An orthography for the language of the Lokono-Arawak Amerindians of the Guyanas


Mãe do Alcides Teixeira, maloca da Barata, Terra Indígena Barata/Livramento.

Our thanks to Peter Jordens for contributing this post.

The Working Group on Caribbean Literature, based in the Netherlands, announces the launching of the book Samen Schrijven in het Arowaks [Writing Together in Arawak]. This book is the result of research collaboration between linguist Konrad Rybka and various Lokono-Arawak (Amerindian) communities in French Guiana and Suriname. Rybka has been researching Lokono-Arawak for the past 4 years and completed his MA thesis on the language at the University of Amsterdam in 2010. He received a research grant and did fieldwork during 6 months through the Kayeno Association, a cultural organization of Lokono-Arawaks in French Guiana. During that period, he worked on an orthography for Lokono-Arowak. He introduced a draft orthography and alphabet and gave orthography courses. A workshop was also held in Powakka, Suriname, in which Arawak-speaking people from the villages of Cassipora, Powakka and Matta participated and discussed Rybka’s work. At the end of this workshop an association was founded called Wadian Bokotothi, which is Arawak for: Those Who Will Protect Our Language. Samen Schrijven in het Arowaks will be presented in Suriname at the monthly Tori Oso meeting of S’77 (Writers Group ’77) on July 31, 2013.

For the complete, original article (in Dutch), go to

For more about Konrad Rybka, see

For an impression of the Arawak village meetings, visit the Facebook page of Melvin Mackintosh.

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