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Sranan phrasebook

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Sranan (or Sranan Tongo) is a creole language spoken as a lingua franca by approximately 300,000 people in Suriname. Sranan is the most commonly used language in the country, even though Dutch is the official language used by the government. For many years, the Dutch suppressed the use of Sranan, but it has risen to become the most spoken language of Suriname after a former military leader took over the government of the country. As the population of Suriname consists of Dutch-, Javanese-, Hindustani-, and Chinese-speaking communities, and many inhabitants do not speak either Dutch or English, Sranan took its place as the common language of communication for peoples of different ethnic backgrounds. It is also used among immigrants of Surinamese origin in the Netherlands.

Sranan has relatively few written resources. If you know English, however, it is relatively easy to learn as the language basically is a fusion of English, Dutch, Portuguese and Central and West African languages. Don't plan on learning the language by watching television. While seemingly odd, you will hardly be able to learn either Sranan or Dutch from television in Suriname, as those languages together only make up about 7% of all television broadcasts. 40% of the broadcasts are in Hindi, 30% in English, and around 20% in various Chinese dialects. This makes it more difficult to learn Sranan or Dutch in-country.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Some phrases:


  • Fa waka? - What's up? Literally: how's (your) walk ( FA-WA-KA)
  • Fa i go? - How are you? Literally: how's (it) going? ( FAI-GO )
  • e go! - it's going! (answer) ( I-GO )
  • Fa yu tan? - How are you? ( FA-YOU-TAN )
  • Ala suni bun? - (is) everything well? ( ALLA-SANNY-BOENG )
  • Mi lobi dati! - I love that! ( ME-LUBY-DATY )
  • Mi sorri! - I'm sorry! ( ME SORRY )
  • Omeni wan? - How much is one? (What's the price?)
  • Mi gwe! - I'm leaving
  • Mi de go na oso - I'm going home
  • Mi go na winkri - I'm going to the store
  • Su-ma na yu? - Who are you? ( SUE-MA-NA-YOU )
  • Pe yu e go? - Where are you going? ( PAY-YOU-AH-GO )
  • Pe yu e de? - Where are you? ( PAY-YOU-AH-DAY )
  • Omany? - How much? ( O-MANY )
  • Yepi! - Help ( YEPY )
  • Pe disi presi? - Where's this place? ( PAY DEE-SEE PRACY)
  • Soot bus mi mus teki? - What bus must I take? ( SOOT BUS ME MUZ TAKY )
  • Skowtu! - Police! ( SCOW-TWO )
  • Pe de skoru de? - Where's the school? ( PAY-DAY-SCEW-RUW DAY )
  • Pe yu de wroko? - Where do you work? ( PAY-YOU-ROCK-O-GI )
  • Pe mi kan fini wroko? - Where can I find work? ( PAY-ME-KAN-FINY-ROCK-O )
  • O lati? - How late? (or) What time is it? ( O-LATY )
  • odi masra (misi) - good day mister (miss)
  • fa waka? - how are you?
  • fa yu tan? - how are you?
  • mi bun - I am fine
  • mi siki - I am ill
  • grantangi - thanks
  • mi o si - see you later
  • tan bun - stay well
  • disi na mi masra (uma) - this is my husband (wife)
  • mi wroko gi ... - I work for ...
  • mi komopo de ... - I come from ...
  • yu abi wan ... gi mi - do you have a ... for me?
  • yu sabi pe mi man feni ...? - do you know where I can find ...?
  • mi abi tu pikin - I have two children
  • mi manpikin abi seybi yari - my son is seven years old
  • mi umapikin tan na oso - my daughter stayed home
  • mi lobi ... - I like ...
  • a presi dati fara? - is that place far away?
  • omeni? - how much?

Vowels[edit]

Consonants[edit]

Common diphthongs[edit]

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Common signs


OPEN 
CLOSED 
ENTRANCE 
EXIT 
PUSH 
PULL 
TOILET 
MEN 
WOMEN 
FORBIDDEN 
Hello. 
. ( )
Hello. (informal
. ( )
How are you? 
 ? ( ?)
Fine, thank you. 
. ( )
What is your name? 
Fa yu kari?( ?)
My name is ______ . 
A nen fu mi de ______ . ( _____ .)
Nice to meet you. 
. ( )
Please. 
Dankidanki. ( )
Thank you. 
Grantangi. ( )
You're welcome. 
. ( )
Yes. 
Iya. ( )
No. 
No. ( )
Excuse me. (getting attention
. ( )
Excuse me. (begging pardon
. ( )
I'm sorry. 
. ( )
Goodbye 
. ( )
Goodbye (informal
. ( )
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
[ ]. ( [ ])
Do you speak English? 
Yu taki Ingristongo? ( ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Suma taki ingristongo dya? ( ?)
Help! 
Yepi! ( !)
Look out! 
 ! ( !)
Good morning. 
. ( )
Good evening. 
. ( )
Good night. 
. ( )
Good night (to sleep
. ( )
I don't understand. 
. ( )
Where is the toilet? 
 ? ( ?)

