Society

The Largest Afrikaans Speaking Populations Worldwide

As of 2011, 13.4% of the South African population spoke Afrikaans, the largest in the world.

Afrikaans is an Indo-European language of Dutch origin and a native language to both Namibia and South Africa. Afrikaans was introduced during Dutch settlement in South Africa throughout the 18th century. The Afrikaans vocabulary is composed of at least 90% Dutch words and 10% borrowed words. The spoken form of Afrikaans differs slightly from the spoken Dutch though the written forms of the languages are mutually understandable. Afrikaans borrows from other languages such as Bantu, Malay, Khoisan, Portuguese, and South African English.

Afrikaans In South Africa

The South African government recognized Afrikaans as a language, not a Dutch dialect, in 1925. Afrikaans is the third widely spoken language in South Africa by more than 13.4% of the total population. The language is taught as a second language in schools and widely used by other Bantu and English-speaking South Africans. The language is mainly spoken in the Western and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa. Due to its widespread use as the only native language in schools during the apartheid era, South Africans have demanded the removal of Afrikaans as a teaching language in universities. Opposition towards the language has, however, not affected its use in media. In fact, Afrikaans publications have the highest readership in the country. In 2011, approximately 6,855,082 people in South Africa use the language.

Afrikaans In Namibia

Namibia has the second largest Afrikaans population with about 11% of the households speaking native Afrikaans. Other Namibians use Afrikaans as a second language and as a lingua franca. The language is spoken by about 180,029 people, accounting for 8.7% of the total Namibian population. Afrikaans was one of the official languages in colonial Namibia though the status is held today by English. Most of the Afrikaans speakers are located in Windhoek, Hardap, and Karas.

Other Afrikaans Speaking Populations

South Africa and Namibia have the largest Afrikaans population with most of the native speakers found in the two countries. Other populations of Afrikaans speakers are found in Australia (35,030), New Zealand (21,123), Botswana (8,082), and Mauritius (36). Many of these speakers of Afrikaans migrated from South Africa in search of better economic opportunities.

Impact Of Afrikaans

The rigorous campaigns to achieve recognition for the Afrikaans language finally broke ground in 1925 when it was recognized as a language of its own. The language was taught to black Africans exclusively during the apartheid era making Afrikaans infamous among oppressed South Africans. After independence, the special status attached to Afrikaans during apartheid was removed, leaving it as one of the eleven languages in South Africa. Afrikaans has been widely used in religious purposes, broadcasting, and educational texts.The use of Afrikaans has had a direct impact on the development of South African English as the later incorporates lone words from Afrikaans. Standard English has also derived a few words from Afrikaans including words such as aardvark and veld.

The Largest Afrikaans Speaking Populations Worldwide

RankCountrySpeakersPercentageYear
1 South Africa6,855,08213.4%2011
2 Namibia180,0298.7%2011
3 Australia35,0300.16%2011
4 New Zealand21,1230.52%2006
5 Botswana8,0820.39%2011
6 Mauritius360.002%2011

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