Have you ever heard of the Afrikaans Language?
No?? Well, it is a pretty big deal over here.
South Africa has 11 national languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu.
However, English, Afrikaans, and Zulu are the most widely used across the rainbow nation.
Learning any language is always a good decision- it enables you not only to connect more intimately with other cultures, but also to know what people are saying when they think you are just the average American tourist. :)
If you are visiting South Africa any time soon, I suggest learning some Afrikaans phrases, as well as knowing the commonly used terms.
So, some history on the Afrikaans language:
(A bietjie geskiedenis op die Afrikaanse taal.)
The name ‘Afrikaans’ is derived from the Dutch word for African. Because Southern Africa was founded in great part from Dutch settlers, an estimated 90 – 95% of Afrikaans vocabulary is of Dutch origin. During the transition time that the Dutch settlers went through in becoming ‘Afrikaners’, there were also influences from other languages such as Portuguese, Malay, German, and Bantu and Khoisan languages. It has such a strong similarity to Dutch, that an Afrikaans-speaker could go to the Netherlands and speak Afrikaans to them, and they would get the gist.
Afrikaans is not only regularly spoken in South Africa, but also in parts of Namibia, and Botswana.
There are about 7 million native Afrikaans speakers in South Africa, which is 13.5% of the total population. It is the first language of 61% of the white population, and 76% of the coloured population. It is the third most-spoken language in the country, with the widest geographical and racial distribution of all of the official languages of South Africa, and is widely understood as a second or third language. Global estimates of the total number of Afrikaans-speakers range up to 23 million people.
In the two years I have lived here, I have learned way more Afrikaans than I ever thought I would. I have been actively trying to learn the language – looking up and memorizing words I have come across in conversations, group text messages, books, TV shows, and movies.
I hope to be 100% fluent someday, and that our future children will grow up speaking Afrikaans regularly at home.
So, as julle wil die Suid-Afrikaanse land te besoek, raai ek leer ‘n paar woorde.
(So, if you guys want to visit South Africa, I suggest learning a couple of words.)
‘N lys van algemene Afrikaans frases en woorde, binnekort te kom!
(A list of common Afrikaans phrases and words, to come soon!)