the problems of depreciation and migration that Afrikaans faces today, the language still competes well, with Afrikaans DSTV channels (pay channels) and high newspaper and CD sales as well as popular internet sites. A resurgence in Afrikaans popular music (from the late 1990s) has added new momentum to the language especially among the younger generations in South Africa. The latest contribution to building the Afrikaans language is the availability of pre-school educational CDs and DVDs. These are also popular with large Afrikaans-speaking expatriate communities seeking to retain the language in family context. After years of inactivity, the Afrikaans language cinema is also starting to reactivate. With the 2007 film Ouma se slim kind, the first full length Afrikaans movie since Paljas from 1998, a new era for Afrikaans cinema started. Several short-films have been created and more feature-length movies such as Poena is Koning and Bakgat, both from 2008, have been produced, in addition to the 2011 Afrikaaans-language film Skoonheid, which was the first Afrikaans film to screen at the Cannes Film Festival. The film Platteland was also released in 2011.[42]

Afrikaans also seems to be returning to the SABC. SABC3 stated in the beginning of 2009 that it will increase Afrikaans programming because of the needs of the "growing Afrikaans-language market and their need for working capital as Afrikaans advertising is the only advertising that sells in the current South African television market". In April 2009, SABC3 started showing several Afrikaans-language programmes.[43]

Further latent support for the language is the de-politicised view of younger-generation South Africans: it is less and less viewed as "the language of the oppressor".

See also

Further reading

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Namibia 2001 Census. 2001. 28 March 2012.
  2. Web site: Ethnologue Website. 2006. 28 March 2012.

