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Spoken in

South AfricaSouth Africa South Africa Namibia Botswana Zambia Swaziland
speaker 6.44 million native speakers ,
6.75 million 1
second or third language speaker ,
12–16 million 2 additional
second or third language
1 with the same language skills as native speakers
2 with basic knowledge of simple communication
Status: October 2007
Official status
Official language in South AfricaSouth Africa South Africa
Recognized minority /
regional language in
NamibiaNamibia Namibia
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Afrikaans (literally African ), formerly also called Cape Dutch or Colonial Dutch , is one of the eleven official languages ​​in South Africa and a recognized minority language and lingua franca in Namibia . It belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages and originated from the New Dutch of the 17th century. Compared to today's standard Dutch language , Afrikaans has undergone considerable morphological standardization and simplification. Originally it was the language of the Boers , while today the majority of those who speak Afrikaans as their mother tongue are so-called Coloreds ("colored people").


Spread of Afrikaans in the world
Share of Africa speakers in South Africa (2011)
  • 0-20%
  • 20-40%
  • 40-60%
  • 60-80%
  • 80-100%
  • Density of Africa speakers in South Africa
    Distribution of Afrikaans as a mother tongue in Namibia (2011)
  • <1%
  • 1-5.99%
  • 6-10.99%
  • 11-20.99%
  • 21-30.99%
  • 31-49.99%
  • 50-75.99%
  • 76-90%
  • > 90%
  • Afrikaans is spoken mainly in South Africa (17.54 million speakers) and Namibia (127,000), as well as in other countries in southern Africa , including Zambia (96,000), Swaziland (17,000) and Botswana (8,000). Afrikaans is also to be found locally more frequently in traditional immigration countries. In Australia there are about 44,000 speakers in Canada 10,300 and in the Netherlands 14 300 (each booth 2016), in New Zealand 27,400 (as of 2013), in the UK 11,200 (as of 2011) and in the United States 23,000 speakers (as of 2015).

    In South Africa, Afrikaans is the mother tongue of around 13.5% of all residents (according to the official census data from 2011) and of 13.78% of the population over 15 (as of 2015). This puts it in third place among the eleven official national languages ​​behind isiZulu and isiXhosa . Since the mid-1980s there have been more non-whites than white native speakers. Of all Afrikaans native speakers in South Africa, 50.2% are colored, 39.5% are white, 8.8% are black, 0.9% are of Asian origin and 0.6% are “other” (for differentiation see also demography of South Africa ).

    Native speakers in South Africa as of 2011
    White 2.71 million
    Colored 3.44 million
    black 0.60 million
    In the 0.06 million
    Others 0.04 million
    total 6.86 million

    61% of whites and 76% of coloreds in South Africa speak Afrikaans as their mother tongue (as of 2011). There are also millions of people who speak Afrikaans as a second or third language. According to the Community Survey 2007 and the Mid-Year Estimation 2007 and independent surveys and information, the following estimates were made of the number of South Africans with a second or third language Afrikaans.

    Second language speakers with language skills from native speakers in South Africa
    White 0.88 million
    Colored 0.43 million
    black 5.44 million
    In the unknown
    total 6.75 million
    Second or third language speakers with basic language skills in South Africa
    White 0.52 million
    Colored 0.52 million
    black 12-16 million
    In the unknown
    total unknown

    Afrikaans is spoken in three major dialect areas. The largest of the West with the provinces Western Cape and Northern Cape , where among others, the so-called "Cape Colored" (English. Cape Coloreds ) speak to 90% Afrikaans. In the second largest, the former Transvaal and Orange Free State provinces and the Eastern Cape Province , it is mainly spoken by whites, but there are also many black second-language speakers. The third area is in Namibia, where the so-called "Oranjerivier-Afrikaans" is the mother tongue of over 200,000 people (11% of all inhabitants) and is considered the lingua franca between the population groups.

    There are around 16 to 22 million people worldwide who can communicate in Afrikaans.


    Because Afrikaans developed from New Dutch through its isolation from the area of ​​origin, which has existed since the 17th century, it is an independent language . From around 1775, Afrikaans can be seen as an independent language, since at that time most of the inhabitants of the Cape Colony no longer spoke Dutch. Nevertheless, Dutch remained the written language in South Africa until the beginning of the 20th century, while Afrikaans was more reserved for the oral area. Afrikaans differs from Dutch on the one hand through various innovations (mostly simplifications) in the field of grammar , on the other hand through various borrowings, especially from African languages ​​and English.

