Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Plurilinguisme, politique linguistique et éducation

 | 
Foued Laroussi
, 
Fabien Liénard

IIIe partie. Des éclairages à partir de situations linguistiques étrangères

Home Language Surveys as a Starting Point for Language Policy Development in Education in Suriname

Kutlay Yağmur et Sjaak Kroon

Texte intégral

INTRODUCTION

1In spite of socio-historical differences between Mayotte and Suriname, the resemblance of sociolinguistic situation and educational challenges in both contexts, is instructive in many respects. Suriname is a former colony of the Netherlands. In spite of its small population of about four hundred thousand people, Suriname shelters around twenty different languages (Carlin & Arends, 2002). Dutch has been the official language in Suriname since 1667. The relatively rich ethnolinguistic diversity in Suriname has enabled Dutch to maintain its status as the national language of the country eversince. In spite of cultural nationalist movements arising in the South American context, attempts to replace Dutch with a local language have not been successful because there was no widespread public support at all. Especially some small groups of Creole speakers campaigned to make Sranan, an English-based Creole, the national language of Suriname but due to internal ethnic conflict (St-Hilaire, 1999) and Suriname’s cultural dependence on the Netherlands, this endeavour has not been successful. Nevertheless, some researchers still claim that due to the low international and regional status of Dutch, Sranan is a potential substitute for Dutch in the Surinamese context (St-Hilaire, 1999). In spite of various voices in different ethnic communities, Dutch, however, over the years seems to have strengthened its position in all societal and educational domains. There are, nevertheless, a number of educational issues surrounding the learning and teaching of Dutch in schools. Given the low proficiency levels of pupils in Dutch in certain regions of the country, policy makers wanted to further investigate the current sociolinguistic situation in Suriname. For that purpose, the Surinamese Ministry of Education got in contact with the Dutch Language Union (Nederlandse Taalunie), which assigned the Department of Culture Studies of Tilburg University to conduct a home language survey in all schools in Suriname. A total of 22,643 pupils in classes 4 and 6 of primary schools, and classes 2 and 4 of secondary schools participated in the research. On the basis of this rich database, language repertoires, language proficiency, language choice, language dominance, and language preference patterns of pupils have been documented. For each ethnolinguistic group, language profiles have been constructed and the vitality of each group’s language has been calculated. In this paper, we will discuss a selection of relevant empirical results with regard to the development of a language policy in education in Suriname.

Sociolinguistic situation in Suriname

2Suriname is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the region with large populations of East Indians (Hindustanis), Javanese, Creoles, Maroons, and small groups of Amerindians as well as immigrants from Chinese, European and Lebanese origin (DeSales Affigne, 1997). According to St-Hilaire (2001) the heterogeneity of the population has historically been a factor undermining nation-building in Suriname. Sarnami speakers from Hindustani origin are the largest group followed by Creole speakers (ABS, 2005). However, no group has an absolute majority status, which intensifies competition among ethnic groups. In this ethnically and linguistically diverse society, Dutch functions as a lingua franca for people from different backgrounds. In the face of strong ethnic competition in the political system, the different ethnic groups of Suriname, by subscribing to a common, ethnically neutral lingua franca, have partially overcome traditional cultural and linguistic divisions to form a multiethnic national culture. Next to Dutch, Sranan is another lingua franca spoken by various people but it does not have the status of being “neutral” for many people. In spite of its widespread use, Sranan has historically been regarded as the cultural property of the Creoles (St-Hilaire, 2001). The Creoles tend to consider themselves as the original Surinamese and regard the Asians as foreigners, which contributes to ethnic and political competition between these groups.

