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African elements in Saramaccan Maroon plant names in Suriname

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

The ancestors of the Saramaccan Maroons, who were brought as enslaved Africans to Suriname, used their ethnobotanical knowledge and native languages to name the flora in their new environment. Little is known about the influence of African languages on Saramaccan plant naming. We hypothesized that Saramaccan plant names were more influenced by Central African languages than found so far based on ethnobotanical research, mainly because data on the Central African region was scarce. We compiled a new database on Saramaccan plant names and compared these names with an unpublished plant name database from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the earlier published NATRAPLAND database on Afro-Surinamese plant names to find comparable plant names for botanically related species in Africa. We further analyzed form, meaning, function, and categories of Saramaccan plant name components by means of dictionaries and grammars. In total, 39 of which 44 54 and 262. The Bantu language that contributed most to Saramaccan plant names was Kikongo, followed by West African Kwa languages. Plant names reveal important information on the African origin of the Saramaccans and deserve more scientific attention.
Tijdschrift: Botany
ISSN: 1916-2804
Issue: 2
Volume: 100
Pagina's: 141-157
Jaar van publicatie:2022