A language of South Africa


4,740,000 in South Africa (2006 census), decreasing. Population total all countries: 4,949,410.


Widespread, but less speakers in East Cape and KwaZuluNatal provinces. Also in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Germany, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Swaziland, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (1996, Constitution, Art 6(1)).


Cape Afrikaans (West Cape Afrikaans), East Cape Afrikaans, Orange River Afrikaans. A variant of the Dutch [nld] spoken by the 17th century colonists, with some lexical and syntactic borrowings from Malay [zlm], Bantu languages, Khoisan languages, Portuguese [por], and other European languages. Earliest Afrikaaners were brought from Java 300 years ago.

Language Use

10,300,000 L2 speakers. Some also speak English [eng].

Language Development
Taught in primary and secondary schools. Fully developed. Bible: 1933–2000.
Braille script, used since 1953. Latin script, primary usage.
Other Comments

Muslim, Christian.

Also spoken in:

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