34 Facts About Afrikaans


Afrikaans gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics during the course of the 18th century.

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Afrikaans is considered by most linguists to be a creole language only partially, rather than fully.

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Afrikaans has been variously described as a Dutch-based creole or as a partially creolised language.

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Afrikaans language arose in the Dutch Cape Colony, through a gradual divergence from European Dutch dialects, during the course of the 18th century.

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Later, Afrikaans, now written with the Latin script, started to appear in newspapers and political and religious works in around 1850 .

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Until the early 20th century, Afrikaans was considered a Dutch dialect, alongside Standard Dutch, which it eventually replaced as an official language.

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In 1925, Afrikaans was recognised by the South African government as a distinct language, rather than simply a slang version of Dutch.

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Afrikaans used the Latin alphabet around this time, although the Cape Muslim community used the Arabic script.

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Various commercial translations of the Bible in Afrikaans have appeared since the 1990s, such as Die Boodskap and the Nuwe Lewende Vertaling.

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Since independence in 1990, Afrikaans has had constitutional recognition as a national, but not official, language.

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Afrikaans was a medium of instruction for schools in Bophuthatswana, an Apartheid-era Bantustan.

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Afrikaans has been influential in the development of South African English.

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In 1976, secondary-school pupils 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 .

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Afrikaans is more widely spoken than English in the Northern and Western Cape provinces, several hundred kilometres from Soweto.

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Under South Africa's Constitution of 1996, Afrikaans remains an official language, and has equal status to English and nine other languages.

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The new policy means that the use of Afrikaans is often reduced in favour of English, or to accommodate the other official languages.

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Meanwhile, the constitution of the Western Cape, which went into effect in 1998, declares Afrikaans to be an official language of the province alongside English and Xhosa.

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Afrikaans has a considerably more regular morphology, grammar, and spelling.

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Afrikaans acquired some lexical and syntactical borrowings from other languages such as Malay, Khoisan languages, Portuguese, and Bantu languages, and Afrikaans has been significantly influenced by South African English.

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In general, mutual intelligibility between Dutch and Afrikaans is far better than between Dutch and Frisian or between Danish and Swedish.

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The South African poet writer Breyten Breytenbach, attempting to visualise the language distance for Anglophones once remarked that the differences between Dutch and Afrikaans are comparable to those between the Received Pronunciation and Southern American English.

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Nevertheless, Afrikaans remains more prevalent in the media – radio, newspapers and television – than any of the other official languages, except English.

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Such media prove popular with the extensive Afrikaans-speaking emigrant communities who seek to retain language proficiency in a household context.

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Indeed, there is a groundswell movement within Afrikaans to be inclusive, and to promote itself along with the other indigenous official languages.

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Afrikaans is offered at many universities outside South Africa, for example in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Russia, and the United States.

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Only a handful of Afrikaans verbs have a preterite, namely the auxiliary, the modal verbs, and the verb .

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Particular feature of Afrikaans is its use of the double negative; it is classified in Afrikaans as and is something that is absent from the other West Germanic standard languages.

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Term Kaapse Afrikaans is sometimes erroneously used to refer to the entire Western Cape dialect; it is more commonly used for a particular sociolect spoken in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa.

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Kaapse Afrikaans is still understood by the large majority of native Afrikaans speakers in South Africa.

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Distinct dialect of Afrikaans is spoken by the 650-strong South African community of Argentina, in the region of Patagonia.

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Loanwords from Bantu languages in Afrikaans include the names of indigenous birds, such as and, and indigenous plants, such as and .

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Afrikaans writing system is based on Dutch, using the 26 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet, plus 16 additional vowels with diacritics.

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Diminutive suffix in Afrikaans is, or, whereas in Dutch it is or, hence a "bit" is ? in Afrikaans and in Dutch.

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For example, instead of the 3 e's alongside each other: *, which can never occur in Afrikaans, or, which translates to "say", whereas is a possessive form.

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