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Encyclopedia > Afrikaans
Spoken in: South Africa
Region: Southern Africa
Total speakers: est. 6.44 million (home language)
6.75 million (second or third language)
12 to 16 million (basic language knowledge) estimation October 2007[citation needed].
Language family: Indo-European
  West Germanic
   Low Franconian
Official status
Official language in: South Africa
Regulated by: Die Taalkommissie
(The Language Commission of the South African Academy for Science and Arts)
Language codes
ISO 639-1: af
ISO 639-2: afr
ISO 639-3: afr
Look up Appendix:Afrikaans and Dutch Swadesh lists in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Afrikaans is an Indo-European language, derived from Dutch and classified as Low Franconian Germanic, mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia, with smaller numbers of speakers in Botswana, Angola, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia and Argentina. Due to emigration and migrant labour, there are possibly over 100,000 Afrikaans speakers in the United Kingdom[1], with other substantial communities found in Brussels, Amsterdam, Perth (Australia), Mount Isa, Toronto and Auckland. It is the primary language used by two related ethnic groups in South Africa: the Afrikaners and the Coloureds or kleurlinge or bruinmense (including Basters, Cape Malays and Griqua). Categories: Africa geography stubs | Southern Africa ... A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common proto-language. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ... The West Germanic languages constitute the largest branch of the Germanic family of languages and include languages such as German, English and Frisian, as well as Dutch and Afrikaans. ... Low Franconian is any of several West Germanic languages spoken in The Netherlands, northern Belgium, and South Africa. ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. ... ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ... Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies The Indo-European languages include some 443 (SIL estimate) languages and dialects spoken by about three billion people, including most of the major language families of Europe and western Asia, which belong to a single superfamily. ... Low Franconian is any of several West Germanic languages spoken in The Netherlands, northern Belgium, and South Africa. ... A memorial statue in Hanko, Finland, commemorating the thousands of emigrants who left the country to start a new life in the United States Emigration is the act and the phenomenon of leaving ones native country or region to settle in another. ... This article is about the settlement itself. ... For other uses, see Amsterdam (disambiguation). ... Location of Perth within Australia This article is about the metropolitan area of Perth, Western Australia. ... Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia Mount Isa is a city located in north western Queensland, Australia. ... For other uses, see Auckland (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Southern African ethnic group. ... In the South African, Namibian, Zambian and Zimbabwean context, the term Coloured (also known as Bruinmense, Kleurlinge or Bruin Afrikaners in Afrikaans) refers to a heterogeneous group of people who posess some degree of sub-Saharan ancestry, but not enough to be considered Black under South African law. ... The Basters (also known as Baasters or Rehoboth Basters) are the descendents of liaisons between the Cape Colony Dutch and indigenous African women. ... The Cape Malay community is an ethnic group or community in South Africa, taking its name from what is now known as the Western Cape of South Africa and the people originally from the Malay archipelago who started this community in South Africa. ... The Griqua (Afrikaans Griekwa) are a subgroup of South Africas heterogeneous and multiracial Coloured people. ...

Geographically, the Afrikaans language is the majority language of the western one-third of South Africa (Northern and Western Cape, spoken at home by 69% and 58%, respectively). It is also the largest first language in the adjacent southern third of Namibia (Hardap and Karas, where it is the first language of 44% and 40%, respectively). Capital Kimberley Largest city Kimberley Premier Elizabeth Dipuo Peters (ANC) Area - Total Ranked 1st 361,830 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 9th 822,726 2/km² Languages Afrikaans (70%) Tswana (20%) Xhosa (6. ... Capital Cape Town Largest city Cape Town Premier Ebrahim Rasool Area - Total Ranked 4th 129,370 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 5th 4,524,335 35/km² Elevation Highest point: Seweweekspoort Peak at 2325 meters (7628 feet) Lowest point: sea level Languages Afrikaans (55. ... Area: 109,888 km² (42,428 mi²) Population: 67,998 (2001), 66,495 (1991) Population density 1. ... Area: 161,325 km² (62,288 mi²) Population: 69,677 Population density 0. ...

