Afrikaans is mainly spoken in the Republic of South Africa by a little less than 6.000.000 people.
Afrikaans is national and official language in the Republic of South Africa alongside with English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.
In 1925 Afrikaans replaced Dutch as national language in South Africa.
Afrikaans belongs to the Western branch of the Germanic languages. It was once a variety of Dutch. Both languages are still very similar. Afrikaans is also closely related to English and German. The Germanic languages form a top-level constituent of the Indo-European language family.
The major varieties of Afrikaans are Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Orange River Afrikaans.
The vowel system is characterized by a large number of diphtongs.
/b, d/ are the only voiced obstruent phonemes in Afrikaans. [g] is an allophone of /x/.
Obstruents are always devoiced in word-final position. The same kind of word-final devoicing is found in German and Dutch.
Nouns are inflected for number. Case infection and gender, as it is found in Dutch, have been abandined in Afrikaans.
Attributive adjectives take the ending -e, wheras predicative adjectives are not inflected.
The invariable definite and indefinite articles precede the head noun.
The paradigms of personal pronouns dinguish between a subject form and a object form in the singular. This is the only remnant of case inflection in Afrikaans.
The verb has only one synthetic tense form: the present tense. The simple past has been preserved only in some auxiliary verbs. The function of the past tense has been occupied by the analytic perfect.
Verbal agreement with the subject in person and number has been lost in the present tense.
The present tense can also refer to events in the past or in the future.
The perfect tense is formed by an invariant auxiliary verb and the past participle. The future is formed by an axiliary verb ("shall" or "go") and the present tense of the main verb.
In main and coordinate clauses the finite verb occurs generally in second postion, all following parts of the predicate are found in clause-final position. The order of constituents in subordinate clauses is SOV.
Possessors follow the possessed noun linked with the particle /se/.
The Afrikaans word stock is mainly of Dutch origin. Malay and Portuguese loanwords occur quite frequently, whereas the local African languages did exert very little influence on the Afrikaans lexicon.