Women Conversing in Creole Language, Suriname, ca. 1831


Pierre Jacques Benoit, Voyage a Surinam . . . cent dessins pris sur nature par l'auteur (Bruxelles, 1839), plate xvii, fig. 35. (Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)


Three enslaved women dressed in every day clothing engaged in conversation or making Takie-Takie. The language Takie-Takie (today widely spoken and officially known as Sranan), combines grammatical elements of English and West African languages with vocabulary elements mainly of English and Dutch origin; the group conversation, Benoit notes, is also called Takie-Takie (p. 21). Benoit (1782-1854), a Belgian artist, visited Suriname around 1831 and apparently stayed for several months. The 100 lithographs in his book (hand colored in the John Carter Brown copy), accompanied by textual descriptions of varying detail, are derived from drawings he made during his visit, which included time in Paramaribo, the capital, as well as trips into the interior visiting Maroons and Amerindians. Forty of his lithographs, with our translations from the French text, are shown on this website.


Benoit, Pierre Jacques

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