Afrikaans is a language spoken mainly in South Africa and Namibia. It descended from Dutch and belongs to the Indo-European language family, and is classified as a West Germanic or, more precisely, a Low Franconian language. The language is also spoken to some extent in Botswana and Zimbabwe, giving it a total of 7 million native speakers and even more learners. It used to be called “kitchen Dutch,” which is a quite derogatory term, and was primarily spoken by Dutch settlers before it began to develop its own features around the eighteenth century. It is still similar to Dutch, but has more analytic morphology and grammar, and a spelling that expresses Afrikaans pronunciation.
The Afrikaans Writing System:
Like Dutch, Afrikaans is written using the Latin alphabet, which consist of 26 letters. The orthography, however, is slightly different from its parent’s. Consonants are often dropped like in the word slechts , meaning “only,” which becomes slegs in Afrikaans. There is also no distinction between /z/ and /s/, which are merged into the latter, and many of the Dutch digraphs or trigraphs (two or three letters representing one sound) are also simplified.
There are twenty-two consonants and twenty vowels, and nine more diphthongs (sounds which are a combination of two vowels like /ɔɪ/ in English “boy”).
With the sole exception of the verbs “to be” and “to have,” Afrikaans doesn’t show a distinction between the infinitive and present tense forms. Verbs also have the same conjugation, which does not depend on the subject like in Dutch, German, or even English, making the learning experience much easier. Likewise, except for a few verbs, there is no distinction between the past and present perfect tense.
About South Africa
South Africa was settled by the Dutch in 1652. It used to serve as a stopping point for ships travelling to East India. After the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, South Africa became a British colony. In 1910 it became a union and a coalition between Afrikaner and English states was formed. It officially gained independence in 1960 and has been growing ever since. Today, it is the 24th most populous nation and the 25th-largest country in the word by land area. It has eleven official languages and was officially renamed Republic of South Africa in 1961.
During the twentieth century, the majority of people, who were black, sought to reclaim their rights from the white minority. With the 1990 release of Nelson Mandela, who later become the president, South Africa went through an amazing transformation. With a revived economy, it is now considered a newly industrialized country.
As you might expect from a country with eleven official languages, South Africa’s population of over 52 million people has different origins, cultures, and religions. Although Christians remains the majority, you will also find Muslims, Hindus, and Jews. It is definitely a place where tradition meets westernization and where you can explore both highly urbanized cities and wild rural areas where people still lead very simple lives. It is these people who remain to cherish the traditional culture.
The economy of South Africa is the second largest on the continent, trailing only Nigeria. It has a relatively high GDP and, given its development, is a popular tourist destination. It is divided into nine provinces and has three capitals – Cape Town, Bloemfontein, and Pretoria, each of which plays a different role in the country’s growth.
South Africa is the heart and soul of Africa’s media industry. You can see a great diversity in its music. South Africa’s musicians have developed a unique style called kwaito, which is a style of house music featuring African sounds.
The people of South Africa are meat lovers, and this can be seen in their culture, where the most popular social gathering is braai, or “BBQ.” The country is also a major wine producer, with plenty of vineyards that are known all around the world.