Kristang Survival

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Kristang (Malacca Creole Portuguese) –a long-time survivor seriously endangered Alan N. Baxter Universidade de Macau Flinders University Flinders University Portuguese & Spanish Department of Languages Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Alan.Baxter@flinders.edu.au / fshanb@umac.mo Abstract This article discusses the survival of Malacca Creole Portuguese from the 16th to the 20th 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, and considers recent surveys on language use by the…show more content…
But they are not very clever at speaking Kristang! (…) because their parents both want to speak English. I speak Kristang to them; sometimes they want to reply in English]. In other cases, parents had transmitted Kristang early in the informant’s life only to change to an almost exclusive use of English when the informant attended school. Both attitudes were common in the interviews conducted in 1980-81.24 4.4. Socioeconomic change In the last three decades, radical changes occurred in the socioeconomic profile of Padri sa Chang, all of which have serious implications for the survival of the Kristang language. While Kristangs still migrate for work, there is a trend towards local employment. Industrial growth around Malacca and in the tourism and hospitality industry is significant. For younger Kristangs from low-income families, this has meant a greater interaction with people outside the Kristang community. Similarly, since the late 1970s, there has been a growth of restaurant businesses within Padri sa Chang, which has provided work for young Kristangs and also has brought a constant flow of outsiders, tourists and locals, into the community. These local developments have led to a significant improvement in the socioeconomic level of Padri sa Chang and also to far greater exposure to English and Malay than previously. However, by far the most significant recent socioeconomic changes came about as the result of an environmental issue. Since the end of the 1970s, the Kristang communities of the Bandar Hilir area of Malacca have been progressively affected by a land reclamation project along the Hilir foreshore. By 1980, the Praya Lane Kristang community had already been land-locked, with the result that fishing was largely abandoned as an occupation. In turn, the landfill had serious implications for fishing at Padri sa Chang (Baxter, 1988: 14). Led by the Kristang politician Bernard Sta. Maria, now deceased, the Kristangs

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