Figure n° 1Map of Suriname

3Historical competition between Creole and East Indian people increased when Creole nationalists wanted to impose Sranan as the national language in Suriname. As the East Indians have gained demographic strength in the capital city Paramaribo, they have countered the demands of Creole cultural nationalists to promote the Sranan language and associated culture. In spite of the Creole nationalists’ struggle to make Sranan the national language in Suriname, Creole people themselves are deeply divided concerning the role of Dutch in the society. A small group of people want to make Sranan the official language in society (Van Eersel, 1997). However, given the historical status of Sranan as a highly stigmatized language, achieving the status of “official language” might not be very easy. In the first place, most of the Creoles themselves do not hold onto Sranan as a home language. The Creoles have long embraced assimilation to Dutch as a group ideal. During the past two decades, greater numbers of East Indians, Javanese and Maroons have also adopted this ideal (St-Hilaire, 2001). There are, of course, certain causes of this situation. When Dutch was made compulsory in education, Sranan was strictly prohibited in the schools (Ramsoedh, 1995). Accordingly, Sranan became an indicator of low social status and lack of education and as a consequence Creole parents prohibited their children from speaking Sranan at home (Meel, 1990, cited in St-Hilaire, 2001). This contributed to higher rates of language shift to Dutch among Sranan speakers. Parents who wanted to avoid this negative association with Sranan used Dutch at home.

4A number of factors contributed to the spread of Dutch in Suriname. As reported above, being a “neutral” lingua franca with a high social status allocated to it, Dutch became deeply rooted in society. Urbanization also contributed to linguistic homogenization of the country. Dutch plays an important role in the construction of “nation” in multi-ethnic Paramaribo (St-Hilaire, 2001). Dutch is the medium of interaction in most domains in major urban centres. In spite of group specific ethnic practices, all groups are converging to a single national multi-ethnic culture whose medium of expression is Dutch. Although ethnic divisions remain, Surinamese of diverse ethnic backgrounds are able to communicate, with increasing proficiency, in a language perceived as ethnically neutral, allowing for increased multi-ethnic dialog. If a common language and territorial control are the principles defining a nation, then the use and spread of Dutch in Suriname indicate the formation of a nation. Yet, there are still groups of people whose access to Dutch is limited. Especially in the interior, the Maroons rarely achieve full proficiency in Dutch. By providing a thorough analysis of the speech community formation of the Trio speakers in the interior, Carlin (1998) shows that Dutch is used only in the classrooms and that in all other domains of social life Trio is the only mode of interaction in the community. The use of Dutch among Aluku speakers is also estimated to be less widespread. Given the lack of empirical data concerning language use and choice among pupils in schools, the current study aims at providing some sociolinguistic evidence for policy makers and educational specialists.

Research Design

5As reported above Dutch is the medium of instruction in all schools in Suriname. However, given the difficulties surrounding Dutch language acquisition and school failure among certain groups of pupils, both educational specialists and the public started discussing language education in schools. The Dutch Language Union in cooperation with the Surinamese Ministry of Education organised a conference on “Dutch as a language of instruction and a subject in Suriname” in Paramaribo in 2005. As a result of this conference, educational specialists and policy makers recognized the need for sociolinguistic data on pupils’ language use, choice and dominance.. In this section, we will focus on the research goals and research methodology of the language survey carried out amongst primary and secondary school pupils in Suriname.

Research goals

6The home language survey is part of the Language Policy Project in Suriname, which is carried out in cooperation with the Dutch Language Union and the Surinamese Ministry of Education. The research is coordinated by a research team at the Department of Culture Studies at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. The aims of the project are to gather, analyze and evaluate survey data on the use and status of Surinamese languages at home and at school. The project is carried out in all primary and secondary schools in Suriname, covering classes 4 and 6 in primary education as well as classes 2 and 4 in two (lower and higher) types of secondary education. In addition to the pupils of these schools, also the teachers were included in the survey. The project’s methodology is based upon earlier large scale home language surveys among primary and secondary school children in the Netherlands (Extra et al., 2001) and in a number of European cities (Extra & Yagmur, 2004). Our survey is based on multiple language questions tapping language use, choice, dominance, preference and repertoire both at home and at school. In doing so, we aim at establishing and comparing multiple language profiles of major communities in Suriname. For each language community, the language profile will consist of four dimensions, based on reported language proficiency, language choice, language dominance, and language preference. Based on these data, we will construct a (pseudo)longitudinal language profile across school years (implicating age groups as well) and a language vitality index for each language community. In addition, a school language profile will be constructed on the basis of the data on participation in language instruction on the one hand and expressed needs for such instruction on the other. Besides, we will present information on language use and choice patterns of pupils with each other both in the class and outside class, as well as language use and choice patterns of pupils with teachers both during the lessons and during the breaks.

