Early Sranan

Over the years multiple historical documents in and on the English-base creole language of Suriname known as Sranan or Sranantongo have been uncovered, resulting in a substantial digitized corpus of eighteenth-century texts. These texts, stored in the Suriname Creole Archive at the Radboud University, Nijmegen, provide a unique window on the Sranan language as it was spoken in the eighteenth century, that is, at earlier stages of its development. In several historical sources phonological, grammatical, semantic, and pragmatic differences between varieties of the creole language are acknowledged, and some varieties appear to have been so different that they are known under distinct names. For example, in Schumann’s Sranan–German dictionary of 1783, we find references to Plantasi tongo (Plantation language), Foto tongo (City language), Ningre tongo (Black’s language) as well as English tongo (English language). Early Sranan is used as cover term for these 18th century creole varieties. Detailed comparisons of the historical creole data with their equivalents in contemporary varieties of Sranantongo and the Surinamese Maroon languages have further refined our understanding of language variation and language change in Early Sranan. The default lect documented in APiCS is the variety of Early Sranan that was used for interethnic out-group communication. When available, examples of diachronic, social, stylistic and geographical variation are included.

No. Feature Value % Details Source
No. Feature Value % Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % Details Source