The Mysterious Saramaccan Language: Where is it Spoken?

saramaccan language
(Last Updated On: October 31, 2023)

Where can you find the Saramaccan language? Perhaps you’ve heard of it before, or you’re just wondering what this unfamiliar language is. In this article, we’ll look at the origins of Saramaccan, where it’s spoken, and why it’s slowly fading away as its last native speakers pass away.

A Brief History of Saramaccan Language

The Saramaccan language originates from enslaved people brought to Suriname in South America by Dutch settlers in 1650. It is derived from the Niger-Congo languages of West Africa, especially Fon and other Gbe languages, and Akan and Central African languages such as Kikongo.

The captives were primarily from West Africa, and they spoke a variety of languages, including English, Portuguese, French, Wolof, and various native African tongues. The enslaved people developed their creole called Kongo (after their homeland), known as Saramaccan when British settlers took over Suriname in 1740.

Today, Saramaccan is considered an endangered language since there are only around 1,500 speakers under age 30. This means that unless some efforts are made to preserve it, children will not be learning Saramaccan at home—and eventually, no one will speak it. Although people can still read books written in Saramaccan and understand what others say to them, very few young people use it daily. Most adults don’t even know how to write or read it anymore.

There are several reasons for its decline; At the same time, today’s students learn Dutch in school instead of English, which was common practice until 1961; many parents do not feel inclined to teach their children any Creole language due to the stigma associated with such dialects. Parents also fear that if their children speak Saramaccan at school, teachers will assume they aren’t capable of understanding Dutch.

While these fears may have been valid years ago, most schools now accept Creole languages as part of their curriculum. Students who grow up speaking both Dutch and another language perform better academically than those who do not. Still, many parents remain hesitant to pass down Saramaccan because it has never been recognized as an official national language like Afrikaans or Spanish.


Where Is Saramanca Language Spoken Today?

This language, sometimes referred to as Sranan-Tongo, was spoken by inhabitants of Suriname, a country in South America. The language was recognized as one of Suriname’s official languages and has had a relatively strong presence in its region.

However, with each passing generation, fewer people speak it fluently. While there are still some native speakers living in Suriname today, most are over 50 years old, and many younger people have adopted Dutch or English as their primary language.

There are also quite a few speakers who do not know how to speak it. It is estimated that less than 1% of people in Suriname can understand Saramaccan, and only about 10% can converse with it. It is considered an endangered language and may be entirely lost within our lifetime.

What Are the Key Differences From Other Surinamese Languages?

Many of Suriname’s main languages—including Sranan, Javanese, Hindustani, and English—are spoken by many people throughout South America and can even be found in parts of Europe. But there are also languages unique to Suriname, including Ndyuka and Saramaccan. These two indigenous languages were formed from South American, African, and European dialects brought to Suriname by enslaved people.

Although they differ significantly, both have been included on UNESCO’s list of endangered languages since 2016. UNESCO says that if these languages disappear, their loss will deprive humanity of cultural diversity, without which our world would be poorer. The organization has launched an action plan to protect them, but with only about 2,000 speakers left for each language (Ndyuka and Saramaccan), time is running out.

Linguistic diversity is dwindling. Experts predict that more than half of all languages will disappear over the next century. Fewer languages don’t only mean fewer words to learn and bring our dictionaries—it also means we lose a wealth of information about our environment, climate change, culture, and history. In fact, according to UNESCO, each natural language represents a unique worldview that differs from others and contains cultural knowledge essential for sustainable development. So what can we do about it? One way to address language loss issues is by encouraging people around us to value their native tongue.


Saramaccan Language Dialects

The Saramaccan language is a creole language spoken in Suriname. It is derived from African, Dutch, and English languages. There are three main dialects of Saramaccan: Upper Saramaccan, Lower Saramaccan, and Central Saramaccan.

Upper Saramaccan dialect

The Upper Saramaccan dialect is a unique form of the Saramaccan language spoken by people in the upper region of Suriname. It is characterized by its use of creole vocabulary and its distinctive pronunciation. There are three main features of the Upper Saramaccan dialect: its use of creole vocabulary, its specific pronunciation, and its use of African grammatical structures.

