Sociolinguistic Studies, Estudios de Sociolingüística 6.1 2005

Kristang (Malacca Creole Portuguese) -- A long-time survivor seriously endangered

Alan N. Baxter
Issued Date: 15 Mar 2007


This article discusses the survival of Malacca Creole Portuguese from the 16th to the 2 0t h centuries, focusing on present endangerment. It first identifies key sociohistorical factors leading to linguistic continuity in the early centuries and describes the central domains facilitating the maintenance of a Kristang-speaking community until recently. It then discusses the attrition of Kristang in the 20thC, andconsiders recent surveys on language use by the Kristang community, noting that existing legislation regarding this minority could, in theory, protect the language. Subsequently, it considers certain linguistic reflexes of attrition and shift in Kristang, in the lexicon and structure, under pressure from Malay and English. The paper concludes by evaluating prospects for revitalization and maintenance of Kristang.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v6i1.1


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