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Afrikaans (literally African), formerly known as Cape Dutch or Dutch Colonial, is one of the eleven official languages ​​in South Africa and a recognized minority language in Namibia. It belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages ​​and is the result of the Neuniederländischen of the 17th century. Compared to modern Dutch standard language Afrikaans has undergone significant morphological standardization. Originally it was the language of the Boers.

  • 3.1 vowels 3.1.1 Single vowels
  • 3.1.2 diphthongs
  • 3.1.3 diphthongs
  • 4.1 Nouns 4.1.1 Inflection
  • 4.1.2 Relations in the set
  • 4.3.1 infinitive (base form)
  • 4.3.2 present
  • 4.3.3 past
  • 4.3.4 future
  • 4.3.5 subjunctive
  • 5.1 The Dutch fundamental parent
  • 5.2 The foreign language influence


Afrikaans is mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia, also by smaller groups in other Southern African countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho and Botswana.

In South Africa, Afrikaans is the mother tongue of nearly seven million people or 13.5 % of the population (according to official census data from 2011). This puts it among the eleven official languages ​​isiZulu and isiXhosa behind in third place. Since the mid- 1980s, there are more non-white than white native speakers. Of all the Afrikaans - native speakers in South Africa are 50.2 % Coloureds ( " Colored " ), 39.5% white, 8.8% black, 0.9% Asian and 0.6 % stocky "Other (for the distinction see also demographics of South Africa ).

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

Afrikaans is spoken in three major dialect areas. The largest is the West Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces with where, because among other things, the so-called " Cape coloreds " ( engl. Cape Coloureds ) to 90% Afrikaans. In the next largest, the former provinces of Transvaal and Orange Free State and the Eastern Cape it is spoken mainly by whites, but there are also many black second language. The third area is located in Namibia, where the so-called " Oranjerivier - Afrikaans " is the mother tongue of more than 200,000 people (11 % of the population ) and is regarded as a lingua franca between population groups.

Worldwide there are about 16 to 22 million people who can communicate in Afrikaans.


Because Afrikaans evolved from the Neuniederländischen by existing since the 17th century insulation from the area of ​​origin, it is a stand-alone expansion resulting language. From about 1775 Afrikaans can be seen as a separate language, as this is when most of the inhabitants of the Cape Colony did not speak Dutch. Afrikaans differs from that on the one hand by a variety of new features (mostly simplifications ) in the field of grammar, on the other hand also by various borrowings.

First language contacts and formation

Cape Town was founded in 1652 on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. The first inhabitants of the town were mainly officers and sailors who lived only temporarily there and still pure Dutch languages ​​. With the establishment of Stellenbosch in 1679 began the systematic colonization of the areas around Cape Town by Dutch citizens.

Until 1714 the so-called Voortrekkers ( Zugbauern ) received free lease grazing land on the borders of the Cape Colony, which allowed the rapid spread inland. At the time, close language contact to the Nama pastoralists. The smallpox epidemic of 1713 had the effect that many Nama verdingten among the Dutch and finally went up in that language group. The contact with the Nama was the beginning of the 18th century at the beginning of a significant Flexionsabbaus.

The late 17th century and throughout the 18th century, many enslaved were abducted from Southeast Asia, who spoke Malay or Kreolportugiesisch. Even the incompletely learned from these Dutch had influence on the deflexion and also caused a simplification of grammar.

Competition with the English and the state language development

1806 was the Cape Colony in British possession. From then Afrikaans was in constant competition with the English, which had a significantly higher prestige. The contact with English has led to a wealth of borrowings in many areas of the language.

1875 was based in Paarl Genootskap van Excited African, an association that was working towards the recognition of Afrikaans as a language - at that time it was still a dialect of Dutch. The Association issued from 1876, the first magazine in Afrikaans, the Afrikaanse Patriot ( " The African Patriot "). In addition, the vocabulary had grown strong and it appeared the first books in Afrikaans, including grammars and dictionaries.

On 5 May 1925, the Netherlands was abolished as a state language alongside English and Afrikaans recognized as an official language in the Union of South Africa in South Africa.

Built in 1975 the South African government in Paarl, the birthplace of the Genootskap about 50 km north of Cape Town, the Afrikaanse Taalmonument, a monument that symbolizes the importance of the Afrikaans Language. ( Taal is the Afrikaans - and Dutch - word for " language ").

Status during the apartheid era and today

In 1976 Afrikaans apartheid state for the entire black population should be introduced as a language of instruction, ie even to those parts which had not Afrikaans as their mother tongue. Then it came in Soweto student protests that were crushed on June 16, 1976. The symbol for the brutality of the white police officer, the death of Hector Pieterson was twelve years old.

At least since the early 1990s, there are more non-white than white speakers of Afrikaans.

