Surnamese Dutch Dictionary (2009)

Renowned linguist and pioneer in the struggle for the recognition of Surinamese Dutch, Renata de Bies passed away on May 13, 2024, 77 years to the day after she was born. Dr. De Bies was instrumental in standardizing Surinamese Dutch as a distinct national variety of Dutch, authoring its first dictionary. She taught generations of students at Anton de Kom – University of Suriname, including our own Denice Gravenstijn, about the importance of language access and regulation in preserving cultural identities in the rich multilingual landscape of Suriname. First Chair of the new Nationale Taalraad voor Suriname (NTS), the “National Language Council of Suriname”, Dr. De Bies worked toward nationalizing the spelling of Surinamese languages.

Denice Gravenstijn commented, "I had the great privilege of being a student of Dr. De Bies. This academic year, LSA approved the new decolonial Minor in Dutch Language and Culture. As we start our own pioneering initiative of building the first Surinamese Dutch foreign language curriculum in the US, we are inspired and strengthened by the immeasurable legacy Dr. De Bies leaves behind".

“Taal bestaat bij de gratie van variatie”, Dr. De Bies said, “Language exists by the grace of variation”. From our teaching of Surinamese Dutch to teaching our students about the Indigenous language families (Arawak, Carib, Warao), the lingua franca Sranan Tongo and other Creole languages (e.g. Ndyuka), and the languages of the contract labor communities (Hakka Chinese, Sarnámi Hindustani, and Surinamese Javanese), our program stands on Dr. de Bies’s foundations.