Surinamese Dutch: a broad, in-depth exploration

Surinamese Dutch has not yet been researched in depth. It varies widely, which is associated with the fact that Surinamese Dutch is a part of a continuum that extends between Sranan Tongo, the primary creole language in Suriname, and European standard Dutch. Within the Surinamese Dutch linguistic community, the variation is connected to the distinction between Paramaribo and the “districts” and to the ethnic (and thereby linguistic) backgrounds of the speakers.

In collaboration with speakers and Surinamese linguists, we would like to map out Surinamese Dutch. For these purposes, we are considering large-scale research with inventory elements based on the data collected using crowdsourcing techniques. We also would like to research, to a lesser degree, the ethnic dimension by using conversational data collected during field work via experimental research designs. This will involve representatives of the four main ethnic groups regarding situations with intra- and interethnic contact: to what extent does each group have its own form of Dutch and to what degree do people modify their own language use when interacting with members of different groups (“accommodation”)? It is suspected that the latter mechanism plays a primary role in the development of the standard language in a multicultural society.