Eastern Maroon Creole

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A language of Suriname

Alternate Names
Businenge Tongo, Businengee Tongo, Eastern Maroon Creole, Nenge, Nenge Tongo, Nengee Tongo
Population

15,500 in Suriname. 10%–20% monolingual. 14,400 Aukan, 33 Aluku, 1,160 Paramaccan (1980 census). Population total all countries: 33,500.

Location

Near Brokopondo, east along Marowijne and Tapanahony rivers, northeast along Cottica river. Aluku dialect: French Guiana border; Paramaccan dialect: Northeast. Also in French Guiana.

Language Status

5 (Developing).

Dialects

Aluku (Aloekoe, Boni), Aukan (Aukaans, “Djoeka” (pej.), “Djuka” (pej.), Ndjuká, Ndyuka, Njuká, Okanisi), Paramaccan (Pamaka). Ndyuka, Aluku and Paramaccan are highly mutually intelligible dialects; Kwinti [kww] is slightly less intelligible with them.

Typology

SVO; prepositions, noun head final, content q-word initial, up to 2 suffixes, clause constituents indicated by word order, passives and voice, tonal, 25 consonant (some rare) and 14 vowel (5 long monophthongs, 5 short monophthongs, 4 diphthongs) phonemes

Language Use

Vigorous. In Paramaribo some shifted to Dutch [nld], some younger ones to Sranan [srn]. All domains. Also in oral and written form for religious services. Positive attitudes. Most men also use Sranan Tongo [srn]. Schools are in Dutch [nld], so many youth read and write it, but most are not fluent. About 30%–50% can use all 3 languages.

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Below 10%. Literacy rate in L2: 15%–25%. Poetry. New media. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1999–2009.
Writing
Afaka script, never widely used, may be in use by a few individuals. Latin script, primary usage.
Other Comments

The society was formed by escaped slaves. Subsistence and economy is Amerindian; social culture and religion are West African. Aluku has more French influence than Paramaccan does. Spelling of Ndyuka without the initial nasal is considered derogatory. Aukan is English, Aukaans is Dutch. In early 1900s an Aukaner named Afaka developed a syllabic writing system, but few learned to read it, and it was not officially endorsed. 12 clans. In the 1980s and 1990s many went to Paramaribo. Traditional religion, Christian.

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