Afrikaans originated from the 17th century Dutch language. The dialect became known as 'Cape Dutch'. Later, Afrikaans was sometimes also referred to as 'African Dutch' or 'Kitchen Dutch', although these terms were mainly pejorative. Afrikaans was considered a Dutch dialect until the late 19th century, when it began to be recognised as a distinct language, and it gained equal status with Dutch and English as an official language in South Africa in 1925. Dutch remained an official language until the new 1961 constitution finally stipulated the two official languages in South Africa to be Afrikaans and English (although the 1961 constitution still had a sub-clause stipulating that the word "Afrikaans" was also meant to be referring to the Dutch language). It is the only Indo-European language of significance that underwent distinct development on the African continent. Afrikaans and Dutch are largely mutually intelligible. Dutch ( ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people, mainly in the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname, but also by smaller groups of speakers in parts of France, Germany and several former Dutch colonies. ... The term Cape Dutch was used to describe the inhabitants of the Western Cape, descended primarily from Dutch, French, German and other European immigrants and a percentage of their Asian and African slaves, who, from the 17th century into the 19th century, remained more or less loyal subjects of European... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with pejoration. ... For dialects of programming languages, see Programming language dialect. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ... A pair of languages is said to be mutually intelligible if speakers of one language can readily understand the other language. ...



Afrikaans was originally the dialect that developed among the Dutch speaking Protestant settlers, and the indentured or slave workforce of the Cape area in southwestern South Africa that was established by the Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie — VOC, Afrikaans: Verenigde Oos-Indiese Kompanjie) between 1652 and 1705. A relative majority of these first settlers were from the United Provinces (now Netherlands), though there were also many from Germany, a considerable number from France, and some from Norway, Portugal, Scotland, and various other countries. The indentured workers and slaves were Asians, Malays, Malagasy in addition to the indigenous Khoi and Bushmen. Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... A family of Russian settlers in the Caucasus region, ca. ... An indentured servant (also called a bonded laborer) is a labourer unde from the employer in exchange for an extension to the period of their indenture, which could thereby continue indefinitely. ... Wiktionary has related dictionary definitions, such as: slave Slave may refer to: Slavery, where people are owned by others, and live to serve their owners without pay Slave (BDSM), a form of sexual and consenual submission Slave clock, in technology, a clock or timer that synchrnonizes to a master clock... Anthem: God Save the Queen Cape Colony Capital Cape Town Language(s) English and Dutch1 Religion Dutch Reformed Church, Anglican Government Constitutional monarchy Last Monarch King George VI Last Prime Minister  - 1908 – 1910 John X. Merriman Last Governor  - 1901 - 1910 Walter Hely-Hutchinson Historical era 19th century  - Dutch East India... This article is about the trading company. ... Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia. ... // Events April 6 - Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck establishes a resupply camp for the Dutch East India Company at the Cape of Good Hope, and founded Cape Town. ... // Events Construction begins on Blenheim Palace, in Oxfordshire, England. ... The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden/Provinciën; also Dutch Republic or United Provinces in short) was a European republic between 1581 and 1795, which is now known as the Netherlands. ... This article is about the country. ... Asian people[1] is a demonym for people from Asia. ... The concept of a Malay race was proposed by the German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840). ... The Khoikhoi (men of men) or Khoi are a division of the Khoisan ethnic group of south-western Africa, closely related to the Bushmen (San). ... |group = Bushmen |image = |poptime = 82,000 |popplace = Botswana (55,000), Namibia (27,000) |rels = San Religion |langs = various Khoisan languages |related = Khoikhoi, Xhosa, Zulu, Griqua }} The Bushmen, San, Basarwa, ǃKung or Khwe are indigenous people of the Kalahari Desert, which spans areas of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. ...

The Afrikaans School has long seen Afrikaans as a natural development from the South-Hollandic Dutch dialect, but has also only considered the Afrikaans as spoken by the Whites. Some believe that Afrikaans was originally spoken by the Khoisan people solely after using words they heard from the Dutch.[citation needed] Khoisan (increasingly commonly spelled Khoesan or Khoe-San) is the name for two major ethnic groups of southern Africa. ...

Though this 'theory' would imply the improbability of a language systematically developing out of a grammatology. Furthermore, this theory would fail to explain the systematic process of simplification from dialectical 17th century Dutch to Afrikaans, its geographically widespread and cohesive nature and also the persistent structural similarities between Afrikaans and other regional Franconic dialects including Flemish and Frisian.

Afrikaans also remains akin to other West-Germanic languages (except English) in that it remains an SOV language, just like Dutch and German. In linguistic typology, Subject Object Verb (SOV) is the type of languages in which the subject, object, and verb of a sentence appear (usually) in that order. ...


