afrikaans language

What Is That South African Dutch Language?

What Is That South African Dutch Language?

(Last Updated On: December 19, 2022)

Afrikaans is one of the 11 official languages of South Africa, but it’s the official language of several other countries as well. It’s also known as South African Dutch, although these are completely different languages that are related in only some small ways.

The closely related Australian language Afrikaans is based on 19th-century Dutch, and it doesn’t even have many similarities to the original Afrikaans language.

This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about Afrikaans and what makes it such a special South African language.

Afrikaans: That South African Dutch Language

Afrikaans is a language that developed in the Cape Colony of what was then the Dutch East India Company. It was derived from various European languages, but most especially from 18th-century Standard Dutch.

Afrikaans has grammatical gender, which means that nouns are classified as either masculine or feminine. African speech and Germanic language were also influential on its development, though it’s largely native speakers who can’t speak these languages fluently.

Afrikaans’ vocabulary includes many words of Malay origin because Malay was spoken by slaves in the Cape Colony.

Afrikaans is also referred to as Cape Dutch, Cape Malay, or Cape Colony Dutch.

It is also a tonal single sound language, so pitch and tone are important parts of the language.

afrikaans origin
dutch south african

Afrikaans Origins

Afrikaans is a Germanic language, similar to Standard Dutch, which is spoken in the Netherlands. Afrikaans has been spoken since the 17th century. The majority of Afrikaans native speakers are in South Africa and Namibia, with a minority in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.

There are about six million native speakers of Afrikaans in the world today. It became an official language at the end of Apartheid because it was a unifying factor for both whites and blacks living under Apartheid. As such, it was seen as a tool for nation-building after Apartheid ended.

Afrikaans is one of the African languages and African speech with a complicated history. Created by Dutch settlers in South Africa, it was mixed with African languages, to create an easier-to-learn tongue for slaves and laborers.

The Afrikaans language was officially recognized as a national language of instruction in 1925 when South Africa became independent from the British Empire. It’s now spoken by almost 20% of the country’s population (about 7 million people).

Afrikaans, or Afrikaans-Dutch, is spoken primarily in the Republic of South Africa. Afrikaans developed as a result of language policies and contact between Dutch settlers and the indigenous population.

It was recognized as a distinct language by the 1950s and is one of two official languages spoken in South Africa along with English.

South African government officials are currently debating whether to change their official language policies, which currently only recognize English and Afrikaans for African speech.

Differences between the South African Dutch and Netherlands Dutch

South Africa’s Dutch speakers are called Afrikaans speakers. Afrikaans has a unique vocabulary and sound, unlike any other Dutch language. ‘Veld’ is a Dutch word meaning ‘field,’ while ‘feld’ is an Afrikaans word meaning the same thing. Similarly, Dutch ‘kaas’ (cheese) becomes Afrikaans ‘kaas.

Another difference between them is the pronunciation of certain letters: The Dutch letter ‘g’, for example, is pronounced like a hard g in most words, but like a soft j in some cases. In Afrikaans this letter doesn’t change depending on where it appears; if you pronounce the letter as a hard g, you say gees instead of gaas.

Afrikaans Influence in South Africa

Afrikaans is the language of instruction in some schools. It is also used as a lingua franca in other parts of the country.

Dutch speakers generally consider Afrikaans to be a dialect of their language, while most Afrikaans speakers consider it to be their single-sound language.

Afrikaans was influenced by several different languages including Cape Malay, Portuguese, French, and German. This mixture led to many similarities with English but also created a few differences between the two languages such as grammatical gender and definite articles.

south african dutch language
language spoken by dutch descendants in south africa

Speaking Afrikaans

Cape Malay, also known as Cape Dutch or Cape Town Malay, is a variety of the Malay language that was originally spoken by slaves and soldiers who were brought to the Cape Town colony during the seventeenth century.

It was originally spoken primarily by an Afrikaans speaker in and around Cape Town, but today it can be heard in other communities near the city.

Today, just like other African languages, the language has been marginalized for many years due to policies on standard language and language of instruction, but it has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years because of its rich cultural heritage and progressive construction.

Afrikaans is a single-sound language, meaning that words are constructed of only one syllable, which helps make it easier to understand.

The progressive construction of Afrikaans means that it was originally spoken with an accent on the first syllable and then changed to be spoken with an accent on the last syllable.

This change came about because of the language policies put in place by apartheid.

One of the most popular grammatical gender languages in South Africa, Afrikaans originated from Dutch, which was brought to South Africa by Dutch settlers beginning in 1652.

Many South African people still refer to the language as African Dutch or South African Dutch, rather than using the proper name of Afrikaans.

Many people think that Afrikaans and Cape Dutch are different languages—however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.


Is Afrikaans closer to Dutch or Flemish?

Afrikaans is a language with mixed influences from both Standard Dutch and Flemish.

How different is Dutch from Afrikaans?

Standard Dutch is a European language descended from the Germanic languages, while Afrikaans developed among the descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa.

Is Afrikaans a Dutch dialect?

No, Afrikaans is not a Dutch dialect. Afrikaans originated from the Dutch language, but it has developed into a language of progressive construction.

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