Loanwords in Saramaccan, an English-based Atlantic creole of Suriname
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Saramaccan is an Atlantic creole spoken primarily in Suriname, though there are also speakers in French Guiana as well as a substantial diaspora population in the Netherlands. The fifteenth edition of the Ethnologue estimates that there are about 26,000 speakers of the languages. It is a maroon creole—that is, a creole spoken by descendants of slaves who escaped from plantations (see Price 1976 for an overview of the history of the maroons of Suriname). Accordingly, most Saramaccan villages lie in the Surinamese rain forest away from the coast which was the center of the colonial plantation economy. These villages are situated along two rivers, the Suriname River and Saramacca River. (The populations found along the Saramaccan River, speaking the Matawai dialect, are sometimes classified as a distinct group from the Saramaccans.) All of the data discussed here, and included in the loanword database, comes from dialects spoken along the Suriname River, of which two are traditionally distinguished, a Lower River dialect, spoken closer to the coast, and an Upper River dialect spoken further in the interior.