Language and Slavery

A social and linguistic history of the Suriname creoles

ISBN 9789027252760 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
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ISBN 9789027265807
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This posthumous work by Jacques Arends offers new insights into the emergence of the creole languages of Suriname including Sranantongo or Suriname Plantation Creole, Ndyuka, and Saramaccan, and the sociohistorical context in which they developed. Drawing on a wealth of sources including little known historical texts, the author points out the relevance of European settlements prior to colonization by the English in 1651 and concludes that the formation of the Surinamese creoles goes back further than generally assumed. He provides an all-encompassing sociolinguistic overview of the colony up to the mid-19th century and shows how ethnicity, language attitude, religion and location had an effect on which languages were spoken by whom. The author discusses creole data gleaned from the earliest sources and interprets the attested variation. The book is completed by annotated textual data, both oral and written and representing different genres and stages of the Surinamese creoles. It will be of interest to linguists, historians, anthropologists, literary scholars and anyone interested in Suriname.

[Creole Language Library, 52] 2017.  xxix, 463 pp.
Publishing status: Available

For any use beyond this license, please contact the publisher at [email protected].

Table of Contents
“The rich account of Jacques Arends’ insights into the complex history of the Surinamese creoles provides an invaluable contribution to this exciting field.”
“Jacques Arends is renowned for his role in calling in an era of sociohistorically informed investigations into contact languages on the basis of careful comparison of available linguistic data in combination with metalinguistic information and socio-demographic data. This volume discusses largely underexplored historical texts in and on the Surinamese Creoles and offers in a typically lucid yet fine-grained and in-depth manner important insights on the earlier stages of these languages and the cultures of their speakers. I highly recommend it as it will be an invaluable resource for linguists, historians, anthropologists and literary scholars with an interest in Suriname as well as those interested in the emergence of new languages and cultures.”
“Jacques Arends has written an extraordinarily detailed examination of the history and peopling of Suriname from the start of European contacts with the wider area in which it is located. It draws on all relevant publications as well as unpublished manuscripts. This enables him to show that some of the accepted historical "facts" about the territory are misleading, entirely false, or were based on guesswork. The book as a whole provides the essential background to understanding the circumstances in which Sranan and the maroon creoles of Suriname evolved. It is the fruit of research carried out through most of his adult life – a life cruelly cut short by his early death.”
“Arends has rewritten the history of the Suriname creoles - and in so doing, he has rewritten the history of Suriname. ‘Language and Slavery’ manages to present the complex matter of the emergence of the Suriname creoles in a light, accessible style, drawing together the strands of Suriname’s history emanating from several continents and spanning over five hundred years. Unusual for creolist studies, it begins its historical discussion long before colonisation, making a case for the possibility of linguistic continuity between an early period of trading posts and the subsequent plantation era when Suriname became the multiethnic and multilingual society in which Sranan, Saramaccan, and other creole languages were formed. Arends frequently takes issue with earlier work, showing how primary historical sources throw a different light on linguistically important matters such as the transition from the English to the Dutch period, the formative period of Saramaccan, the social stratification of the plantation society, and the existence of strong social networks between maroon communities and the external world. Arends promises a synthesis of known data but delivers much more. This remarkable work is a rich source of insights for the benefit of creolists, philologists, historians, and also for the people of Suriname, whom Arends hoped to help arrive at a better appreciation of their languages.”
“With meticulous scholarship and in his characteristically clear prose, Jacques Arends presents a linguistic and social history of early Suriname that is remarkable in what it achieves. Arends, in considering the factors that bear upon the emergence of Surinamese creoles (and creoles more generally), displays an unmatched breadth. Moreover, he effectively challenges key elements of the received narrative on which linguists have built their theories of creole genesis in Suriname.”
“The book is a must read for students and scholars interested in Suriname Creoles, and a model of exemplary scholarship on creole genesis.”
“This book is a treasure trove of data and theoretical reflection that linguists, historians, anthropologists, and other researchers will appreciate alike. One of its most valuable achievements is how Arends assembles, contextualizes, and analyzes historical documents in detail, while at the same time keeping an eye on their relevance on the macro-level. On the one hand, he reflects on overarching theoretical implications, i.e. how the data fit models of language change, creolization,
and creole genesis, and on the other, he revisits and corrects earlier assumptions that have misguided researchers in this area. This shows that even though creolists might favor one approach over another, there are ways of finding a synthesis and fruitfully combine different views into our analyses.”
Cited by

Cited by 6 other publications

Cardoso, Hugo C.
2020. Contact and Portuguese‐Lexified Creoles. In The Handbook of Language Contact,  pp. 469 ff. DOI logo
Kouwenberg, Silvia & John Victor Singler
2018. Creolization in Context: Historical and Typological Perspectives. Annual Review of Linguistics 4:1  pp. 213 ff. DOI logo
Kouwenberg, Silvia & John Victor Singler
2020. Are creoles a special type of language?. In Advances in Contact Linguistics [Contact Language Library, 57],  pp. 108 ff. DOI logo
Léglise, Isabelle, Clémence Léobal & Bettina Migge
2023. Indexing whiteness: practices of categorization and racialization of social relations among Maroons in French Guiana. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 2023:282  pp. 55 ff. DOI logo
Roberge, Paul T.
2020. Germanic Contact Languages. In The Cambridge Handbook of Germanic Linguistics,  pp. 833 ff. DOI logo
Wiesinger, Evelyn
2019. Non-French lexicon in Guianese French Creole. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 34:1  pp. 3 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 28 march 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CFF: Historical & comparative linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009010: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Historical & Comparative
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2017001385 | Marc record