Use of Skepi Dutch Creole to determine border

Although this website is originally dedicated to Virgin Islands Dutch Creole, information about the two closest relatives is too beautiful not to show or mention.

Today I was reminded that the International Court of Justice in The Hague (The Netherlands) holds public hearings in the case of Guyana versus Venezuela. In the nineteenseventees Ian Richardson, who discovered the last speakers of Berbice Dutch Creole and rememberers of Skepi Dutch Creole, was also looking in such a border conflict. Through his research I was directed to nineteenth century material in which, I think for the first time, the border between Guyana and Venezuela had to be established.

In this material a remarkable procedure was used. When the local people used Spanish as their contact language, the area was related to Venezuela. However, when Dutch Creole, or Dutch Patois, was used, the area should be a part of the Essequibo region of Guyana.

The last few years some extraordinary discoveries in the field of Skepi Dutch were done. A sentence from 1780 was found in the Letters as Loot Corpus of Leyden University (Van der Wal) and a nineteenth century diary of a missionary turned out to contain a huge list of sentences and words in this language (Jacobs and Parkvall 2020). And… there is more to come.

Here you will find a link to the nineteenth century description of the Venezuela-British Guiana boundary arbitration (1898):


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