Jump to content

Arabic Afrikaans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arabic Afrikaans
عربس افركانس
Script type
Related scripts
Parent systems
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

Arabic Afrikaans (Afrikaans: Arabies Afrikaans, Arabic Afrikaans: عربس افركانس) or Lisan-e-Afrikaans (لسانِ افرکانس) was a form of Afrikaans written in the Arabic script. It began in the 1830s in the madrasa in Cape Town. Beside a 16th-century manuscript in the German language written with Arabic script,[1] it is the only Germanic language known to have been written in the Arabic script.[2]



the Arabic Afrikāns alphabet
ݗ خ ح چ ج ث ت پ ب ا
ksā khā chīm jīm
ط ض ص ش س ژ ز ر ذ د
tāh zād
sād shīn sīn zhā zāl
گ ک ق ڤ ف ڠ ݝ غ ع ظ
gāf kāf qāf ngīn gīn ghīn aīn zāh
ے ی أ،ؤ،ئ ء و ه ن م ل لا
hamzā alif,
hamza wāw,
hamza yā
hamzā wāw nūn mīm lām lām alif

The Arabic Afrikaans (Afrikaans: alifbe) is a variant of the Arabic alphabet used to write Afrikaans. It consists of 36 letters:

Afrikaans Alphabet
Yy Ww - Hh Nn Mm Ll Gg/gg Gh/gh Kk/Cc W/w Ff/Vv Ng/ng Gg/Gh gg/gh Ch/Gh ch/gh - Zz Tt Zz Ss Sj sj Ss/Cc Ss Zz Rr Zz Dd/Tt Ch ch Hh Xx Tj tj Dj dj Ss Tt/Dd Pp/Bb Bb -
Arabic Alphabet
ی و ء ہ ن م ل گ ک ڤ ف ڠ ݝ غ ع ظ ط ض ص ش س ژ ز ر ذ د خ ح ݗ چ ج ث ت پ ب ا
IPA value
j w ʔ ɦ n m l g k v f ŋ g ɣ ʔ(ʕ) z t z s ʃ s ʒ z r z(ð) d x ɦ(ħ) ks t͡ʃ d͡ʒ s(θ) t p b ʔ

Note: This alphabet is the Persian form of the Arabic alphabet, with 36 letters, including extra letters for sounds that are not in the Arabic alphabet.


Afrikaans Latin Alphabet Pronunciation Afrikaans Arabic Alphabet
a /ɐ/ ـَ
aa /ɑː/ ـَآ،ـَا
ie /i/ ـِ
eeu/eu/uu /iʊ/ɪə/y/ ـِى
e/è /ɛ/ ىٖ
oe /u/ ـُ
oo /ʊə/ ـُوْ
oei/ooi /uɪ/ɔːɪ/ ـُوی
ô /ɔː/ ـُو
î /əː/ ـَـِى
ee /eə/ ـِىْ
e /ɛ/ ویْ
i /i~ə/ ـِـَ
ê /eː/ɛː/ ـَـِـٖ
o /ɔ/ ـَـُ
i /ə/ ـٖى،ـَـِ
û /œ/œː/ ـَوی
ei /ɛi/ آی
ai /aj/ ـَى
aai /ɑːi/ ـَای،آی



Consonant phonemes
Labial Alveolar Post-
Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t t͡ʃ k (q) (ʔ)
voiced b d d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ χ
voiced v z ʒ (ʁ) ɦ
Approximant w l j
Rhotic r


Arabisi-Afrikaans 1872

Seventy-four Arabic Afrikaans texts are extant. The earliest, the "Hidyat al-Islam", is dated 1845, though its source manuscript no longer exists. The oldest surviving manuscript, which describes the basic Islamic learning, was written by the imam Abdul-Kahhar ibn Abdul-Malik in 1868. The most professional version was written in 1869 by Abu Bakr Effendi, who came from Istanbul to the Cape in 1862.

Uiteensetting van die Godsdiens[edit]

One of the best examples of this literature was Uiteensetting van die Godsdiens ("Exposition of the Religion"), a book laying out Islamic traditions according to the Hanafi religious law. Written by Abu Bakr Effendi, it was printed using Arabic script throughout, but contained transcriptions of Afrikaans.

According to one of the three experts in this field, the German Hans Kähler [de], about 20 people were responsible for the text, but the most important contributors to Arabic Afrikaans opinion were:

  • Abdul Kahhar ibn Hajji Abdul Malik (early 19th century)
  • Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Baha ud-Din (mid-19th century)
  • Ismail ibn Muhammad Hanif (mid-19th century)
  • Abd ur-Rahman ibn Muhammad Al-Iraqi (late 19th century), and
  • Abu Bakr Effendi (late 19th century).