7In line with the aims of the project, the main goal of our language survey is to acquire insight in both the distribution and vitality of languages used in the homes and schools in Suriname. The value of such insight derives from four perspectives:

  • taken from a phenomenological perspective, home language data raise the public awareness of multilingualism as an inherent characteristic of society and schools in Suriname;
  • taken from a demographic perspective, home language data play a crucial role in the definition and identification of multilingual school populations in Suriname;
  • taken from a sociolinguistic perspective, data on the distribution and vitality of home languages offer a valuable basis for cross-linguistic comparison of groups of pupils in Suriname;
  • taken from an educational perspective, home language data are indispensable tools for educational planning and policy development in multilingual Suriname.

Research method

8The data have been collected by means of a specially designed questionnaire for pupils in primary and secondary schools in Suriname, as well as by means of two questionnaires for all teachers in these schools. In this section, we will go into the design of the pupils’ questionnaire, and the collection and processing of the data respectively.

Design of the questionnaire

9As far as the design of the questionnaire is concerned, a number of conditions needed to be met. A first prerequisite was that the questionnaire should be appropriate for all pupils and include a home language repertoire question for identifying all the languages spoken by Surinamese children. On the basis of this language repertoire question, main language groups can be identified and home language profiles can be constructed. As mentioned earlier, this language profile consists of four dimensions, based on reported language proficiency, language choice, language dominance, and language preference. In designing the questionnaire, extensive document analysis has been conducted into similar types of home language surveys in multicultural contexts.

10A second prerequisite of the questionnaire was that it should be both short and accurate. It should be short in terms of demanded time from teachers and children during school hours, and it should be accurate in terms of an appropriate and transparent set of selective questions which should be answered by the individual children, if needed together with the teacher. On the basis of the piloting of the questionnaire, it became clear that pupils could fill in the questionnaires accurately on their own with the guidance of the teachers. The survey for the pupils consisted of 21 questions. Given the large size of the resulting database, a third prerequisite of the questionnaire was that the answers of the children could be controlled, scanned, interpreted, and verified as automatically as possible. In order to fulfill this demand, both hardware and software need to be appropriate for such a large scale study. Manual data processing costs time and labor, which reduces the feasibility of such large scale studies. The structure of the student questionnaire is presented in Table 1.

Table n° 1 – Outline of the student questionnaire

Questions

Focus

1-7

Background information (school, age, gender, district, city, type of school and class, place of birth)

8

Home language repertoire question (which languages are spoken at home)

9-10

Language proficiency & language choice

11

Languages used by parents in speaking to children

12-18

Languages used at school with teachers and fellow pupils, languages learnt at/outside school and languages demanded by pupils from the school

19-21

Language used most, language dominance, and language preference

11In compliance with the privacy of individual pupils, the database only contains home and school language data at the levels of districts, schools, and grades; no data can be traced back to individual pupils. The language profile, specified by questions 8-10 and 19-21, consists of the following five dimensions:

  • Language repertoire: the number and type of (co-)occurring home languages;
  • Language proficiency: the extent to which the pupil can understand-speak-read-write the home language;
  • Language choice: the extent to which the home language is commonly spoken with the mother, father, younger and older brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, grandfathers and grandmothers, neighbors, and best friends;
  • Language dominance: the extent to which the home language is spoken best;
  • Language preference: the extent to which the home language is preferred to be spoken.

12Taken together, the four dimensions of language proficiency, choice, dominance and preference result in a language vitality index. On the basis of questions 12-18, also a school language profile can be specified. This profile provides information about the available language instruction in and outside school, as well as the need expressed by the pupils for instruction in a given language. The questionnaire was piloted in a number of schools in various districts in Suriname before the main study.

