Kristang language

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Papia Kristang
Malaccan Creole Portuguese
Kristang
Native toMalaysia
Native speakers
1,000 (2014)
Portuguese Creole
  • Malayo-Portuguese Creole
    • Papia Kristang
Language codes
ISO 639-3mcm
GlottologNone
mala1533  Malacca–Batavia Creole[1]
Linguasphere51-AAC-aha
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Papia Kristang ("speak kristang"), or just Kristang, is a creole language. It is spoken by the Kristang, a community of people of mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry of the Malay race, chiefly in Malacca (Malaysia).

The language is also called Cristão or Cristan ("Christian"), Portugues di Melaka ("Malacca Portuguese"), Linggu Mai ("Mother Tongue") or simply Papia ("speak"). However, locals and most of the Kristang community refer to the language as "Portugis".

In Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger (2010; formerly the Red Book of Endangered Languages) published by UNESCO, Kristang is classified as a “severely endangered”[2] language, with only about 2,000 people who speak it. Up to 2014, linguists concerned with Kristang have generally accepted a combined speaker population of about 1000 individuals or less. The language has about 750 speakers in Malacca[3] and another 100 in Singapore.[4] A small number of speakers also live in other Portuguese Eurasian communities in Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, and in diaspora communities in Perth, Canada, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.[5]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The Kristang language originated after the conquest of Malacca (Malaysia) in 1511 by the Portuguese Empire. Until a takeover by the Dutch in 1642, Malacca served as one of the key ports in the trade and administration network of Portuguese establishments along with Goa and Hormuz, allowing Portugal control over main Asiatic trade routes. The lingua franca of Malacca then was a pidginised form of Malay known as Bazaar Malay or Melayu Pasar, used amongst the resident foreign population which then consisted mainly of Javanese, Tamils and Hokkien Chinese. The constant traffic of Portuguese and traders of other origins such as India eventually gave birth to Papia Kristang, one of many Portuguese-derived contact languages which resulted from Portuguese colonial expansion during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A pidgin Portuguese preceding the Kristang creole has also been proposed, whereby a reduced system based on Portuguese converges with other languages present in the contact situation.[5]

The community of Kristang speakers descends mainly from interracial relationships between Portuguese men and local women, as well as a number of migrants from Portuguese India, themselves of mixed Indo-Portuguese ancestry. This was supported by Portuguese officials who advocated mixed marriages in the face of a labour shortage in the colonies, leading to the very first native speakers of Kristang as well as the development of the creole.[6]

Even after Portugal lost Malacca and almost all contact in 1641, the Kristang community largely preserved its language. The demographics of Malacca in the mid-17 century was still predominantly made up of the Portuguese even under Dutch control. The Irmang di Greza (Brothers of the Church), a manifestation of the bond between language and religion in the Kristang culture, acted as an intermediary between the priest and the remnants of the Portuguese population despite prohibition by the Dutch. Liturgy and pastoral sessions were conducted in Kristang in Malacca, which contributed to the longevity of the language into a period as late as the 20th century.

Kristang also had a substantial influence on Macanese, the creole language spoken in Macau, due to substantial migration from Malacca after its conquest by the Dutch.

Attrition of Kristang[edit]

The ceding of Malacca by the Dutch to the British via the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 directly caused the decline of the Kristang language. By the mid 19th century, many Kristangs flocked towards clerical and auxiliary positions provided by their new colonial masters. As such, the Kristang language saw a decline in use compared to English. In addition, the rising affluence of the region meant more job opportunities, resulting in many Kristangs moving away from Malacca. Moreover, the language is not taught at school, although there are still some Church services in Kristang.

In the context of Singapore, Kristang arrived in the 1820s due to the large influx of Eurasian immigrants from Malacca.[7] This resulted in a Kristang-speaking community large enough for the variety of the language spoken in Singapore to be acknowledged as a distinct variety of Creole Portuguese.[8] However, there was little exposure and recognition of Kristang in Singapore, especially when English became entrenched as the sole language of education and the major language used in most spheres of society after the country gained independence in 1965. As a result, the intergenerational transmission of Kristang ceased almost completely.[9]

The upkeep of Kristang can largely be attributed to its connection with the dominant religion of the Portuguese and their relative social standing in their communities between the 1600s to the late 1800s. The core Kristang-speaking communities gradually eroded due to better socioeconomic opportunities elsewhere. Post-World War Two, the new generation of Catholic priests that arrived to replace the pre-war priests who have been executed demonstrated little sensitivity towards the Kristang language and culture. Eventually, the bond between Kristang and religion was severed due to the association of the Portuguese Mission with the St Xavier's Church.[10]

Migration overseas and intermarriage with other nationalities have also led to Kristang speakers leaving the Portuguese Settlement in order to live and work in other parts of Malaysia. Furthermore, the dominantly Kristang-speaking middle-class gradually began to speak English for practical reasons, altering the prestige of English with regards to Kristang. To many in the community, they grew to accept that speaking English was a key to employment instead of Kristang, facilitating a breakdown in the transmission of Kristang.

