Speakers: The Aukan language is spoken
by a group of people of African descent who were brought to Suriname
against their will about 300 years ago and forced to work as slaves
on plantations. The Aukaners (also known as Ndyukas) escaped from
the plantations and went deep into the rain forests where they formed
their own communities along various rivers in eastern Suriname,
primarily the Tapanahony River. These resourceful Aukaners not only
survived, but thrived and established their own unique culture and
language. They and similar groups Saramaccans,
Paramaccans, Alukus, Kwintis and Matawais are known as Maroons.
They are among the few unassimilated Maroon societies in the world.
In recent times, many Aukaners have migrated to the urban areas
of Suriname where some have taken advantage of opportunities available
there to become well educated and hold positions in national life.
It is estimated that there are about 25,000 to 30,000 speakers of
the Aukan language.
The language: Aukan (or Ndyuka) is
a creole language which developed out of west and west central African
roots and incorporated a great deal of vocabulary and other features
from its association with English and Dutch. SIL Suriname published
a number of books in Aukan that can be found in the SIL Suriname
Bibliography. An interactive
dictionary and language learning tool can be found on this website
by following the links listed below.