What writing system(s) does this language use?


Afrikaans uses the Roman alphabet, the same one as English. The Afrikaans alphabet has the 26 letters in English, as well as eight accented letters: è, é, ê, ë, î, ï, ô, and û.

How many people speak this language?

The blue colours on the map show where most of the Afrikaans speaking population live (South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana).

Over 10 million people speak Afrikaans.

Where is this language spoken?


Afrikaans is spoken mostly in Namibia, South Africa, and a bit of Botswana. There are also tiny pockets of Afrikaans-speaking communities in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and the United Kingdom. It should be noted that Afrikaans does not have a majority of speakers anywhere, as in South Africa, it is one out of 11 official languages, and in Namibia and Botswana, it is treated as one of several minority languages (A minority language in the U.K. would be Irish, or in the U.S., any Native American language.).

What is the history of the language?


The Dutch spoken in 17th century South Africa slowly moved away from 17th century Standard Dutch to what is now known as Afrikaans. When Afrikaans was recognised as an independent language, the Dutch called it a "Kitchen language" (Kombuistaal) until the mid 1950s. The Dutch named it so because it was spoken by many black and mixed-race (people with one white parent and one black parent) people, who were assumed to work in kitchens (this is a racist assumption).

It is estimated that 90-95% of Afrikaans vocabulary comes from Dutch. but has also influences from other languages including: English, Malay, Portuguese, German, French, and some African languages. Afrikaans acquired its Malay influence because most of the people who spoke Afrikaans in the beginning of its creation were mostly Asian slaves whose first language was Malay.

Until the 19th century, Afrikaans was only used as a spoken language, and Dutch was used as the formal and written language. In 1925, it became the official language of South Africa, along with English. Being based on Dutch, Afrikaans is part of the Indo-European family, and the Germanic group of languages (English, German, Dutch, etc.). Afrikaans is used by all races.

1933 was a major milestone for Afrikaans; the entire Bible was translated into the language. Another revision was made in 1983, and the 1983 revision is the bible that most Afrikaans-speakers use today.

Some famous authors and poets who know this language

  • Cornelis Jacob Langenhoven (1873–1932)
  • Christian Fredereck Louis Leipoldt (1880–1947)
  • Uys Krige (1910–1987)
  • Eugène Nielsel Marais (1871–1936)
  • Breyten Breytenbach (1939–)
  • André Brink (1935–)

What are some basic words in the language that I can learn?

Basic Greetings
Hallo Hello
Totsiens Goodbye
Goeie môre Good Morning
Goeie middag Good Afternoon
Goeie naand Good Evening
Goeie dag(meneer/mevrou) Good day (Sir/Madam)
Hoe gaan dit met u? How are you?
Goed, dankie Good, thank you.
Basic words and expressions
ja yes
nee no
dankie thank you
help help
verskoon my excuse me
Ek is jammer. I'm sorry
Ek is lief vir jou. I love you
Hoeveel kos dit how much does it cost
Ek wil ... hê I want...
Waar is... where is...
Useful vocabulary
dokter doctor
apteek pharmacy
polisie stasie police station
restourant restaurant
winkel shop
toilet toilet (hard one)
rekenaar computer
e-pos email
webwerf website
internet internet
een one
twee two
drie three
vier four
vyf five
ses six
sewe seven
agt eight
nege nine
tien ten
Interesting phrases
my hand is warm my hand is warm
my pen is in my hand my pen is in my hand

These sentences are written exactly the same in Afrikaans and English, although the pronunciation is different. The first phrase is pronounced "Mui hand is varm", the second phrase is pronounced "Mui pen is in mui hand".

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?


Here are some interesting Afrikaans expressions that you can learn.

Afrikaans Literal Translation What it means

Skoenmaker se kinders loop kaalvoet.

"The shoemaker's children walk barefoot."

Working hard for others may lead to forgetting one's needs or those closest.

Een swaeltjie maak nog geen sommer nie.

"One swallow does not yet create a summer."

Just because there seems to be a clue indicating more good things, the clue might not mean anything.

"Sit jou hand voor jou mond" sê die hoender vir die hond. "Put your hand in front of your mouth" said the chicken to the dog. Put your hand in front of your mouth whenever you sneeze, to avoid spreading illnesses.
Soos 'n vis op droë grond. Like a fish out of water. A thing is outside of the environment they know of.