    First language contacts and development

    Cape Town was founded in 1652 on behalf of the Dutch East India Company . The first inhabitants of the city were mainly civil servants and seafarers who only lived there temporarily and who still spoke pure Dutch. With the establishment of Stellenbosch in 1679, the systematic settlement of the areas around Cape Town by Dutch citizens began.

    Until 1714, the so-called Trekburen (train farmers) received lease-free pastureland on the borders of the Cape Colony , which enabled rapid expansion inland. At that time there was close language contact with the cattle-breeding Nama . The smallpox epidemic in 1713 meant that many Nama hired themselves out to the Dutch and ended up in this language group. Contact with the Nama contributed to the beginning of a significant reduction in flexion in the early 18th century .

    At the end of the 17th century and throughout the 18th century, many enslaved people who spoke Malay or Creole Portuguese were abducted from Southeast Asia . The Dutch, which they did not fully learn, also influenced the reduction in inflection and also simplified the grammar.

    Competition with English and Dutch and development into the state language

    Bilingual information sign (Afrikaans / English) at the Blyde River Canyon
    Bilingual no parking sign (English / Afrikaans) in Cape Town
    " Afrikaanse Taalmonument ", language monument near Paarl , Western Cape

    In 1806 the Cape Colony passed into British possession. From then on, Afrikaans was in constant competition with English, which had a significantly higher level of prestige. Contact with English has resulted in an abundance of borrowings in many areas of the language.

    In 1875 the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners was founded in Paarl , an association that worked towards the recognition of Afrikaans as an independent language - at that time it was still considered a dialect of Dutch. The association published the first Afrikaans magazine from 1876, Die Afrikaanse Patriot ("The African Patriot"). In addition, the vocabulary had grown considerably and the first books in Afrikaans, including grammars and dictionaries, appeared. Heinrich Meyer-Benfey published the first linguistic representation of Afrikaans in German in 1901.

    With the establishment of the South African Union on May 31, 1910, English and Dutch became equivalent official languages. On May 8, 1925, a law in South Africa declared that the term “Dutch” included Afrikaans and that Afrikaans was in fact recognized as an official language in the Union of South Africa alongside Dutch and English . The 1961 constitution of the now Republic of South Africa reaffirmed the status of Afrikaans and Dutch as synonyms. With the new constitution in 1981 it was again declared that Afrikaans includes Dutch and is identical to it. Afrikaans and English remained the only official languages ​​of South Africa until 1994.

    In 1975 the South African government set up in Paarl , the birthplace of the Genootskap about 50 kilometers north of Cape Town , the Afrikaans Language Monument , a memorial that symbolizes the importance of the Afrikaans Language ( taal is the Afrikaans - and Dutch - word for "language").

    Status during apartheid and today

    In 1976, in the apartheid state , Afrikaans was to be introduced as the language of instruction for the entire black population, including those parts that did not have Afrikaans as their mother tongue. This led to student protests in Soweto on June 16, 1976 , which were suppressed. The death of twelve-year-old Hector Pieterson became a symbol of the brutality of the white police officers .

    Since the early 1990s at the latest, there have been more non-whites than white speakers of Afrikaans.

    Spelling and pronunciation

    In Afrikaans, the spelling depends more on pronunciation than in Dutch . The letters g and ch, which are still different in Dutch, have merged to g in Afrikaans . Only the graphical distinction between y and ei ( [ɛĭ] ) and between v and f ( [f] ) has been retained for etymological reasons.

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    g aan [xɑːn] gaan [xaːn] , [ɣaːn] go
    na g [nax] night [nɑxt] night
    vr y [frɛĭ] vrij [frɛĭ] free
    b ei de [bɛĭdə] both [bɛĭdə] both
    v y f [fɛĭf] vijf [fɛĭf] five

    As in Dutch, the distinction between open and closed syllables is important for the writing of long or diphthongized vowels: only long vowels can appear in stressed open syllables and are therefore always written simply ( v a - the 'father'), in closed syllables Long vowels are always written twice ( n aa m 'name'), short vowels always in single ( k a t 'cat'). This sometimes leads to greater graphical distinctions within a paradigm , when closed syllables with a long vowel become open syllables through inflection ( br oo d - br o -de ), or when closed syllables with a short vowel become open syllables through inflection and through insertion of a consonant must be kept closed ( kat - ka t -te ).

