The language conflict - a debate on language policy in Surinam, the Antilles and the Netherlands
Papiamentu, Papiamento, Sranantongo, Sarnami, English, Dutch... The languages of the Antilles and Surinam are under pressure. What is the status of Papiamentu on Curaçao and Bonaire, of Papiamento on Aruba and English on St Martin? And what about Surinam, where Dutch is the official language, but where everybody speaks Sranantongo and the language of the largest group of inhabitants (the Hindustani) is Sarnami?
A strong language policy is missing on the Antilles and in Surinam, and therefore Dutch remains the technical and official language. In the Netherlands the Dutch language is under pressure from the increasing amount of English words that find their way into everyday life and education. Another threat is the growing interest for regional languages. There is no strong language policy in the Netherlands. Is the status of the Dutch language stronger in Surinam and on the Antilles than in the Netherlands? The panel members will discuss this amongst themselves and with the audience. With Liesbeth Koenen (Dutch linguist), Rappa (writer and teacher of Dutch in Paramaribo), Drisana Deborah Jack (poet and artist from St Martin), Ronald Severing (director of the FPI, foundation for language planning on Curacao) and his fellow islander the writer Frank Martinus Arion. Panel chairman is Ruben Severina. Dutch spoken.