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Definition: Afrikaans from Philip's Encyclopedia

One of 11 official languages of the Republic of South Africa. Derived from the language spoken by the original Dutch settlers of the 17th century, it quickly evolved its own forms to become a distinct language. Afrikaans is regarded as a cultural focal point by South Africans of Dutch origin. It is the everyday means of communication for some three million speakers of European, African, and mixed descent.


Summary Article: Afrikaans
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(ăf´´rӘkäns'), member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Although its classification is still disputed, it is generally considered an independent language rather than a dialect or variant of Dutch (see Dutch language). Afrikaans is spoken by close to 8 million people in the Republic of South Africa, where it is an official language, and by about 1.5 million people in Namibia, where it is the common language of most of the population. At least half of its native speakers in South Africa are not white. It arose from the Dutch spoken by the Boers, who emigrated from the Netherlands to South Africa in the 17th cent., but in its written form it dates only from 1861. The grammar has been considerably simplified. Its vocabulary is essentially similar to that of Dutch; Afrikaans has absorbed quite a few words from the Khoisan languages, Bantu (such as words designating local flora and fauna), and English.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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