Afrikaans (Boer language) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa and Namibia. In the literature it is described as a partially creolized language or as a deviant variety of the Dutch (Dutch) language.
Although Afrikaans has borrowings from Malay, Portuguese, Bantu and Khoisan, 90-95% of its vocabulary is of Dutch origin. Its main difference from the Dutch language is a more systematic morphology, grammar and spelling.
In South Africa, Afrikaans is the mother tongue of 6 million people, or 13.3% of the population. According to the 2001 census, 79.5% of the so-called “color community”, 59.1% of the white population, 1.7% of the Indian population and 0.7% of the Negro population were fluent in the Boer language. In addition, Afrikaans here uses the majority of native speakers of English and Bantu as a second language.
According to the 1996 constitution, Afrikaans is one of the official languages of South Africa, along with English and 9 other languages.
In neighboring Namibia, Afrikaans is widely used as lingua franca, here it is the native language for 11% of the population - mainly in the capital Windhoek, as well as in the southern provinces of Hardap and Karas.
The total number of native speakers of the Boer language (Boers, or Afrikaners) is not known, but it is estimated to be from 15 to 23 million people.
The history of the Boer language begins in 1652, when the first settlement of Europeans (Dutch) appeared in South Africa. The settlers themselves for a long time called it Kombuistaal ("kitchen language"). Afrikaans was considered a dialect of the Dutch language until the end of the 19th century, when it was recognized as an independent language.
Linguists believe that at first Afrikaans existed in the form of three dialects: northern, western and eastern. Traces of these dialects are preserved in a modern standardized language. A separate place is occupied by the prison argo sombela - it is based on Afrikaans, but was strongly influenced by the Zulu language. This dialect was used in prisons as a secret language, which was taught only to the initiates.
Linguist Paul Roberge considers the first texts on the "true Afrikaans" poems by an unknown author written in 1795, and a dialogue recorded by a Dutch traveler in 1825. The first printed books on Afrikaans began to appear only in the middle of the 19th century, when the language was still considered as a combination of regional dialects.
The Afrikaans alphabet consists of 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, to which diacritics for vowels are added: á, é, è, ê, ë, í, î, ï, ó, ô, ú, û, ý. Short words can begin with an apostrophe, which reflects a feature of Afrikaans - the widespread use of reduced vowel phonemes in colloquial speech, for example: ‘k‘ t Dit gesê instead of Ek het dit gesê (“I said that”), ‘t Jy dit geëet? instead of het jy dit geëet? ("Have you eaten this?").
In 1861, L.Kh. Moran published his book Zamenspraak tusschen Klaas Waarzegger en Jan Twyfelaar (“A Conversation Between Klaus Pravdolyubts and Jan Doubting”), which some researchers consider the first authoritative text in the Boer language. The first Afrikaans grammars and dictionaries were published by the Society of Real Afrikaners charity in Cape Town in 1875.
After the First and Second Boer Wars, the Afrikaans position significantly strengthened. Prior to that, the official languages of the Union of South Africa were English and Dutch, and in 1925 they were joined by Afrikaans, which was recognized as the Dutch dialect. The main vocabulary of the Boer language is Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal ("Dictionary of Afrikaans"), the compilation of which is not yet completed due to the scale of the project (only the first volume has been published).
An important milestone in the development of the language was the first official full translation of the Bible into Afrikaans, made in 1933. Thanks to this translation, Afrikaans entrenched itself as a “pure and correct language” of religious texts, especially numerous Calvinist communities, which until then had great skepticism about attempts to translate Scripture into the Boer language. In 1933, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first translation, a new translation was made.
When an article appeared in the British magazine Wallpaper in September 2005 that described Afrikaans as “one of the most disgusting languages in the world,” South African billionaire Johan Rupert retaliated from the magazine with ads from brands like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Montblanc and Alfred Dunhill. The author of the article was the English-speaking South African Bronwyn Davis.