Revitalisation efforts[edit]

Papia Kristang is facing a steep decline in language use within the community.[11] There has been an apparent language shift to English and Bahasa Malaysia due to the reduced prestige and accessibility of Kristang. However, revitalization efforts have begun in recent years in both the Portuguese Settlement in Singapore and Malacca. Such efforts have seen some success, nearly tripling the number of Kristang speakers of varying fluency.

Singapore[edit]

The revitalisation of Papia Kristang in Singapore can be largely attributed to the Kodrah Kristang('Awaken, Kristang') initiative led by Kevin Martens Wong[4]. This long-term revitalisation initiative seeks to revitalize the language by teaching it to a new generation of learners through complementary classes and the provision of online materials. Kodrah Kristang initially began with a small group of 14 people, eventually developing into a thorough Kristang revitalisation plan known as the Kaminyu di Kodramintu (Path of Awakening). The goals of the plan are twofold. Firstly, it sought to create a sizable pool of 50-100 new adults speakers who have acquired Kristang as a secondary language, speaking it alongside 75-100 elderly speakers. The subsequent focus will then be placed on intergenerational transmission. These estimates were made based on comparisons with other revitalized languages such as Hawaiian.[12] In 2017, they also held the first Kristang Language Festival which was attended by more than 1,400 people, including the Portuguese-Eurasian community in Singapore and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.[13]

A Kristang Online Dictionary was also launched at the Kristang Language Festival. The project, Pinchah Kristang: A Dictionary of Kristang[14], is led and developed by Luís Morgado da Costa based on the WordNet system developed at Nanyang Technological University. This dictionary also supports another initiative known as Jardinggu, or Kristang Lexical Incubator.[15] Initiated in April 2017, the Jardinggu provides a space for the discussion and accelerated addition of new words into the Kristang lexicon. Through this initiative, around 320 new lexemes for concepts that were previously represented by English loans have been suggested by the Kodrah community.[16]

Malacca[edit]

The Kristang-speaking community located at the Portuguese Settlement, or Padri sa Chang (“The Priest’s Land”) was able to undertake more sustained revitalisation efforts and publicise itself to non-Eurasian Malaysians, and the language. Notably with texts, stories and phrasebooks in Kristang produced by Joan Margaret Marbeck and through investments and interest from individuals and organisations outside the community. Joan Marbeck has produced three publications: Ungu Adanza (An Inheritance), Linggu Mai (Mother Tongue) and the Kristang Phrasebook. She is also credited with writing probably the only play in Kristang, called Seng Marianne (Without Marianne) and was also instrumental in staging a musical in Kristang - Kazamintu no Praiya which translates to 'Wedding on the beach'.[17]

Within the community, there were efforts made together with the help of academics to promote their culture and the Kristang language. In 1988, Alan Baxter published A grammar of Kristang based on his fieldwork within the community[5]. This was the first book which focused on the descriptive grammar of Kristang and established many core concept on Kristang linguistics. It also had a significant impact on many later studies on Kristang.

Support was also received from the Lisbon-based Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which funded and published Marbeck's Kristang texts[18], as well as the University of Malaya and linguists like Dr. Stefanie Pillai, who have produced a CD of Kristang hymns, and in plans of developing Kristang textbook for beginners.[19]

Along with Malacca Portuguese-Eurasian Association (MPEA) president Michael Gerald Singho, they published a textbook, Beng Prende Portugues Malaká (Papiá Cristang), also known as Come, Let's Learn Portugues Malaká (Papiá Cristang) for people who want to learn Kristang. The association also maintains an active Facebook page aimed at sharing and promoting information related to the Kristang language the Kristang way of life.

Vocabulary[edit]

The Kristang lexicon borrows heavily from Portuguese, but often with drastic truncation. Due to its largely Portuguese vocabulary, the Kristang lexicon has much in common with other Portuguese-based creoles, including the near-extinct creoles of Indonesia and East Timor. As it is primarily a creole, much of its vocabulary is also derived from Chinese, Indian and Malay languages to varying degrees.

Examples of vocabulary from various origins[20]
Meaning Kristang Origin Word Origin Word Language
shrimp paste blacan belacan Malay
walking stick tongkah tongkat
hoe changkol cangkul
jellyfish ampeh ampai
loincloth kachu katchu Tamil
lime churutu surutu
grandfather tata thatha
spatula chengsi chiensi Hokkien
lantern aloleng leng tsu
open-air restaurant kolau kou lau Cantonese
convent konventu convent Portuguese
hospital ospital hospital
toilet kakus kakhuis Dutch
tombstone kelda kelder

Metathesis was common in the derivation of the Kristang lexicon from Portuguese root words. e.g.