A parenthesis is usually put between commas. The parenthesis is always referring to what stands right before it. e.g. John, Peter and Harry, a worker at seven eleven, each wrote a letter to Sandy. The parenthesis is referring to only Harry, not John or Peter. In some circumstances it will refer to all the things named, but this happens very rarely, for e.g. John, Peter and Harry, workers at seven eleven, each wrote a letter to Sandy. NOTE: it states workers instead of worker. Lastly, there are some sentences which can refer to either one of the words standing before the parenthesis. These are usually when an action is mentioned and a number or pattern, for e.g. Paint the doors black in every second hall, starting with the second one, and remember not to make a mess. In this circumstance it could mean either to start counting from the second hall or to start painting the second hall. (Some people will start to paint the second hall and others the third). Note. To get rid of this possibility, you should mention witch one you are referring to.


There is little evidence to support the existence of strongly defined dialects as one might find in Dutch. Following early dialectical studies of Afrikaans it was theorised that three historical dialects may have existed before the Great Trek. These dialects were called the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape dialects. If these dialects ever existed, little of them remain in present-day Afrikaans. Modern-day standard Afrikaans is said to have developed from the Eastern Cape dialect (as this is where the Great Trek started and from where the rest of South Africa was initially populated). Trekboers in the Karoo. ... The Northern Cape dialect of Afrikaans is a theoretical, historical dialect of Afrikaans which may have existed prior to the Great Trek, and which may have influenced the language of the present-day Northern Cape region of South Africa. ... The Western Cape dialect of Afrikaans is a theoretical, historical dialect of Afrikaans which may have existed prior to the Great Trek, and which may have influenced the language of the present-day Western Cape region of South Africa. ... The Eastern Cape dialect of Afrikaans is a theoretical, historical dialect of Afrikaans which may have existed prior to the Great Trek, and which may have influenced the language of the present-day Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo regions of South Africa. ...


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. Doggerel describes verse considered of little literary value. ...

In 1861, L.H. Meurant published his Zamenspraak tusschen Klaas Waarzegger en Jan Twyfelaar, 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 Genootskap vir Regte Afrikaners ('Society for Real Afrikaners') in Cape Town. Year 1861 (MDCCCLXI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Sheikh Abu Bakr Effendi (1835–1880) was a qadi who was sent to the Cape of Good Hope to teach the muslim community of the Cape Malays. ... Arabic Afrikaans was a form of Afrikaans that was written in Arabic script. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ( â–¶ (help· info)), the submission to God) is a monotheistic faith, one of the Abrahamic religions and the worlds second-largest religion. ... This article is about 1862 . ... 1869 (MDCCCLXIX) is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... 1877 (MDCCCLXXVII) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... The Genootskap vir Regte Afrikaanders (Society for Real Afrikaners) was formed on Saturday August 14, 1875 in the town of Paarl by a group of Afrikaans speakers from the Western Cape region. ... Nickname: Motto: Spes Bona (Latin for Good Hope) Location of the City of Cape Town in Western Cape Province Coordinates: , Country Province Municipality City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality Founded 1652 Government [1]  - Type City council  - Mayor Helen Zille  - City manager Achmat Ebrahim Area  - Total 2,499 km² (964. ...

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. Combatants United Kingdom Transvaal Commanders Major-General Sir George Pomeroy Colley Commandant-General Piet Joubert Strength 1,200 3,000 Casualties 408 killed, 315 wounded 41 killed, 47 wounded The First Boer War (Dutch: Eerste Boerenoorlog, Afrikaans: Eerste Vryheidsoorlog, literally First Freedom War) also known as the First Anglo-Boer... Combatants British Empire Orange Free State South African Republic Commanders Sir Redvers Buller Lord Kitchener Lord Roberts Paul Kruger Louis Botha Koos de la Rey Martinus Steyn Christiaan de Wet Casualties 6,000 - 7,000 (A further ~14,000 from disease) 6,000 - 8,000 (Unknown number from disease) Civilians... An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in the countries, states, and other territories. ... Motto Ex Unitate Vires (Latin: From Unity, strength} Anthem Die Stem van Suid-Afrika Capital Cape Town (legislative) Pretoria (administrative) Bloemfontein (judicial) Language(s) Afrikaans, Dutch, English Government Constitutional monarchy Monarch  - 1952-1961 Queen Elizabeth II Governor-General  - 1959-1961 Charles Robberts Swart Prime Minister  - 1958-1961 Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... is the 125th day of the year (126th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The main Afrikaans dictionary is the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT), which is as yet incomplete due 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 the Taalkommissie. The Woordeboek van die Afrikaaanse Taal (Dictionary of the Afrikaans Language www. ... The Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (abbreviated to HAT) is an Afrikaans dictionary consisting out of a massive collection of Afrikaans words and their interpretations, in book form. ... The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of using a specific writing system to write the language. ...


