- Woordenboek van het Surinaams-Nederlands. Een geannoteerde lijst van Surinaams-Nederlandse woorden en uitdrukkingen (review)
- Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America
- Dictionary Society of North America
- Number 1, 1979
- pp. 147-148
- View Citation
- Additional Information
REVIEWS Dictionaries, 1 (1979) REVIEWS J. van Donselaar, Woordenboek van het Surinaams-Nederlands. Een geannoteerde lijst van Surinaams-Nederlandse woorden en uitdrukkingen. Utrecht: Instituut A. W. de Groot voor Algemene Taalwetenschap van de Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht, 1976 [cl977] . 232 p., paper. Van Donselaar's remarkable new dictionary of Surinamese Dutch brings scientific lexicographic method into a field which had hitherto been characterized by dUettantism, prescriptivism, or an antiquarian-folkloristic approach: the writing of dictionaries for non-European variants of languages whose main body of speakers and normative organs remain in Europe. The contrast is very clear when one compares van Donselaar's work with dictionaries or word-lists of Canadian French, Pennsylvania German, etc. Surinamese Dutch is a variety of the language with roots going back three hundred years. It is in general mutuaUy inteUigible with European Dutch. It is not unitary, but may be described as a continuum of language variation between two theoretical poles: the European-like Dutch of those younger educated Surinamese who have lived in The Netherlands or had much contact with Dutchmen, and a "deep" variety with a maximum of non-European features. Students of lexicographic method can be grateful to van Donselaar for his detaüed discussion of his own work method, his criteria for inclusion or exclusion of a particular lexeme, and other points discussed in his lengthy, informative introduction. Linguists can be grateful to van Donselaar simply for recognizing Surinamese Dutch as the developing language of a developing country, a language variety whose simple existence had been ignored but which is deserving of serious, non-judgemental study. There are native speakers of Surinamese Dutch, and there is indigenous transmission of the language form from generation to generation—it is not simply maintained through recently-arrived Dutch expatriates. Dutch arrivals have to adapt to it, and the Woordenboek wiU henceforth be the single most useful tool to help them do so. In making his lexical selection, van Donselaar faced important theoretical issues, particularly in the definition of his target language. He chose to work with informants and with written sources. The Woordenboek is based upon field experience. Van Donselaar's criteria for inclusion of forms as characteristic of Surinamese Dutch may have broader application for the writing of other dictionaries of overseas varieties of European languages as well as of dictionaries with a sociolinguistic orientation. 147 148RICHARD E. WOOD The main body of the dictionary is an alphabetical hst of Surinamese Dutch words and expressions, with gloss in Standard Dutch, a citation or citations , an etymology where appropriate and where known, and helpful "see" and "see also" references which attest to van Donselaar's background in library science or a related field. Though the author is a biologist, he has clearly read extensively in linguistics, creóle languages, Dutch lexicography, and other areas. Latin names are given for the majority of flora and fauna entries-exceptions appear to be instances where the folk name is broad and covers several species or geni. In appropriate cases, entries are identified as regional, obsolescent, recent coinages, or associated with a particular ethnic group. Besides the ethnic languages mentioned above, non-Dutch influences come from English (for some time the official language of Surinam, and the metropolitan language with which the main local creóle, Sranan Tongo, is chiefly affihated), French, Portuguese (rarely Spanish), Amerindian languages, German (through the influence of the Moravian Brethren or Herrnhutters, active for centuries in theterritory), Hebrew (from the Sephardim, whose ancient synagogue at Jodensavanna is now a major tourist attraction), etc. Important also are regional Dutch influences from the southern Netherlands, and terms which have been archaisms in form or meaning in The Netherlands. What began for van Donselaar as a hobby has grown into a sophisticated piece of lexicography characterized by careful attention to method and sources, genuine fieldwork (so often lacking in lexicography for better-known languages), and a non-judgemental attitude of scientific inquiry. Van Donselaar even gave the dictionary a post-test, reported in a supplement. After the completion of the MS, he read carefuUy through Edgar Cairo's new novel, Kollektieve schuld, which is rich in SD vocabulary. He checked his listings and found some lacunae...