Sunday, 19 April 2020

Suriname Place Names Explained

Having blogged samples of my books on English place names and also examined the etymologies of the nations of the world and their respective capitals I thought it time I cast my net a little wider. As English place names share some links to other tongues it would be interesting to see if any of the elements contributing to our place names could be found elsewhere. Continuing an alphabetical tour of the world and a look at the largest of Suriname's cities.

Kawemhakan comes from the Wayana language and means 'high riverbank'. Locals still refer to the place as Anapaike, the name of the last granman or chief of the Maroon nation.

Witagron comes from the local tongue and means 'land of my forefathers'.

Brokopondo Reservoir is a misnomer, named as such for the dam stands close to the village of Brokopondo. Correctly this is the Professor Doctor Ingenieur W. J. von Blommenstein Meer and named after the Dutch engineer who desiged it.

Sipaliwini is the name of a district, a village and, originally, a river. The river's name comes from the thornback ray, known as the sirari in the local tongue.

Friendship took this simplistic name from the plantation established here before the town developed.

Lelydorp is named after the Dutch governor of Suriname in 1905, Cornelius Lely.

Onverwacht is the Dutch word for 'unexpected', and your guess as to what they had not expected to discover is as good as mine.

Paramaribo is named from the tribe who, in turn, take their name from the Tupi-Guarani words para 'large river' and maribo 'inhabitants'.

Tepu takes its name from the Tiriyo language and means 'high'.

Note the spellings of the places are English as the piece is written in English.

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