Afrikaans is a Low Franconian West Germanic language descended from Dutch and spoken mainly in South Africa and Namibia. In 2013 there were about 17 million speakers in South Africa, where Afrikaans is one of the Statutory national languages, and an official language in nine provinces. About 6.8 million of those people are native speakers of Afrikaans, while the rest speak it as a second language.

In Namibia there were 127,000 speakers of Afrikaans in 2018, mainly in the Hardap and Khomas regions in the south of the country. It is used in schools and is officially recognized.

Afrikaans at a glance

  • Native name: Afrikaans [ɐfriˈkɑːns]
  • Language family: Indo-European, Germanic, West Germanic, Low Franconian, Dutch
  • Number of speakers: c.15-23 million
  • Spoken in: South Africa and Namibia
  • First written: 19th century
  • Writing system: Arabic and Latin alphabets
  • Status: official language in South Africa and Namibia

Other countries with significant numbers of Afrikaans speakers include Zamnbia (96,000), Australia (43,700), New Zealand (27,400), the USA (23,000), Eswatini (17,000) and the Netherlands (14,300) {source].

Afrikaans retains some features of 18th century Dutch, together with vocabulary from various Bantu and Khoisan languages and also from Portugese and Malay. Afrikaans and Dutch are more or less mutually intelligible.

Here is an example of Dutch speakers trying to understand Afrikaans.

From about 1815 Afrikaans started to replace Malay as the language of instruction in Muslim schools in South Africa. At that time it was written with the Arabic alphabet.

Afrikaans, written with the Latin alphabet, started to appeared in newspapers and political and religious works in about 1850. Then in 1875 a group of Afrikaans speakers from the Cape formed the Genootskap vir Regte Afrikaanders (Society for Real Afrikaners), and published a number of books in Afrikaans, including grammars, dictionaries, religious material and histories. They also published a journal called the Patriot.

During the early years of the 20th century there was a blossoming of academic interest in Afrikaans. In 1925 Afrikaans was recognised by the government as a real language, instead of a slang version of Dutch. Afrikaans has changed little since then.

Afrikaans alphabet

A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i
aa bee see dee ee ef gee haa ie
J j K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r
jee kaa el em en oo pee kuu er
S s T t U u V v W w X x Y y Z z  
es tee uu vee wee ex y set  

Afrikaans pronunciation

Afrikaans pronunciation


Arabic alphabet for Afrikaans

Arabic alphabet for Afrikaans


Download Afrikaans alphabet charts (Excel)

Sample texts in Afrikaans

Arabic alphabet

الّ منسلك ڤسنس ڤرد فراي, مت خلايك ڤاردخهد ان رخت, خبر. هلل هت رد ان خڤت ان بهورت ان د خيس فن بردرسكپ تينور مكار اپ ت تري.

Details of the Arabic alphabet for Afrikaans and the sample text in the Arabic alphabet supplied by Michael Peter Füstumum

Latin alphabet

Alle menslike wesens word vry, met gelyke waardigheid en regte, gebore. Hulle het rede en gewete en behoort in die gees van broederskap teenoor mekaar op te tree.

Hear a recording of this text by Marius Kock


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample video in Afrikaans

See more videos like this on Wikitongues

Information about Afrikaans | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Time | Tower of Babel | Afrikaans courses on: and [affilate links]

Learn Afrikaans online with AfrikaansPod101
Learn Afrikaans with Ling

Afrikaans courses and other resources available on Amazon


Information about Afrikaansكتابة_عربية_أفريقانية

Online Afrikaans lessons

Hear the sounds of the Arikaans alphabet

Afrikaans and Dutch humour newsletter

Afrikaans phrases

Online Afrikaans dictionaries

Online Afrikaans Radio

Online news Afrikaans

Germanic languages

Afrikaans, Alsatian, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Danish, Dutch, Elfdalian, English, Faroese, Flemish, Frisian (East), Frisian (North), Frisian (Saterland), Frisian (West), German, Gothic, Gottscheerish, Gronings, Hunsrik, Icelandic, Limburgish, Low German, Luxembourgish, Mòcheno, Norn, Norwegian, Old English, Old Norse, Pennsylvania German, Ripuarian, Scots, Shetland(ic), Stellingwarfs, Swabian, Swedish, Swiss German, Transylvanian Saxon, Värmlandic, Wymysorys, Yiddish, Yola, Zeelandic

Languages written with the Arabic script

Adamaua Fulfulde, Afrikaans, Arabic (Algerian), Arabic (Bedawi), Arabic (Chadian), Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Gulf), Arabic (Hassaniya), Arabic (Hejazi), Arabic (Lebanese), Arabic (Libyan), Arabic (Modern Standard), Arabic (Moroccan), Arabic (Najdi), Arabic (Syrian), Arabic (Tunisian), Arwi, Äynu, Azeri, Balanta-Ganja, Balti, Baluchi, Beja, Belarusian, Bosnian, Brahui, Chagatai, Chechen, Chittagonian, Comorian, Crimean Tatar, Dargwa, Dari, Dhatki, Dogri, Domari, Gawar Bati, Gawri, Gilaki, Hausa, Hazaragi, Hindko, Indus Kohistani, Kabyle, Kalkoti, Karakalpak, Kashmiri, Kazakh, Khowar, Khorasani Turkic, Khwarezmian, Konkani, Kumzari, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Lezgi, Lop, Luri, Maguindanao, Malay, Malay (Terengganu), Mandinka, Marwari, Mazandarani, Mogholi, Morisco, Mozarabic, Munji, Noakhailla, Nubi, Ormuri, Palula, Parkari Koli, Pashto, Persian/Farsi, Punjabi, Qashqai, Rajasthani, Rohingya, Salar, Saraiki, Sawi, Serer, Shabaki, Shina, Shughni, Sindhi, Somali, Soninke, Tatar, Tausūg, Tawallammat Tamajaq, Tayart Tamajeq, Torwali, Turkish, Urdu, Uyghur, Uzbek, Wakhi, Wanetsi, Wolof, Xiao'erjing, Yidgha

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 22.08.23


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