Main article: Afrikaans grammar

The grammar of Afrikaans is very analytic—indeed it may be said to be the most analytic of the Indo-European languages. ...

Comparison with Dutch and English

Afrikaans Dutch German English
agt acht acht eight
aksie/handeling actie/handeling Aktion/Handlung action
asseblief alstublieft/alsjeblieft (colloquially 'asjeblieft')
bitte please
(lit. 'if it pleases you' - compare archaic 'lief')
bed bed Bett bed
dankie dankje/dankjewel danke thank you
eggenoot echtgenoot Ehemann spouse (from Old French)
goeienaand goedenavond (colloquially 'goeienavond') guten Abend good evening
hoe hoe wie how
kameelperd giraf Giraffe giraffe
Flughafen airport (Latinate root)
my mijn mein my
maak maken machen make
nege negen neun nine
oes oogst Ernte harvest
oop open offen open
oormôre overmorgen übermorgen the day after tomorrow (lit. 'overmorrow')
reën regen Regen rain
saam samen zusammen together (compare 'same')
zeggen sagen say
ses zes sechs six
sewe zeven sieben seven
skool school Schule school
sleg slecht schlecht bad (compare 'slight')
soos zoals wie as, like, such
vir voor für for
voël vogel Vogel bird, fowl
vry vrij frei free
vyf vijf fünf five
waarskynlik waarschijnlijk wahrscheinlich likely (alternate root), probably (Latin root)
welkom welkom willkommen welcome
winter winter Winter winter
ys ijs Eis ice

The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


In Afrikaans many consonants are dropped from the earlier Dutch (see also the grammar section for a description of how consonant dropping affects the morphology of Afrikaans adjectives and nouns). This is a similar process to what happened with modern English. (compare: Afrikaans; regen=reën, and English; regn=rain.) The spelling is also considerably more phonetic than the Dutch counterpart. A notable feature is the indefinite article, which, as noted in the grammar section, is ′n , not 'een' as in Dutch. 'A book' is ' 'n boek', whereas in Dutch it would be 'een boek'. (Note that ' 'n ' is still allowed in Dutch; Afrikaans uses only ' 'n ' where Dutch uses it next to 'een'. When letters are dropped an apostrophe is mandatory. Note that this ′n is usually pronounced as a weak vowel ([ə]; like the Afrikaans 'i') and is not as a consonant. The Afrikaans word een is the number 'one'. An unstressed vowel is the vowel sound that forms the syllable peak of a syllable that has no lexical stress. ...

Other features include the use of 's' instead of 'z', and therefore, 'South Africa' in Afrikaans is written as Suid-Afrika, whereas in Dutch it is Zuid-Afrika. (This accounts for .za being used as South Africa's internet top level domain.) The Dutch letter 'IJ' is written as 'Y', except where it replaces the Dutch suffix —lijk, as in waarschijnlijk = waarskynlik. It is interesting to note that the use of the hard 'k' is analogous to the pronunciation in parts of West Flanders. Also noteworthy is that, although the first 90 VOC settlers came from Haarlem in the Northern Netherlands, the majority of the population of that city at that time consisted of Southern Dutch immigrants. (Recent academic research also points to Afrikaans probably being a modern perpetuation of an earlier Dutch dialect, Amsterdams (Paardekoper)). .za is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for South Africa. ... The following is a list of currently existing Internet Top-level domains (TLDs). ... The words “ijsvrij” and “yoghurt” in various forms of handwriting. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... West Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen) is the westernmost province of Flanders and of Belgium. ... Coordinates: , Country Province Area (2006)  - Municipality 32. ...

The letters c, q and x are rarely seen in Afrikaans, and words containing them are almost exclusively borrowings from French, English, Greek, or Latin. This is usually because words that had c and ch in the original Dutch are spelt with k and g respectively in Afrikaans (in many dialects of Dutch (including the Hollandic ones), a ch is spoken as a g, which explains the use of the g in Afrikaans language). Similarly original qu and x are spelt kw and ks respectively. For example ekwatoriaal instead of 'equatoriaal' and ekskuus instead of 'excuus'.

