A language of Suriname


14,100 (2013). Total users in all countries: 17,100.


Brokopondo district: Brownsweg, Centrum, Klasskreek, and Kwakoegron, communes, small border area; Para district: Bigi Poika commune; Paramaribo district; Sipaliwini district: Boven Saramaccan and Boven Suriname communes.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Matawari (Matawai, Matoewari, Matuari). Possibly Portuguese [por] based rather than English [eng] (Hancock 1988). Linguistic influences from Koongo [kng] (Hancock 1988). Lexical similarity: 20% with African component.


Tonal, one tone per vowel.

Language Use

All domains. All ages. Also use Dutch [nld]. Used as L2 by Kwinti [kww].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 15%–25%. Saramaccan is being used for religious instruction in Moravian schools along the Suriname River. Literature. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1991–2009.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

A Bush Negro ethnic group with background similar to the Ndyuka. Traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

Expand All Collapse All
Page Views Left: