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Reading: A new look at the Portuguese element in Saramaccan


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Research Paper

A new look at the Portuguese element in Saramaccan


Norval Smith ,

Amsterdam Centre for Language and Communication, Department of Theoretical Linguistics, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, NL
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Hugo Cardoso

Instituto Superior Politécnico de Viseu, Portugal, PT
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This article contains what is possibly the most accurate wordlist of Portuguese-derived items in Saramaccan (a creole language spoken in the interior of Suriname) produced so far, and attempts to establish the proportions of Portuguese – versus English-derived words – in this language. We believe that the results are very striking when the lexical category of the items concerned is taken into account. These observations are then analysed in the light of a possible scenario of the formation of Saramaccan involving the partial relexification of an earlier form of Sranan (the English-lexifier creole of the coast of Suriname) with Portuguese and/or a Portuguese-based Creole.
How to Cite: Smith, N., & Cardoso, H. (2004). A new look at the Portuguese element in Saramaccan. Journal of Portuguese Linguistics, 3(2), 115–147. DOI:
Published on 30 Sep 2004.
Peer Reviewed


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