Glyphs in loan words

Loan words from languages that use Latin characters, are loaned with glyphs intact. For example, letters from Scandinavian languages, like å, ä, ø, letters from Bantu languages, like ḓ, ṱ, ḽ, ṋ, ṅ, and letters from Esperanto, like ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, ŭ are retained in Afrikaans loan words, although writing these may represent difficulties for Afrikaans users of word processors and e-mail.

One exception is the Dutch digraph which looks like a 'y' with diaeresis (often called the 'long y' or the 'Greek y') and is usually typed as 'ij', which in Afrikaans becomes two separate letters 'i' and 'j' (rather than a 'y' with diaeresis, 'ÿ'). In Afrikaans, this digraph from Dutch loan words is always written as 'y', never as 'ij', except in proper nouns.


All letters in the Latin alphabet are acceptable in Afrikaans, although for non-loan words only the 26 letters of the English alphabet and certain vowels with diacritics are used.

The vowels with diacritics in non-loanword Afrikaans are: á, é, è, ê, ë, í, î, ï, ó, ô, ú, û, ý. These thirteen letters are pronounced the same way as their non-diacritic counterparts in isolation. For the purpose of alphabetic ordering, these diacritic letters are regarded as equivalent to their non-diacritic counterparts. It is not acceptable to replace them by their non-diacritic equivalents in situations where typing the diacritic forms may be difficult. In the early days of e-mail and on primitive computer systems, the diacritics were often left out or written next to the character, and computer illiterate users may still do so today.

When a sentence is written in the uppercase, the diacritic letters stay in the lowercase form.

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 't, 'k, 'n . The most common is 'n , which is the indefinite article, and the other two may soon be regarded as archaic.

'k Het hom lief (I love him)

similar to Dutch words: ik heb hem lief

'k 't Dit gesê (I said it)

similar to Dutch words: ik heb dit gezegd

'n Man loop daar (A man walks there)

similar to Dutch words: een man loopt daar

Daar is 'n man (There is a man)

similar to Dutch words: daar is een man

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

Some modern word processors have autocorrect features that incorrectly treat an apostrophe (also known as a 9-quote) at the beginning of a word as a single quote (also known as a 6-quote).

In non-stylised fonts, it is acceptable to use a straight quote for the apostrophe, and this is often done in electronic communication.

Table of characters

letter(s) value(s) in IPA notes
a ʌ, a
aa ɑː
au, ow ou
b b, p 'b' is pronounced 'p' in final position
ch x
c s, k 'c' is pronounced 's' before 'e', 'i', or 'y', otherwise 'k'
d d, t 'd' is pronounced 't' in final position
dj c
e ɛ, iˑe, ə, æ 'e' is only /æ/ in a few words, and in the Cape Town dialect, /æ/ is merged with /ɛ/
ê ɛː, æ 'ê' is pronounced /ɛ:/ in final position, otherwise /æ/, usually before 'r'
ee iˑe
eeu iːu
ei, ey, y əi
eu øː
f f
g x, g, ç
gh g, k 'gh' is 'k' in final position
h ɦ
i i, ə
ie i
ieu iu
j j
k k
l l
m m
n n, ŋ 'n' is 'ŋ' before 'c', 'k', 'q', and 'x', otherwise 'n'
ng ŋ
ns the 'n' is silent, and the previous vowel is nasalized
o ɒ, uˑo
oe u
oei uiː
oi, oy oj
oo uˑo
ooi ɔiː
p p
q k
r ɾ
s s
sj ʃ
t t
tj , kj 'tj' is 'tʃ' at the beginning of a word, but 'kj' in '-tjie'
u ɵ, y
uu y
û œː
ui, uy œy
v f
w v, w 'w' is 'w' after a consonant, otherwise 'v'
x ks
z z

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. There are many different dialects and different pronunciations — but the transcription should be fairly standard. The IPA symbol for the Schwa In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean: An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in any language, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel. ...

  • Hallo! Hoe gaan dit? [ɦaləu ɦu xaˑn dət] Hello! How are you? (more closely 'How goes it?')

Closely in Dutch: Hallo! Hoe gaat het?

  • Baie goed, dankie. [bajə xuˑt danki] Very well, thanks.

Closely in Dutch: Vrij goed, dankje

  • Praat jy Afrikaans? [prɑˑt jəi afrikɑˑns] Do you speak Afrikaans?

Closely in Dutch: Praat jij Afrikaans?

