The Various Stages in the Development of the Afrikaans Language

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Afrikaans is known as the youngest languages in the world, having only been established as a standard language in 1925. In South Africa where it developed it has had a meteoric rise from broken Dutch to accepted language, however contrary to popular belief, Afrikaans is not merely a derivative of the Dutch language. It is influenced by languages originating from both inside and outside of South Africa. There are distinct traces of Malay-Portuguese, Dutch, as well Khoi languages present in modern Afrikaans.

The Dutch settled in South Africa in 1652, and brought with them the foundation for the Afrikaans language in the form of several dialects of Dutch that they spoke. The slaves from the East contributed a selection of Eastern Languages, and the indigenous Khoi provided their own influence as well. The constant contact and need for communication between these three groups necessitated the need to develop a language system that all could use.

After the settlement many of the employees of the Dutch East India Trading Company resigned and went on to become farmers known as Freeburghers. Their search for pastures and farmland meant that these farmers began moving inland and away from the Cape, closer to the border. Dutch was adopted as their mother tongue, despite having various European backgrounds including French and German. The variety Dutch they spoke thus became influenced by the different languages and a version of Afrikaans known as Border Afrikaans came into being.

The slaves in the Cape spoke a pidgin version of Portuguese known as Malay-Portuguese. It was used to communicate with Portuguese traders and as such most people in the Cape knew how to speak it. Gradually the slaves began speaking to Dutch with their masters and other slaves. This became a common language to talk in since it made communication between the slaves from various backgrounds easier. As Dutch became more popular among the slaves, many adopted it as their mother tongue...