The Afrikaans language is a language spoken in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia by approximately 7 Million people. Afrikaans is, next to English, the only Indo-European language among the many official languages in South Africa. It is also called Cape Dutch, since it developed from the 17th century Dutch. But although Afrikaans shows a lot of similarities to Dutch, it differs from it in its phonology and its lack of case and gender distinctions. The colloquial Afrikaans is highly influenced by English as seen on a lot of phonological, grammatical and lexical borrowing and code-switching. The influence of English on Standard Afrikaans on the other hand is minimal, which could lead to an increasing disparity between colloquial and Standard Afrikaans.
Due to contact with immigrant groups and local languages, there are several mutually intelligible dialects, but only three dialects are generally identified. The “Cape Afrikaans”, influenced by a Portuguese pidgin spoken by Malay slaves, the “Orange River Afrikaans”, influenced by the neighboring Khoi languages and the “East Cape Afrikaans”, developed as a result of contact between Dutch and English settlers.
The rich vowel system of Afrikaans contains short and long vowels. The language also distinguishes between unrounded (i, ɛ, ɐ) and rounded (y, ɶ, u, ɔ, ɑ) front and back vowels. Voiced consonants at the end of a word become voiceless, for example /baard/ (English: beard) is pronounced /baart/.