Spelling and pronunciation

Stronger than in the Netherlands aimed at Afrikaans spelling after the debate. The more distinct in Dutch letters g and ch have collapsed in Afrikaans to g. Only the graphical distinction between y and ei ( [ ɛĭ ] ) and between v and f ( [ f] ) has been retained for etymological reasons.

The distinction between open and closed syllables, as in the Dutch important for the case of long or diphthongierten vowels in stressed open syllables only long vowels can stand and are therefore always simply written (above - the ' father '), are in closed syllables long vowels always twice ( naam 'Name' ), short vowels always simply written ( kat ' cat'). This partly leads to larger graphic distinctions within a paradigm, when closed syllables with a long vowel by flexion to open syllables ( brood - bro - en), or when closed syllables with a short vowel by flexion would open syllables and closed by insertion of a consonant are held ( kat - kat - te).

Since the former only quantitative distinction ( short - long ) at the vowel pairs e - ee, o - oo and u - has uu developed by sound change to a qualitative distinction, were for the long versions of e, o, and u the letters ê, ô and û introduced.

The pronunciation of Afrikaans is simply because of the proximity of the spelling. Each letter can be pronounced in only one way from a few exceptions. An exception is voiced sounds, learn at the end of a syllable final devoicing, another chain - tjie the letters at the end of diminutives, the [ ci ] is spoken.

In general, the first syllable of a word is emphasized. Exceptions are words with the prefix ver -, be -, ge -, ont -, forth -, in which the second syllable is stressed.


In unstressed syllables only short vowels occur. In fast speech, they often become [ ə ] weakened. In stressed open syllables are only long vowels in stressed closed syllables can long and short vowels.

Single vowels


The Dutch ij, which was written as ÿ, is completely replaced by y.



The consonants b, d, f, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, t be as pronounced in German, p, t and k are not aspirated. The frequent in Dutch letter Z ( for the voiced S ) was replaced by S and is only in foreign words or proper names such as ZAMBIE (Zambia ) were used. This also changed the spelling of the country name of South Africa Suid -Afrika, so the characters nationality ZA actually no longer correct.


The grammar of Afrikaans is very simple, as most inflectional endings were reduced consistently.


Nouns do not have grammatical gender as in English. The definite article is always the, the indefinite article in the singular ' n (pronounced like an unstressed e ( schwa ), [ ə ] ) in the singular and plural:


The most common plural ending is -e:

Nouns ending d or g on a long vowel, the consonants normally lose:

Other endings include - te (often with short vowel g or s ) and s (with diminutives and many words on -l or- r):

Relations in the sentence

Different set of elements can not be expressed by cases in Afrikaans, there is no case inflection.

The herkunftsanzeigende genitive is formed by a description with van, the possessive genitive, by reproducing a se The phrase before the se may be very long and even contain a relative clause.

Objects in Afrikaans for better understanding by the prefix vir (actually ' for' ) are introduced, but this is not a compulsion. Verbs that require two objects, the vir only mark the indirect object.

Taken from English and expanded by the object marker is the frequent farewell Sien jou vir later.


The personal pronouns for the subject of the sentence are:

The pronouns for objects are:

The predicative possessive, subject to any agreement with the antecedent:

Also, the possessive pronoun is not flexed, there is no distinction according to number or syntactic function:


Infinitive (base form)

The infinitive in Afrikaans comes in three forms:

A) om te verb:

B ) th verb ( solid additions )

C ) auxiliary verb verb


There is no difference between the infinitive and the present tense of the verb. The verb forms are available in all persons equal and Numbers (Example loop ' run '). Only two verbs have irregular present tense: wees 'to be' and he ' have ':


There is only one past tense, the perfect tense. There is one exception ( see " have " - " had " gehad ) U with the auxiliary verb and the prefix ge -, which is placed before the infinitive is formed. The word order changes as in German:

In eight verbs there are in addition to perfect yet Präteritumform:


The future tense is formed with the auxiliary verb gaan (with intentions ) and sal (with uncontrollable events ) and the infinitive. The word order changes as in German:


The subjunctive is generally ' be ' with the past tense of the verb sal, sou formed. To express a different attitude of the speaker to the verbal action, as well as the past of other modal verbs (eg wil ' want ') consulted:

The subjunctive is used primarily as an expression of non-reality and unreal conditional sentences. In the set of conditions the simple past is used in contrast to German:


One distinguishes the adjectives according to their use. Adjectives can be used attributively or predicatively. Many adjectives are, if they are available as attribute before a noun, inflected, ie they receive the ending -e. This leads to the so typical of the Afrikaans pronunciation -related sound changes:

An exception is the so-called color adjectives. They are not inflected:

In addition, many monosyllabic adjectives ( and also a few two-syllable -er ) are not inflected. Examples are:

Bitter ' bitter ' dapper ' brave ' dik ' fat ' laat ' late ' lekker ' delicious ' mooi ' beautiful ', vuil ' dirty ', siek ' sick ', suur ' sour ', swaar ' hard ', vet 'bold ' hot ' hot ' bang ' fearful ', 'poor' poor ' vars ' fresh', ryk ' rich '.