    Letter combinations such as oe, eu, ie, ei, ui, ou are short to medium-long and are not doubled in the typeface.

    Since the previously only quantitative distinction (short - long) has developed into a qualitative distinction in the vowel pairs e - ee , o - oo and u - uu through sound changes , the letters ê , were used for the long versions of e , o and u . ô and û introduced.

    The pronunciation of Afrikaans is easy because of the proximity of the spelling. With a few exceptions, each letter can only be pronounced one way. An exception voiced sounds, which at the end of a syllable devoicing learn another chain letters -tjie at the end of diminutives that [ki] is spoken.

    Usually the first syllable of a word is stressed. Exceptions are words with the prefixes verb, be, ge, ont-, her- , where the second syllable is stressed.


    Only short vowels appear in unstressed syllables. In quickly spoken language they are often weakened to [ə] . Stressed open syllables only contain long vowels; stressed closed syllables can contain long and short vowels.

    Single vowels

    vocal in closed tone syllable in open tone syllable
    short long long
    [i] , [iː] (like German ie) d ie p [dip] 'low' before r: v ie r [for] 'four' gesk ie denis [xə'skiːdəˌnəs] 'story'
    [y] , [yː] (like German ü) n uu s [nys] 'News' before r: m uu r [myːr] 'Mauer' m u re ['myːrə] ' walls'
    [u] , [uː] (like German u) b oe k [buk] 'book' before r: br oe r [bruːr] 'brother' m oe the ['muːdər] ' mother '
    [ɛ] , [ɛː] (like short ä in men) n e t [nɛt] 'network' in front of r: w e rk [vkrk] 'work', h ê [hɛː] 'have'
    [ɛː] (like long ä in mane) before rd, rs, rt: p e rd [pæːrt] 'horse'
    [œ] , [œː] (like short ö in can) v u rk [fœrk] 'fork' br û e ['brœːə] ' bridges'
    [ɔ] , [ɔː] (like short o in open) b o ttel ['bɔtəl] ' bottle ' m ô re ['mɔːrə] ' tomorrow '
    [a] , [ɑː] (like German a) n a t [nat] 'wet' n aa m [nɑːm] 'name' v a the ['fɑːdər] ' father '
    [ə] (like unstressed e) k i nd [kənt] 'child'


    The Dutch ij, which was also written as ÿ, has been completely replaced by y.

    diphthong in closed tone syllable in open tone syllable
    [ɪə] (like ea in fear) p ee r [pɪər] 'pear' n e ge ['nɪəxə] ' nine '
    [ʊə] (like short u + [ə] ) h oo r [hʊər] 'hear' o lie ['ʊəli] ' oil '
    [ɛĭ] (like ay in English may) v y f [fɛĭf] 'five', st ei l [stɛĭl] 'steep' m y [mɛĭ] 'my', b ei de ['bɛĭdə] ' both '
    [øə] (like long ö + [ə] ) s eu n [søən] 'boy' m eu le ['møələ] ' mill '
    [œŭ] (like o in British go) ou d [œŭt] 'old' bl ou [blœŭ] 'blue'
    [œĭ] (like French oeuil) ui t [œĭt] 'off' s ui ker ['sœĭkər] ' sugar '

    Double vowels

    Double vowel in open tone syllable
    [iu] (like i in tenant + u) l eeu [liu] 'lion'
    [ui] (like u in do + i) g oeie [xuiə] 'good / r / s'
    [oːi] (like o in moon + i) n ooi [noːi] 'girl'
    [aːi] (like a in father + i) dr aai [draːi] 'turn'


    The consonants b, d, f, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, t are pronounced as in German, but p, t and k are not aspirated . The letter Z (for the voiced S), which is common in Dutch, has been replaced by S and is only used in foreign words or proper names e.g. B. Zambië ( Zambia ) is used. This also changed the spelling of the country name from Zuid-Afrika to Suid-Afrika, so that the nationality symbol ZA is actually no longer correct.