  • Praat jy Engels? [prɑˑt jəi ɛŋəls] Do you speak English?

Closely in Dutch: Praat jij Engels

  • Ja. [jɑˑ] Yes.
  • Nee. [neˑə] No.
  • 'n Bietjie. [ə biki] A little.

Closely in Dutch: Een beetje

  • Wat is jou naam? [vat əs jəu nɑˑm] What is your name?
  • Die kinders praat Afrikaans. [di kənərs prɑˑt afrikɑˑns] Those children are speaking Afrikaans.

Closely in Dutch: 'Die kinderen praten Afrikaans'

An interesting sentence having the same meaning and written (but not pronounced as it sounds more closely to Dutch) identically in Afrikaans and English is:

  • My pen was in my hand. ([məi pɛn vas ən məi hɑnt])

Closely in Dutch: Mijn pen was in mijn hand

Similarly the sentence:

  • My hand is in warm water. ([məi hɑnt əs ən varəm vɑˑtər])

Closely in Dutch: Mijn hand is in warm water has almost identical meaning in Afrikaans and English although the Afrikaans warm corresponds more closely in meaning to English hot and Dutch heet (Dutch warm corresponds to English warm, but is closer to Afrikaans in pronunciation).


Afrikaans is the first language of approximately 60% of South Africa's Whites, and over 80% of the Coloured (mixed-race) population. The race with the highest number of Afrikaans speakers are the Coloureds(3 million), followed closely by whites (2.6 million). Some 200,000 black South Africans speak it as their home language.[2] Large numbers of Bantu South Africans, and English-speaking Whites (Anglo-Africans) also speak it as their second language. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Language(s) South African English Religion(s) Protestant (Mostly Anglican), Roman Catholic other Related ethnic groups English, Afrikaners, French, Scottish, Irish, Welsh; Walloons, Anglo-Africans are primarily associated with Southern Africa and British ancestry. ...

Some state that the term Afrikaanses should be used as a term for all people who speak Afrikaans, irrespective of ethnic origin, instead of 'Afrikaners', which refers to an ethnic group, or 'Afrikaanssprekendes' (lit. people that speak Afrikaans). Linguistic identity has not yet established that one term be favoured above another and all three are used in common parlance.[3]

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, along with German, had equal status 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 [3]. This article is about the year. ... Year 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar). ... Bophuthatswana as of 1977 Flag of Bophuthatswana bantustan Bophuthatswana was a former Bantustan (homeland) in the north of South Africa. ... Map of the black homelands in South Africa as of 1986 Map of the black homelands in Namibia as of 1978 Bantustan is a territory designated as a tribal homeland for black South Africans and Namibians during the apartheid era. ...

Many South Africans living and working in Belgium, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom are also Afrikaans speakers; and there is now an Afrikaans newspaper in London, called Die Stem. New Zealand has an Afrikaans club which is based in Auckland and which organises Afrikaans dances and meetings (http://www.afrikaans.org.nz/). Motto: Je Maintiendrai (Dutch: Ik zal handhaven, English: I Shall Uphold) Anthem: Wilhelmus van Nassouwe Capital Amsterdam1 Largest city Amsterdam Official language(s) Dutch2 Government Parliamentary democracy Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Beatrix  - Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende Independence Eighty Years War   - Declared July 26, 1581   - Recognised January 30, 1648 (by Spain... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...

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'), 'tekkies' ('sneakers'). 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'), 'boomslang' ('tree snake') and apartheid ('segregation'; more accurately 'apartness' or 'the state or condition of being apart'). South African English is a dialect of English spoken in South Africa and in neighbouring countries with a large number of Anglo-Africans living in them, such as Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. ... Mazda B-Series compact pickup truck with extended cabin and home-made wooden rack. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Aardvark (disambiguation). ... In South African history, the Great Trek was an eastward and north-eastward migration of the Boers, descendants primarily of immigrants from western mainland Europe. ... A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. ...

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 per cent of the population, it is the language most widely understood, and the second language of the majority of South Africans. [4] 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.[5] Many historians[who?] argue that the language issue was a catalyst for the uprising rather than a major underlying cause (which was racial oppression). Others[who?] argue that the primary cause of the uprising was one specific aspect of the government's language instruction decision: that non-White (i.e., Black, Coloured and Indian) South African children be denied instruction in all but the most basic topics of mathematics, sciences, fine arts, etc. The government justified this policy by claiming that non-White South Africans would never have an occasion to use such knowledge; see History of South Africa. Johannesburg, including Soweto, from the International Space Station Soweto is an urban area in the City of Johannesburg, in Gauteng, South Africa. ... Fatally-wounded Hector Pieterson (13), one of the first fatalities, is carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo on June 16, 1976, with Antoinette Pieterson (17) running alongside. ... The history of South Africa is marked by migration, ethnic conflict, and the anti-Apartheid struggle. ...

