Black Jersey Dutch , Nexer Dauts

Black Jersey Dutch,( Nexer Dauts,"Negro Dutch") was a form of Jersey Dutch, spoken by the afro-descendant population of New Jersey and New York(New Netherlands), during and after Dutch colonization. It was not a pidgin or creole but a form of the Dutch language like Afrikaans. No known African survival elements seemed to have been retained. The language was used to transmit black New York and New Jersey(New Netherlands) folk culture.

The Dutch controlled New York and New Jersey(New Netherlands) from 1624 and 1664. A unique form of Dutch developed called Jersey Dutch spoken by the general white population. Sojourner Truth born in Ulster County, New York around 1797 spoke only Dutch until she was eleven. The slaves and free blacks in the Dutch society seemed to have developed their own form of Dutch , Nexer Dauts or Negro Dutch. Very little is known about Nexer Dauts, but numerous accounts talks of its existence:

The last speaker of Jersey Dutch James B. H. Storms of Park Ridge, New Jersey, who died in 1949 noted, "Even the colored people, for the most part children of slaves, without any education at all, were proficient in the use of Jersey Dutch and had enough knowledge of English to converse in either."

During the colonial period, in 1741 Philip French of New Brunswick advertised for the return of "a Negro Man named Claus. . . [who] speaks Dutch and good English." Cornelius Clopper, in 1766, of Raritan Landing advertised for the return of "a yellowish Negro Fello[sic] named Bill . . . [who] speaks good English and Low Dutch fluently."  Also, in 1780 Lucas Van Beverhoudt from Beverwyck (near Morristown, New Jersey) advertised for the return of "a negro man named JACK . . . [who] speaks broken English and some negro [sic] Dutch."

Sample of Nexer Dauts

Altait an zomer                    Always in summer
Stat de zuve bome              Stand the seven trees;
Aske'n aike an al de            Ash and oak and all along
lang vorbai                            past
Kan nit rolle;                          They cannot proceed.               
wat er opstat?                        What are they standing on?

Related Article:  New Netherlands , New Amsterdam , Afro-Dutch 

Works Cited

Cohen, David S. Afro-Dutch Folklore and Folktales. Academia,edu <>