In this post we will write about the language of the Afrikaners, and also of the South African Coloureds, the Afrikaans. It is the first language of 7.1 million of South Africans and is speak by many others. The Afrikaans is a West-Germanic language that developed from the XVII century Dutch. The Afrikaans speakers, Afrikaanssprekendes and not Afrikaners are divided into two main groups the Cape Coloured and Arikaners. It was developed by the earliest settlers in the Cape in that time under the administration of the Dutch Company of Eastern Indies. It shares much of his vocabulary with Dutch with 90 to 95% of the words being words of Dutch origin. However other languages also influenced Afrikaans some in the written form of the Afrikaans, which only became official in the XX century, and others in the spoken form of the language. The first Afrikaans evolved from the Dutch dialects of the South-West part of the Nederland’s because much of the first Afrikaners were original of that region. Despite sharing much of his vocabulary there are differences between Dutch and Afrikaans.

Tijd in Dutch become Tyd (Time) in Afrikaans. The ij in Dutch become y in Afrikaans with the exception of suffix lijk in Dutch that becomes lik in Afrikaans as in uiteindelik (Finally). The same happens is most of the Dutch surnames as in Van Wijk that becomes Van Wyk in Afrikaans.  The spelling is the same, ei, in both cases. Another difference is that in some words the z in the begin of some Dutch words passes to s in afrikaans as in Zuid – Suid (South) or zal that becomes sal. Other difference is the Dutch ch that is some cases becomes g especially in the suffix of some words. The word recht (right) in Dutch is one of these examples becoming reg in Afrikaans and the t in the end of some Dutch words also disappears.

Later French Hugenot settlers also came to the Cape Colony and became an important part of the Afrikaner people. They also influenced Afrikaans with some words and also the double negative in some phrases like in jy sal nie spel nie, meaning in English you will not play. The double negative of the Afrikaans language resembles to the French ne pas. Another language that influenced the Afrikaans was Malayan because of Malayan workers that the Dutch bring to the Cape Colony. One of the most famous words of Malayan origin is piesang which means banana. Also the Khoikoi languages of the natives influenced Afrikaans but more the Afrikaans spoke by the coloureds than the normal Afrikaans spoke by the Afrikaners. Another language that influenced the Arikaans language was Portuguese mainly because of the strong portuguese presence in Southern Africa and even with some immigrants to South Africa.  Some of the words of Portuguese origin are Kraal and evolution of the Portuguese word curral and Moveer developed from the Portuguese word mover which means to move in English and others. Also the accent of the Afrikaans varies for region to region and by people. The Coloured people around Cape Town still speak and old form of Afrikaans known as Cape Afrikaans ‘Kaapse Afrikaans’ a language that because is the first Afrikaans developed still has more Dutch words and a stronger Dutch accent than the today’s general Afrikaans . The biggest difference is the 1ºpronun which is ik as in Dutch rather than ek the standard Afrikaans word for I. Also in the general Afrikaans we see a different accent. Most of the cases people in the Western Cape speak an accent with a bigger Dutch influence and in the region of the Transvaal and the Vry Staat a deeper accent with also some German influences because many of the boers have German ancestry.

Since the end of Apartheid the Afrikaans such as the Afrikaners has been somehow marginalized by the ANC governments especially in the education were some Afrikaner schools and universities have no longed Afrikaans has the main language even in areas where the Afrikaanssprekendes are the majority of the population. Unfortunately many black South Africans still think that the Afrikaans is the oppressor language because of the fact of being the most important language during the Apartheid years something that influence the marginalization that the Afrikaans suffers now even with most of the speakers being Coloureds and not Afrikaners.

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One response to “Afrikaans

  1. Pingback: Afrikaans, baie interessant | Marius van Westland

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