There are approximately sixteen million speakers of Afrikaans. The vast majority of whom live in South Afrika and Namibia. Nowadays it is also common to hear it spoken in cities such as London due to the large amount of emigration.
Afrikaans When Jan van Riebeck arrived in the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 to establish a trading settlement for the Dutch East India Company the language he spoke was a Netherlands' dialect from South Holland.
This dialect over time became modern Afrikaans. Afrikaans therefore has its origins in Dutch and belongs to the Germanic group of Indi-European languages. It also contains many loan words from Portuguese, Malay and African languages.
English also has various loan words taken from Afrikaans.
Some examples are: apartheid 'separateness', aardvark 'earth pig', meerkat 'lake cat', springbok 'jumping antelope' and rooibos 'red bush'. See the Wiki
entry for further examples.
The variety of Dutch which eventually become Afrikaans developed from the mid sixteen-hundreds and so can be called the youngest language in the world.
There are now many differences from Dutch, one of the most obvious being that there is no longer any gender distinction for nouns. So in Afrikaans 'the man' and 'the woman' are ' die man ' and ' die vrou ' respectively - ' die ' meaning 'the'.
Few verbs have distinct tenses: tenses such as future, past and conditional are formed by the modal verbs so 'I/he/we/you/they will make' becomes sal maak, 'have made' het gemaak and 'would make' sou maak, with sal, het and sou invariable for person and number.
Afrikaans resembles English in being a predominately 'analytic' language, meaning that it relies mainly on word order rather than word endings to indicate grammatical relationships. In simple sentences it uses the same subject-predicate system as English does, though it has the Germanic habit of putting the participle or infinitive at the end of the sentence when a compound verb is involved: Ek sien die huis (I see the house) becomes Ek het die huis gesien (I saw the house).
Similarly the verbal element goes to the end of a subordinate clause: Ek het die huis gesien, wat hy gister gekoop het (I saw the house that he bought yesterday) and Ek het die huis gesien wat hy more sal koop (I saw the house that he will buy tomorrow).
Negatives: 'Not' requires a double form: Ek het die huis nie gesien nie (I did not see the house).
Questions are expressed through inversion: Sal ek die huis sien? (Will I see the house?) or by the use of an interrogative such as watter as in Watter huis (Which house?) or Watter is die huis? (Which is the house?).
Gender: There are no grammatical genders in Afrikaans.