Is Afrikaans a good base to learn Dutch and other Germanic languages?

Since I heard the grammar is tremendously easy and simplified over time, I wonder if I should learn it as a base to learn Dutch because some people say that Dutch people can actually understand some Afrikaans.

From what I know, Dutch and Afrikaans are 90% similar, in term of vocabulary and grammar. It’s like if you wanted to learn Spanish after having learnt Portuguese, or Russian after Belarusian or Ukrainian.
There should be no problem at all.


The thing with choosing one language to gain access to a whole group of languages is that if you somehow get sidetracked or lose motivation after the first one, that one will be the only language in the group that you’ll know, so my advice for anyone planning to learn a whole bunch of languages in the same family (Romance, Slavic, German etc.) is to start with the one you want to learn the most, even if it’s not the easiest one. I’d love to learn a bunch of Slavic languages, but the one I’m most interested in is Russian, so I’m learning Russian. As Imy said, if you want to learn Dutch, just learn Dutch.

The only case where I think a language can provide access to a whole group (and still being beneficial) is if there are lots of resources in that one and (close to) nothing in the native language. I think nobody would argue against learning say English/French/German/Spanish to gain access to other languages. I also don’t think that Latin would be a bad thing, should you become interested in other Romance languages later on.

Other than this, I’m generally against all this “if you learn X, every new language will be a lot easier, and you’ll learn them faster and better too!”.

If you speak Dutch, you can understand Afrikaans and vice versa with a little bit of practice and effort.

In fact some companies have Dutch callcenters in South-Africa, because those who speak Afrikaans can speak Dutch with a little bit of training.

Afrikaans sound cute though, because it’s like old-fashioned Dutch spoken by a 6-year old who apparently can’t spell.

But if you get over the quircky differences, it’s extremely similar.

Here’s a random piece of Afrikaans:

Mutembo Nchito, die DOV, sal besluit of hulle verder vervolg of vrygelaat sal word. En of die saak na die hooggeregshof in Mongo oorgeplaas moet word.

Die saak is tot 10 Augustus uitgestel.

Here’s the Dutch translation:

Mutembo Nchito, de DOV zal besluiten of zij (hun) verder vervolgd of vrijgelaten zullen (zal) worden. En of de zaak naar het hooggerechtshof in Mongo overgeplaatst moet worden.

De zaak is tot 10 augustus uitgesteld.

As you can see it’s extremely similar except it seems the spelling and verb conjugation is a little off. Afrikaans sometimes does use completely different words, but often it’s very recognizable if you speak Dutch.

Oh and learning German becomes a lot easier once you speak Dutch, but I don’t know if it’s easier to start with Dutch or Afrikaans, whatever floats your boat…