Pidgins and Creoles
Afrikaans is spoken by about four million people, all in South Africa.
The youngest Germanic language, Afrikaans began as a Dutch dialect, Frankish. It branched off when Dutch settlers arrived in South Africa in the mid-seventeenth century. Originally known as Kaaps-Hollands or Plat-Hollands; the name 'Afrikaans' was not used until the end of the nineteenth century. Afrikaans literature began at the turn of the twentieth century. From 1910 until 1925 Dutch and English were the official languages of the Union of South Africa. In 1925 Afrikaans replaced Dutch. The language became identified with the Apartheid regime. In the 1980s the teaching of Afrikaans in schools became one target of Black protests. This was one of the roots of the eventual downfall of Apartheid.
Afrikaans has dropped almost all of the Germanic inflection, so there are no complicated declensions or conjugations to learn.
Stops: p, b, t, d, k, g, ʔ, palatalized k’
Affricates: ts, tʃ
Fricatives: f, v, s, ʃ, j, x, ɦ
Nasals: m, n, ɲ, ŋ
Lateral and Flap: l, r
z (in a few loan words).
[g] and [x] are allophones. /p, t, k/ are non-aspirate, final /b, d/ are unvoiced (become [p, t]). Dutch /sx-/ = Afrikaans /sk-/ and Dutch final -t is dropped.
front i, i:, e, ɛ, ɛ:, y, y:
middle: ə, ə:, a, ɵ, ɪ, ɪ:
back: ɑ, ɔ, ɔ:, o:, u, u:, ʊ
short: əy, oʊ, œy, ɑ, ɔi, ui
long: ɑ:i, o:i/ɔ, e:u
Stress is free. It is correlated with pitch. The main stress is usually on the root. In separable verbs, the stress is on the prefix.
MORPHOLOGY AND SYNTAX
SVO in principal clauses, and SOV in subordinate clauses. If the subordinate clause comes first, its word order is VSO.
A single definite article, die, is used for all nouns, singular and plural. ’n (pronounced [ə]) is the singular indefinite article.
Pluralization of nouns is by -e, and less commonly -s, or -ers. There is no case inflection.
Adjectives come before the nouns they describe. -e is added after articles except for some monosyllabic adjectives. Comparatives are indicated by -er.
All Germanic verbal inflection has disappeared except for a ge- prefix on past participles. The base verb is the present tense, indicative mood. Auxiliaries are used to indicate tense and other verb inflections, such as het, the sole form of the past tense, and word, the passive.
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