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone. 
. ( .)
Don't touch me! 
 ! ( !)
I'll call the police. 
. ( .)
Police! 
 ! ( !)
Stop! Thief! 
 ! ! ( ! !)
I need your help. 
. ( .)
It's an emergency. 
. ( .)
I'm lost. 
. ( .)
I lost my bag. 
. ( .)
I lost my wallet. 
. ( .)
I'm sick. 
. ( .)
I've been injured. 
. ( .)
I need a doctor. 
. ( .)
Can I use your phone? 
 ? ( ?)

Numbers[edit]

wan ( )
tu ( )
dri ( )
fo ( )
feifi ( )
siksi ( )
seibi ( )
aiti ( )
neigi ( )
10 
tin ( )
11 
erfu ( )
12 
twarfu ( )
13 
tin-na-dri( )
14 
tin-na-fo( )
15 
tin-na-feifi( )
16 
tin-na-siksi( )
17 
tin-na-seibi( )
18 
tin-na-aiti( )
19 
tin-na-neigi( )
20 
twenti( )
21 
twenti-na-wan( )
22 
twenti-na-tu( )
23 
twenti-na-dri( )
30 
dritenti( )
40 
fotenti( )
50 
feifitenti( )
60 
siksitenti( )
70 
seibitenti( )
80 
aititenti( )
90 
neigitenti( )
100 
hondro( )
200 
tuhondro( )
300 
drihondro( )
1,000 
dusun( )
2,000 
tudusun( )
1,000,000 
milyun( )
1,000,000,000 
millard( )
1,000,000,000,000 
bilyun( )
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) 
( )
half 
( )
less 
( )
more 
( )

Time[edit]

now 
( )
later 
( )
before 
( )
morning 
( )
afternoon 
( )
evening 
( )
night 
( )

Clock time[edit]

one o'clock AM 
wan uru ( )
two o'clock AM 
tu uru ( )
noon 
( )
one o'clock PM 
wan uru ( )
two o'clock PM 
tu uru ( )
midnight 
( )

Duration[edit]

_____ minute(s) 
( )
_____ hour(s) 
( )
_____ day(s) 
( )
_____ week(s) 
( )
_____ month(s) 
( )
_____ year(s) 
( )

Days[edit]

today 
( )
yesterday 
( )
tomorrow 
( )
this week 
( )
last week 
( )
next week 
( )
Sunday 
Zonde (SUN-DAY)
Monday 
Munde (MOON-DAY)
Tuesday 
Tudewroko (TWO-DAY-ROCKO)
Wednesday 
Dridewroko (DREE-DAY-ROCKO)
Thursday 
Fodewroko (FOE-DAY-ROCKO)
Friday 
Fride (FRAY-DAY)
Saturday 
Satra (SA-TRA)

Months[edit]

January 
Fosimun( )
February 
Tumun( )
March 
Drimun( )
April 
Fomun( )
May 
Feifimun( )
June 
Siksimun( )
July 
Seibimun( )
August 
Aitimun( )
September 
Neigimun( )
October 
Tinmun( )
November 
Erfumun( )
December 
Twarfumun( )

Writing time and date[edit]

Colors[edit]

black 
Blaka( )
white 
Weti( )
gray 
( )
red 
Redi( )
blue 
Blaw( )
yellow 
Geri( )
green 
Grun( )
orange 
Oranje( )
purple 
Lila( )
brown 
Broin( )

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____? 
( )
One ticket to _____, please. 
( )
Where does this train/bus go? 
( )
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
( )
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
( )
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
( )
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
( )

Directions[edit]

How do I get to _____ ? 
( )
...the train station? 
( )
...the bus station? 
( )
...the airport? 
( )
...downtown? 
( )
...the youth hostel? 
( )
...the _____ hotel? 
( )
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
( )
Where are there a lot of... 
( )
...hotels? 
( )
...restaurants? 
( )
...bars? 
( )
...sites to see? 
( )
Can you show me on the map? 
( )
street 
( )
Turn left. 
( )
Turn right. 
( )
left 
( )
right 
( )
straight ahead 
( )
towards the _____ 
( )
past the _____ 
( )
before the _____ 
( )
Watch for the _____. 
( )
intersection 
( )
north 
( )
south 
( )
east 
( )
west 
( )
uphill 
( )
downhill 
( )

