A Morphosyntactic Analysis of Surinamese Dutch
C. De Kleine
College of Notre Dame in Baltimore
While several languages spoken in Suriname (South America) have received a great deal of attention in the linguistics literature, including various creole languages such as Sranan and Saramaccan, the amount of information available on Suriname’s official language, Dutch, is remarkably limited. This lacuna is rooted in the widely-held assumption that Dutch in Suriname has remained relatively similar to its European ancestor throughout its 300-year history in the former colony. The present study proves this assumption fundamentally false, by providing a detailed analysis of the morphosyntactic characteristics that set Surinamese Dutch apart from European Dutch.
Focusing on Dutch as spoken by one of the main ethnic groups, the descendants of the African slave population (the ‘Creoles’), this study establishes Surinamese Dutch as a language variety in its own right, a variety that is furthermore heavily influenced by Sranan, the Englishbased creole language widely spoken in Suriname. One of the most important findings of the study is that the majority of distinguishing morphosyntactic characteristics located in Surinamese Dutch concern forms that are also found in European Dutch but which have assumed new functions in Surinamese Dutch, resulting in a phenomenon identified as grammatical camouflage. Extensive grammatical camouflage then explains to a large extent why numerous differences between Surinamese Dutch and European Dutch have gone undetected until now.
Dr. Christa de Kleine is Associate Professor of Education/TESOL at the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, USA, where she heads the MA in TESOL Program. She holds advanced degrees in linguistics from the Netherlands (MA, University of Groningen) and the USA (PhD, City University of New York). She has published on creole and creoleinfluenced languages including Negerhollands, Afrikaans and Surinamese Dutch, and on the linguistic challenges of Creole English speaking-students in US classrooms.
ISBN 9783895863882. LINCOM Studies in Germanic Linguistics 25. 198pp. 2007.