The Info List - Sranantongo

--- Advertisement ---

Sranan Tongo
Sranan Tongo
(also Sranantongo "Surinamese tongue", Sranan, Surinaams, Surinamese, Surinamese Creole, Taki Taki) is an English-based creole language spoken as a lingua franca by approximately 500,000 people in Suriname.[1] Because the language is shared between the Dutch-, Indigenous-, Javanese-, Hindustani-, and Chinese-speaking communities, most Surinamese speak it as a lingua franca among both the Surinamese in Suriname, a former Dutch colony, and the immigrants of Surinamese origin in the Netherlands, the United States, and the United Kingdom.


1 Origins 2 See also 3 References 4 Further reading 5 External links


Message written in Sranan Tongo
Sranan Tongo
in the guestbook in the Land of Hayracks, an open-air museum in Slovenia
(April 2016)

The Sranan words for 'to know' and 'small children' are sabi and pikin (from Portuguese language
Portuguese language
saber and pequeno), which is due to the Portuguese having been the first explorers of the West African coast, where they developed a pidgin language from which a few words became common in interactions with African by explorers who came afterward, including the English. However, research has established that, as far as its lexicon is concerned, Sranan is mostly an English-based creole language, with a substantial overlay of words from Dutch, due to the Dutch takeover of Suriname
in 1667. Sranan Tongo's lexicon is thus a fusion of English, Dutch, Portuguese and Central and West African languages. It began as a pidgin spoken primarily by African slaves in Suriname
who often did not have a common African language. Sranan also became the language of communication between the slaves and the slave-owners, as the slaves were not permitted to speak Dutch[citation needed]. As other ethnic groups were brought to Suriname
as contract workers, Sranan became a lingua franca. Although the formal Dutch-based educational system repressed its use, Sranan became more accepted by the establishment over time, especially during the 1980s when it was popularized by Suriname's then dictator Dési Bouterse
Dési Bouterse
who often delivered national speeches in Sranan. Sranan remains widely used in Suriname
and in large Dutch urban areas populated by immigrants from Suriname, especially in casual conversation where it is often mixed in freely with Dutch. Written code-switching between Sranan and Dutch is also common in computer-mediated communication.[4] People often greet each other using Sranan, saying for example "fa waka" (how are you) instead of the more formal Dutch "hoe gaat het" (how are you). Sranan as a written language has existed since the late 19th century, and was given an official spelling by the government of Suriname
on July 15, 1986 (resolution 4501). A small number of writers have used Sranan in their work, most notably the poet Henri Frans de Ziel ("Trefossa"), who also wrote Suriname's national anthem (the second verse is sung in Sranan Tongo). See also[edit]

Dutch-based creole languages English-based creole languages


^ a b Sranan Tongo
Sranan Tongo
at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) ^ Sranan Tongo
Sranan Tongo
at Ethnologue
(14th ed., 2000). ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sranan Tongo". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Radke, Henning (2017-09-01). "Die lexikalische Interaktion zwischen Niederländisch und Sranantongo in surinamischer Onlinekommunikation". Taal en Tongval. 69 (1): 113–136. 

Further reading[edit]

Iwan Desiré Menke: Een grammatica van het Surinaams (Sranantongo), Munstergeleen : Menke, 1986, 1992 (Dutch book on grammar of Sranan Tongo) Jan Voorhoeve and Ursy M. Lichtveld: Creole Drum. An Anthology of Creole Literature in Suriname. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975. C.F.A. Bruijning and J. Voorhoeve (editors): Encyclopedie van Suriname. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Elsevier, 1977, pp. 573–574. Eithne B. Carlin and Jacques Arends (editors): Atlas of the Languages of Suriname. Leiden: KITLV
Press, 2002. Michaël Ietswaart and Vinije Haabo: Sranantongo. Surinaams voor reizigers en thuisblijvers. Amsterdam: Mets & Schilt (several editions since 1999) J.C.M. Blanker and J. Dubbeldam: "Prisma Woordenboek Sranantongo". Utrecht: Uitgeverij Het Spectrum B.V., 2005, ISBN 90-274-1478-5, www.prismawoordenboeken.nl - A Sranantongo to Dutch and Dutch to Sranantongo dictionary. Henri J.M. Stephen: Sranan odo : adyersitori - spreekwoorden en gezegden uit Suriname. Amsterdam, Stephen, 2003, ISBN 90-800960-7-5 (collection of proverbs and expressions) Michiel van Kempen and Gerard Sonnemans: Een geschiedenis van de Surinaamse literatuur. Breda : De Geus, 2003, ISBN 90-445-0277-8 (Dutch history of Surinam literature)

External links[edit]

Sranan Tongo
Sranan Tongo
edition of, the free encyclopedia

Look up Sranan Tongo
Sranan Tongo
in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Sranan phrasebook.


SIL International “Sranan wortubuku, Sranan-Nederlands interaktief woordenboek” (Sranan-Dutch interactive dictionary) Sranan Tongo
Sranan Tongo
Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh list appendix) Webster's Sranan-English Online Dictionary


Conjugate Sranantongo verbs (Verbix)

Resources and more

" Sranan Tongo
Sranan Tongo
Interactive Library": Sranan texts with a bilingual interactive dictionary How Transparent is Creole Morphology? A Study of Early Sranan Word Formation (30 p., Braun & Plag, 2002) (PDF format)

Begin to learn

Words of Life: Sranang Tongo talk (audio) (YouTube) “Mama Sranan” - Mother Suriname, a song in Sranantongo (with subtitled translation) by Steven Akkrum & Da Originals (YouTube)

The New Testament in Sranan for iTunes

v t e

Languages of Suriname

Official language


Regional languages

Aukan Caribbean Hindustani Javanese Chinese Kwinti Saramaccan Sranan Tongo

Indigenous languages

Akurio Arawak Carib Mawayana Sikiana Trió W