Taxi[edit]

Taxi! 
( )
Take me to _____, please. 
( )
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
( )
Take me there, please. 
( )

Lodging[edit]

Do you have any rooms available? 
( )
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
( )
Does the room come with... 
( )
...bedsheets? 
( )
...a bathroom? 
( )
...a telephone? 
( )
...a TV? 
( )
May I see the room first? 
( )
Do you have anything quieter? 
( )
...bigger? 
( )
...cleaner? 
( )
...cheaper? 
( )
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
( )
Can you suggest another hotel? 
( )
Do you have a safe? 
( )
...lockers? 
( )
Is breakfast/supper included? 
( )
What time is breakfast/supper? 
( )
Please clean my room. 
( )
Can you wake me at _____? 
( )
I want to check out. 
( )

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
( )
Do you accept British pounds? 
( )
Do you accept Euros? 
( )
Do you accept credit cards? 
( )
Can you change money for me? 
( )
Where can I get money changed? 
( )
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
( )
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
( )
What is the exchange rate? 
( )
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
( )

Eating[edit]

A table for one person/two people, please. 
( )
Can I look at the menu, please? 
( )
Can I look in the kitchen? 
( )
Is there a house specialty? 
( )
Is there a local specialty? 
( )
I'm a vegetarian. 
( )
I don't eat pork. 
( )
I don't eat beef. 
( )
I only eat kosher food. 
( )
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
( )
fixed-price meal 
( )
a la carte 
( )
breakfast 
( )
lunch 
( )
tea (meal
( )
supper 
( )
I want _____. 
( )
I want a dish containing _____. 
( )
chicken 
Fowru( )
beef 
Kawmeti( )
fish 
Fisi( )
ham 
Ameti( )
sausage 
( )
cheese 
Kasi( )
eggs 
Eksi( )
salad 
( )
(fresh) vegetables 
( )
(fresh) fruit 
( )
bread 
Brede( )
toast 
( )
noodles 
( )
rice 
Aleisi( )
beans 
( )
May I have a glass of _____? 
( )
May I have a cup of _____? 
( )
May I have a bottle of _____? 
( )
coffee 
Kofi( )
tea (drink
Te( )
juice 
( )
(bubbly) water 
( )
(still) water 
( )
beer 
Biri( )
red/white wine 
( )
May I have some _____? 
( )
salt 
Sowtu( )
black pepper 
( )
butter 
Botro( )
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
( )
I'm finished. 
( )
It was delicious. 
( )
Please clear the plates. 
( )
The check, please. 
( )

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol? 
( )
Is there table service? 
( )
A beer/two beers, please. 
( )
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
( )
A pint, please. 
( )
A bottle, please. 
( )
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
( )
whiskey 
( )
vodka 
( )
rum 
( )
water 
( )
club soda 
( )
tonic water 
( )
orange juice 
( )
Coke (soda
( )
Do you have any bar snacks? 
( )
One more, please. 
( )
Another round, please. 
( )
When is closing time? 
( )
Cheers! 
( )

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
( )
How much is this? 
( )
That's too expensive. 
( )
Would you take _____? 
( )
expensive 
( )
cheap 
( )
I can't afford it. 
( )
I don't want it. 
( )
You're cheating me. 
( )
I'm not interested. 
(..)
OK, I'll take it. 
( )
Can I have a bag? 
( )
Do you ship (overseas)? 
( )
I need... 
Mi nowtu....( )
...toothpaste. 
( )
...a toothbrush. 
( )
...tampons. 
. ( )
...soap. 
Sopo( )
...shampoo. 
( )
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
( )
...cold medicine. 
( )
...stomach medicine. 
... ( )
...a razor. 
( )
...an umbrella. 
( )
...sunblock lotion. 
( )
...a postcard. 
( )
...postage stamps. 
( )
...batteries. 
( )
...writing paper. 
( )
...a pen. 
( )
...English-language books. 
Den buku ini a Ingristongo( )
...English-language magazines. 
( )
...an English-language newspaper. 
( )
...an English-English dictionary. 
( )

Driving[edit]

I want to rent a car. 
( )
Can I get insurance? 
( )
stop (on a street sign
( )
one way 
( )
yield 
( )
no parking 
( )
speed limit 
( )
gas (petrol) station 
( )
petrol 
Oli( )
diesel 
( )

Authority[edit]

I haven't done anything wrong. 
( )
It was a misunderstanding. 
( )
Where are you taking me? 
( )
Am I under arrest? 
( )
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
( )
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
( )
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
Mi wani taki nanga wan afkati( )
Can I just pay a fine now? 
( )
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