Change request in ISO-639-3 for language code 'djk'

Pascal Vaillant pascal.vaillant at
Mon Aug 31 13:57:10 CEST 2009


For the information of the subscribers of this list, as a follow-up to
the discussions we had recently on the matching between the terms used
in the description of the variant subtags 'aluku', 'ndyuka' and 'pamaka',
and the terms used in ISO-639-3: I sent today a change request form to
the ISO-639 registration authority (SIL), to suggest that the reference
name for the language with code 'djk' be changed from "Aukan" to "Nenge"
(the short form of "Businenge tongo").

Below, I include a copy of the text typed into the change request form.

Best regards,

Pascal Vaillant


Affected ISO 639-3 identifier: 	djk
Associated reference name: 	Aukan
New value proposed:             Nenge (Businenge Tongo)




Aukan (Okanisi, Ndyuka) is the name of one of the varieties of the language
here identified; the other varieties are Aluku, Pamaka. They are not
considered or termed "dialects of Aukan" by both linguists and native
speakers; it is simply the variety with the largest speaker community (cf.
Price 2002). Especially speakers of the Aluku variety do not appreciate it
at all if their native language is referred to by the name of Ndyuka or
Aukan. Therefore the name for the language as a whole should be different
from the name of one of its varieties. We propose, following the general use
among the speakers in Suriname and French Guiana, to refer to that language
by the name "Nenge"—short form for "Nenge Tongo" or "Businenge Tongo".



Suriname was a slave colony from the early 17th century until 1873. It was
first populated by British settlers, who brought African slaves with them.
It became a Dutch colony in 1667, but a a range of varieties of English had
already established in the colony. During the 18th century, several groups
of slaves of African descent fled the plantations to found independent
villages in the forest. They were called the "bush negroes" because they
lived in the forest. The runaways used similar terms to designate themselves
and to differentiate themselves from the African(-descent) population who
remained on the plantations. The terms businenge/busikonde sama do not carry
negative connotations among Maroons. However, it may, at times be assigned
negative connontations by non-Maroons. Note though that the term Djuka is
the negatively connotated name for Maroons in Suriname. The term "bush
negro" has an equivalent in Dutch ("bosneger"). The most important community
was the Ndyuka (or Aukan), but other ones also emerged later, and were not
fused with the Ndyuka (instead, they had a complex history of alliances,
wars, and subordination to the Ndyuka); those other communities include the
Saramaccan, the Aluku, the Pamaka, and the Kwinti.

Linguistically, the languages spoken by the "businenge" have started to
diverge from the mainstream English-based creole spoken in the plantations
and towns of Suriname (the Sranan-Tongo) from the 18th century onwards. They
have kept some archaic features, but have also had linguistic innovations
(such as the loss of "r" in words such as "nenge" [viz. Sranan "nengre"]).
On the lexical level, they have much less borrowings from Dutch than Sranan
has. Among them, they also have diverged to some extent. Saramaccan is quite
particular, with a strong influence of Portuguese in the lexicon. Kwinti is
generally recognized as fairly different from Ndyuka. On the contrary, Aluku
and Pamaka have a high mutual intelligibility with Ndyuka, even if they have
clear and regular specific features. Linguists generally agree that they can
be considered variants of the same language. Yet the use of the name
"Ndyuka" (or the alternate name "Aukan") to refer to the whole language
(with its three variants) is misleading since it primarily refers to one of
the variants, albeit the most numerous. It is reported (Bilby, 2002) that no
native speaker of Aluku or Pamaka would agree with their language being
described as "Ndyuka". When the need to name the common language occurs, the
term used by speakers is "Businenge Tongo" [language of the bush negroes],
or in short "Nenge". It is also a term used by several specialized
linguists, even if they also often use the technical phrase "Eastern Maroon
English Creole of Suriname". A thorough review of the various names used to
refer to the above-mentioned dialects by different communities of speakers
(their own native speakers; speakers of other languages in Suriname and
French Guiana; linguists) can be found in (Léglise & Migge 2006, 2007). As
the argument in the introduction of the most recent reference work on the
topic (Goury & Migge 2003) suggests, the most common, neutral and generally
agreed description for the whole language is "Nenge" (or the extensive
alternate "Businenge Tongo"). We therefore suggest that the reference name
for the language be changed to "Nenge" (without need to change the
established 3-letter mnemonic code, 'djk').

In parallel, we suggest that the terms "Nengee" (Ndyuka orthographic variant
of "Nenge") "Businenge(e) Tongo", "Nenge(e) Tongo", "(Surinamese) Eastern
Maroon Creole", and "Taki-Taki" (a vulgar generic description, slightly
derogative, mainly used by non-speakers in French Guiana and by native
speakers when speaking with non-speakers) be inserted in the "Alternate
Names" description category. 'Aukan' (and its synonym 'Ndyuka') should be
restricted to referring to the variety spoken by the Ndyuka community
proper, and remain in the "Dialects" description category of the
"Ethnologue" database (where they belong), and in the IETF language subtag
registry (three variant subtags for 'djk' have been submitted there for
addition in the next version: 'aluku', 'ndyuka' and 'pamaka').



- Kenneth BILBY, 2002: "L'aluku: un créole surinamien en territoire
  français". *Amerindia*, 26/27, p. 279-292.
- Laurence GOURY, 2003: *Le Ndyuka. Une langue créole du Surinam et de
  Guyane Française*. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2003.
- Laurence GOURY and Bettina MIGGE, 2003: *Grammaire du Nenge(e).
  Introduction aux langues Aluku, Ndyuka et Pamaka*. Paris: IRD Éditions,
- George L. HUTTAR and Mary L. HUTTAR, 1994: *Ndyuka*. London: Routledge,
- Isabelle LÉGLISE and Bettina MIGGE, 2006. "Language naming practices,
  ideologies and linguistic practices: Toward a comprehensive description of
  language varieties". *Language in Society*, 35, p. 313-339. 
- Isabelle LÉGLISE and Bettina MIGGE, 2007: "Le 'taki-taki', une langue
  parlée en Guyane?", in *Pratiques et représentations linguistiques en
  Guyane*, I. Léglise & B. Migge (eds.), p. 133-157. Paris: IRD Éditions,
- Richard PRICE, 2002. "Maroons in Suriname and Guyane: How many and
  where?". *New West Indian Guide*, 76, p. 81-88.
- Donald WINFORD & Bettina MIGGE, 2004: "Suriname Creoles", in *A Handbook
  of Varieties of English: Morphology and syntax*, E. Schneider (ed.),
  p. 482-516.

See also:

- Ethnologue entry for 'djk':

- Request for the registration of three variant subtags for Aluku, Ndyuka
  and Pamaka in the IETF language subtag registry, and subsequent


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