Being a Creole (and which accents are similar)
Hi all! I am a Kristang (Malaccan Portuguese Eurasian) living in Singapore and the Kristang language/creole is probably one of the last Portuguese creoles left in Southeast Asia. Most of its lexicon (about over 90% I believe) is derived from Portuguese while the rest comes from Malay, Dutch and other languages which had contact with Malacca since its Portuguese conquest in 1511.
Wiki article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristang_language
There has been a revival of this endangered creole since 2016 and I have been interested in learning more of its Portuguese origins and hence decided to take on Portuguese through Duolingo. The problem is that Kristang has a rather strange phonology which resembles Malay while adopting a Malay-esque grammatical structure. If I were to choose to adopt an accent for Portuguese which resembles Kristang the most, the closest I would get to is the Curitiba accent in south Brazil. Some characteristics of Kristang are as follows:
- All words are pronounced as written and do not usually have more than one pronunciation.
Words ending in '-mento' in Portuguese are pronounced '-mintu' in Kristang (eg. 'nascimento' to 'nasimintu')
Words ending in '-ade' in Portuguese are pronounced '-adi' in Kristang (eg. 'verdade' to 'berdadi')
Words that end in '-ão' become '-ang' (eg. 'Cristão' to 'Kristang' and 'coração' to 'korasang' and words that end in '-m' which tend to have an -ng sound are explicitly written in Kristang as '-ng' (eg. 'Têm bom?' literally 'how are you?' to 'Teng bong?')
Can anyone tell me any Portuguese varieties which has an accent or phonology which comes close to Kristang? Thanks!
Thank you so much for sharing, this is so interesting!
I've been studying Portuguese for less than a year and while at first I wasn't serious about it, I've absolutely fallen in love with the language. Coincidentally, I recently discovered that my Chinese ancestors on my mother's side likely spoke Portuguese or a Portuguese creole based on the area of southern China that they were from before they came to the Philippines.
Your post made me think about one thing I've noticed that's unusual in my family. In the Philippines, we call our grandmother "Lola." Every Filipino I've ever met outside of my family pronounces this "Loh-la," but my extended family pronounces it with a very strong "uu" sound like "Luu-la." I never thought much about it, but now I realize that my grandmother's grandparents where the generation that came to the Philippines. So maybe my grandmother taught my generation to say "Luu-la" because that's what her grandmother (whose accent was likely influenced by Portuguese or a Portuguese creole) taught her. I don't know very much about that part of my heritage or if any variation of Portuguese is still spoken in that area today, but it's something interesting to think about.
Hmm I think the only Portuguese creole left in southern China (as well as among the entire far east) is the Macanese creole in Macau. However its decreolisation has led to a dialect which sounds like Brazilian Portuguese with a mild chinese accent. In fact, Macanese was influenced by Kristang to a certain extent as it was the next place the Portuguese colonised. Perhaps your maternal ancestors might have come from that area!
As for the 'lola' change, it could possibly be due to regional variations around the Philippines. A few of my Filipino friends told me that depending on where you live, the 'e' sounds can change to an 'i' while some 'o's change to 'u's as you explained. So possibly it could be the result of other factors like maybe a Chinese accent or a local Filipino dialect. In Kristang, the 'o' sounds in Portuguese usually only change to 'u' sounds when it comes at the end of the word. Another example is how 'Quando' in Portuguese turns into 'Kantu' in Kristang.
Such are the peculiarities of being mixed haha. On my maternal side I am a Peranakan, a term referring to those of mixed Chinese and Malay heritage. Hence, it seems really unusual when we think of Kristang as being a butchering of Portuguese and Peranakan Malay as a substandard from of Malay.