A language of Suriname

Alternate Names
Aukaans, Businenge Tongo, Businengee Tongo, Eastern Maroon Creole, Ndjuká, Ndyuka, Ndyuka tongo, Nenge, Nenge Tongo, Nengee Tongo, Njuká, Okanisi, “Djoeka” (pej.), “Djuka” (pej.)
Okanisi tongo

22,400 in Suriname (2016). 1,550 monolinguals. Total users in all countries: 40,400.


Brokopondo district: Sarakreek commune; Commewijne district: Bakkie, Meerzog, and Tamanredjo communes; Marowijne district: Moengo, Patamacca, and Wanhatti communes; Para district: Carolina commune; Sipaliwini district: Tapanahony commune; Aluku dialect: French Guiana border; Paramaccan dialect: Northeast.

Language Status

5* (Developing).


Aluku (Aloekoe, Boni), Paramaccan (Pamaka). Ndyuka, Aluku and Paramaccan are highly mutually intelligible dialects; Kwinti [kww] is slightly less intelligible with them.


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 Tongo [srn]. All domains. Also in oral and written form for religious services. Positive attitudes. Most also use Sranan Tongo [srn], especially men. Many also use Dutch [nld].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: Below 10%. Literacy rate in L2: 15%–25%. Literature. Radio. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. NT: 1999–2009.


Afaka script [Afak], developed in early 1900s, never widely used, may be in use by a few individuals. Latin script [Latn], 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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