Sprekende Namen in Suriname, Dr. Lou Lichtveld, Suralco Magazine, 1981 jaargang/volume 13 nr 1
Subject: [Toponomy] Meaning of Geographical Names
If you wanted to know the meaning of geographical names in Suriname...look no further.
Amer-Indian roots: Suriname or Cupanama (Coppename) The ending is -nama The m is similar to n and were used for pronounciation. -ana is river.
Suri is similar to soela or rapid. The upper Suriname river has many rapids. Suriname: thus means "river of many rapids".
Other river names - Last part is -ini (meaning river) as in Core(n)t-ini or Corantijn Comau-ini or Commewijne Casjoe-ini or Coesewijne Coeroe(i)ni or Coeroeni Maro-ini or Marowijne
Some Indian names were Europeanized such as Tapa-ma(r)oini became Tapanahoni.
The Nickerie river is named after a Nikeri Indian tribe. The same is so for Wania Creek or Saramacca river. These are named after tribes.
Towns, places: Named after chiefs or village captains: Apoera, Kasipoera, Torarica etc
Places ending in -bo bo means a place, settlement. Onoribo, Wonotobo, Paramaribo etc
Paramaribo was also known as Paramarubo, meaning a 'place of flowering plants'. The slaves knew Paramaribo only as Fort Zeelandia where they were brought to receive punishment or were jailed. So the name "Foto' or 'Bigi-foto' was created. Fort Nieuw Amsterdam is Njoenfoto while Nieuw Nickerie is Njoenton.
Exception to -bo ending meaning is Kabalebo which is a river and not a place.
Some European names...to name a few: Braamspunt is named after Bram Crynssen. Blanche Marie Vallen were named after the wife of District Commissioner van Drimmelen. Albina was named after the wife of the founder Kappler.
An artificial name is: Paranam
Lelydorp is also called 'Kofidjompo'. This is where the slave Kofi escaped from the plantation.
Names with Creole roots such as: Mindrineti river Djaki Creek Kraka Wisawini
The Maroons also gave names to their settlements: Boekoe- (it will perish before it is conquered) Adjaka- (Be careful or else) Nomerimi- (Do not touch or else)
There are also a Dahome and Lombe settlements.
Moengo is hill, Wanhati is unity
Names to commemorate an event are: Afo(a)baka is the ancestor is back, Brokopondo or the dug-out canoe is broken, Botopasi is a kind of boat entrance/passage
Many places are with -kondre ending. It means a village or permanent residence and is preceded with the name of the founder of the -kondre. Examples: Adjoemakondre, Jakobkondre etc.
There are also names ending with -gron (permanent plot of land). Examples are: Santigron, Pokigron.
Endings with: -ston (stone, rock) i.e. Bigiston, Maripaston
-doti such as Redidoti or red ground/soil -santi such as Moisanti (mooi) good sand.
Every soela (rapid) received a special name to remind you of a past event or warning. Pedrosoengo means Pedros boat sank here. Koemotopata means stay away from that spot.
Met dank aan Albert Buys