Collection of the data

13Data collection was organized, monitored and carried out centrally by the Working Group on Multilingualism of the Dutch Language Union in Suriname. The collection of the data would not have been possible without the collaboration of the Ministry of Education, school directors and individual teachers. All school directors were informed about the scope and aim of the survey and received the questionnaires through the current communication channels of the education sector. Data collection took place in October and November 2007. The completed questionnaires were finally checked and packed for shipping to Tilburg University for processing and statistical analyses.

Processing of the data

14Given the large scale of the conducted survey, the collected data needed to be processed in an efficient manner. For this reason a special commercial software packet (Teleform) was used for all aspects of data processing. Teleform automatically scanned the forms, interpreted the hand and machine printed text on them and, in case of un-interpretable data, called for verification of the forms. After the verification process, all answers were transmitted to a database that was accessible by SPSS. Before the data could be prepared for analysis, a number of coding stages needed to be completed, in particular with respect to given references to countries and languages. The last stage of data processing was transforming the outcomes of the analyses into tables and figures for all languages.

Results

15In doing the statistical analyses, we wanted to find out the extent of multi-lingualism among school children and teachers. In this paper we only report the findings on the pupils both in primary and secondary schools. In this section, we mainly present information about the types and ranking of the home languages referred to by the pupils. In the following tables, we present, firstly, the distribution of languages spoken by the pupils in the home context (Table 3). In order to show the extent of language use, choice and preference, we present cross-linguistic cross-tabulations for the first fourteen language groups (Tables 4-8).

Pupils’ home languages

16Given the large scale of the research, it is necessary to describe basic traits of the research group. Aa already indicated, all pupils in two primary school classes (referred to as Primary 4 and Primary 6) and two classes from two different types of secondary schools, the lower level LBGO and the higher level MULO (referred to as Secondary Low 2 and 4 and Secondary Medium 2 and 4 respectively) participated in the research. From each level, all second and fourth year pupils took part in the research. In Table 2, the distribution of pupils across classes is given.

17As seen in Table 2, a total number of 22,643 pupils participated in the research. They come from all districts in Suriname. A majority of the pupils, 14,337 (63 %), attend primary schools. Table 3 contains an overview of all home languages mentioned by the pupils in primary and secondary education.

Table n° 2 – Distribution of pupils across classes and school types

Table n° 2 – Distribution of pupils across classes and school types

18A great majority of the pupils are highly accurate in reporting the languages spoken in their homes. Only a very few number of pupils reported made up languages, such as Brabbel (jabber), Draaitaal (inverted language), Pinapa and Petaal (pupils’ “codes” in which e.g. all consonants are replaced with “p”). In order to trace some of the more unfamiliar languages, we first checked the Internet version of Ethnologue (http://www.ethnologue.com; see Lewis, 2009) and if the named category was not found we did a “google” search on the Internet. When we examine the distribution of languages, Dutch (89 %) turns out to be the most widely used language in Surinamese homes, followed by Sranan (61 %) and Sarnami (30 %). English (20 %), Javanese (15 %). Aukan (11 %), and Saramaccan (10 %) are spoken in many homes as well.

Cross-linguistic Comparison

19On the basis of the home language data, we made a cross-linguistic and pseudo-longitudinal comparison of the four dimensions of language proficiency, language choice, language dominance, and language preference. For this analysis, these four dimensions have been operationalized as follows:

  • Language proficiency: the extent to which the home language under consideration is understood by the children;
  • Language choice: the extent to which this home language is commonly spoken with the mother;
  • Language dominance: the extent to which this home language is spoken best;
  • Language preference: the extent to which this home language is preferred to be spoken.

Table n° 3 – Home languages reported by the pupils

Language

Freq.

Language

Freq.