    consonant position Pronunciation according to IPA example
    G between l or r and e [G] be rge ['bεrgə] ' mountains'
    G all other positions [x] (oh-loud) g aan [xɑːn] 'go', ber g [bεrx] 'mountain'
    ng End of syllable [ŋ] kussi ng ['køsəŋ] ' pillow '
    r all over [r] (tip of tongue-r) r ekenaa r ['rɪəkənɑːr] ' calculator, computer '
    s all over [s] (voiceless s) ko s [kɔs] 'costs', s iek [sik] 'sick', ge s ond [xə'sɔnt] 'healthy'
    sj all over [ʃ] (German sch) Sj ina ['ʃina] ' China '
    tj all over [c] (between tj and ch) bie tj ie ['bici] ' bit ', tj op [cɔp] ' chop '
    v all over [f] (German f) v ry [frɛĭ] 'free'
    w after d, k, s, t [w] (Englishw) tw ee [twɪə] 'two', sw em [swεm] 'swim'
    w all other positions [v] (German w) se w e ['sɪəvə] ' seven '


    The grammar of Afrikaans is very simple, as most of the inflected endings have been consistently broken down.


    As in English, nouns have no grammatical gender .


    The definite article in the singular and plural is always die , the indefinite article in the singular 'n (spoken like an unstressed e ( Schwa ), [ə] ):

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    die man, die vrou, die child de man, de vrouw, het child the man, the woman, the child
    'n man, ' n vrou, 'n child een / 'n man, een /' n vrouw, een / 'n child a man, a woman, a child


    The most common plural ending is -e:

    Singular Plural Dutch plural German
    voet voet e voeten foot
    bus buss e penalize bus
    man man e men man
    minuut minute e minutes minute

    Nouns that end in a long vowel + d or g usually lose this consonant in the plural:

    Singular Plural Dutch plural German
    oo g ogen eye
    ty d tye tijden time
    vraa g vrae protrude question

    The second most common ending is -s . It occurs mainly with polysyllabic words, including diminutive and those ending in -el, -ël or -er:

    Singular Plural Dutch plural German
    liedjie liedjie s liedjes ditty
    moeder moeder s moeders mother
    voël voël s bird bird

    Another ending is -te (often with a short vowel + g or s; from a historical perspective, it is an ending -t that is omitted in the singular and re-enters in the plural):

    Singular Dutch singular Plural Dutch plural German
    nag night nos te night night
    amp ambt amp te ambten Office

    Relations in the sentence

    In Afrikaans, different sentence elements are not expressed by cases , there is no case inflection.

    The origin- indicating genitive is formed by a paraphrase with van , the possessive genitive by a re-enactment of a se (originally the enclitic zy, cf. colloquial German the man his dog ). The phrase before the se can be very long and even contain a relative clause.

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    the boeke van Gordimer de boeken van Gordimer / Gordimers boeken Gordimer's books (The books of Gordimer = the books that were written by Gordimer)
    the man se hond De hond van de man (De man zijn [z'n] hond) The man's dog (the man his dog)
    die man wat ek gister gesien het se hond De hond van de man, the ik gisteren gezien heb The dog of the man I saw yesterday (The man I saw yesterday his dog)

    In Afrikaans, objects can be introduced with a preceding vir (actually 'for') to make them easier to understand , but there is no compulsion to do so. For verbs that require two objects, the vir can only mark the indirect object.

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    Ek sien the man. Ik zie de man. I see the man.
    Ek sien vir die man. Ik zie de man. I see the man.
    Ek gee die one die boek. Ik geef de man het boek. I give the book to the man.
    Ek gee die boek vir die man. Ik geef het boek aan de man. I give the book to the man.

    Adopted from English and expanded with the object marker, the frequent farewell greeting is Sien vir jou later .


    The personal pronouns for the subject of the sentence are:

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    ek ik I
    jy jij / gij you
    hy hij he
    sy zij she
    dit het it
    ons wij we
    julle jullie her
    shell zij she
    u u You (polite form)

    The pronouns for objects are:

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    my mij me me
    jou jou you / you
    hom hem him / him
    hair hair she / her
    dit het it him
    ons ons us
    julle jullie to you
    shell hen she
    u u You (courtesy)

    The predicative possessive is not subject to any congruence with the reference noun:

