Although there are exceptional varieties of languages spoken in Suriname, the official language of the country is Dutch. Dutch became the official language of Suriname when the country became the colony of the Netherlands. Although Suriname attained its independence in 1875, Dutch was maintained as the official language. The Dutch language spoken in Suriname is similar to that spoken in The Netherlands. Dutch is a West Germanic language belonging to the Indo-European family and a close relative to English and Germany.

Dutch is spoken by 60% of the population of Suriname as their mother tongue. The majority of the rest of the population speak Dutch as their second or third language. Although Dutch is the most popular language in Suriname, several other languages are also spoken in the country including Amerindian languages, Creole languages, and Javanese.

The Dutch language spoken in Suriname is regulated by the Dutch Language Union, an institution established by the Dutch, Belgians, and the Surinamese. While the spelling is standardized, the pronunciation has no standard. The pronunciation relies on two standards; the Northern and the Belgian standards. Some of the common Dutch phrases in Suriname include Dank u wel (thank you), Alstublieft (please), tot zo (see you soon), and tot straks (see you later).

Although Dutch is the dominant language in Suriname, there are other indigenous languages spoken in the country. Some of the recognized regional languages include Sranan Tongo, which is a Creole language, often used interchangeably with Dutch depending on the formality and setting. Other languages include Surinamese Hindi which a dialect of Bhojpuri, Javanese, Maroon languages, Amerindian, and Chinese. English is mainly used in schools and for business purposes while South American living in the country speaks mainly Spanish and Portuguese.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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