Based upon linguistic and geographical considerations the historiography of Afrikaans distinguishes between three early historic varieties. Apart from the two contact varieties, Cape Afrikaans (Kaapse Afrikaans) and Orange River Afrikaans (Oranjerivierafrikaans), Eastern Cape Afrikaans is considered to be primarily a continuous development of seventeenth-century Dutch and constitutes the dialectic basis of Standard Afrikaans.
As such, Eastern Cape Afrikaans has acquired a central position as theoretical
concept within the historiography of Afrikaans. The use of such a term presupposes the existence of a fairly homogeneous historic variety which systematically differed from other varieties of Afrikaans. In this article it will be argued that positing Eastern Cape Afrikaans as a separate historic variety has severe theoretical constraints and that such a claim can not - beyond doubt - be established empirically.