Cruising around the Net researching my piece on the Dutch languages, I read up on Afrikaans quite a bit. Afrikaans is the language, very close to Dutch, spoken in South Africa. It seems to be a Dutch dialect from a few centuries ago. It’s rather close to Flemish, and of course it is close to Dutch. It is often described as a simplified Dutch, and some Dutch speakers feel it almost resembles Dutch “baby-talk” or child speech. There are theories that Afrikaans is a creole (a simplified form of a language) but these seem to be discarded, though it does have influences from other languages, especially English and various African languages.
A number of English speakers on the Net said that as an English speaker, they could either communicate or almost communicate with Afrikaans speakers, each using their own language. I decided to test that out by listening to the “De La Rey” video above. There were English subtitles, but I turned my head away so I could not read them and just listened to the song trying to figure out English words.
If you listen to it with the subtitles up there, you can see a lot of cognates, but when we talk to other humans, we don’t get subtitles floating over each other’s heads so we can understand better.
I could hardly understand one single word of the Afrikaans speech in this song. I got Transvaal, but that’s just a place name, and your average uneducated American would never pick that up. I also got flammen, and I thought that might be flame. Close, it’s fire. The idea that Afrikaans and English are the slightest bit intelligible in spoken form is not supported.
Anyway, it’s a cool song. You might as well check it out. It’s banned in South Africa, though there’s nothing racist about the song. It talks about the Boer War, in which the Afrikaans speaking Boers fought against the British military around 1904 or so.
Your more educated White nationalists around the world love this war for some reason. I’m not really up on what the war was all about – apparently an anti-colonial rebellion? Anyway, this Boer War is an integral part of the South African legendary history of their time in this land, hence this song is part of their heritage. Where these Blacks think it’s racist, I don’t understand.