There are approximately eight million speakers of Afrikaans the vast majority of whom live in South Afrika, although nowadays it is not uncommon to hear it spoken in cities such as London due to the large amount of emigration.
Afrikaans has its origins in Dutch and so it is one of the Indo-European languages (belonging to the Germanic group).
The variety of Dutch which eventually become Afrikaans developed from the mid sixteen-hundreds and so can be called the youngest language in the world. In fact, the earliest example of Afrikaans in print did not appear until 1856.
It is germanic in origin (belonging to the same family of languages as English) and there is a large amount of common or related vocabulary, as well as similar sentence structures.
Afrikaans has also borrowed many words from the Malay and African languages.
Is Afrikaans difficult to learn?
It is considered one of the easiest languages for a native English speaker to learn due to both the grammar and shared origins with English.
Of course learning a language to communicate and chat are very different from learning a language and understanding all the subtleties.
Learning Afrikaans well, in common with any other language requires time, study and effort to understand the finer points.
Althought Afrikaans is a germanic language, it has diverged significantly from the Dutch over the last 300 years, and the grammar has become simplified, making it easier to learn from the students point of view.
One of the most obvious grammatical differences from the Dutch is that there is no longer any gender distinction for nouns.
So in Afrikaans 'the man' and 'the woman' are die man
and die vrou
respectively - die
meaning 'the'. The student of Afrikaans no longer needs to learn gender.
contains some of the most important points.