This article deals with the views held by contemporary linguists on the state of two former Dutch colonial dialects, viz. Cape Dutch (Afrikaans) and North-American Low Dutch (Leeg Duits) around 1900. First of all, it is discussed to what extent Otto Jespersen’s (1860–1943) well-known ideas on ‘progress in language’ were applied at the time to Afrikaans, a ‘hyperanalytic’ and ‘new language’. As it happened, in their questione della lingua several Afrikaans scholars had emphasized the ‘progressive’ character of Afrikaans as early as 1875. Secondly, an outline is made of the contemporary study of the language of ‘the only major colonial settlement of Dutch-speakers outside of Southern Africa’, viz. Low Dutch. In particular, the observations of the Dutch creolist D.C. Hesseling (1859–1941) pertaining to Low Dutch are examined. Finally, attention is paid to the question how one has sought to explain the divergence between Low Dutch, now definitively extinct, and Cape Dutch.