Origins and History of the Afrikaans Language

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Afrikaans was recognized as the second official language of South Africa in the 1820s. Today, Afrikaans is the mother tongue of about six million people and is spoken by an estimated 16 percent of the population of South Africa. Thus, Afrikaans is the most widely used language of South Africa. Currently, Afrikaans is used as a means of communication ("lingua franca") between different languages in South Africa. Due to the ubiquity of Afrikaans, the need for professional and qualified translations into and from Afrikaans is growing. We will find the right translator for your project. Send us an email with your text and the desired delivery date and we will give you a price quote.

Facts and Figures Afrikaans

The Afrikaans language evolved from Dutch of the 1600s and became known as a daughter language of Dutch. Afrikaans and Dutch have not evolved in parallel. Afrikaans comes mostly from the dialects of the 17th century Dutch. The first settlers of the United East India Company at the Cape of Good Hope arriving in the 1600s came from Southern Netherlands. The language of these first settlers became the basis of Afrikaans. Already in the 1700s, a language variant evolved from Cape-Dutch which then developed into a unique language system in the second half of the 18th century.
Although Afrikaans is closely related to Dutch, due to the changes that the language underwent over the centuries, there are subtle differences that only a qualified professional translator is able to capture. We can find the appropriate native-language translator for your translations into and from Afrikaans.

Two Hypotheses on How Afrikaans Evolved

There are different hypotheses about the historical development of Afrikaans. According to the first hypothesis, Dutch was used by non-Dutch speakers as a lingua franca for mutual understanding. While the language was infused with elements of local languages, a new native language was born for the generations to come. The second hypothesis assumes that the dialects of Dutch settlers, those Dutch settlers who were exposed to the constant influence of other settlers’ languages such as German and English, adapted and simplified their language over decades, thus creating in a new language, Afrikaans. We only work with native Afrikaans translators who can adequately translate your text. We translate projects from all specialty areas. Regardless of the specialty area of your project, legal, medical, engineering, or science, we are always here for you. For questions regarding your translations to and from Afrikaans, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email.


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