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Sarnami

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On this website you will mainly find information about the origin and development of one of the most important Surinamese languages, Sarnámi. This language is spoken by only 400,000 people worldwide. Most speakers live in Suriname and the Netherlands. In addition, Sarnámi speakers can be found in the United States and in the Caribbean, mainly in Curaçao and Aruba.

Sarnámi is therefore the native language of most Surinamese Hindus. The language originated from various Indian languages ​​that were transferred from the northern part of India to Surinam by British-Indian contract workers in the period 1873-1916. The North Indian languages ​​that formed the basis of the emergence of Sarnámi are Bhojpuri, Awadhi, to a lesser extent Maithili and Magahi, and Hindustáni (Hindi / Urdu). In Suriname, the language was mixed and further developed, with influences from Sranantongo, Dutch and English. In this way, Sarnámi has become a unique language, with forms that come from the different Indian languages, and a number of their own forms that have arisen on Surinamese soil over the years.

Follow all developments around the Sarnámi on this special website,
a small language with a big challenge


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