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Afrikaans is one of the two official languages of the Republic of South Africa, the other being English. It is spoken by over 6 million people: the 3 million white Afrikaners, plus about 3 million “coloreds,” or persons of mixed descent. The former live largely in Northern Province (formerly Transvaal) and in Free State (formerly Orange Free State), the latter mainly in the western part of Cape Province in the west. There are also about 50,000 speakers in Namibia.
Afrikaans is a development of 17th-century Dutch brought to South Africa by the first settlers from the Netherlands. The subsequent isolation of the people and their descendants caused increasing divergence from the original Dutch, so that Afrikaans may now be considered a separate language. Written Afrikaans can be most easily distinguished from Dutch by the indefinite article ‘n, which in Dutch is een.
Authorized from the original edition of The Languages of the World 3rd edition by Keneth Katzner published by Routledge, a member of the Taylor & Francis Group.
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