  • Portuguese gordo → Kristang godru "fat"

Writing system[edit]

Kristang was and is still largely an oral language and has never been taught officially in schools. The language is seldom written except by isolated individuals, including linguists and Portuguese missionaries. Most of the existing texts were of a religious nature and written in some modification of Portuguese orthography.[21]

In general, attempts to spell Kristang falls into three broad categories:

1. A system based on Portuguese orthography
The 19th and 20th centuries saw a rise in the use of Modern Portuguese-based orthography (for example, Rego (1942)[22]) due to the perception of Kristang as a variety of Portuguese instead of a distinct creole language partially based on Old Portuguese.[23] This is characterized by the use of diacritics such as acute accents (á, é, í, ó, ú). The system has been adopted by some native Kristang speakers as well.
2. A system based on a mixture of Portuguese, English and Malay
Other speakers have used a system influenced by Portuguese, English and Malay orthography. This creates an issue as the system is inconsistent in the representation of Kristang sounds and are unintelligible immediately to both speakers and non-speakers of Kristang.
3. A system based on Malay orthography
There are many observable parallels between the phonology of Malay and Kristang which has led to inherent similarities in the orthographic representations of the two languages as well. The first proposal for a standard Kristang orthography was made in 1973 by Ian F. Hancock[24] (1973:25) who recognised this quality and advocated the Malay-based system due to the speakers' familiarity with it. This would, therefore, lead to a swift acquisition of literacy in the reading and writing of the Kristang language.
This system to spell Kristang was further expanded on in A Grammar of Kristang[5] by Alan N. Baxter, in which he agreed on and emphasized the use of the Malay orthography. Published in 1995, Joan Margaret Marbeck's book Ungua Andanza also followed this approach, with the orthography written in a Luso-Malay context.[25]

The choice of orthography is significant as the maintenance of the Kristang language will depend on increasing the numbers of active Kristang speakers. Currently, the choice of an orthography presents a hindrance to the revitalization efforts of Kristang due to inconsistency and unintelligibility. While there exist relatively valuable historical works on the Kristang culture, the community would have difficulty reading it because of its spelling. As written Malay can be understood by many literate people not only in Malaysia but also other Malay-speaking countries, many later studies advocate a Malay-derived orthography which may also prove to be beneficial in increasing the prospects of the language's survival.

Phonology[edit]

The acoustic and articulatory properties of Kristang have not been extensively studied. However, Hancock (1969[26], 1973[24]), Batalha (1981)[27], and most recently, Baxter (1988)[5] have outlined brief descriptions of its sound system. In general, Kristang's inventory of consonant and vowel phonemes shows a significant parallel to that of Standard Malay.

Consonants[edit]

Consonant phonemes of Kristang[5][26]
Bilabial Labio-dental Alveo-dental Alveolar Palato-alveolar Velar
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Affricate voiceless [a]
voiced
Fricative voiceless f s
voiced v[b] z
Nasal m n ɲ[c] ŋ[d]
Tap/Trill r
Lateral l
  1. ^ Described as /c/ by Baxter (1988) and ch in the inventory by Hancock (1973).
  2. ^ The phoneme v is highly infrequent and restricted in distribution. It was also excluded from Hancock (1973)'s inventory.
  3. ^ /ñ/ by Baxter (1988) and ny by Hancock (1973).
  4. ^ /ng/ by Baxter (1988).

Orthographic note:
Using a Malay-based orthography, the sounds are represented orthographically by their symbols as above, except:

  • /ɲ/ is written as ⟨ny⟩
  • /ŋ/ is written as ⟨ng⟩
  • // is written as ⟨c⟩ (or ⟨ch⟩, a pre-1972 Malay letter)
  • // is written as ⟨j⟩

Portuguese words which begin with ⟨ch⟩, pronounced [ʃ] ("sh") in modern Portuguese, are often pronounced as [tʃ] ("sh") in Kristang, e.g.:

  • Portuguese chegar /ʃəˈɡar/ → Kristang chegak /tʃəɡak/ "two"
  • Portuguese chuva /ˈʃuvɐ/ → Kristang chua /tʃua/ "rain"

This may be due to Malay influence, or the preservation of an Old Portuguese pronunciation [tʃ] in Kristang. It is also worth noting that Northern Portugal also retains the Portuguese [tʃ] pronunciation.

Phonological contrasts[edit]

Baxter (1988), in particular, established various phonemic contrasts in the Kristang consonant system.

Stops and affricates contrast in the initial and medial positions.

Examples of contrastive distribution between voiced and voiceless stops:
Bilabial Alveodental Velar
initial medial initial medial initial medial
pai

(father)

kapa

(castrate)

teng

(have, be)

ati

(until)

kaba

(finish)

saku

(sack, pocket)

bai

(go)

kaba

(finish)

deng

(dried stingray)

adi

(duck)

gaba

(praise)

sagu

(sago)

Examples of contrastive distribution between voiced and voiceless affricates:
Palato-alveolar
initial medial
ceru

(smell)

inchidu

(full)

jeru

(son-in-law)

jinjibri

(ginger, gums)

Fricatives contrast in the medial positions. No clear distinctions between voiced-voiceless pairs and all fricative counterparts can be drawn as /v/ is highly infrequent and restricted in distribution and initial /z/ has fallen into disuse.

