1.  Classification / Classification

Indo-European, Germanic, West, Low Saxon-Low Franconian, Low Franconian. (Ethnologue?)

"Afrikaans is a descendent of Dutch.... Afrikaans retains some features of 18th century Dutch, together with vocabulary from various Bantu and Khoisan languages and also from Portugese and Malay. Speakers of Afrikaans can understand Dutch, though Dutch speakers tend to need a while to tune into Afrikaans." (Omniglot)

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland. Lesser numbers in Malawi (and perhaps other countries in southern Africa?).

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to Ethnologue (accessed 2015):

  • 6,860,000 in South Africa (2011 census)
  • 89,900 in Namibia (2006)
  • 41,000 in Zambia (2006)
  • 20,000 in Botswana (2006)
  • 13,000 in Swaziland (2006)
  • Population total all countries: 7,096,810.
  • 10,300,000 second-language speakers in South Africa.

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

Cape Afrikaans (West Cape Afrikaans), Orange River Afrikaans, East Cape Afrikaans. (Ethnologue)

Holliday (1993) discusses the history and separation of Afrikaans from Dutch.

5.  Usage / Utilisation

One of 11 official languages in South Africa and its third most widely spoken language.

"In 1925 Afrikaans was recognised by the government as a real language, instead of a slang version of Dutch." (Omniglot)

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

Uses a Latin orthography. Same alphabet as Dutch and English. The Unicode character for " 'n " (ʼn - Unicode point 0149) is sometimes encountered.

"From about 1815 Afrikaans started to replace Malay as the language of instruction in Muslim schools in South Africa. At that time it was written with the Arabic alphabet." (Omniglot)

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple


7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

Standard Latin fonts include the necessary characters. The character ʼn is sometimes encountered and many fonts don't render it well. It should probably be avoided.

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

The US (International) keyboard layout is sufficient. designed the South African keyboard that allows typing in Afrikaans and other South Africa language with a single keyboard layout.

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

The South African language site "Batho Portal" has a section on & in Afrikaans.

Wikipedia in Afrikaans (over 35k articles as of 11-2015)

UNIVERSELE VERKLARING VAN MENSEREGTE (Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Afrikaans):

Numerous other sites.

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

The OpenOffice suite of software applications, Firefox, and Thunderbird has been localized in Afrikaans by See There is also an Afrikaans spell checker? for all of these programs.

Other translated packages:


As of 2007, there was is a group working on localising Drupal?. The URL for that effort - - now redirects to DASA\Drupal Association South Africa? (DASA)

Microsoft has localised some of its products in Afrikaans in LIP packages: (needs updating)

The web browser Opera? is also available in Afrikaans.

CTexT has developed a spell checker? and hyphenator for use with Microsoft Windows. See:

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

  • ISO 639-1: af
  • ISO 639-2: afr
  • ISO 639-3: afr

7.6  Locales / Paramètres régionaux

7.7  Other / Autre

Google has a version localized in Afrikaans:

Certain cell phones are available in Afrikaans, with some featuring predictive text input for Afrikaans.

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile page on Afrikaans: supports Afrikaans:

Mailing list for the discussion of Afrikaans localisation:

9.  Comments / Remarques

Localisation in Afrikaans seems to be well advanced in many areas. We are aware of no particular technical or linguistic problems encountered in localising this language.

10.  References / Références

Holliday, Lloyd. 1993. "The First Language Congress for Afrikaans." In Joshua Fishman, ed., The Earliest Stage of Language Planning: The "First Congress" Phenomenon. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Pp. 11-30.

Omniglot, "Afrikaans,"

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Afrikaans,"

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables,"

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language,"

Wikipedia, "Afrikaans,"

______, "Afrikaans,"

Wolff, Friedel. 2006. "Software Localisation by" Localisation Focus 5(3): 19-21.

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Categories: Languages, South Africa, Namibia, Parts of Botswana, Parts of Swaziland, Parts of Zambia