I’m happy to announce that a new language tutorial has been added to ielanguages.com: Afrikaans! The tutorial was written by Selçuk Mert Köseoğlu and proofread by native-speaker Sarien, who also plans to record some mp3s.
Afrikaans originated from 17th century Dutch and is one of the official languages of South Africa. It is also spoken in Namibia and a few other African countries. There are about 7 million native speakers and 20 million speakers overall. There is still a lot of mutual intelligibility between Dutch and Afrikaans, though it is easier for Dutch speakers to understand Afrikaans than vice versa.
As PageF30 mentioned a few months, Afrikaans is rather easy for English speakers to learn because the grammar is not nearly as complicated as other Germanic languages. Nouns have no gender and no cases. There is only one definite and one indefinite article. Verbs do not conjugate for person or number. The infinitive is identical to the present tense and the imperative. The past tense is comparable to the present perfect in English, with a few exceptions for some verbs that still exist in the preterite. The future and conditional tenses are just like in English. There are no progressive / continuous tenses or past perfect tense. The only thing that seems remotely difficult is word order.
I’ve been trying to find more resources for learning Afrikaans online, but there don’t seem to be very many. Hopefully Mert, Sarien, and I will be able to fill in that void. I do plan to create comparative tutorials with Dutch as well for those who want to learn both Dutch and Afrikaans at the same time. (Though I am currently swamped with my translation work and updating French Language Tutorial so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do it.) If there are other Afrikaans speakers out there who want to help others learn your language, please let me know.
If you are interested in South Africa, I recommend checking out the beautiful photos in the South Africa Flickr pool.
Dr. Wagner has a PhD in Linguistics and is dedicated to learning and teaching languages online and abroad. She has studied in Quebec and Australia, taught English in France, and is currently based in the US.