Examples:
/f/ vs /s/ /f/ vs /z/ /f/ vs /s/
initial medial medial medial
fai

(pretend/do)

kofi

(coffee)

bafa

(steam)

bafu

(breath)

sai

(go out)

kosi

(kick)

baza

(pour)

basu

(under)

Nasals contrast do not contrast before a consonant, and no contrasts have been found in identical environments in the final position. In the initial position, only /m/, /n/ and /ɲ/ contrast, while all nasals /m, n, ɲ, ŋ/ contrast in the medial position. Tap, as well as lateral liquid consonants, contrast in all positions.

Vowels[edit]

Vowel phonemes of Kristang[5][24]
Unrounded Rounded
Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e ə[a] o
Open-mid ɛ[b] (ë)[c] ɔ[b]
Open a
  1. ^ The Kristang vowel system is similar to the vowel system of Standard Malay in that both languages share the feature of having [ə] as both a realisation of /a/ and /ə/ (Onn 1980:21).
  2. ^ a b The phonemic status of [ɛ] and [ɔ] is debatable. In Hancock's (1973:25)[24] description of the Kristang vowel system, these were treated as variants of the phoneme /e/ and /o/ respectively. The phones [e] and [ɛ], as well as [o] and [ɔ] only contrast in the medial position and limited environments[5].
  3. ^ The phoneme [ë] is described to be of low frequency and limited distribution. When used, it is often in loanwords from Malay, English and Dutch.
Vowel phonemes of Standard Malay[28][29]
Unrounded Rounded
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ə o
Open a

The inventory of vowel phonemes in Kristang is also highly similar to Standard Malay vowel phonemes, which can be seen in the table above.

Diphthongs in Kristang
Spellings Examples
1. [au] aw paw "stick"
2. [ai] ay pay "father"
ai raina "queen"
3. [eu] e̹w se̹w "sky"
ew pew "foot"
4. [oi] o̹y no̹yba "girlfriend"
oy noybu "boyfriend"
5. [io] yo byola "violin"
6. [ui] uy ruybu "bream fish"
wi mwi "grind"
7. [iu] iw friw "cold"
yu syumi "jealousy"
8. [ua] wa rakwa "shift"
ua cua "rain"
9. [ia] ya pyang "spinning top"
ia dia "day"
10. [ue] we dwenti "ill"
we̹ gwe̹la "gullet"

Diphthongs and vowel sequences[edit]

Diphthongs in Kristang are formed when either the vowel /i/, or the vowel /u/, occurs in the same syllable as another vowel. The vowel /i/ and /u/ are pronounced as the semivowels (or glides) [y] and [w] respectively in such cases.[23]

There are 10 word-internal diphthongs in Kristang as outlined by Baxter (1988). Of all 10, 3 (/ai/ as in rainya ‘queen’, /ua/ as in chua ‘rain’ and /ia/ as in dia ‘day’) may also constitute hiatus, i.e. the vowels in would be pronounced as two distinct syllables in certain environments.

The relatively large number of diphthongs is also in contrast to Malay, whereby only three native diphthong phonemes are described:

  1. /ai̯/: kedai ('shop')
  2. /au̯/: kerbau ('buffalo')
  3. /oi̯/: dodoi ('lullaby')

These diphthongs also display visible parallels to certain Kristang vowel sequences [ai], [au] and [oi].

The Portuguese diphthong [oj] (or archaic [ou]) are often reduced to [o] in Kristang in Portuguese loan words, e.g.:

  • Portuguese dois/dous → Kristang dos 'two'
  • Portuguese à noite/à noute → Kristang anoti/anuti 'tonight'

Kristang diphthongs are monosyllabic and the vowel sequences are differentiated according to its stress position. For example, the stress in /au/ is on the first vowel whereas in /io/, the second vowel is stressed.

Stress and rhythm[edit]

Kristang is a syllable-timed language (not unlike Malay which also displays syllable-based rhythm).

According to Baxter (2004), most polysyllabic words in Kristang can be classified into two large groups based on the stress position in the word.[23]

Stress Rule A

Most words which end in a vowel have tonic stress on the penultimate syllable.

  • kaza 'house'
  • nomi 'name'
  • rayu 'wicked'
  • apoyu 'support'
  • kumeria 'food'
  • rua 'street'
Stress Rule B

Most words which end in a consonant have tonic stress on the final syllable.

  • landes 'Dutch'
  • natal 'Christmas'

However, stress pattern is not completely predictable in Kristang as there are also certain words which are exceptions to the above two rules.

Exception to Rule A
Verbs which end in a stressed vowel (e.g. kumi 'to eat'). Attention should be paid to the lexical stress in such instances as it brings about a difference in meaning (e.g. kaza 'house' vs kaza 'to marry").
Some vowel-ending words are also stressed on the antepenultimate syllable instead. (such as familia 'family', animu 'valour')
Exception to Rule B
Some consonant-ending words are stressed on the penultimate syllable (such as okel 'spectacles', nobas 'news')

Kristang also displays stress shifting in that many verbs display a tendency to shift their stress from the final syllable to penultimate syllable when followed by a stressed syllable in the next word, especially in rapid speech.