One of the most notable features of the Upper Saramaccan dialect is its use of creole vocabulary. This is because the upper region of Suriname was historically home to many enslaved Africans. As a result, the Upper Saramaccan dialect has borrowed a significant amount of vocabulary from African languages. This can be seen in the use of words such as “bakaa” (meaning “good”), “pikin” (meaning “child”), and “wan” (meaning “one”).

Another notable feature of the Upper Saramaccan dialect is its distinctive pronunciation. This is because the upper region of Suriname is geographically isolated from the rest of the country. As a result, the Upper Saramaccan dialect has developed its unique pronunciation. This can be heard in the way that words such as “bakaa” and “pikin” are pronounced with a longer vowel sound.

The Upper Saramaccan dialect is notable for its use of African grammatical structures. This is because the enslaved Africans who first brought the dialect to the upper region of Suriname were from various African countries. As a result, the Upper Saramaccan dialect has borrowed several grammatical structures from African languages. This can be seen in the way that words such as “bakaa” and “pikin” are used as nouns and in the way that the verb “wan” is used to indicate the number “one.”

Lower Saramaccan dialect

The Lower Saramaccan dialect is a creole language spoken in Suriname and Guyana. It is derived from Dutch, Portuguese, and African languages. Lower Saramaccan has been influenced by English and Spanish. It is a pidgin language that is used as a second language.

Central Saramaccan dialect

The Central Saramaccan dialect is a creole language. It is based on English and Dutch, with influences from African languages. The Central Saramaccan dialect is used by the Maroons, descendants of escaped enslaved people. The Maroons are a group of people who live in the interior of Suriname. They were originally from Africa but were brought to Suriname as enslaved people.

A Grammar of Saramaccan Creole

Saramaccan Creole is a language spoken in Suriname. It is a mix of African, Dutch, and English. The grammar is straightforward. This makes it easy to learn for those who are not familiar with the language. Three main points will be discussed in this essay: the origins of Saramaccan Creole, the grammar rules, and the benefits of learning the natural language.

Saramaccan Creole is a language that has its roots in Africa. The enslaved Africans who were brought to Suriname were the ones who created this language. They mixed their native African languages with Dutch and English. This is how Saramaccan Creole came to be.

Some basic grammar rules are followed in Saramaccan Creole. For example, there is no gender distinction. This means there is no need to worry about whether a word is masculine or feminine. There are also no articles. This means that words like “a” and “the” are not used. Another rule is that the verb always comes before the subject.

There are many benefits to learning Saramaccan Creole. For one, it is an efficient natural language. It is helpful for everyday life and can be used in various situations. It is also a great way to connect with the culture of Suriname. Learning the language can help you to understand the people and the country better.

Saramaccan alphabet and pronunciation

The Saramaccan alphabet is a unique alphabet used to write the Saramaccan language. This language is spoken by the Saramaccan people, who live in Suriname and Guyana. The Saramaccan alphabet consists of 28 letters, all pronounced differently than their English counterparts.

The Saramaccan alphabet is unique in that it uses a combination of both consonants and vowels to create its unique sound. For example, the letter “b” is pronounced as “v” in Saramaccan. The Saramaccan language does not have the “b” sound. Instead, it uses the “v” sound, which is created by using the letters “b” and “v” together.

The Saramacca alphabet is a script used in the Saramacca language of Papua New Guinea, written from right to left. It was developed by missionaries in the 19th century as an aid for teaching the language to children. The script uses Latin letters and is based on the Latin alphabet. It consists of 26 characters, consisting of 22 consonants and four vowels.

The letters A, E, I, O, U, and Y represent similar sounds to those in other Papuan languages. For example, the letter “A” is pronounced like the English “a,” and the letter “E” is pronounced like “ay.” The letter “I” sounds like a short “i” sound. The letter “O” is pronounced like an English “o” sound. The vowel “U” is pronounced like English “oo,” and the letter Y is pronounced like‘ y.’

