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Afrikaans (UK: /ˌæfrɪˈkɑːns/, US: /ˌɑːf-/)[4][5] is a West Germanic language that evolved in the Dutch Cape Colony from the Dutch vernacular[6][7] of Holland proper (i.e., the Hollandic dialect)[8][9] used by Dutch, French, and German settlers and their enslaved people. Afrikaans gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics during the course of the 18th century.[10] Now spoken in South Africa, Namibia and (to a lesser extent) Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, estimates circa 2010 of the total number of Afrikaans speakers range between 15 and 23 million.[note 1] Most linguists consider Afrikaans to be a partly creole language.[11][12][13]

Obelisks of the Afrikaans Language Monument near Paarl

Quick facts: Afrikaans, Pronunciation, Native to, Eth...
Native toSouth Africa, Namibia
Native speakers
7.2 million (2016)[1]
10.3 million L2 speakers in South Africa (2002)[2]
Early forms
Signed Afrikaans[3]
Official status
Official language in
 South Africa
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byDie Taalkommissie
Language codes
ISO 639-1af
ISO 639-2afr
ISO 639-3afr
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
  Unknown population
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Colin speaking Afrikaans.
Alaric speaking Afrikaans.
Rossouw speaking Afrikaans.

An estimated 90 to 95% of the vocabulary is of Dutch origin with adopted words from other languages including German and the Khoisan languages of Southern Africa.[note 2] Differences from Dutch differences with Dutch include a more analytic-type morphology and grammar, and some pronunciations.[14] There is a large degree of mutual intelligibility between the two languages, especially in written form.[15]

About 13.5% of the South African population (7 million people) speak Afrikaans as a first language, making it the third most common natively-spoken language in the country,[16] after Zulu and Xhosa. It has the widest geographic and racial distribution of the 11 official languages 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 population.[note 3] 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), 1.5% of Black South Africans (600,000 people), and 4.6% of Indian South Africans (58,000 people).[17]

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