This is a paragraph of the book Uiteensetting van die godsdiens:

  • Transcription of the Arabic-alphabet text. The italics mark non-Afrikaans words:
    Iek bagent diesie kitab met Allah (ta'ala) sain naam. Allah (ta'ala) es rizq giefar ien dunya fer al wat liefandag ies. Allah (ta'ala) es beriengar ien die gannat ien dag ahirat fer al die miesie an djinns wat oewhap iman gadoet het. Al die dank an parais es rieg fer Allah (ta'ala) alien. Allah (ta'ala) het gagief fer oewhans Islam sain agama. Islam sain agama oek waas gawies fantefoewhar Ibrahim sain agama... An Allah (ta'ala) het gamaak die Qur'an rasulullah sain hadit fer seker dalil fer oewhans... An Allah (ta'ala) het galaat oewhans wiet die riegtie wieg fan die ilms an gahelp fer oewhans oewham ta lier ander miesie oewhap die riegtie manierie.
  • Translation into modern standard Afrikaans:
    Ek begin hierdie boek met Allah (hy is verhewe) se naam. Allah (h.i.v.) is onderhouer in die wêreld vir al wat lewendig is. Allah (h.i.v.) is bringer in die paradys in die laaste dag vir al die mense en djinns wat oop iman gedoen het (m.a.w. in die geloof gesterwe het). Al die dank en prys is reg vir Allah (h.i.v.) alleen. Allah het gegee vir ons Islam se godsdiens. Islam se godsdiens ook was gewees vantevore Abraham se godsdiens...En Allah (h.i.v.) het gemaak die Koran en die profeet se hadit vir seker bewys vir ons...En Allah (h.i.v.) het gelaat ons weet die regte weg van die godsdienswetenskappe en gehelp vir ons om te leer ander mense op die regte manier.

The Arabic-alphabet version uses an Arabic word in several places where modern Afrikaans uses a Germanic word, e.g. dunya دنيا for wêreld, meaning "world". The Arabic words are entirely unknown in Afrikaans.

Without the above Translation into modern standard Afrikaans (which is in itself not standard Afrikaans although much closer to it), it is nearly impossible for an Afrikaans-speaking person to understand the above Transcription of the Arabic-alphabet text. Some words do however appear to resemble phonetic transliterations between Arabic script and the version of Afrikaans spoken by Cape Coloured people, mixed with Dutch.

Islam arrived among the Malays during the early 15th century and these works were most likely teaching tools; a way for Muslim teachers to instruct Malay slaves in the Cape while not necessarily being able to speak Dutch very well or at all.


An example that used Arabic vowels was a handwritten Arabic–Afrikaans bilingual Quran (perhaps written in the 1880s). In it, for example, Surah 67, Ayah 1 says:[3]

Arabic: Afrikaans:
No diacritics
تبارك الذي بيده الملك
ان دى كونڠ سكپ اس بيدى هوك الله تعالا ان ڤارلك الله تعالا اس باس فر الدى اتس
With diacritics
تَبَارَكَ ٱلَّذِيْ بِيَدِهِ ٱلمُلْكُ
ان دى كُوْنِڠْ سْكَپْ اس بِيْدِىْ هُوْكَ الله تعالا ان ڤَارْلِكْ الله تعالَا اِسْ بَاس فَِرْ اَلْدِىْ اِتْسْ
Transliterated tabāraka -llaḏī bi-yadihi l-mulk[u] °n dī kūnuň skap is bīdī hūka Allah ta`ālā °n vārlik Allah ta`ālā is bās fir aldī its
In Conventional Afrikaans - En die koningskap is by die hoë Allah ta`ālā en waarlik Allah ta`ālā is die baas van alle dinge.
In English Blessed is the One in Whose hand is the kingdom. And the kingship is with the high Allah (may He be exalted) and truly Allah (may He be exalted) is the boss of all things.

(° = vowel sign missing, ň = /ŋ/ as in "king", ʿ = ayn, underlined = in Arabic.)

Here in the Afrikaans text:

  • /ŋ/ ň is written as ayn but with three dots above ڠ
  • /v/ v is written as ڤ
  • /f/ f in "fir" has both an /a/ vowel and an /i/ vowel.
  • The letter of prolongation in ī and ū has sukūn.
  • The Afrikaans preposition by is written as part of the next word, likely by copying Arabic language usage with some prepositions.
  • The Afrikaans word al = "all" is written as part of the next word, likely by copying Arabic language usage with al- = "the".