The alphabet was created by missionaries to help teach the Saramacca language to children. It was initially called the “Latin Alphabet” but later changed to the “Saramacca Alphabet” because it did not resemble any existing writing system. The Saramacca alphabet is still used in schools and churches in Papua New Guinea.

In addition to the alphabet, the Saramacca language has its phonetics. There are four tones in the Saramacca grammar, represented by different pitch levels. The first tone, or high tone, is usually represented by a rising pitch.

The second tone, or falling tone, is represented by a descending slope. The third tone, or low tone, is represented by an ascending pitch. And the fourth tone, or a neutral tone, is defined by no particular angle. The Saramacca language also has three syllabic divisions, which consist of long, medium, and short syllables. Long syllables are more extended than medium syllables and longer than short syllables.


Dravidian languages

The Dravidian languages are a family of languages spoken in southeast Asia or India and parts of eastern and central India, as well as in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. There are around 200 million speakers of Dravidian languages, making it one of the most prominent language families in the world. The Dravidian languages are divided into four major groups: North, Central, Southeast Asia, and West. The North Dravidian languages include Kannada, Kodagu, Tulu, and Konkani.

The Central Dravidian languages include Telugu, Gondi, and Kurukh. The South Dravidian languages include Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada. The West Dravidian languages include Brahui and Kurukh. The Dravidian languages are characterized by several features, including a focus on vowel harmony, a syllable-timed rhythm, and a tendency towards agglutinative morphology.

The Dravidian language family includes many dialects, each with its unique characteristics. However, all Dravidian languages have certain commonalities, such as a stress pattern, a basic word order, and a set of grammatical rules. The foundation of the grammar of  Saramaccan is the framework of fundamental linguistic theory, which will be understandable to academics from various backgrounds.

The Dravidian language family originated in the Indus Valley Civilization between 3300 BC and 1800 BC. Many scholars believe that the Dravidians were the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent. They migrated southwards during the Middle Ages, settling in what is now Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. During this time, they adopted new cultural traits, such as agriculture and metallurgy.

The Dravidians speak a language known as Proto-Dravidian. This language is believed to be ancestral to all modern Dravidian languages. A few scholars believe there may have been more than one proto-language for the Dravidian language family. Others argue that the Dravidian languages are genetically related to other Indo-European languages, like Hindi and Bengali.

The Dravidians are thought to have been the earliest settlers in the region now known as India. Some linguists believe that the Dravidian language was the first to emerge from the Indus River Valley civilization.

Timing: All Dravidian langauges use an accent mark to indicate when a syllable begins and ends. An accented syllable is said to start “early,” whereas an unaccented syllable starts “late.”

Stress patterns: All Dravidian languages use a stress pattern to distinguish words. Stress is placed on the last syllable of a word. For example, The word karavu is stressed on the second syllable.

In recent years, many scholars have argued that the Dravidian family of languages is not only related to each other but also to other Indo-European families, including Sanskrit, Persian, Greek, Latin, Celtic, Germanic, Slavonic, Baltic, Albanian, Armenian, Georgian, and others.

In the past, most people believed that the Dravidians were the descendants of the Aryans. However, today, this view is no longer accepted by many scholars. Today, many scholars believe that the Dravidians were the original inhabitants of Southeast Asia. They migrated into North India sometime between 5500 BC and 4000 BC.

saramaccan history

Louisiana Creole language

The Louisiana Creole (also known as Cajun French, Acadian French, or simply creole) is a variety of the French language spoken in and around New Orleans, Louisiana. It has been influenced by the languages of its neighbors: Spanish, African American Vernacular English, Haitian Creole, and Native American languages. Cajun French is one of the official languages of Louisiana. Many Cajuns speak both standard French and Cajun French. Several Cajun French terms have entered the English language, including:

Acadian French – the language used by the Acadians who settled in Nova Scotia, Canada. Creole – the word was given to the language(s) spoken by those who live along the Gulf Coast of the United States, particularly in Louisiana. Creole French – the name given to French spoken by the residents of Louisiana. French – the name given to all varieties of French.

