Amerikaens (/ˌäme'ɾɪkæːnz/ ah-MEH-ri-KANZ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in the United States of America. It evolved in the Dutch colonization of North America from the Dutch vernacular spoken among Dutch settlers, indentured servants, and enslaved Africans who were brought over by the Dutch West India Company in the 17th century. Amerikaens gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics during the course of the 18th century and diverged from Netherlandic Dutch and its sister language Afrikaans.

Differences with Dutch and Afrikaans include morphology, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciations. There is a large degree of mutual intelligibility between the three languages, especially in written form. Amerikaens is estimated to have 85 to 90% of the vocabulary of standard Dutch, with adopted words from other languages such as German, Swedish, French, and Native American languages.


The name of the language comes directly from the Dutch word Amerikaans meaning "American". It was previously referred to as "American Dutch" (Amerikaanse-Hollands, Amerikaanse-Nederlands), or "Low German" (Leeg Duits).


In Amerikaens grammar, there is less verb conjugation compared to standard Dutch.

For example, the verb wezen (to be) as like zijn in Dutch and wees in Afrikaans:

Amerikaens Dutch Afrikaans English
ik ben ik ben ek is I am
jy/ju ben[t] jij/u bent jy/u is you are (sing.)
hy/sy/it is hij/zij/het is hy/sy/dit is he/she/it is
wy syn wij zijn ons is we are
jullie syn jullie zijn julle is you/y'all are (plur.)
hullie syn zij zijn hulle is they are

And here are the conjugations for the verb hebben (to have) like in Dutch compared to in Afrikaans.

Amerikaens Dutch Afrikaans English
ik heb ik heb ek het I have
jy/ju heb[t] jij/u hebt jy/u het you have (sing.)
hy/sy/it heeft hij/zij/het heeft hy/sy/dit he he/she/it has
wy hebben wij hebben ons het we have
jullie hebben jullie hebben julle het you/y'all have (plur.)
hullie hebben zij hebben hulle het they have

The final t in 2nd person singular verb conjugation like jy bent and jy hebt is optional and is usually written in more formal contexts.





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