Universal Translation Services

Dutch Vs Afrikaans: What are the Differences?

Dutch Vs Afrikaans: What are the Differences?
dutch vs. afrikaans
(Last Updated On: October 3, 2021)

As you know, the era between the 14th to the 19th Century was about all the European powers invading and stealing lands from different countries like Dutch vs Afrikaans. It includes the countries with  them in their territories, and enforcing their set of laws upon them. To be direct, Colonization was so common and it was not even discouraged by the superpowers of the World at that time.

Despite not being a great power, the Dutch Republic managed to colonize South Africa and assert its power over them. This was indeed a case of an exception as the Dutch Republic was not a Superpower. Colonization deprives native people of their home, their sovereignty, and enslaves them not only physically but also psychologically.

It also brings new culture and traditions, that belong to the colonizers, to that land. It brings new languages along with the new set of laws that would be enforced upon the natives of that land.

In this article, we put some light upon the Dutch Colonization of South Africa, the impact it had on their lives, especially their linguistic impact on South Africa, a brief historical background of the Dutch language and the Afrikaans language.

We will also look for the similarities and differences between both of these languages. So stick around till the end while we familiarize you with every little detail about the Dutch and the Afrikaans language.

dutch colonization south africa
sout africa language compared dutch


Every Colonial Power that colonized a land, used to enter their territory in the cloak of Traders, merchants by acquiring a trade agreement like in India. We all know how rich, the African Continent used to be due to the presence of natural resources of precious gemstones like Rubies, Emeralds, and precious metals such as Gold.

At the end of the 16th century, Africa went through a long period of political turmoil and unrest in the continent. In the 16th Century, the European powers were exploring the World by acquiring trade agreements. The discovery of the Americas at the end of the 15th century created even a stronger passion in the European powers to navigate and find new lands, just like the discovery of America, to expand the borders of their Republics and Empires.

When the Europeans traveled to India, the sea route would go around Africa. After seeing that the Ottoman Empire and other Muslim powers had been losing their control over Africa due to political unrest and mutinies, the European took advantage of it and gradually started to colonize the African Continent.

The Dutch colonization of South Africa

The Dutch of Colonization seems like a minor coincidence to us as the Dutch settlement in South Africa began in the year 1647 when the Dutch Ship “Nieuwe Haarlem” got shipwrecked near the Ocean territory of South Africa.

The survivors of the shipwreck reached Cape and stayed there for one year at the “Sand Fort of the Cape of Good Hope” that they had built. After one year, they were finally rescued by a fleet of 12 ships by the Dutch. On their return, they persuaded the Dutch East India Company to open a trading center at the

Cape. In 1652, a Dutch Expedition of 90 settlers found their first permanent settlement at the Cape. They soon made the Cape, their colony. They faced several problems from the natives but eventually, they slaved them all.

The Impact of the Dutch colonization

The Dutch East India Company greatly impacted the South African Continent. They made new buildings of their architectural style, they exported Coffee from there to the Dutch Republic. They made several slaves and gained authority over the South Africans by enforcing their laws upon the natives. The Dutch had slowly become a strong Colonial Power in Europe. The settlers had also brought their culture, the language was the most significant among them all.

The Dutch Impact in terms of Language

The Dutch people in South Africa initially used the Dutch language as a way of communication and had translators who would translate the native language of the Africans to them and Vice Versa. In the 19th Century, as we look more for Dutch vs Afrikaans, we came to know that there evolved a language from Dutch, known as Afrikaans. This language was a combination of Dutch mixed with some variants of Portuguese, Indonesian and Malay.

dutch colonization
dutch afrikaans language

This language got more recognition than the Dutch itself as it was spoken all over the African continent. It is still widely spoken in all of Africa and represents the historical impact, the Dutch had in Africa, in terms of Language.


Dutch is a West Germanic language sharing a common ancestor with other languages such as English, German, and the Scandinavian languages. It evolved from Frankish in the 3rd to 5th centuries into Old Dutch in the 12th century.

Then, it periodically evolved into Middle Dutch in the 15th Century and at the end of the 15th Century, it developed into Modern Dutch which is still in use today. Dutch is spoken by about 24 million people as their first language and about 5 million people as their second.

It is the national and the official language of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Netherlands (which comprises the Netherlands and few other overseas territories.


Afrikaans is the Creole language that evolved from Dutch under the Colonialism of Africa. It has roots in Dutch and comprises of other few languages such as Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, and the indigenous Khoekhoe languages.

It is native to South Africa. A native speaker of English and Bantu languages is also a good Afrikaans speaker. It originated in the Cape Colony of the Dutch East India Company. Afrikaans is the Official language of South Africa. Checkout our latest post about Afrikaans translation services!

All the similarities between Dutch and Afrikaans

Both Dutch vs. Afrikaans are West Germanic languages. They have similar roots. Dutch and Afrikaans share mutual intelligibility, especially in written form.

About 90 to 95% of Afrikaans’ vocabulary is of Dutch Origin. Both of these languages have the single spelling and single sound of most words. Afrikaans Grammar is also more like Dutch grammar.

An Afrikaans person can easily understand and read Dutch and Dutch speakers can also interpret Afrikaans without much effort. There is no difference between the object and subject forms of personal pronouns in the plural form. Both of these languages are post-pluricentric languages.

Dutch Vs Afrikaans, What are the Differences?

Geographically, Dutch is a European language while Afrikaans is an African language. Afrikaans is a standard individual language unlike other dialects of Dutch. It surely does has the same ancestor as that of Dutch but it is a Separate language, native to a different continent.

Afrikaans verbs are quite simple, unlike Dutch. Dutch has a lot of verb conjugations in contrast to Afrikaans. Also, Afrikaans contains simplified consonant clusters while Dutch does not.


In conclusion, both of these languages are classical in their own ways. Though Afrikaans is the daughter language of Dutch, in our opinion, it developed than Dutch at a much rapid rate. It also gathered more annual speakers than Dutch.

Some people consider Afrikaans, a dying language. We think that this may not be true for another century because the rate at which Afrikaans evolved is quite impressive and it would be unnatural for such a classical language to get vanished in the pages of history.

dutch vs afrikaans

If we can help you with any questions, please feel free to contact us


Our privacy policy

Keep in touch


Contact Us 24/7

Translation office in Miami