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    Dis my huis (e). Dit / het is (zijn) mijn huis (huizen). It is my house / They are my houses.
    Dis jou huis (e). Dit / het is (zijn) jouw huis (huizen). It is your house / It's your houses.
    Dis sy huis (e). Dit / het is (zijn) zijn huis (huizen). It's his house. / It's his houses.
    The hair house (e) Dit / het is (zijn) hair huis (huizen). It is her house. / It's their houses.
    Dis ons huis (e). Dit / het is (zijn) ons (onze) huis (huizen). It is our house. / It's our houses.
    Dis julle huis (e). Dit / het is (zijn) jullie huis (huizen). It is your house. / It's your houses.
    Dis hulle huis (e). Dit / het is (zijn) hun huis (huizen). It is her house. / It's their houses.
    Dis u huis (e). Dit / het is (zijn) uw huis (huizen). It is your house. / It's your houses. (Form of courtesy)

    The possessive pronoun is also not inflected, there is no differentiation according to number or syntactic function:

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    Dis myne . Dit / het is van mij ( Dutch dialectal: mijnes) . It is mine . / They are mine .
    Dis joune . Dit / het is van jou ( Dutch dialectal: jouwes) . It is yours . / It's yours .
    Dis syne . This is van hem . It is his . / It's his .
    Dis hare . That’s van hair . It is you . / It's hers .
    Dis ons s'n . Dit / het is van ons ( Dutch dialect: onzes) . It is ours . / It's ours .
    Dis julle s'n . Dit / het is van jullie ( Dutch dialectal: jullies) . It is yours . / It's yours .
    Dis hulle s'n . Dit / het is van hen ( Dutch dialect: hunnes) . It is yours . / It's hers .
    Dis u s'n . Dit / het is van u (ndl. Dialectal: uwes) . It is yours . / It's yours . (Form of courtesy)


    Infinitive (basic form)

    The Afrikaans infinitive comes in three forms:

    a) om te + verb:

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    Ek weet never wat om te doen never. Ik weet niet wat te doen . I don't know what to do .
    Ek hou daarvan om te sing . Ik hou daarvan / ervan (om) te zingen . I love to sing .
    Ek hou daarvan om in die stortbad te sing . Ik hou daarvan / ervan ( om) in / onder de douche te zingen . I love to sing in the shower .

    b) te + verb (fixed additions)

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    Jy behoort te weet . Jij behoort te weten . You should know .
    Jy hoef dit nie te doen never. I hope dit niet te doen . You don't have to do / do that .

    c) auxiliary verb + verb

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    Ek kan praat . Ik can praten / speak . I can speak .
    Ek sal sing . Ik zal zingen . I will sing .
    Ek wil sing . Ik wil zingen . I want to sing .
    Ek moet praat . Ik moet praten / speak . I have to speak .


    There is no difference between the infinitive and the present tense forms of the verb . The verb forms are the same in all persons and numbers (example loop 'run'). Only two verbs have irregular present forms: wees 'sein' and 'haben':

    infinitive loop wees
    1. Sg. ek loop ek is ek het
    2nd Sg. jy loop jy is jy het
    3rd Sg. (Mask., Fem., Neutr.) hy, sy, dit loop hy, sy, dit is hy, sy, dit het
    1st pl. ons loop ons is ons het
    2nd pl. julle loop julle is julle het
    3rd pl. shell loop hulle is hulle het
    Courtesy form u loop u is u het


    There is only one past tense , the perfect tense . With one exception ( “have” - gehad “had”) it is formed with the auxiliary verb and the prefix ge , which is placed in front of the infinitive. The sentence order changes as in German:

    Afrikaans German
    Ek sien the man. I see the man.
    Ek het you ge sien. I saw the man.

    Eight verbs have a past tense in addition to the perfect tense :

    infinitive Perfect preterite German
    wees het gewees What be
    het has had to have
    can con can
    moet moes have to
    wil het will wou want
    sal sou become
    weet het geweet wis knowledge
    dink het gedink / gedog dog think


    The future tense is formed with the auxiliary verbs gaan (for intentions) and sal (for events that cannot be influenced) and the infinitive . The sentence order changes as in German:

    Afrikaans German
    Ek sien the man. I see the man.
    Ek sal die man môre sien. I'll see the man tomorrow. (e.g. at work)
    Ek gaan die man môre sien. I'll see the man tomorrow. (I have an appointment with him)


    The subjunctive (II) is generally formed with the past tense of the verb sal 'werden', sou . In order to express a different attitude of the speaker to the verbal act, the past of other modal verbs (e.g. wil , want ') is also used:

    Afrikaans German
    Ek sou the motor co-op. I would buy the car. (in place of the addressed)
    Ek sou graag the motor wou koop. I would like to buy the car. (Speaker's intention)
    Ek sou the motor gekoop het. I would have bought the car. (= I would have bought the car.)