1. Dutch

20,137

27. Guyanese

3

2. Sranan

13,761

28. Wayana

3

3. Sarnami

6,853

29. Matuari

3

4. English

4,606

30. Greek

2

5. Javanese

3,497

31. Urdu

1

6. Aucan

2,561

32. Armenian

1

7. Saramaccan

2,200

33. Bahasa

1

8. Spanish

359

34. Iraqi

1

9. Portuguese

325

35. Latin

1

10. Chinese

313

36. Flemish

1

11. Paramaccan

250

37. Indian (from India)

1

12. Arawakan

212

38. Malay

1

13. Aluku

162

39. Inuit

1

14. Cariban

160

40. Creole

1

15. French

68

41. Gambian

1

16. Trio

35

42. Scottish

1

17. Papiamento

16

43. Sinti

1

18. Matawai

13

44. Swahili

1

19. Arabic

11

45. Tagalog

1

20. Kwinti

11

46. Flakka

1

21. Swedish

10

47. Manouch

1

22. Gabonese

6

48. Brabbel

1

23. Lebanese

5

49. Draaitaal

1

24. Iranian

4

50. Sign language

1

25. German

3

51. Pinapa

1

26. Indian

3

52. Petaal (unidentified)

1

20The operationalization of the first and second dimension (language proficiency and language choice) is aimed at a maximal scope. Language understanding is commonly the least demanding of the four language skills and the general trend is that the mother acts as a major gatekeeper for intergenerational language transmission. The final columns of the tables to be presented on these four language dimensions contain mean scores for the 14 language groups in a decreasing order. From the analyses on the basis of the four language dimensions mentioned above, we finally constructed a cumulative Language Vitality Index (LVI) for each of the 14 language groups under consideration. The LVI is based on the mean value of the presented scores for the four obtained language domains.

21In Table 4 we present a cross-linguistic and pseudo-longitudinal overview of the first language dimension, that is to say, the extent to which the languages under consideration are understood by the pupils.

Table n° 4 – Proficiency in language understanding, per language group and class (%)

Table n° 4 – Proficiency in language understanding, per language group and class (%)

22On average, all languages are understood reasonably well to very well. On the basis of cumulative percentages, it appears that Dutch, Sranan, and Sarnami are understood best by the pupils in these language groups. Dutch is the official language in Suriname and it is expected that all pupils have high levels of understanding skills in the language. Sranan is a local lingua franca understood by most Surinamese residents. However, not all pupils indicated Sranan as a language spoken in their home context. Among the pupils, who indicated Sranan as a home language, the majority reported that they understand Sranan very well. Sarnami, on the other hand, emerges as a highly vital language. The majority of its speakers reported that they understand the language very well. By comparison, the obtained scores for Spanish and Arawakan are considerably low. A possible explanation for Spanish could be that rather than being a home language, it is a language learned at school by these pupils and less used in daily communication at home.

23Table 5 gives a cumulative overview of the reported oral and literacy skills per language group. These averages are based on all the pupils’ reports across four classes.

24On the basis of the figures presented in Table 5, it is clear that a predictably decreasing order of understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills and a predictably large interval between oral skills on the one hand and literacy skills on the other, can be observed for almost all language groups. Literacy skills are mostly acquired in the schools. Because Dutch and English are offered as school subjects, literacy skills in these languages are reported to be very high for Dutch and reasonably high for English. By comparison, both for understanding and speaking skills, the obtained scores for Arawakan, Aluku, and Spanish are rather low. Relatively low reading and writing skills are reported for almost all languages with the exception of Dutch and English. Reported literacy skills in Sranan are also relatively high: 68 % for reading and 51 % for writing. Table 5 offers information that is highly relevant for developing a language policy in education. Speakers of Sarnami, Javanese, Aukan, Saramaccan, and Chinese report very high understanding and speaking skills in their home languages; however, they at the same time report very low literacy skills in these languages. If being able to read and write in these languages is considered important in view of, for example, pupils’ educational success, one could consider offering literacy programs in these languages.

Table n° 5 – Oral and written skills per language group (in cumulative percentages)

Table n° 5 – Oral and written skills per language group (in cumulative percentages)

25In order to understand the extent of Dutch language use with different interlocutors in the home context, Table 6 offers a cumulative mirror-like overview of the reported choice of Dutch as a language of interaction with different interlocutors at home.

