Surinamese Dutch

Surinamese Dutch (Dutch: Surinaams-Nederlands, Dutch pronunciation: [ˌsyːriˈnaːms ˈneːdərˌlɑnts]) is the form of Dutch spoken in Suriname, a former Dutch colony. Dutch is spoken as a native language by about 60% of the population, most of them being bilingual with Sranan Tongo, Saramaccan and other languages. Nevertheless, Dutch is the sole official language of the country. Surinamese Dutch is easily intelligible with other forms of Dutch. Furthermore, as opposed to other languages that have different forms in the Americas (e.g., American English vs. British English) the regulation and thus standardised spelling of the Dutch language is done through a joint Dutch-Belgian-Surinamese organization, the Dutch Language Union, and thus has no regional differences regarding spelling. Suriname has been an associate member of this Nederlandse Taalunie since 2005. Therefore, many typical Surinamese words were added to the official Wordlist of Standard Dutch, known as "the Green Booklet" (Groene Boekje).

The only known words exclusive to Surinamese Dutch are okseltruitje, bacove, cellulair, wiet, zwamp, roti, kouseband, schaafijs, bobo and buitenvrouw. Surinamese Dutch has been heavily influenced by other languages spoken by residents and also by common street slang.


In Surinamese Dutch, the voiced fricatives /v, z, ɣ/ have completely merged with the voiceless /f, s, x/ into voiceless [f, s, x].[1]

History of Surinamese Dutch

Dutch was introduced in what is now Suriname when Paramaribo and its environs became a Dutch colony. The remainder of Suriname, however, remained in British hands. Only after the Dutch had lost New Netherland (including present-day New York City) to the British did they in exchange receive the rest of Suriname. After this, Dutch became the language of communication between Native Surinamese, Africans and the Dutch colonial administration. In 1876, the language in addition became official in the Surinamese education system whilst new immigrants from British India and Java also picked up the language. These immigrants also added features to spoken Dutch that are not present in European variants of Dutch.


  1. De Schutter (2013:448 and 451)


  • De Schutter, Georges (2013) [First published 1994], "14 Dutch", in van der Auwera, Johan; König, Ekkehard, The Germanic Languages, Routledge, pp. 439–477, ISBN 0-415-05768-X 

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