    The subjunctive serves primarily as an expression of non-reality and unreal conditional sentences . As in English, but in contrast to German, the simple past is used in the conditional sentence:

    Afrikaans German
    As ek jy what , sou ek the motor gekoop het. If I were you would , would I bought the car.
    Hy sou my kon help as hy wou . He could have helped me if he wanted to .


    One differentiates the adjectives according to their use. Adjectives can be used attribute or predicative . Many adjectives, when placed as an attribute before a noun, are inflected, i.e. That is, they get the ending -e . This leads to the pronunciation-related sound changes that are so typical of Afrikaans:

    Afrikaans Dutch German
    predictive attributive predictive attributive predictive attributive
    The kos is smaak lik . The smaaklik e kos. De kost / Het eten is smakelijk. De smakelijk e kost . The food is delicious. The delicious e food.
    The seep is glad. The glad de seep. De zeep is glad. De glad de zeep. The soap is smooth. The smooth e soap.
    Die one is wr ee d. The wr e d e man. De man is wr ee d. De w e d e man. The man is cruel. The cruel e man
    The kamer is mu f . The mu ww e kamer. De kamer is mu f . De mu ff e kamer. The room is musty. The musty e room.
    The one is doo f . The d owe man. De man is doo f . De d ove man. The man is deaf. The deaf- e man.
    The kissing is sa g . She said kissing. Het kiss is za cht . Het za chte kiss. The pillow is soft. The soft e pillows.
    The mountain is hoo g . The h berg. De berg is hoo g . De high mountain. The mountain is high . The high mountain.
    The water is kou d . The kou e water. Het water is kou d . Het kou (d) e water. The water is cold. The cold- e water.
    The one is bes ig . The Besig e man. De man is bez ig . De bezig e man. The man is busy. The busy e man.
    The man is lan k . The long one. De man is lan g . Long one. The man is tall. The large- e man.
    The seuntjie is jon k . The jon g seuntjie. De jongen is jon g . De jon ge jug. The boy is young. The young e boy.
    The smaller one is now . The n uwe klere. De kleren zijn n ieuw . De n ieuwe kleren. The clothes are new. The new e clothing.

    The so-called color adjectives are an exception. They are not inflected:

    Afrikaans German
    predictive attributive predictive attributive
    The rok is rooi . The rooi rok. The dress is red . The red dress.
    The sneeu is wit . The wit sneeu. The snow is white . The white snow.
    The skoene is swart . The swart skoene. The shoes are black . The black shoes.

    In addition, many monosyllabic adjectives (and a couple of two-syllable on -er ) is not flexed. Examples for this are:

    bitter 'bitter', dapper 'brave', dik 'dick', laat 'late', lekker 'delicious', mooi 'beautiful', vuil 'dirty', siek 'sick', suur 'angry', swaar 'heavy', vet 'fat', warm 'warm', bang 'fearful', poor 'poor', vars 'fresh', ryk 'rich'.

    Afrikaans German
    predictive attributive predictive attributive
    The coffie is bitter . The bitter koffie. The coffee is bitter. The bitter e coffee.
    The blomme is mooi . The mooi blomme. The flowers are nice. The beautiful en flowers

    However, if these adjectives are used figuratively, they are inflected:

    Afrikaans German
    predictive attributive predictive attributive
    The bedelaar is poor . The poor pasiënt. The beggar is poor. The poor e patient.
    The afskeid was bitter . The bitter afskeid. The farewell was bitter. The bitter e farewell
    The vrugte is ryp . Op 'n rype ouderdom. The fruits are ripe. In a ripe s age.


    Adverbs, also called circumstance words, appear next to the verb, noun or adjective. They determine the way, the time and the reason for an action. In Afrikaans they usually do not differ in their form from the adjectives.

    adjective adverb
    Jy is pretty senseless . (You are very fast.) Jy stap baie vinnig . (You go very quickly.)
    Sy is good . (She is good.) My dogtertjie kan goed lees. (My daughter can read well.)
    Hierdie woordeboek is sterk uitgebrei en volledig hersien. (This dictionary has been greatly expanded and completely revised.) Dis' n sterk uitgebreide, volledig hersiene woordeboek. (It is a greatly expanded and completely revised dictionary.)

