How word meanings change over time

The reason words change meaning over time is because of associations. Something has a name, and then things associated with that thing tend to “stick” to it.

The word “kind” is a good example. It started out meaning “a group with a set of characteristics” and it still has this meaning today in words like “humankind”. But from “kind”, we got another word “kin”, which means your family and relatives and people tend to be gentle and good to their family, so you are “kind” to people of your “kin”. Both meanings of “kind” have stuck around to this day because those meanings are so entwined with one another.

“farm” descends from a Latin word that also gave us the word “firm”. “farm” used to mean “a fixed payment for use of land” and this word eventually became associated with the land itself, and in yet another development it came to mean “using land to grow crops and raise livestock”. All this from a word which originally just meant “firm, unchanging, constant”. Languages are amazing

Afrikaans and English

Afrikaans and English are both Germanic languages, which means that a lot of the words, while not pronounce the same, nonetheless have the same meaning and spelling and others are very close.

Words that mean the same and are spelled the same
Pen, water, my, arm, bus, help, warm, in, myself, later, begin, by, bring, land, sing, wonder, winter

Words that are very similar (1 letter apart)
boat/boot, you/jou, group/groep, blood/bloed, all/al, good/goed, what/wat, day/dag, seek/soek, baby/baba, heart/hart, flag/vlag, how/hoe, find/vind, wash/was, now/nou, tour/toer, sister/suster, pack/pak

Some South African English for you

“Don’t be a doos. Naartjies are much better than spanspek. You can get the best ones at the shop near the petrol station. Just go down the street, and turn right at the robot. When you get there, you have to ignore the bergies, they just want to suip. I would’ve gone, but I have to make lunch, so I will go just now”

In Standard English

“Don’t be an idiot. Tangerines are much better than cantaloupe. You can get the best ones at the shop near the petrol station. Just go down the street, and turn right at the traffic light. When you get there, you have to ignore the beggars, they just want to drink. I would’ve gone, but I have to make lunch, so I will go later”