Grammar[edit]

The grammatical structure of Kristang is similar to that of the Malay language. The usage of verbs is one of the grammatical features of Kristang that displays this quality. While Portuguese verbs mainly use morphology, or suffixes, to change a verb's tense or for it to match with the person and number of its subject, Malay does not change the form of the verb itself. Instead, it makes use of pre-verbal words to convey tense and does not indicate the person or number of the subject in the form of the verb. Kristang's structure is practically identical to Malay, although the choice of words comes from Portuguese.

Syntax[edit]

Papiá Kristang has Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) word order in simple sentences. The direct human objects are case-marked by the preposition ku. The same preposition also marks indirect objects. Intransitive clauses, the case-marked indirect object may precede the direct object, especially when the former is pronominal. Noncore arguments are generally located either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence as shown in example (1).


(1)

Amiang

tomorrow

Diego

Diego

lo

FUT

give

ku

DAT

bos

2SG

aké

that

doi

money

na

LOC

butika

shop

Amiang Diego lo dá ku bos aké doi na butika

tomorrow Diego FUT give DAT 2SG that money LOC shop

'Tomorrow, Diego will give you that money, at the shop.'


Adversity Passive, which is used to talk about situations where a negative action happens to something, but the person or originator of the negative action is not mentioned something, is also present both in Kristang and Malay. The Adversity Passive is signalled by kena (Malay), and by tokah (Kristang).

Colloquial Malay Kristang Colloquial English near-equivalent
Ikan kena makan Pesi tokah kumih The fish got eaten

For complex sentences, the phrases and clauses are joined by coordinating conjunctions ku "with, and", "or", and mas "but". There are also instances where object clauses may be headed by ki; however, this is rare and is only found in traditional formal registers, as in a wedding speech. The most frequent means of expressing nominal subordination is parataxis as shown in example (2) and (3).[30]


(2)

Nus

1PL

pidi

ask

ki

COMP

tudu

all

bolotu

3PL

podi

can

kumí

eat

sabrozu

tasty

Nus pidi ki tudu bolotu podi kumí sabrozu

1PL ask COMP all 3PL can eat tasty

'We ask that you may all eat to your satisfaction.'

(3)

Yo

1SG

ja

PFV

skribé

write

ku

ACC

eli

3SG

Ø

Ø

John

John

ja

PFV

kazá.

marry

Yo ja skribé ku eli Ø John ja kazá.

1SG PFV write ACC 3SG Ø John PFV marry

'I wrote to him that John has married.'


Adverbial clauses are headed by antis di "before", kiora "when", chuma "as", kantu "if", padi "in order to", kauzu ki "because", kifoi "because", etc., yet may also be indicated by parataxis without conjunctions. [5]

Relative clauses are headed by ki "what, who’"(and very rarely by keng "who"), yet also commonly occur with a pronoun head or may occur without it. This can be seen in example (4) and (5).


(4)

Tantu

many

yo

1SG

sa

GEN

kambra

friend

kambradu

friend

ki

REL

ja

PFV

bai

go

skola

school

pun.

too

Tantu yo sa kambra kambradu ki ja bai skola pun.

many 1SG GEN friend friend REL PFV go school too

'many of my friends who went to school too.'

(5)

Jenti

person

prenya

pregnant

eli

3SG

parí

bear

muré

die

ja

PFV

fiká

become

pontianak.

vampire

Jenti prenya eli parí muré ja fiká pontianak.

person pregnant 3SG bear die PFV become vampire

'A pregnant woman who dies in childbirth becomes a vampire.'

In Kristang, The noun phrase (NP) is a structure which can occur as subject of a verb, object of a verb, object of a relator or as a predicate.

There are five types of prenominal determiners in Kristang:

Quantifier:

(6)

kada

each

kaza

house

kada kaza

each house

'Each house’.

Numeral:

(7)

dos

two

prau

boat

dos prau

two boat

'Two boats’.

Interrogative determiner:

(8)

REL

redi

net

?

Q

kí redi ?

REL net Q

'What net?’

Demonstrative article:

(9)

aké

DEM

albi

tree

aké albi

DEM tree

'That tree.’

The demonstratives isi and ake(li) ‘that’ precede the noun and indicate a distance contrast.

Possessive NP + sa :

(10)

eli

3S

sa

G

irmáng

sibling

femi

female

eli sa irmáng femi

3S G sibling female

'His sister.’

Adnominal possessives precede the noun and consist of possessor (noun or pronoun) + genitive marker sa (or ).


In comparative constructions of equality, the adjective is marked by iguál ‘equal’ and standard is marked by ku ‘with’:

(11)

John

John

iguál

equal

grandi

big

ku

with

Peter.