Under South Africa's democratic 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 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 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. Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is the state-owned broadcaster in South Africa and provides 18 radio stations (AM/FM) as well as 4 television broadcasts to the general public. ... South African Airways (SAA) is South Africas largest domestic and international airline company, with hubs in Cape Town and Johannesburg. ... Rather unusually, these Angels wear white hart (deer) badges, with the personal livery of King Richard II of England, who commissioned this, the Wilton diptych, about 1400 A livery is a uniform or other sign worn in a non-military context on a person or object (such as an airplane... - Seal on the building of German Embassies. ...

In spite of these moves (which have upset many Afrikaans speakers), the language has remained strong, with Afrikaans newspapers and magazines continuing to have large circulation figures. Indeed the Afrikaans language general interest family magazine Huisgenoot, has the largest readership of any magazine in the country. 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. Huisgenoot (Afrikaans for House Companion) is a weekly Afrikaans language general interest family magazine. ... KykNet is a South African television channel, which broadcasts in Afrikaans. ... Events of 2008: (EMILY) Me Lesley and MIley are going to China! This article is about the year. ...

Afrikaans music is also flourishing, from retro pop artist like Nicholis Louw, Eden, and Shine 4 to more forceful/avant garde outfits (Kobus!, Fokofpolisiekar, Buckfever Underground etc.) singing in the language.

Modern Dutch and Afrikaans share 85 plus per cent of their vocabulary, and are considered sister languages. Afrikaans speakers are able to learn Dutch within a comparatively short period of 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 a Dutch accent with little training. This has enabled Dutch companies to outsource their call centre operations to South Africa [4]. Outsourcing is subcontracting a process, such as product design or manufacturing, to a third-party company. ... A very large collections call centre in Lakeland, FL. A call centre or call center (see spelling differences) is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. ...

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 (Afrikaanse Taalmonument) was built in Paarl, South Africa, in 1975. Year 1893 (MDCCCXCIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Obelisks of the Language Monument in Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa. ... Paarl Rock Paarl (meaning Pearl in Dutch and Perel in Afrikaans) is the third oldest European settlement in the Republic of South Africa (after Cape Town and Stellenbosch) and forms part of the Western Cape Province. ...

Future for Afrikaans

Since the end of apartheid, the Afrikaans language has lost a lot of its support from the Government. This is in terms of education, social events, media (TV and Radio), and general status in the country, seeing as how it now shares its place as official language with ten other languages. But it remains more prevalent in the media - radio, newspapers and television[6] - than all the languages other than English. More than 300 Afrikaans title are published a year [7]. Further some legal advertising is still provided in the Government Gazette bilingually[8], in English and Afrikaans.

Afrikaans is still viewed negatively by some. 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 newspapers and CD sales as well as popular internet sites. Afrikaans recently received some support from the Netherlands where they questioned the Government about their lack of support for the language. Digital Satellite Television (also known as DStv) is MultiChoices multi-channel digital satellite TV service in Africa, launched in 1995. ...

Some well known songs in Afrikaans

- Jan Pierewiet, Jan Pierewiet, Jan Pierewiet staan stil. ('Jan Pierewiet, Jan Pierewiet, Jan Piereweit, stand still.')

- "Mamma, ek wil 'n man hê" ("Mum, I want to have a husband")

- "Sarie Marais"

- "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" (former national anthem - parts of which have been incorporated into the current anthem) Die Stem van Suid-Afrika (English: The Call of South Africa) was the national anthem of South Africa from 1957 to 1994, and shared national anthem status with Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika between 1994 and 1997. ...

- " Aai Aai die Witborskraai" ('Oh, Oh the Pied Crow') Binomial name Statius Muller, 1776 The Pied Crow (Corvus albus) is a widely distributed African bird species in the crow genus. ...