If these adjectives, however, used in a figurative sense, they are inflected:


Adverbs, also called adverbs, are the verb, noun or adjective. They determine the way in which the timing and reason of an action. They differ mostly in Afrikaans in shape not of the adjectives.

For the formation of adverbs also the root word is often doubled:


The last word a meaning unit in which appears a negation word, is always never 'not', creating a double negative arises in many cases. This can be found in one place in the Low German, in which " never " were not used alone, but only as ninich or never non.


Diminutives such as frequently used in the Netherlands, the formation of the correct form is one of the more complex aspects of the language. A special feature of Afrikaans is the possibility of duplication of diminutives. This is possible because some of the words that used diminutives constitute, no longer be regarded as such. Examples are ertjie ( pea) and mandjie (basket ) for which ertjietjie the diminutives and mandjietjie can be formed.


The Dutch fundamental parent

Approximately 95 % of the vocabulary of Afrikaans derived from the Dutch. But as a result of origin and occupations of the first colonists (especially farmers from the north and sailors ) some terms used in Dutch dialects and the Dutch sailor language (eg Kombuis ' kitchen', ndl. Keuken ) in Afrikaans established as a standard. Also, have held up in today's Dutch as antiquated existing words ( eg navorsing ' investigation '> ndl onderzoek. ), Also have some terms a change of meaning experienced (eg pad ' trail '> ' path, road, highway ' Or. : fontein ' source ', ndl. bron ). The vocabulary of Afrikaans has increased in the 20th century through new technology, many times. The Language Commission of the State Academy of Sciences and Arts since 1917 is a South African grammar with out word lists and spelling rules ( Afrikaanse woordelys s spelreëls (AWS ) ). Model for the conscious neologisms is usually the Netherlands (see links).

The foreign-language influence

Foreign language words are borrowed mainly from English, French and German (Languages ​​of colonists ), the Malay and the Kreolportugiesischen ( languages ​​of former slaves ) and the Khoisan languages ​​and the Bantu languages ​​( languages ​​of the locals).

Probably the most frequently heard loanword is baie ' much, much ', which originates from the Malay banja (k). Other examples of words with Malay origin are Piesang ' banana ', piering ' saucer ', baadjie ( Badju ) ' jacket', bar ( Baharu ) ' outrageous ' kapok ' snow', Cultural Cauldron ' bed ', soebat ' woo ', doepa ' alcoholic drink ', baklei ( berkahali ) ' fight ' and Sjambok ' whip '.

Examples of loanwords from the Xhosa, one of the Bantu languages ​​, kaya ' House', Aikona 'no' and oeboentoe recently ( ubuntu ) are about ' people friendly '.

From the Khoikhoi we eina ' ow! ' Aitsa about ' nicely done ' or ' expression of surprise ' and abba ' bear (a child ) on the back '.

The strongest influence on the Afrikaans exercised the English. However, this influence is not as strong reflected (although there are certainly those, such as spiets, Eng. ' Speech '), but especially in loan translations (eg sypaadjie, English in direct Wortentlehnungen resist. ' Side- walk '; dit reen katte s honde, Eng. ' It's raining cats and dogs ').

Loans from German to Dutch are often difficult to identify due to the similarity.

Language example

With little effort Afrikaanssprecher and Dutch can read and understand the other language; for speakers of High German, it is a little more difficult. However, Germans with regard to Low German, access is much easier. Although Afrikaans is generally considered in linguistics as a language, it is still closer to the Dutch standard language than many dialect in the Netherlands and Flanders today. This and the lower South African wages taken her to the fact that many Dutch company shifted from the late 20th century its customer care or call center department to South Africa.

Afrikaans: Nuwe navorsing toon dat wêreldverwarming 'n Impak op sandduine He in Suid -Afrika kan. Dit sal beteken dat woestynagtige gebiede kan en uitbrei the bestaan ​​van duisende mense kan benadeel. Volgens the tydskrif NATURE word voorspel the Duine dat kan skuif as gevolg van daal reënval wat wat gaan en windsterkte toeneem.

Dutch: Nieuw onderzoek toont ( aan ) dat de opwarming van de aarde invloed op zandduinen in South Africa kan hebben. Dit zal betekenen dat woestijnachtige Gebieden zich kunnen uitbreiden en het bestaan ​​van duizenden immense kunnen benadelen. Volgens het wordt tijdschrift NATURE voorspeld dat de duinen kunnen verschuiven afnemende as gevolg van regenval s toenemende windsterkte.

German: Recent research shows that climate warming influence on sand dunes in South Africa may have. This will mean that desert-like areas can spread and the lives of thousands of people would be affected. The journal NATURE According predicted that the dunes can move as a result of declining rainfall and increasing winds.