Yoruba Language

In the Yoruba language of West Africa. It is spoken by over 20 million people in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. The Yoruba language has been called “the mother tongue” of the Igbo people, who speak it natively. The Yoruba language is written using the Latin alphabet. The language’s grammar is highly inflected; nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, numerals, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, particles, and some common phrases can be declined according to gender, case, tense, mood, person, number, and definiteness.

There are three grammatical cases: nominative, genitive, and dative. Nouns may take different endings depending on their grammatical role within the sentence. Verbs have four tenses: present, past, future, and conditional. Adjectives agree with the noun they modify. Interrogative sentences require a question mark at the end. Prepositional phrases usually precede the noun they modify.

There are several dialects of Yoruba, which differ from each other mainly in pronunciation. In addition, there are two major writing systems: the Ògbó system, which uses syllabaries, and the Gbána system, which uses alphabetic characters.

Haitian Creole

Haitian Creoles are a group of creolized varieties of French that developed in Haiti during the 18th century. Haitian Creole is an official language of Haiti, where it is widely spoken, although not exclusively so. It is also spoken in parts of the Dominican Republic.

Creole is sometimes considered a separate language from French, but it shares more than just vocabulary with French. For example, Haitian Creole has preserved the French verb forms of the classical period, while the French language has lost them. Another example is the preservation of the French word order in many expressions. In Haiti, the use of French is declining due to the spread of Creole throughout the country. In the Dominican Republic, however, French remains the natural language of education and business.

Chinook Jargon Language

The Chinook Jargon language was once a common language spoken by many people in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Today, however, the language is mostly used by Native distinction American speakers and is considered to be endangered. There are three main reasons for the decline of Chinook Jargon: the suppression of Native American cultures, the decline of the fur trade, and the rise of English as the dominant language in the region.

One of the main reasons for the decline of Chinook Jargon is the suppression of Native American cultures. In the past, Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest region were forced to assimilate to Euro-American distinction culture. This meant that they were not allowed to speak their own languages, and many Native American distinction children were sent to boarding schools, where they were punished for speaking their native languages. As a result, the use of distinction Chinook Jargon declined sharply.

Another reason for the decline of Chinook Jargon is the decline of the fur trade. In the past, the fur trade was a major industry in the Pacific Northwest region. Many people from all over the world came to the region to trade furs. However, the fur trade declined in the late 1800s, and this also contributed to the decline of Chinook Jargon.

The third reason for the decline of Chinook Jargon is the rise of English as the dominant language in the region. In the past, Chinook Jargon was the distinction language in the Pacific Northwest region. However, English began to gain popularity in the region in the late 1800s, and by the early 1900s, it had become the dominant language. This made it difficult for people to learn and use Chinook Jargon, and as a result, the language began to decline.


The Caribbean Creole is a natural language that has many similarities to Spanish and English and has its unique features. The Caribbean Creole is spoken in the region of the Caribbean Islands, which includes Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Saramac’cán (sá-rämäk’-kan) is a language of the Saramaca family, which is spoken in the mountains of northern Guatemala. The Saramaca people are part of the Maya culture. They live in small communities along the Río Usumacinta River, near Lake Atitlán.

Suriname, located on the northeastern coast of South America, is a fascinating country with a rich history and culture. With its tropical climate and diverse terrain, Suriname is a great place to visit for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. While it is not the most well-known country in the region, Suriname is worth visiting.

The Saramaccan language is different from other languages because it is spoken by the Saramaccan people of Suriname. The Saramaccan language is a creole language, which means it is a mix of African, Dutch, and English. Saramaccan is the native language of the Saramaccan people and is spoken by people of other ethnic groups in Suriname.

If we can help you with any questions, please feel free to contact us


Our privacy policy

Keep in touch


Contact Us 24/7

Translation office in Miami
Request quote