Peter

John iguál grandi ku Peter.

John equal big with Peter

'John is as big as Peter.’

In the comparative construction of inequality, the adjective is marked by más ‘more’ and the standard by di ‘of’:

(12)

Eli

3SG

más

more

altu

tall

di

of

Pio.

Pio

Eli más altu di Pio.

3SG more tall of Pio

'He is taller than Pio.’

The superlative comparison consists of the comparative of inequality plus a universal standard:

(13)

Maria

Maria

más

more

altu

tall

di

of

tudu

all

mbes

once

aké

DEM

femi

female

femi.

femmale

Maria más altu di tudu mbes aké femi femi.

Maria more tall of all once DEM female femmale

'Maria is the tallest of all the girls.’

There is only one set of personal pronouns that occurs in all pronominal functions. The 3SG and 3PL pronouns only refer to animates, principally to humans.

subject object independent pronouns adnominal possessives
1SG yo yo yo yo + sa
2SG bos bos bos bos + sa
3SG eli eli eli eli + sa
1PL nus nus nus nus + sa
2PL bolotu bolotu bolotu bolotu + sa
3PL olotu olotu olotu olotu + sa

Morphology[edit]

Pluralisation is also the same in Malay as in Kristang. For example, in English and Portuguese, an ‘–s’ is added to make cats or gatos, whereas in Kristang and Malay, the entire word is duplicated, such as gatu-gatu in Kristang, and kucing-kucing in Malay. Reduplication is not only a feature of the noun class but also a feature of the adjective, adverb and verb classes.[5] Adjectives and adverbs reduplicate to signify intensity: kěni~kěninu, “quite small, very small”, belu belu “quite old”, sedu sedu “quite/very early”. On the other hand, the interrogative pronouns reduplicate to signify indefiniteness: keng keng (who who) “whoever”, ki ki (what what “whatever”. As for the reduplication of the numerals, dos “two” and tres “three”, it gave the respective readings “in pairs” and “in threes”.[30]

With nouns, reduplication can signal plurality, often involving partial reduplication: krenkrensa (= krensa + krensa) ‘children’, femfemi (= femi + femi) ‘women’. However, the reduplication of nouns with non-specific reference in object position may yield the meaning ‘all kinds of’ or ‘lots of’:


(14)

Yo

1SG

sa

GEN

sogru

father.in.law

gadrá

keep

pastu

bird

pastu

bird

Yo sa sogru gadrá pastu pastu

1SG GEN father.in.law keep bird bird

'My father-in-law keeps all kinds of birds.'

Without reduplication, the above sentence would simply express plural: ‘birds’.


To indicate verb tenses, the following appositions are used: jah (i.e. from the Portuguese , meaning "already", or controversially a corruption of Malay dah, shortened version of sudah, also "already") for past tenses; ta (from está, which means "is") for present continuous tenses and logu or lo (from logo, which means "soon") for the future tense. These simplified forms correspond with their equivalents in Malay sudah, sedang, and akan, respectively.

English Portuguese Malay Kristang
I eat Eu como Saya makan Yo kumih
I ate/have eaten Eu comi Saya sudah makan Yo ja kumih
I will eat Eu comerei Saya akan makan Yo logu kumih
He eats Ele come Dia makan Eli kumih

Papiá Kristang has two overt markers of aspect (ja ‘perfective’ and ta ‘imperfective’), an overt marker of future tense (lo(gu)), and a zero marker.

This table summarised the functions of these markers:

lexical aspect tense/aspect mood
Ø dynamic habitual past/present (perfective) imperative
stative-1 or -2 past / present
ja dynamic perfective
ta dynamic imperfective past/present
stative-2 imperfective past/present
lo(gu) dynamic future habitual present/past conditional
stative-1 or -2 future

Example (15) shows the zero marker (Ø) with a dynamic verb of past or present habitual representation:

(15)

Yo

1SG

sa

GEN

pai

father

Ø

Ø

fai

do

sibrisu

work

na

LOC

municipal.

municipal

Yo sa pai Ø fai sibrisu na municipal.

1SG GEN father Ø do work LOC municipal

'My faher works/used to work in the Munucipal.'

Example (16) shows the marker ja with a dynamic verb, with perfective aspect representation:

(16)

Eli

3SG

ja

PFV

bai

go

mar

sea

(onti

yesterday

anoti).

night

Eli ja bai mar (onti anoti).

3SG PFV go sea yesterday night

'He went fishing (last night).'

The marker ta occurs with dynamic verbs in past or present contexts, with either a progressive reading, as in (17), or an iterative reading, as in (18):

(17)

Diego

Diego

ta

IPFV

les

read

buku.

book

Diego ta les buku.

Diego IPFV read book

'Diego is/was reading a book.'

(18)

Eli

3SG

ta

IPFV

fai

do

sibrisu

work

na

LOC

Singaporura.

Singapore

Eli ta fai sibrisu na Singaporura.

3SG IPFV do work LOC Singapore

'He is/was working in Singapore.'