26The most frequent choice of Dutch in interaction with parents is reported in the Javanese group (87%) followed by Arawakan (84%) and Dutch speaking group (81%). The concept of “mother tongue” is not empirically confirmed by the data. In all the groups, Dutch is more commonly spoken with the mother and comparatively less with the father. In line with the sociolinguistics of language choice, it is apparent that Dutch has become the language of interaction between mothers and children, which indicates that mothers are the gatekeepers for Dutch language use in the home context.

27In Table 7 we present a cross-linguistic and pseudo-longitudinal overview of the third language dimension, i.e. the extent to which the languages under consideration are spoken better than Dutch or as good as Dutch. On the basis of the pupils’ reports across different classes, we will establish the extent to which the reported home language is spoken best by the pupils.

Table n° 6 – Choice of Dutch as language of interaction with different interlocutors in the home context across language groups (percentages)

Table n° 6 – Choice of Dutch as language of interaction with different interlocutors in the home context across language groups (percentages)

28Language dominance is not measured by actual language competence tests but on the basis of pupils’ self-reports regarding the languages they spoke the best. On the basis of the findings presented in Table 7, it appears that relatively low dominance scores are again reported for Aluku, Spanish, and Javanese. The highest dominance scores are reported for Aucan, Saramaccan, Sarnami and Chinese. The dominance scores for Dutch (25%) is average in comparison to other group scores. For the remaining groups, dominance scores below 20 % are reported. More or less across all groups pupils from Primary 6 classes report the highest dominance scores for Dutch.

Language vitality

29As mentioned at the beginning of the results section, we constructed a cumulative Language Vitality Index (LVI) for all language groups on the basis of the four analysed language dimensions (i.e. language proficiency, language choice, language dominance, and language preference). The LVI is based on the mean value of the presented scores for each of the four language dimensions referred to. This LVI is by definition an arbitrary index in the sense that the chosen dimensions with the chosen operationalizations are equally weighted. Table 8 gives a cross-linguistic and pseudo-longitudinal overview of the language vitality per language group and class.

30It is interesting to note that the highest values for language vitality emerge for the youngest children in Primary 4 classes. Because children are immersed in Dutch when they come to school, language vitality of the home language decreases over the years. The lowest language vitality indices are found for Aluku, Arawakan, Paramaccan, Cariban, and for Portuguese. On the other hand, the highest language vitality indices are found for Dutch, Sarnami, Chinese, and Aucan. The other groups, such as Sranan, Saramaccan, English and Javanese, occupy the middle position on the vitality ladder. On the basis of language choice and proficiency figures of Sranan, it can be argued that Sranan is a lingua franca in the public sphere rather than a home language.

Table n° 7 – Language dominance per language group across classes in the reported home language (percentages)

Table n° 7 – Language dominance per language group across classes in the reported home language (percentages)

Table n° 8 – Language vitality per language group and class (percentages; average LVI in cumulative percentages)

Table n° 8 – Language vitality per language group and class (percentages; average LVI in cumulative percentages)

CONCLUSIONS

31In line with the goals of our research, we wanted to document the linguistic diversity in Suriname. It appears that multilingualism is an inherent characteristic of Surinamese society. Multiple languages are used in the homes and schools of Suriname. Urban centers have the richest diversity with respect to different languages and cultures. The capital city Paramaribo has the largest and most diverse population and Dutch is the most commonly reported home language. The interior of Suriname has the smallest population and in that region access to Dutch is also most limited. In general, Dutch is the most widely used home language in Suriname. Sranan appears to be a lingua franca in less formal public domains (shops, neighborhood, and so on). Most possibly, due to its (historical) low status and association with Creole groups, Sranan is not acquired as a home language by the majority of the pupils. Even the pupils, who reported Sranan as a home language, do not use Sranan in interaction with their parents. Sranan is mostly used with neighbors, peers and friends. The use of Sranan is more widespread among boys than girls. In terms of ethnolinguistic vitality, Sranan turns out to have a very low vitality compared to Dutch, Sarnami, Aucan and Chinese.

