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Afrikaans and Dutch

Now that the Dutch course is in beta, why not have Afrikaans coming along in the incubator? By certain means, you could learn them both at the same time. Written, both languages are nearly mutually intelligible. Also, Dutch and Afrikaans share many similarities in vocabulary and grammar, Afrikaans having the more simple of the two. If one has any bit of experience with one of the two, the other will come along much easier. Even though it isn't one of the most spoken languages, it's a two for one for speakers of either language. Hopefully there are a few Afrikaans speakers out there that can start a course for it in the near future!

August 9, 2014



Actually, written Afrikaans is 100% intelligible for someone who knows Dutch. Spoken Afrikaans requires some practise.


Yes! It would be so awesome to have an Afrikaans course! That's actually part of why I'm doing Dutch... There aren't really any courses for Afrikaans anywhere, so I figured Dutch would at least help.


I am interested in learning Afrikaans. Can somebody tell me the difference between Dutch and Afrikaans? I know Afrikaans is spoken in South Africa, so how similar are they?


Afrikaans has no grammatical gender, and also has a few imported words such as piesang (banana), and gogga (insect); some of the words imported to Afrikaans were imported into South African English as well. The spelling of Afrikaans is different to Dutch for example: “Ek verstaan dit” vs “Ik versta dit”. You can look at these two Wikipeadia articles for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differences_between_Afrikaans_and_Dutch, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrikaans. If you have any specific questions you can ask me.


I thought dit was het. So isn't Ek verstaan dit - Ik versta het?


On this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differences_between_Afrikaans_and_Dutch#Comparisons_of_various_words_and_phrases_in_Dutch_and_Afrikaans It says "Ek verstaan dit" can be translated to “Ik versta dit” and “Ik begrijp het”. But my Dutch is not good enough to say what the best translation of "Ek verstaan dit" is.


Thank you for clearing it up! Cheers!


No problem :D


Afrikaans also has a lot less conjugation in its verbs. "to be" in present tense always translates to "is".


Yes, Afrikaans is generally "simpler" (I hate calling languages simpler or easier, but I can't think of another way to describe it).


As a native Dutch speaker I can understand there are a lot of similarities to be seen, but they are not really mutually intelligible. The languages were separated roughly around 300 years ago (could be 100 years more or less) and Afrikaans developed in a totally different way with a lot of influences of other languages in South Africa. If I speak to friends from South Africa I find that there are still a lot of different words in Afrikaans compared to Dutch and maybe even more words that seem the same or similar but have a slightly different meaning and those differences can make things quite difficult sometimes. I would also be very very interested in doing an Afrikaans course, if one is made :)


Not only did Afrikaans and Dutch part ways 300 years ago; Afrikaans was developed from the Dutch that was spoken by Dutch farmers who colonised South Africa, so it doesn't stem from "civilised Dutch", but from the dialects spoken by these farmers.


But still... if you speak either Dutch or Afrikaans, you can understand the other one rather well.


You've got a point there, though understanding can still be quite far from speaking the same language.


That's of course true


As a counterexample, here's video from an interview given by Charlize Theron, speaking Afrikaans, to a Dutch-speaking interviewer. They understand each other perfectly well, as they note near the end of their conversation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAz8MCO8fg8


a dutch and afrikaans speaker can understand because charlize theron spoke afrikaans to a dutch speaker and they understood each other


I am a native Afrikaans speaker and find reading Dutch very easy. Speaking and pronouncing the Dutch words is more of challenge. We have a more rolling "R" sound, the Dutch "R" is more throaty. I also think our "G" is a bit more harsh. I guess Dutch people are a bit more "TENSE" with all those tenses! LOL. And Afrikaans people are more negative with the double negation. "Ek het dit nie gedoen nie" Note the double "NIE". Vs Dutch "Ik hebben het niet gedaan".. Many similarities in both languages but still very different in my opinion..


As someone who has studied both languages, they are very similar and working with dutch right now i can definately say that knowing some afrikaans helps. really the only major issues that a dutch speaker will have, that i can see, are pronunciation and the formation of noun plurals. Afrikaans plurals aren't as regular as dutch and it can be tricky to predict them.

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