Arabic Afrikaans English translation Etymology Afrikaans Equivalent
Kitaab کتاب book Arabic كتاب Boek بک
dunya دنیا world Arabic دنيا Wêreld ڤرلت
Aql عقل intellect Arabic عقل
Ilm علم knowledge Arabic علم Kennis کنس
Waqt وقت time Arabic وقت tyd تآیت
Akhirat آخرت Hereafter Arabic آخرت hierna هرنا
Halaal حلال permitted Arabic حلال
Haraam حرام Forbidden Arabic حرام
Haq حق rights Arabic حق reg رخ
Maqsad مقصد Goal Arabic مقصد doel دل
Sawal سوال Question Arabic سوال vraag فراخ
Jawab جواب Answer Arabic جواب Antwoord انتڤیرت
Jannat جنت heaven Arabic جنة (construct case) hemel همل
Jahanaam جهنم Hell Arabic جهنم hel هیل
Izzat عزت respect Arabic عزة (construct case) respek رسپیک
Zillat / Dhillat ذلت disrespect Arabic ذلة (construct case) beledigen بلدغی
awwal اول start, beginning Arabic اول begin بغن
akhir آخر end, last Arabic آخر einde اندی
din دین religion Arabic دين godsdiens ختسدنس
Rizq رزق sustenance Arabic رزق
ustad استاد teacher Persian استاد onderwyser اندرڤآیزر
Qaiser قیصر Caesar Arabic قيصر from Latin Caesar تسزغ/ سزغ
lisan لسان language Arabic لسان taal تال
dua دعا prayer Arabic دعاء bed بت
sabr صبر patience Arabic صبر geduld غدلت
ritual prayer Arabic صلاة (construct case), Persian (نماز) rituele gebed برتییل خبویت
dawat دعوت invitation
(Islamic missionary activity)
Arabic دعوة (construct case) uitnodiging اوییتنودغڠ
Falsafah فلسفه philosophy Arabic فلسفة from Greek filosofie فلوسوفی
Fitnah فتنه trial and tribulation Arabic فتنة ("strife" / "sedition") burgeroorlog بویرخررلخ
ibaadat عبادت worship Arabic عبادة (construct case) aanbidding آنبدڠ
iman ایمان faith Arabic إيمان geloof خلوف
millat ملت personal law Ottoman Turkish ملت from Arabic ملة (construct case) persoonlike reg پرسنلک رخ
yaqin یقین certainty, Arabic يقين zekerheid زکرہآیت
Usul اصول principles Arabic أصول beginsel بغنسل
Barakat برکت blessing Arabic بركة (construct case) seën سن
hasan حسن good Arabic حسن goed غت
hikmat حکمت wisdom Arabic حکمة (construct case) wysheid ڤسهت
Baazaar بازار market Persian بازار Baazaar بازار
nikah نکاح marriage Arabic نكاح (archaic) bruiloft بروییلفت
Qiyaamat قیامت Day of Resurrection Arabic قيامة (construct case, "judgment day") dag des oordeels دخ دی اوردلس
alam عالم world Arabic عالم Wêreld ڤرلت
insan انسان human Arabic إنسان mens منس
haiwan حیوان animal Arabic حيوان dier در
jahil جاهل ignorant Arabic جاهل onwetend انڤتنت
wazir وزیر minister Arabic وزير minister منستر
daftar دفتر notebook Arabic دفتر Notaboek نوتابک
fasad فساد corruption Arabic فساد korrupsie کریپس
hayat حیات life Arabic حياة (construct case) lewe لوی
maut موت death Arabic موت dood دوت
sabt سبت saturday Arabic سبت Saterdag ساترداخ
shams شمس sun Arabic شمس son سن
junub جنوب south Arabic جنوب suid سویت
qamar قمر moon Arabic قمر maan مان
najm نجم star Arabic نجم ster ستیر
zawja زوجه wife Arabic زوجة vrou فروی
zawj زوج couple Arabic زوج paar پار
shamaal شمال north Arabic شمال noord نورت
gharb/maghrib مغرب
west Arabic مغرب
west ڤیست
yaum یوم day Arabic يوم dag دخ
laylat لیلت night Arabic ليلة (construct case) nag نخ
sharq/mashriq مشرق
east Arabic مشرق
oost اوست


Arabic Afrikaans used Eastern Arabic numerals.[dubiousdiscuss] The following is the list of basic cardinal numerals with the spelling in the Afrikaans Latin alphabet:

Arabic form Number Afrikaans Arabic Alphabet (with diacritics)[4] Afrikaans Arabic Alphabet (without diacritics) Afrikaans Latin Alphabet
٠ 0 نَویل/صِفِر نویل/صفر nul
١ 1 اَِٖن ان een
٢ 2 تڤِیْ تڤی twee
٣ 3 درِ در drie
٤ 4 ڤِر ڤر vier
٥ 5 ڤآیف ڤآیف vyf
٦ 6 سیٖس سیس ses
٧ 7 سَِٖڤٖی سڤی sewe
٨ 8 اَخت اخت agt
٩ 9 نَِٖغٖی نغی nege
١٠ 10 تنٖ تن tien

See also[edit]


  1. ^ compare the Lutheran hymn Vater unser im Himmelreich in the following picture. [Martin Luther]: Alaman Türkīsi. In: [Anon.]: Meǧmūʿa. [o.O.u.J.] fol. 40r.-41v. http://data.onb.ac.at/rec/AL00642162 also the digitalization of the full picture http://data.onb.ac.at/dtl/3373545 (accessed 2019-01-15).
  2. ^ "List of issues Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies". www.tandfonline.com.
  3. ^ Michael Cook, The Koran, A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-19-285344-9, p. 93
  4. ^ "Arabic Afrikaans – early standardisation of Afrikaans orthography: A discussion of The Afrikaans of the Cape Muslims by Achmat Davids".

External links[edit]