African Words In Suriname Language

According to researchers Suriname has the most words of African origin. Most in Surinam are probably unaware of their origin, as was I before I started doing some research.

These are only words in use by the general population. But there are many more in languages of the Maroons, Ndyuka & Saamaka.

The words’ country of origin is also included as well as the dialect

Akan languages – twi & ewe (Ghana):

Anansi:  “spider”

Doti(doh tee): “ground”

kokobé (Cocobay):  “leprosy”

Wiri(wee ree): hair (wi)

Yesi(yih see): ear (esi)

Aisa(eye-sah): God of the earth(Asesa)

Ye ye(yih yih): spirit

Agama(ah gah mah):  chameleon

Gogo(gohgoh): Buttocks

Lo(loh): clan (usually with common ancestry)

Fula language(Ghana, Nigeria, Cote D’ ivoir):

Juku: from “Jukka”, “poke”, “to stick”

Igbo language(Nigeria):

Obeah:  from ọbiạ, “doctoring”, “mysticism”

Okra: from ọkwurụ, a vegetable

Soso(soh soh):  “only”

Unu(oo noo):  from únù, “you (plural)”

Efik language(Nigeria):

Buckra: from mbakára, “white man”

Wolof language(Senegal):

njam, nyam: Eat


Tata(tahtah): father, also used  for, parents or ancestors

Tonton: brains

Neku(nih ku): poison to catch fish

Lau: crazy, mad


3 thoughts on “African Words In Suriname Language

  1. When in Lagos, Nigeria i also heard two familiar words:
    1) pietjing= child in suriname, it has the same meaning in Lagos
    2)How you deh was a greeting regularly used in Lagos, Fa joe de in Suriname has the same meaning.

    I do not know in which language both words are used in Nigeria…


    • Hi Michael, Piking comes from the Portuguese language, “pequeno”. Portuguese dialect was widely used especially among coastal trade towns in the 16th century because the Portuguese were the main traders at that time.

      The language in Nigeria is heavily influenced by English so I’m not sure.

      Naki & fom are African


  2. They are all literary Africans, from different African countries. Only been washed up by the dutches…I visited Amsterdam about 6 months ago and I met quite a number of Surinames, some even work at their Govt parastatals, They need total re-orientation. God help us all


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