The marker lo(go) conveys a future or conditional reading, as in examples (19) and (20), respectively where it occurs with a dynamic verb:

(19)

Amiang

tomorrow

out

other

dia,

day

eli

3SG

logu

FUT

bai

go

mar.

sea

Amiang out dia, eli logu bai mar.

tomorrow other day 3SG FUT go sea

'The day after tomorrow, he will go fishing.'

(20)

Kanti

if

yo

1SG

teng

have

doi,

money

yo

1SG

lo

FUT

kompra

buy

kareta.

car

Kanti yo teng doi, yo lo kompra kareta.

if 1SG have money 1SG FUT buy car

'If I have/had the money I will/would buy a car.'

The Tense-Aspect-Mood (TAM) markers do not normally co-occur. Combinations of markers are very rare and when they do occur they appear to involve an adverbial reading of the initial marker. Thus, when ja is seen to combine with the imperfective marker ta, ja has the adverbial reading ‘already’ of its Portuguese source:

(21)

Kora

when

yo

1SG

ja

PFV

chegá

arrive

eli

3SG

ja

already

ta

IPFV

kumí

eat

Kora yo ja chegá eli ja ta kumí

when 1SG PFV arrive 3SG already IPFV eat

'When I arrived, he was already eating.'

Kristang examples[edit]

Numbers[edit]

Much of the lexicon for Kristang numbers draws influence from Portuguese, a Romance language. However, unlike Portuguese, which distinguishes between the masculine and feminine forms of “one” (um/uma) and “two” (dois/duas), numbers in Kristang do not inflect for gender.

English Kristang Portuguese Malay
one ungua/ngua um (masc.) / uma (fem.) satu
two dos dois (masc.) / duas (fem.) dua
three tres três tiga
four katru quatro empat
five singku cinco lima
six sez seis enam
seven seti sete tujuh
eight oitu oito lapan
nine nubi nove sembilan
ten des dez sepuluh

Pronouns[edit]

A peculiarity of the language is the pronoun yo (meaning "I") which is used in Northern Portuguese (pronounced as yeu) as well as Spanish and Italian/Sicilian.

English Kristang Portuguese Malay
Me yo eu saya (formal) / aku (casual)
You (singular) bos vós Awak/Kamu
You (plural) bolotudu/bolotu vós todos Awak semua/Kamu semua
We nus nós kami
He/she/it eli ele, ela, isto dia
They olotu eles mereka

Common phrases[edit]

English Kristang Portuguese Malay
Thank You Mutu Merseh Muitas mercês Terima Kasih
How Are You? Teng Bong? Estás bom?/Têm bom? Awak apa khabar?
What's your name? Ki bos sa numi? Qual é o seu nome?/Qual é o seu nome? Siapa nama awak?
Good Morning Bong Pamiang Boa Manhã Selamat Pagi
Good Afternoon Bong Midia Bom Meio-dia Selamat Petang
Good Evening Bong Atadi Boa Tarde Selamat Malam
Good Night Bong Anuti Boa Noite Selamat Malam/Tidur
Mother mai mãe Emak/Ibu/Bonda/Ummi/Mama
Father pai pai Bapa/Ayah/Abah/Abi
Wife muleh mulher Isteri
Husband maridu marido Suami
Old Woman bela velha Wanita Tua
Old Man belu velho Lelaki Tua
Little one Quenino/Keninu Pequenino Si Kecil
Mouth boka boca Mulut
Fat godru gordo Gemuk
Beautiful bonitu bonito Cantik
Party festa festa Pesta
Yes seng sim Ya
No ngka não Tidak
Who keng quem Siapa
What ki que Apa
When kiora quando ("que hora") Bila
Where ondi onde Mana
Why kifoi porque ("que foi") Mengapa
How klai como Bagaimana

Poem of Malacca[edit]

Keng teng fortuna fikah na Malaka,
Nang kereh partih bai otru tera.
Pra ki tudu jenti teng amizadi,
Kontu partih logu fikah saudadi.
Oh Malaka, tera di San Francisku,
Nteh otru tera ki yo kereh.
Oh Malaka undi teng sempri fresku,
Yo kereh fikah ateh mureh.


Portuguese translation:

Quem tem fortuna fica em Malaca,
Não quer partir para outra terra.
Por aqui toda a gente tem amizade,
Quando tu partes logo fica a saudade.
Ó Malaca, terra de São Francisco,
Não tem outra terra que eu queira.
Ó Malaca, onde tem sempre frescura,
Eu quero ficar até morrer.


English translation:

Who is lucky stays in Malacca,
Doesn't want to go to another land.
In here everyone has friendship,
When one leaves soon has saudade.
Oh Malacca, land of Saint Francis,
There is no other land that I want.
Oh Malacca, where there's always freshness,
I want to stay here until I die.


