Afrikaans (UK: //, US: /-/, English meaning: African) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia, and, to a lesser extent, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. It evolved from the Dutch vernacular of Holland (Hollandic dialect) spoken by the European (Dutch, French, and German) settlers and their slaves in South Africa, where it gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics during the course of the 18th century. Afrikaans is considered by most linguists to be partially, rather than fully, a creole language. Afrikaans linguistics scholars likewise consider it only partially creole.
|Native to||South Africa, Namibia|
|7.2 million (2016)|
10.3 million L2 speakers in South Africa (2002)
Official language in
|Regulated by||Die Taalkommissie|
A map of Afrikaans speakers in the world, coloured by population.
250,000 to 7,000,000 speakers
40,000 to 250,000 speakers
10,000 to 40,000 speakers
1,000 to 10,000 speakers
Below 1,000 speakers
Although Afrikaans has adopted words from other languages, including German and the Khoisan languages, an estimated 90 to 95% of the vocabulary of Afrikaans is of Dutch origin. Therefore, differences with Dutch often lie in the more analytic-type morphology and grammar of Afrikaans and a spelling that expresses Afrikaans pronunciation rather than standard Dutch. There is a large degree of mutual intelligibility between the two languages, especially in written form.
With about seven million native speakers in South Africa, or 13.5% of the population, it is the third most spoken language in the country. Estimates of the total number of Afrikaans speakers range between 15 and 23 million. It has the widest geographic and racial distribution of all the 11 official languages of South Africa and is widely spoken and understood as a second or third language, although Zulu and English are estimated to be understood as a second language by a much larger proportion of the South African population. It is the majority language of the western half of South Africa—the provinces of the Northern Cape and Western Cape—and the first language of 75.8% of Coloured South Africans (4.8 million people), 60.8% of White South Africans (2.7 million people), 4.6% of Indian South Africans (58,000 people), and 1.5% of Black South Africans (600,000 people).