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Afrikaans is an Indo-European language, specifically Germanic, which is a derivative of Middle Dutch. This descent is due to the fact that many Dutch settlers came to South Africa during the second half of the 17th century.

Until the mid-19th century, Afrikaans was a purely oral language, as the official language was Dutch. However, during the 20th century it became official in South Africa and Namibia, and began to take on more importance in terms of literature. In fact, the greatest exponent of its literature is Breyten Breytenbach.

The language has acquired vocabulary from English, Malay, Portuguese and the Zulu languages of the natives of the area. It is worth mentioning that Die Taalkommisie, a linguistic institution founded in 1909 by the South African Academy for Science and Arts, regulates spelling and grammar.


Afrikaans has 26 letters and uses the Latin alphabet. It has also evolved more rapidly than the other Germanic languages. In only two or three generations it lost the original inflectional system.

The grammar is simpler than Dutch, contains more colloquial words than Dutch and tends to acquire many words from other languages. Its syntactic order is similar to that of Dutch: subject, verb and object or subject, object and verb if the preposition is subordinate. Moreover, the words do not take contractions; the plural is indicated by adding an -e at the end and there is only one article: die.

Although it was born as a dialect of Dutch which the Dutch Protestant settlers used, it has established itself as a language. It is now known that there are three dialects of Afrikaans: Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Orange River.

Interestingly, the main difference from other Germanic languages is that this language uses double negation.


This language is present in Southern Africa, an area that relies heavily on ships and ports for international trade. In Africa, maritime trade reflects the continent’s trade concentration and limited diversification. 40% of the goods that travelled by sea in 2017 consisted of crude oil. 20% consisted of oil and gas derivatives. The current scarcity of both commodities makes Africa, along with Afrikaans, vital to life as we know it today.

In terms of culture, the Afrikaner identity plays a very important role in the area. The Afrikaner is the name given to the ethnic group of Dutch origin settled in South Africa and Namibia. This group bases its identity on three concepts: language, the Christian Calvist religion and agricultural production. The religious beliefs of this group have contributed to the development of Afrikaner nationalism and apartheid in the 20th century.


As a language spoken almost everywhere in southern Africa and because it is so similar to Dutch,  it is of considerable importance in international relations.

Also, because it is so widely spoken in South Africa, it is often second only to English as the preferred language of instruction. In addition to being in the G20, it has the highest GDP among African countries, an excellent transport network, a sophisticated financial sector and highly competitive companies.

Independently of South Africa, it is present in areas that are very rich in minerals such as platinum or chrome, adding to the richness of the language.

This makes it a potential language for intercontinental communication. If we were to translate a document into Afrikaans, almost all of southern Africa would understand it.



15.5 million people currently speak the language. Of these 15.5 million, 7.5 million are native speakers.

Afrikaans is the official language in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. However, there are also many Afrikaans speakers in Lesotho. There are also minority communities in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malawi, Zambia and Swaziland that speak this language. Afrikaans and Dutch are mutually intelligible, so in parts of Europe they can also understand and interact in Afrikaans.



At LinguaTrans we are experts in this language, which is present in all the services we provide, for example:

• Afrikaans translation

Afrikaans sworn translation

Afrikaans transcription

Afrikaans subtitling

Afrikaans proofreading

Afrikaans voice-over

We have excellent native professionals for each translation service and speciality. Count on a highly reputed company in the market of language services by contacting us You can also consult our rates or request a free, no-obligation quote. We are standing by to take you far… including in Afrikaans!