    To form adverbs, the word stem is often doubled:

    Afrikaans German
    The skape loop wei-wei op die veld. The sheep graze in the field. (literally: 'The sheep run grazing in the field.')
    The boeke lê plek-plek op the board. The books are scattered ('here and there') on the table.
    The children Klim een-een uit the bus uit. The children get off the bus one by one.


    The last word of a unit of meaning in which a word appears negation is always never 'not', which in many cases a double negative arises. Many Dutch dialects (but not in the standard language) also have this so-called double negative.

    Afrikaans German
    Ek never works . I do not work.
    No one factory never . Nobody works.
    Ek sien niks never . I see nothing.
    Ek het vir nobody has never been . I did not see anyone.
    Ek wil never factory never . I do not want to work.
    Nobody het the man wat gister gesterf het geken never . Nobody knew the man who died yesterday.
    Ek het die man nog nooit gesien never . I've never seen the man before.
    Ek kan die boek nêrens vind never . I ca n't find the book anywhere .


    As in Dutch, diminutives are often used, and the formation of the correct form is one of the more complex aspects of the language. A specialty of Afrikaans is the possibility of doubling diminutive. This is possible because some words that used to be diminutives are no longer regarded as such. Examples are ertjie (pea) and mandjie (basket), for which the diminutive ertjietjie and mandjietjie can be formed.


    The basic Dutch tribe

    About 95% of Afrikaans vocabulary comes from Dutch . However, due to the origins and occupations of the first colonists (especially farmers from the north and seafarers), some terms from Dutch dialects and the Dutch seaman's language (e.g. kombuis 'kitchen', ndl. Keuken ) have established themselves as the standard in Afrikaans. Likewise, words in Afrikaans that are considered antiquated in today's Dutch (e.g. navorsing 'research'> ndl. Onderzoek ) have remained, and some terms have undergone a change in meaning (e.g. pad 'Trampelpfad'> 'Weg, Straße, Autobahn 'or: fontein ' Quelle ', ndl. Bron ). The Afrikaans vocabulary has increased many times over in the 20th century due to technical innovations. The language commission of the state academy for science and art has published a South African grammar with word lists and writing rules (Afrikaanse woordelys en spelreëls (AWS)) since 1917 . Dutch is usually the model for conscious neologisms (see also web links ).

    The foreign language influence

    Foreign language words are mainly borrowed from English , French and German (languages ​​of colonists), Malay and Creole Portuguese (languages ​​of former slaves) as well as the Khoisan and Bantu languages (languages ​​of the natives).

    Probably the most frequently heard loan word is baie 'much, very', which comes from the Malay banja (k) . Other examples of words of Malay origin are piesang 'banana', piering 'saucer', baadjie (badju) 'jacket', bar (baharu) 'outrageous', kapok 'snow', katel 'bed', soebat 'plead', doepa 'alcoholic drink', baklei (berkahali) 'fight' and sjambok 'whip'.

    Examples of loan words from the Xhosa , one of the Bantu languages, are kaya 'house', aikona 'no' and, more recently, oeboentoe ( ubuntu ) roughly 'people-friendly'.

    From the Khoikhoi come u. a. eina 'au!', aitsa about 'beautifully made' or 'expression of astonishment' and abba '(carrying a child) on your back'.

    English has had the greatest influence on Afrikaans. However, this influence is not so strongly reflected in the area of ​​direct word borrowings (although there are, e.g. spiets , English 'speech'), but above all in loan translations (e.g. sypaadjie , English 'side- walk '; dit reën katte en honde , Engl.' It's raining cats and dogs').

    Language example

    Those who speak Africa and the Dutch can read and understand the other language with little effort. Although Afrikaans is generally regarded as a separate language in linguistics, it is still closer to the standard Dutch language than some dialects in the Netherlands and Flanders. This, and lower South African wages, has resulted in a. to the fact that some Dutch companies relocated their customer service or call center departments to South Africa from the end of the 20th century .

    Afrikaans: Nuwe navorsing toon (aan) dat aardverwarming 'n impak op sandduine in Suid-Afrika kan hê. Dit sal beteken dat woestynagtige Gebiede kan uitbrei en die bestaan ​​van duisende mense kan benadeel. Volgens die tydskrif NATURE word voorspel dat die duine kan skuif as gevolg van reënval wat daal en windsterkte wat toeneem.

