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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘suriname

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait takes a look at an evocative corner of the Pelican Nebula.
  • Centauri Dreams considers if a supernova might have kickstarted hominid evolution by triggering wildfires.
  • D-Brief looks at how scientists examined binary asteroid 1999 KW4 during its flyby on May 25th.
  • JSTOR Daily reports on the development of the radical abolitionism of William Blake.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at centrism as not neutrality but rather as an ideology of its own.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that legal emigration is more common from right-wing dictatorships than from left-wing ones. Is this actually the case?
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that an image passed off as a hole in the universe a billion light-years wide is actually a photo of nebula Barnard 68.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Ukraine, rather than trying to position itself as a bridge between West and East, should simply try to join the West without equivocations.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes a Zippy cartoon and moves on to explore the wider world from it.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • At Anthrodendum, Elizabeth Marino takes issue with what she identifies as the naively and fiercely neoliberal elements of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now.
  • Anthropology.net’s Kambiz Kamrani takes a look at an innovative study of the Surinamese creole of Sranan Tongo that uncovers that language’s linguistic origins in remarkably fine detail.
  • Architectuul examines the architecture of Communist-era Hungarian architect István Szábo
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes the nearly naked black hole at the heart of galaxy ZwCl 8193, 2.2 billion light-years away.
  • The Big Picture shares photos from the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea.
  • Gerry Canavan has an interesting critical take on Star Trek: Discovery. Is it really doing new things, or is its newness just superficial?
  • Centauri Dreams considers the impact the spectra of red dwarfs would have on biosignatures from their worlds.
  • Russell Darnley takes a look at Australia’s Darling River, a critical watercourse threatened by extensive water withdrawals.
  • Inkfish notes that patterns of wear on the tusks of elephants indicate most are right-handed.
  • Joe. My. God. links to a study suggesting a relationship between Trump rallies and violent assaults.
  • JSTOR Daily links to a paper examining why people drink Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Language Hat takes a look at the use of Xhosa as the language of Wakanda.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money mourns Alfred Crosby, the historian whose work examined the epidemiological and ecological changes wrought by contact with the Americas.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a map showing indigenous placenames in Canada.
  • In the aftermath of the death of Stephen Hawking, Out There had a lovely idea: what nearby major stars emitted life than arrive at the moment of his birth? Hawking’s star is Regulus, and mine was (nearly) Arcturus.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests AI will never be able to centrally plan an economy because the complexity of the economy will always escape it.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel examines Stephen Hawking’s contribution to the study of black holes.
  • Supernova Condensate shares a list of moons, fictional and otherwise, from Endor on down.

[LINK] “In Babel of Tongues, Suriname Seeks Itself”

Simon Romero’s article in The New York Times “In Babel of Tongues, Suriname Seeks Itself” surveys the language situation in the South American country of Suriname.

Walk into a government office here and you will be greeted in Dutch, the official language. But in a reflection of the astonishing diversity of this South American nation, Surinamese speak more than 10 other languages, including variants of Chinese, Hindi, Javanese and half a dozen original Creoles.

Making matters more complex, English is also beamed into homes on television and Portuguese is the fastest-growing language since an influx of immigrants from Brazil in recent years. And one language stands above all others as the lingua franca: Sranan Tongo (literally Suriname tongue), a resilient Creole developed by African slaves in the 17th century.

So which language should Suriname’s 470,000 people speak? Therein lies a quandary for this country, which is still fiercely debating its national identity after just three decades of independence from the Netherlands.

“We shook off the chains of Dutch colonialism in the 1970s, but our consciousness remains colonized by the Dutch language,” said Paul Middellijn, 58, a writer who composes poetry in Sranan Tongo.

Nevertheless, Mr. Middellijn said English should be declared Suriname’s national language, a position shared by many Surinamese who want stronger links to the Caribbean and North America. “Sranan will survive because nothing can replace it as the language of the street,” he said.

The position of Dutch in Suriname reminds me somewhat of the position of French in Canada, that last language spoken by seven or eight million people in a hemisphere populated by hundreds of millions of speakers of English, Spanish and Portuguese. The comparison quickly fails on the grounds that Dutch isn’t a first language in Suriname and–honestly–Dutch isn’t nearly as much of a world language as French. A creeping normalization of Suriname’s creole language of Sranan on the model of Haiti’s normalization of Haitian Creole, even as English steadily displaced Dutch as a language of wider communication, is probably in the cards for Suriname.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 27, 2008 at 12:12 pm