Inside the Arawak community.

The Arawak (Lokono) Society:

Arawak (Lokono) Community

The people referred to as Arawak refer to themselves as Lokono, from loko meaning 'people' and no which marks the noun for plural.  There are an estimated 15,000 ethnic Lokono living in Guyana, of whom, however,only 1,500 are estimated to still speak the language.  Lokono, a member of the Arawakan language family, is a seriously endangered language with very few children learning it.  Nearky all its speakers  are adults over the age of 50.

The state of the language is in part the result of the Arawaks being a coastal people and, therefore, of the indigenous groups in Guyana, the one with the longest exposure to outside language influences.  The language which most closely resembles Lokono is Garifuna.

Alternate Names: Lokono, Arawak

Classification: Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Caribbean.  Dialect used y the older adults in Suriname and Guyana.  The young people use Sranan.  Literacy rate in first language: below 1%. Literacy rate in second language: 25% to 50%.

Population: 700 in Suriname (1980 census).  French Guiana 150 and in Guyana 1,500 (Forte 2000).  Ethnic population is 1,500.  Population total all countries: 2,450.  Ethnic population: 2,051 in Suriname (1980 census). 

Region: Scattered locations across the north of Suriname.  Also coastal areas of French Guiana and west coast along the Corantyne River in Guyana. 

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