    Dutch: Nieuw onderzoek (old: navorsing) toont (aan) dat opwarming van de aarde invloed op zandduinen in Zuid-Afrika kan hebben. Dit zal betekenen dat woestijnachtige gebieden zich kunnen uitbreiden en het bestaan ​​van duizenden mensen kunnen kunnen. Volgens het tijdschrift NATURE is voorspeld dat de duinen kunnen kunnen schuiven as following from afnemende regenval en toenemende windsterkte.

    English: Recent research shows that global warming can affect sand dunes in South Africa. This will mean that desert-like areas will spread and affect the lives of thousands of people. According to NATURE magazine, it is predicted that the dunes may shift as a result of falling rainfall and increasing winds.


    • Jeremy Bergerson: Apperception and linguistic contact between German and Afrikaans. Dissertation. University of California, Berkeley 2011, digitized .
    • Bruce C. Donaldson: A Grammar of Afrikaans (= Mouton Grammar Library. Volume 8). Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1993, ISBN 3-11-013426-8 .
    • Bruce Donaldson: Afrikaans. In: The Germanic Languages. Edited by Ekkehard König and Johan van der Auwera. Routledge, London / New York 1994, ISBN 0-415-05768-X , pp. 478-504.
    • Bruce C. Donaldson, Tej Bhatia: Colloquial Afrikaans . The Complete Course for Beginners. Routledge, London / New York 2000, ISBN 0-415-20674-X .
    • Rajend Mesthrie: Language and Social History . Studies in South African Sociolinguistics. 1st edition. David Philip, Cape Town ZA 1995, ISBN 0-86486-280-6 (corrected and updated version: Language in South Africa . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2002, ISBN 0-521-79105-7 ).
    • FF Odendal, RH Gouws: Declaring Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal . 5th, revised edition. Pearson Education South Africa, Kaapstad ZA 2005, ISBN 1-86891-243-4 .
    • Edith H. Raidt: Introduction to the history and structure of Afrikaans . Darmstadt 1983, ISBN 3-534-08607-4 .
    • Thomas Suelmann: Afrikaans word for word . Kauderwelsch Volume 23, Bielefeld 1997. 8th edition. 2009, ISBN 978-3-89416-308-2 .
    • Georg PJ Trümpelmann, E. Erbe: Afrikaans - Duits, German - Afrikaans. Woordeboek / Dictionary, 8th edition. Van Schaik, Pretoria 1983, ISBN 0-627-01271-X . (Reprint: Pharos, Cape Town 2004, ISBN 1-86890-042-8 ).
    • Herman Vekeman, Andreas Ecke: History of the Dutch language . Bern u. a. 1993.
    • Annette de Wet: Afrikaans. In: Janet Duke (Ed.): EuroComGerm. Learn to read Germanic languages. Volume 2: Less commonly learned Germanic languages. Afrikaans, Faroese, Frisian, Yenish, Yiddish, Limburgish, Luxembourgish, Low German, Nynorsk. Shaker, Düren 2019, ISBN 978-3-8440-6412-4 , pp. 17–53.
    • Ton van der Wouden (Ed.): Roots of Afrikaans. Selected Writings of Hans Den Beste. John Benjamin Publishing, Amsterdam 2012 (Creole Language Library, Vol. 44), excerpts from .

    Web links

    Commons : Afrikaans  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
    Wiktionary: Afrikaans  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

    Individual evidence

    1. a b c Afrikaans. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
    2. a b c d Summary of the 2011 census (English; PDF), accessed on December 14, 2015
    3. ^ Institute of Race Relations : South Africa Survey 2017 . Johannesburg 2017, p. 74
    4. Mesthrie: 129
    5. Mesthrie: 3
    6. ^ Heinrich Meyer-Benfey: The language of the Boers. Introduction, language teaching and language samples . Ms. Wunder, Göttingen 1901.
    7. P. van Eeden: Afrikaans hoort by Nederlands: Ons Afrikaans taalverdriet . P. 24. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
    8. ^ Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, 1961
    9. ^ Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, 1983
    10. Census 1996 ( Memento of November 30, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 1.1 MB)
    This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on May 28, 2006 .