Malay translation:

Siapa beruntung tinggal di Melaka,
Tidak mahu ke tanah berbeza.
Di sini semua bersahabat,
Bila seorang pergi terasa rindu.
Oh Melaka, tanah Saint Francis,
Tiada tanah lain yang ku mahu.
Oh Melaka, dimana adanya kesegaran,
Aku mahu tinggal di sini hingga ke akhir nyawa.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Malacca–Batavia Portuguese Creole". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Moseley, Christopher (2012). The UNESCO atlas of the world's languages in danger. World Oral Literature Project. ISBN 978-92-3-104096-2.
  3. ^ Baxter (2005), p. 16
  4. ^ a b Wong, Kevin Martens. "Kodrah Kristang Kaminyu di Kodramintu: Kinyang Ngua (The Kristang Language Revitalization Plan, Phase One)" (PDF). Kodrah Kristang. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Baxter, Alan N. (1988). A Grammar of Kristang (Malacca Creole Portuguese) (PDF). Pacific Linguistics Series B - No. 95. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. doi:10.15144/pl-b95. hdl:1885/145643. ISBN 0-85883-375-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  6. ^ Macgregor, Ian A. (1955). "Notes on the Portuguese in Malaya". Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 28 (2): 4–47.
  7. ^ Pereira, Alexius A. (2015). Singapore Chronicles - Eurasians. Straits Times Press. ISBN 9789814747028.
  8. ^ Kevin Martens Wong Zhi Qiang (2016). Differential Object Marking in Kristang: An Endangered Creole in Singapore (PDF) (Bachelor of Arts thesis). National University of Singapore. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  9. ^ Wong, Kevin Martens (6 December 2019). "Awaken, Kristang". ACU Review. The Association of Commonwealth Universities. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  10. ^ Baxter, Alan N. (2005). "Kristang (Malacca Creole Portuguese) – A Long-Time Survivor Seriously Endangered". Estudios de Sociolingüística. 6 (1): 1–37. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  11. ^ Baxter, Alan.N (1996). "Portuguese and Creole Portuguese in the Pacific and Western Pacific rim". Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas. doi:10.1515/9783110819724.2.299. ISBN 9783110819724.
  12. ^ Wong, Kevin Martens (2019). "Kodrah Kristang: The initiative to revitalize the Kristang language in Singapore". In Pinharada-Nunes, Mário; Cardoso, Hugo C. (eds.). Documentation and Maintenance of Contact Languages from South Asia to East Asia. Language Documentation & Conservation Special Publication No. 19. Honoloulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. pp. 45–49. hdl:10125/24906. ISBN 978-0-9973295-6-8.
  13. ^ "1st Kristang Language Festival". Kodrah Kristang. 9 February 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "Pinchah Kristang: A Dictionary of Kristang". Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  15. ^ "Jardinggu: The Kristang Lexical Incubator". 7 March 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  16. ^ New word development in Singapore Kristang and its implications for variation (PDF), retrieved 15 April 2020
  17. ^ Haja Mohideen Bin Mohamed Ali (2010), The maintenance of Malaysia's minority languages (PDF), retrieved April 15, 2020
  18. ^ Marbeck, Joan Margaret (1995). "Ungua Adanza (Heritage). Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
  19. ^ Wong, Kevin Martens (2 June 2015). "Revitalising Kristang: An interview with Stefanie Pillai". Unravel Magazine. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  20. ^ Mohamed Ali, Haja Mohideen; Mohideen, Shamimah (2008). "Survival of the Minority Kristang Language in Malaysia". Language in India. 8 (7): 1–18.
  21. ^ "Papia Kristang: The Creole Portuguese of Malacca and Singapore". Kreol Magazine. 18 March 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  22. ^ Rego, António da Silva (1942). Dialecto português de Malaca: apontamentos para o seu estudo [Portuguese dialect of Malacca: notes for its study] (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Agencia Geral das Colonias.
  23. ^ a b c Baxter, Alan N.; De Silva, Patrick (2004). A Dictionary of Kristang (Malacca Creole Portuguese) with an English-Kristang finderlist. Pacific Linguistics 564. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. hdl:1885/146269.
  24. ^ a b c d Hancock, Ian F. (1973). "Malacca Creole Portuguese: A Brief Transformational Outline". Te Reo. 16 (5): 23–44.
  25. ^ Marbeck, Joan Margaret (1995). Ungua Adanza (Heritage). Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
  26. ^ a b Hancock, Ian F. (1969). A Glossary of Papia Kristang Or Malacca Creole Portuguese.
  27. ^ Bathalha, Graciete Nogueira (1981). "O Inquérito Linguístico Boléo em Malaca" [The Boléo Language Survey in Malacca]. Biblos (Coimbra) (in Portuguese). 57.
  28. ^ Clynes, Adrian; Deterding, David (2011). "Standard Malay (Brunei)". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 41 (2): 259–268. doi:10.1017/S002510031100017X.
  29. ^ Asmah Haji Omar (2008). Ensiklopedia Bahasa Melayu. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. p. 97.
  30. ^ a b "Survey chapter: Papiá Kristang". The Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures Online. Retrieved April 23, 2020.

External links[edit]