Volume 82, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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The Republic of Suriname in South America and the Carribean island of Aruba are both former Dutch colonies. After its independence in 1975 Suriname opted for maintaining Dutch as an official language and a language of education and also in Aruba, which is nowadays an autonomous part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, Dutch remained the official language and the language of instruction in education. The fact that Suriname and Aruba are both multilingual societies - Suriname has some twenty different languages and in Aruba, apart from Dutch, Papiamento is the main language - over the years gave rise to heated debates about what language or languages should best serve as a medium of instruction in schools. This question was investigated by means of a survey that was administered with 200 respondents in the case of Aruba (educational professionals and lay people living in Aruba) and 315 in the case of Suriname (partly living in Suriname and partly in The Netherlands). The investigation showed that on Aruba lay people, among which parents of school going children, are the main advocates of Dutch as language of instruction in schools whereas educational professionals show a clear preference for including Papiamento as a language of instruction. In Suriname on the other hand, both groups of respondents showed a clear preference for using Dutch as a language of instruction. These outcomes seem to be related to differences in the linguistic landscape in Suriname and Aruba and to the different colonial history of the two countries.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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