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Dutch to Afrikaans Question

I've read a lot of Afrikaans and Dutch posts, but I haven't seen this question asked, so bear with me if it's a repeat.

I know native speakers of Dutch don't have a lot of trouble understanding Afrikaans. A new Belgian friend recently regaled me with a story of his trip to South Africa and how he was able to communicate with Afrikaners. But what about those who learn Dutch?

Has anyone learned Dutch, then tackled Afrikaans? What was your experience? My ultimate goal is to speak Dutch and understand spoken Afrikaans.

May 13, 2019



I have South-African relatives and although we can mutually understand each other, we have to work at it. There are a lot of differences in pronunciation, grammar and vocab. Afrikaans has a lot of english influences as well. For instance 'I wonder' would be 'Ik vraag me af' in Dutch and in Afrikaans it is 'Ek wonder'. I have the impression that the pronunciation has borrowed a lot from the African languages. There are a lot of words that are Dutch-sounding but that do not exist in Dutch. (A bit like the difference between Dutch and Flemish, but Belgians are easier to understand) Some of the words do exist but mean something else. I once said to my Aunt that someone was nice 'aardig'. She disagreed and from what she said I guessed that to her 'aardig' meant 'eigenaardig', meaning 'strange'. Reading Afrikaans is easier, because you have the time to figure out what something means. Listening to a native speaker is much harder. Especially because the pronunciation is so different. I can converse with my Afrikaans-speaking relatives, but on either side, it is exhausting and we miss a lot of content simply because of the different grammar and vocab. So at times we have to resort to English, when we really do not get what the other person means. If you are studying either of these language it is easy to notice the similarities. However, learning one does not mean that you'll than also be able to converse with ease with native speakers of the other language. They are too dissimilar for that. Belgians are easier to understand, at least so long as they don't speak in heavy dialect.


I learned some Dutch elsewhere and on Duolingo (I have since restarted the tree) and spoke in Dutch to an Afrikaner over an internet service, and on both sides of the conversation, we can understand each other. The only thing that is somewhat noticeable between the mother and daughter language (since Dutch is the mother language of Afrikaans) is the double negative in Afrikaans, such as in the sentence "Ek is nie een hollander nie" (I'm not Dutch). As you can see, the negative word "nie" appears twice, something taken from the French Hugenots who had moved and mingled a wee bit with the Afrikaners. It was like learning two languages in one, because technically they were at one point and time. :)


Thank you! I hadn't planned on introducing Afrikaans into my studies yet, but I noticed that when I hear it spoken, I can understand almost as much Afrikaans as my Dutch (which isn't much :)).


Here's an interesting video for you, all about the development of Afrikaans, and at the end the question of how well speakers of either Dutch or Afrikaans can understand each other. https://youtu.be/uI49IqDCgg8.


I have spoken Afrikaans since i was a child. I can quite easaly understand Dutch and Flemish. Dutch is a little different, but it would not take me long to pick it up I dont think, allowing for differences of pronounciation . I just started my course In Dutch here today, the similarities are profound (sounds like Afrikaans with a strange accent).

I Watched The video about Afrikaans and Dutch (the link above). He is correct its a lot easier for Afrikaans speakers to understand Dutch, and Dutch is a lot more complex (very similar to German).

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