Structure dataset 1: Early Sranan

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 1.

Over the years multiple historical documents in and on the English-base creole language of Suriname known as Sranan or Sranantongo have been uncovered, resulting in a substantial digitized corpus of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


Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p b t d ɖ k g
Sibilant affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s ʃ
Non-sibilant fricative f v h
Approximant l j
Flap or tap
Trill r
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open ihigh front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value Details Source