  3. Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch; see,,,,, .
    Afrikaans was historically called Cape Dutch; see,,,,, .
    Afrikaans is rooted in seventeenth century dialects of Dutch; see,,, .
    Afrikaans is variously described as a creole, a partially creolised language, or a deviant variety of Dutch; see .
  4. Web site: Census 2001 – Home language. Statistics South Africa. 2 February 2010.
  5. Web site: harv. Census 2001: Primary tables South Africa: Census 1996 and 2001 compared. 2001. Statistics South Africa. 19. Statistics South Africa.
  6. According to the 2001 census, 79.5% of the so-called coloured community used Afrikaans as home language, 59.1% of the white population, 1.7% of the Indian population and 0.7% of the black population.
    For the geographical distribution of Afrikaans; see also Afrikaans speaking population in South Africa.
  7. What follows are estimations. Afrikaans has 16.3 million speakers; see . Afrikaans has a total of 16 million speakers; see . About 9 million people speak Afrikaans as a second or third language; see, . Afrikaans has over 5 million native speakers and 15 million second language speakers; see . Afrikaans has about 6 million native and 16 million second language speakers; see . In South Africa, over 23 million people speak Afrikaans, of which a third are first-language speakers; see . L2 "Black Afrikaans" is spoken, with different degrees of fluency, by an estimated 15 million; see .
  8. Web site: Retrieved 12 April 2010. 101languages.net. 2007-08-26. 2010-09-22. http://web.archive.org/web/20101015164510/http://101languages.net/afrikaans/grammar.html. 15 October 2010 . no.
  9. Web site: Retrieved 12 April 2010. Omniglot.com. 2010-09-22.
  10. Web site: Retrieved 12 April 2010. Britannica.com. 2010-09-22. http://web.archive.org/web/20100831105055/http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/8437/Afrikaans-language. 31 August 2010 . no.
  11. Alatis, Hamilton, Ai-Hui Tan (2002). Linguistics, language and the professions: education, journalism, law, medicine, and technology. Washington, DC: University Press. ISBN 978-0-87840-373-8.
  12. Book: Mesthrie, Rajend. Language and Social History: Studies in South African Sociolinguistics. 2008-08-23. New Africa Books. 214. 1995.
  13. Book: The Dutch Language: A Survey. 132. 2008-08-23,2008-11-03. Brachin. Paul. Vincent. Brill Archive. 1985.
  14. Book: Mesthrie, Rajend. Language in South Africa. 205. 2010-05-18. Cambridge University Press. 2002.
  15. Book: Sebba, Mark. harv. Contact languages: pidgins and creoles. 2010-05-19. Palgrave Macmillan. 1997.
  16. Book: Holm, Jdohn A.. Pidgins and Creoles: References survey. 2010-05-19. Cambridge University Press. 338. 1989.
  17. Book: Encyclopedia of bilingualism and bilingual education. 2010-05-19. Colin. Baker. Sylvia. Prys Jones. Multilingual Matters Ltd.. 302. 1997.
  18. Book: Language change: contributions to the study of its causes. 2010-05-19. Leiv. Egil Breivik. Ernst. Håkon Jahr. Walter de Gruyter. 232. 1987.
  19. Book: Sebba, Mark. Spelling and society: the culture and politics of orthography around the world. 2010-05-19. Cambridge University Press. 2007.
  20. Book: harv. Language Standardization and Language Change: The Dynamics of Cape Dutch. 2008-11-10. Ana Deumert. John Benjamins Publishing Company. 2004. 22.
  21. Book: harv. Phonetic analysis of Afrikaans, English, Xhosa and Zulu using South African speech databases. Thomas. Niesler. Philippa. Louw. Justus. Roux. 2005. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies. 23. 4. 459–474.
  22. http://www.lycos.com/info/afrikaans--standard-afrikaans.html Retrieved 3 April 2010
  23. Web site: The Contribution of Linguistic Factors to the Intelligibility of Closely Related Languages. Charlotte. Gooskens. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Volume 28, Issue 6 November 2007. 445–467. 2007. University of Groningen. 2010-05-19.
  24. Book: Receptive Multilingualism: Linguistic analyses, language policies and didactic concepts. 2010-05-19. Jan D.. ten Thije. Ludger. Zeevaert. John Benjamins Publishing Company. 17. 2007.
  25. Web site: Retrieved 12 April 2010. Keylanguages.com. 2010-09-22.
  26. Web site: Slavery in the Cape. Institute for the Study of Slavery and its Legacy – South Africa. 8 July 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20100610194604/http://slaveryinstitute.wordpress.com/slavery-in-the-cape/. 10 June 2010 . no.
  27. Web site: The Orlams Afrikaners – the Creole Africans of the Garieb. Cape Slavery Heritage. 8 July 2010.
  28. Afrikaans 101 http://www.101languages.net/afrikaans/history.html Retrieved 24 April 2010
  29. Web site: Bybelstudies. 2008-09-23. Bogaards. Attie H.. af. http://web.archive.org/web/20081010173208/http://www.enigstetroos.org/bybelstudie.htm. 10 October 2008 . no.
  30. Web site: Afrikaanse Bybel vier 75 jaar. 2008-09-23. 2008-08-25. Bybelgenootskap van Suid-Afrika. af. http://web.archive.org/web/20080609161131/http://www.bybelgenootskap.co.za/afr/bybelgenootskap/jongste_nuus.asp . 2008-06-09.
  31. http://www.prayer.su/afrikaans/version/ Onse Vader : Afrikaans
  32. Web site: South African Census. PDF. 2009-10-01.
  33. http://vryeafrikaan.co.za/lees.php?id=115 Die dilemma van ‘n gedeelde Afrikaanse identiteit: Kan wit en bruin mekaar vind?
  34. Web site: Armoria patriæ – Republic of Bophuthatswana. http://www.webcitation.org/5kmVdolSf. 2009-10-25. yes.
  35. http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/public_sector/govt_info_available_online_in_all_official_languages.html Govt info available online in all official languages – South Africa – The Good News
  36. Black Linguistics: Language, Society and Politics in Africa and the Americas, by Sinfree Makoni, p. 120S.
  37. http://www.superbrands.com/za/pdfs/HUISGENOOT.pdf Superbrands.com, visited on 21 March 2012.
  38. http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/afrikaans-stars-join-row-over-ugly-language-1.261058 Afrikaans stars join row over 'ugly language'
  39. http://www.eprop.co.za/news/article.aspx?idArticle=4739 "SA holds its own in global call centre industry"
  40. Oranje FM, Radio Sonder Grense, Jacaranda FM, Radio Pretoria, Rapport, Beeld, Die Burger, Die Son, Afrikaans news is run everyday; the PRAAG website is a web-based news service. On pay channels it is provided as second language on all sports, Kyknet
  41. Web site: Hannes van Zyl. Oulitnet.co.za. 2009-10-01.
  42. http://www.plattelanddiemovie.com/
  43. http://www.screenafrica.com/news/industry/997616.htm SABC3 “tests” Afrikaans programming