32Sarnami has the highest vitality after Dutch. The pupils from that group are also highly proficient in Dutch. Aucan (a Maroon language) is the most vital among the Creole languages. Given the proficiency levels of the pupils in Dutch, as well as the highest vitality of the language, Dutch remains to be the primary school language in Suriname. Combined with the results of the teacher survey, Dutch is deeply embedded in the society and especially in public institutions. Dutch has a very high status and it is associated with social prestige and high education. Contrary to some socio-political claims suggesting Sranan as an official language, Sranan is not a home language. It is an informal lingua franca with low prestige. Regarding the language of instruction in schools, Dutch seems to be the only viable option under the current circumstances. It is the home language of most of the pupils and it is widely used in society. Language use, choice and preference patterns clearly indicate that Dutch is the most widespread language among all ethnic groups. Under these circumstances no other language can replace it as a national language. However, introducing major home languages as auxiliary languages of instruction or as school subjects is always possible provided that there are sufficient financial and manpower resources. At the moment there are, however, a number of limitations for using Aucan, Sranan or Sarnami as auxiliary languages in the schools. These include the widely scattered nature of pupils with various language backgrounds across regions and schools, the lack of qualified teachers and the availability of teaching learning materials in these languages. Another pressing issue is the limited academic development of (most of) these languages, leading to a lack of scientific and didactic terminologies and concepts needed for organizing teaching/learning processes.

33In principle, we would fully support the use of various home languages in education. However, the concept of home language versus ethnic heritage language does not always overlap as emerged in our data. Dutch appears to be the home language for most children. In cases in which a language other than Dutch is the home language, that language can be used as an auxiliary language in order to facilitate teaching-learning processes for more effective acquisition of Dutch. Our findings definitely do not provide any supportive evidence for the use of Sranan or any other language as a sole or additional medium of instruction in the schools in Suriname. It will, however, finally be the responsibility of the policy makers in Suriname, i.e. the Ministry of Education, to use the outcomes of our research as a basis for developing a language policy in education that starts from the undisputed status of Dutch as a language of instruction and at the same time adequately deals with the fact that Dutch is not the only language in Surinamese homes, schools and society.

Bibliographie

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abs, 2005, Suriname Census 2004, Volume I, Demografische en Sociale Karakteristieken, Suriname in Cijfers no. 213-2005/02, Paramaribo, Algemeen Bureau voor de Statistiek Censuskantoor.

Carlin E., 1998, “Speech community formation: a sociolinguistic profile of the Trio of Suriname”, New West Indian Guide/ Nieuwe West-Indische Gids 72, no. 1/2, Leiden, p. 4-42.

Sales Affigne A. de, 1997, Racial Politics in the Postcolonial Americas: Lessons from Suriname, paper presented at the 1997 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Norfolk, Virginia-Providence College, November 6-8.

Lewis Μ. P. (ed.), 2009, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, sixteenth edition, Dallas, SIL International.

St-Hilaire A., 1999, “Language Planning and Development in the Caribbean: Multi-Ethnic Suriname”, Language Problems and Language Planning, 23, 3, p. 211-232.

Table des illustrations

Légende Figure n° 1Map of Suriname
URL http://books.openedition.org/purh/docannexe/image/5263/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Table n° 2 – Distribution of pupils across classes and school types
URL http://books.openedition.org/purh/docannexe/image/5263/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 29k
Titre Table n° 4 – Proficiency in language understanding, per language group and class (%)
URL http://books.openedition.org/purh/docannexe/image/5263/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 59k
Titre Table n° 5 – Oral and written skills per language group (in cumulative percentages)
URL http://books.openedition.org/purh/docannexe/image/5263/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 57k
Titre Table n° 6 – Choice of Dutch as language of interaction with different interlocutors in the home context across language groups (percentages)
URL http://books.openedition.org/purh/docannexe/image/5263/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Table n° 7 – Language dominance per language group across classes in the reported home language (percentages)
URL http://books.openedition.org/purh/docannexe/image/5263/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 52k
Titre Table n° 8 – Language vitality per language group and class (percentages; average LVI in cumulative percentages)
URL http://books.openedition.org/purh/docannexe/image/5263/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k

Auteurs

Department of Culture Studies, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

© Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havre, 2011

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540