Afrikaans is a Low Franconian West Germanic language which originated from the 17th century Dutch and it is one of South Africa’s official languages. With 13.5% of the population, it is the third most spoken mother tongue in the country; it is a first language for 60% of white South Africans and many South African races use Afrikaans as their second or third language.
Afrikaans - a Dutch word meaning “African” - is heavily based on the Dutch language. In fact, it is an offshoot of several Dutch dialects spoken by the mainly Dutch settlers of what is now South Africa, where it gradually began to develop independently in the course of the 18th century. Today, the original dialect is still referred to as Kitchen Dutch, Cape Dutch or African Dutch. It was only in the late 19th century that Afrikaans was actually recognised as a separate language to Dutch. In 1961, Afrikaans became one of the official languages of the country, along with English.
Afrikaans was adopted for use in schools in 1914 and in the Dutch Reformed Church in 1919. A distinct Afrikaans literature has evolved during the 20th century, and the first complete translation of the Bible into Afrikaans was published in 1933.
During the early years of the 20th century there was a blossoming of academic interest in Afrikaans. In 1925 Afrikaans was recognised by the government as a real language, instead of a slang version of Dutch. Afrikaans has changed little since then.