Afrikaans (UK: , US: ) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia and, to a lesser extent, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It evolved from the Dutch vernacular of Holland (Hollandic dialect) spoken by the Dutch settlers in South Africa, where it gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics in the course of the 18th century. Hence, it is a daughter language of Dutch, and the youngest of the Germanic languages as well as one of the youngest languages in general.
Although Afrikaans has adopted words from other languages, including German and the Khoisan languages, an estimated 90 to 95% of the vocabulary of Afrikaans is of Dutch origin. Therefore, differences with Dutch often lie in the more analytic-type morphology and grammar of Afrikaans, and a spelling that expresses Afrikaans pronunciation rather than standard Dutch. There is a large degree of mutual intelligibility between the two languages, especially in written form.With about seven million native speakers in South Africa, or 13.5% of the population, it is the third-most-spoken language in the country. Estimates of the total number of Afrikaans speakers range between 15 and 23 million. It has the widest geographic and racial distribution of all the 11 official languages of South Africa, and is widely spoken and understood as a second or third language. It is the majority language of the western half of South Africa—the provinces of the Northern Cape and Western Cape—and the first language of 75.8% of Coloured South Africans (4.8 million people), 60.8% of White South Africans (2.7 million); 4.6% of Indian South Africans (58,000 people), and 1.5% of Black South Africans (600,000 people).