Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sranan Tongo

Sranan Tongo is a creole language spoken by most people in Suriname. It is the mother tongue of about 100,000 people in Suriname who are descendants of slaves brought from Africa during the colonial period. It is also the lingua franca between different ethnic groups in Suriname. Today many Sranan Tongo speakers also live in the Netherlands.

Features of Sranan Tongo. Sranan is similar to Aukan and Saramaccan. As a creole language it is characterized by simple morphology and a relatively small vocabulary. There is no inflection or declension in the words. Although it is impossible to know for sure how many words there are in Sranan, they number in the several thousand, rather than hundreds of thousands for major world languages. These features make it a relatively easy language to learn.

Odi en grantangi gi luku disi e piki.  Hello and thank you very much for looking at this information.

Being a Creole, Sranan Tongo uses words like: e aux.v. indicates that the action of the verb is still in progress or that it repetitive is. Yu no e si taki mi e tnapu dya e wakti yu! Can’t you see that I’m standing here waiting for you? Although I could not find a reason for the use of "e" before the word "si", I am guessing it is like saying: "You not seeing..."

 What I like about this language is that it has a much smaller vocabulary when compared to other world languages which allows some ambiguity but also allows the speaker to simply get to the main point and say it.
Another thing I like is how words are formed or put together like the word for Dictionary - Wortubuku literally "Word-Book". The word for Language - Tongo (tongue), Leriman - Teacher; a learned person.

Didibri tesi Yesus fotenti dei langa. The devil tempted Jesus for forty days.

There is an online New Testament version of Sranan Tongo here, you can read and listen to the text.

Fa waka? - What's up? Literally: how's (your) walk ( FA-WA-KA)
Fa i go? - How are you? Literally: how's (it) going? ( FAI-GO )
e go! - it's going! (answer) ( I-GO )
Fa yu tan? - How are you? ( FA-YOU-TAN )
Ala suni bun? - (is) everything well? ( ALLA-SANNY-BOENG )
Mi lobi dati! - I love that! ( ME-LUBY-DATY )
Mi sorri! - I'm sorry! ( ME SORRY )
Omeni wan? - How much is one? (What's the price?)
Mi gwe! - I'm leaving
Mi de go na oso - I'm going home
Mi go na winkri - I'm going to the store
Su-ma na yu? - Who are you? ( SUE-MA-NA-YOU )
Pe yu e go? - Where are you going? ( PAY-YOU-AH-GO )
Pe yu e de? - Where are you? ( PAY-YOU-AH-DAY )
Omany? - How much? ( O-MANY )
Yepi! - Help ( YEPY )
Pe disi presi? - Where's this place? ( PAY DEE-SEE PRACY)
Soot bus mi mus teki? - What bus must I take? ( SOOT BUS ME MUZ TAKY )
Skowtu! - Police! ( SCOW-TWO )
Pe de skoru de? - Where's the school? ( PAY-DAY-SCEW-RUW DAY )
Pe yu de wroko? - Where do you work? ( PAY-YOU-ROCK-O-GI )
Pe mi kan fini wroko? - Where can I find work? ( PAY-ME-KAN-FINY-ROCK-O )
Kantoro - Office