Dutch and Afrikaans
I was wondering if my knowledge of Dutch would help with Afrikaans? Is it easier to understand Afrikaans when written or spoken for Dutch speakers?
Knowing Dutch WILL make learning Afrikaans much easier.
I think you'd find that most Afrikaans speakers can understand you if you speak Dutch (slowly!). Understanding them is far more difficult - it's much more guttural than Dutch and has developed from Dutch with assorted words and structures from other languages, including some of the African languages.
With my limited knowledge of Dutch, I find I can figure out the basic meaning of most written Afrikaans, but I can't read it quickly. Ever. And I also noticed that some of the words I had "translated" as I read them were because of my (also limited) knowledge of other languages including Swahili, Spanish, Norwegian and even Russian - although the words were (mostly) not directly from any of those languages.
But no problem. Everything I ever came across in South Africa was also available in English - and I never met anyone who spoke Afrikaans and not English, although there are many who don't speak either of those.
Actually, I'll rephrase that first paragraph: If you speak fluent Dutch, Afrikaans speakers will probably struggle to understand you. But if, like me, you speak broken, stumbling Dutch with long pauses while you try to figure out the right words, they'll probably understand you perfectly!
I have studied Dutch here on Duo, and while I am not fluent, I could have a conversation in Dutch. I can understand most of an Afrikaans conversation when I hear one without having studied Afrikaans separately.
I have been able to understand Afrikaans having studied Dutch, but there are some expressions that you could do with learning. Ek is= ik ben. For example. Dutch is definitely useful.