- "Afrikaners is plesierig" ('Afrikaners are fun')

See also

The tone of this article is inappropriate for an encyclopedia article. ... Arabic Afrikaans was a form of Afrikaans that was written in Arabic script. ... Map showing principal South African languages by municipality. ... List of Afrikaans language poets. ... Words of Afrikaans origin have entered other languages. ... According to the 2001 census of South Africa, there were a total of 5,983,443 people who spoke Afrikaans as a first language. ... The South African Translators Institute (SATI) is the largest association in South Africa representing professional, academic and amateur translators and other language practitioners. ...


  1. ^ Figure for 2001, up 106% from 1991 http://www.tourismtrade.org.uk/Images/Profile_SouthAfrica_tcm12-22701.pdf
  2. ^ Toespraak
  3. ^ Die dilemma van ‘n gedeelde Afrikaanse identiteit: Kan wit en bruin mekaar vind?
  4. ^ Govt info available online in all official languages - South Africa - The Good News
  5. ^ Black Linguistics: Language, Society and Politics in Africa and the Americas, by Sinfree Makoni, p. 120S
  6. ^ Oranje FM, Radio Sonder Grense, Jacaranda FM, Rapport, Beeld, Die Burger, Die Son, Afrikaans news is run everyday, on pay channels it is provided as second language on all sports, Kyknet
  7. ^ Hannes van Zyl [1]
  8. ^ Search a Regional Gazette for 'eiendom'(property). [2]


  • Roberge, P. T., 2002. Afrikaans - considering origins, in Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom. ISBN 0-521-53383-X
  • South African Afrikaans: History Slang

External links

Afrikaans edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikibooks' Afrikaans has more about this subject:

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1058x1058, 477 KB) aa Wikipedia logo, version 1058px square, no text Wikipedia logo by Nohat (concept by Paullusmagnus); compare Wikipedia File links The following pages link to this file: Arabic language Talk:Anarcho-capitalism Talk:Algorithm Talk:Anno Domini Talk:The... Wikipedia (IPA: , or ( ) is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization. ... Image File history File links Wikibooks-logo-en. ...


  • The Ethnologue: Afrikaans
  • Wordgumbo: Afrikaans
  • Afrikaans sample at Language Museum
  • An introduction to Afrikaans
  • Learn Afrikaans Online at www.afrikaans.us
  • Largest supplier of Afrikaans language learning material on the web

Portals and links lists

  • Litnet - Literature, culture and debate
  • Die Knoop - A very large list of links to Afrikaans websites
  • Woes.co.za - A popular multi-user blog
  • The New South African - Afrikaans - More about South Africa's official languages.
  • Kuier.co.za - A popular multi-user blog
  • afrikaners.org.za - An Afrikaans portal containing links to other Afrikaans related site
  • Uitsaaines.co.za - An International Afrikaans Music website on the Internet..click Luister


  • Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge (FAK) - Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Associations
  • Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) - Afrikaans Language and Cultural Association
  • Vriende van Afrikaans - Friends of Afrikaans

Spell checkers

  • Spel.co.za - Commercial spell checker for Microsoft Office
  • WSpel - Free spell checker for Microsoft Office
  • Translate.org.za - Open source spell checker for OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird


Afrikaans edition of Wiktionary, the free dictionary/thesaurus
  • Afrikaans Dictionary - with definitions (approx 8763 words)
  • Afrikaans to English - from Wordgumbo.com (5129 words)
  • English to Afrikaans - from Wordgumbo.com (6397 words)
  • Afrikaans-English-Afrikaans Online Dictionary - sometimes using Esperanto as intermezzo (7975 Afrikaans words)
  • Afrikaans at Dict.info - Afrikaans into 57 languages (roughly 2300 words each) and Afrikaans-English (10 127 words)
  • Elektroblok - Crossword Puzzle Solver and Thesaurus Dictionary (4 Million Afrikaans and English words, synonyms and hints)

  Results from FactBites:
Afrikaans - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2261 words)
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia with smaller numbers of speakers in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Afrikaans was considered a Dutch dialect until the late 19th century, when it began to be recognised as a distinct language, and it gained equal status with Dutch and English as an official language in South Africa in 1925.
Afrikaans is linguistically closely related to 17th century/18th century Dutch dialects spoken in North and South Holland and, by extension, to modern Dutch.
Afrikaans - definition of Afrikaans in Encyclopedia (1392 words)
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia.
Afrikaans was considered a Dutch dialect until the early 20th century, when it began to be widely recognized as a distinct language.
Afrikaans is linguistically closely related to 17th century Dutch, and to modern Dutch by extension.
  More results at FactBites »



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