Local name: Afrikaans
Language family: Indo-Europan > Germanic > West Germanic > Low Franconian
Native speakers: ~ 7.2 millions (Statistics South Africa, 2011; Ethnologue.com, 2006)
Script: A modified version of the Latin alphabet
Official in: South Africa
Spoken mostly in: South Africa, Namibia

The story of Afrikaans begins with Dutchmen who settled at the southern tip of Africa in the 17th century, a colony which would later grow and turn into South Africa. The Dutch spoken soon started to diverge from European Dutch. Its grammar also started to get simplified extensive language contact with the local population, speakers of Khoisan and Bantu languages, and workers from other Dutch colonies, like speakers of Malay.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that speakers of Afrikaans started to standardize their language and see it as something else than Dutch, but soon Afrikaans had replaced Dutch as one of the official languages of South Africa. Most speakers live in the western part of South Africa and adjacent areas i Namibia. In South Africa, Afrikaans is spoken mostly by the country’s colored and white population.

The vocabulary of Afrikaans is mostly derived from Dutch, but there are also borrowings from other languages, like the common word baie ‘much’, from Malay banyak, as well as unique neologisms, like moltrein, literally ‘mole train’, for ‘subway train’.

Standard Afrikaans: “Die noordwind en die son”
Speaker: PJ Du Toit Age at recording: 36 (2014) Geographical reference: Pretoria, ZA (Google Map)

Die noordwind en die son het aan die stry geraak oor watter een van hulle die sterkste was, en toe daar ’n reisiger aangekom wat ’n swaar jas gedra het.
Die wind en die son het ooreengekom dat hulle elkeen ’n kans sou neem om te sien wie eerste die reisiger sy baadjie sou kon laat uittrek.
Daarie een sou dan die wenner wees.
Die noordwind het so hard as wat hy kon geblaas, maar hoe harder hy geblaas het, hoe stywer het die reisiger sy baadjie om hom toegedraai.
En het uiteindelijk die noordwind opgegee.
Toe die son begin skyn, het die reisiger onmiddellik sy baadjie uitgetrek.
En so het die noordwind erken dat die son die sterkste was.