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Language is the soul of our kristang heritage

'The Malacca Portuguese Creole Language is a fascinating reflex of the rich cultural exchange which took place between speakers of Portuguese during the Portuguese period 1511 - 1641. Thus the Malayanisation of Portuguese in Malacca led to the creation of a new language, properly termed, Malacca-Melayu Portuguese Creole, referred to by its speakers as Kristang.' (Alan Baxter)

'Kristang jah kriseh kora jenti Portugues jah cegah na praiya Malaka kung jah ngkontrah kung jenti-jenti bendora Malaiyu, Cina, Moru kung Arabi na anu-anu 1511 ateh 1641. Unga linggu komersiar jah fazeh, unga kultura jah bibeh kauzu isti akontisimentu. Mas bong, unga kultura riku kung unik jah bibeh ateh ozindia kontu lingu-lingu ki teng na Malaka na anu-anu passadu jah campurah fikah Malaka-Malaiyu Portugues Kriolu. Isti kultura, isti jenti, isti linggu nus comah Kristang.'

Languages are dying at an alarming rate and Kristang along with a number of other ethnic languages of Asia will be no exception in meeting the same fate if concrete measures to preserve them are not taken.

Kristang, a minority language spoken and understood by approximately 5000 persons, fifty years old and above, in Malaysia and Singapore, is under threat of attrition. This does not simply mean the loss of a language but an entire culture that has survived for almost five hundred years in Malaysia, Singapore and some of the islands of Indonesia.

Kristang, some of whom speak, read and write fluent English will continue to use English more frequently in years to come alongside the Malaysian Language in their personal and professional lives. But, this is no reason why Kristangs should forget or forsake the language of their forefathers and watch with arms folded, its predicted end. Believe and be passionate about saving our Mother - Tongue.

My contribution towards the resuscitation, development, promotion and preservation of the Kristang Language is visible in Ungua Adanza(An Inheritance) published in 1995 in the Conference Report on the Revival of Spoken Kristang and the Development of the Malacca - Portuguese Heritage in 1999 and in the recent publication of Linggu Mai (Mother Tongue), the Kristang Phrasebook and the Kristang Speech and Song Compact Disc launched on 1st. September at the Selangor and Federal Territory Eurasian Association.

Kristang, the language of the descendants of the Malacca-Portuguese Creoles and the Soul of our Heritage has been documented for posterity and deserves a prominent place in the small world of written Creole languages still present in Southeast Asia.

Nus sa LINGGU fikah Nus sa Alma di Nus sa Andasang.


Sponsorship towards the Revival of Spoken Kristang and the Development, Perpetuation and Promotion of the Malaysian - Portuguese Creole Heritage

Kristang, the Language of the Malacca-Portuguese Creole, Kristangs or Neserani community and crux of the Malaysian-Eurasian identity, is facing the threat of extinction. The urgency of the situation was recognized in 1996 at an International Mini-Conference on the Kristang Language and Culture held in Malacca and attended by linguists from Brazil, Portugal and Malaysia. Alarmed at the fast- dwindling number of Kristang speakers, attendees of the Conference resolved to effect the Revival of Spoken Kristang as a means to develop and promote the Malaysian-Portuguese Culture.

Joan Margaret Marbeck’s commitment to help preserve the language of the Kristang community is evidenced by her endeavors to write two books in Kristang . Her first book, ‘Ungua Adanza’ ( An Inheritance) published in 1995 featured situational monologues of her people’s daily saga, precious memories of her fragile childhood, humorous and nostalgic poems and a repertoire of traditional songs. Another remarkable contribution found at the end of the book was her choice of Kristang idiomatic expressions, an important Glossary and a strong justification for the adopted orthography.
‘Linggu Mai’ ( Mother Tongue) her second publication, highlights important facets of Eurasian Culture and is a more specific effort to revive the Kristang Language.

The ‘Linggu Mai’ set costs RM78/- and consists of 3 items
‘Linggu Mai’ ( Mother Tongue) A Kristang Keepsake
Kristang Phrasebook
Kristang Speech and Song CD
This package is for the enjoyment of those who know the culture well or those who are curious for an insight into the Heritage and Language of the Kristang community. Together with the Phrasebook and CD, the Book’s main purpose is to serve as a Kristang Reader and Kristang language learning device The book also has original illustrations of Kristang cultural scenes painted by various artists.
If you are interested in SPONSORING a ‘Linggu Mai’ set for an economically challenged Kristang family living in the Portuguese Settlement in Malacca or in another state in Peninsula Malaysia,
The set that you sponsor will have your name written on it.

Thank you very much

Elaine-Jean & Martin
Marketing & Operations

Dated: 1st. September 2004
*Publication of ‘Linggu Mai’( MotherTongue) has been supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal


The author featured in FOCUS in the New Sunday Times, 12 Sept 2004

"Many of the world's minority languages and dialects are in danger of disappearing and a retired teacher talks to journalist;Yong Tiam Kui about her concerns for Kristang, the Malacca Portuguese Creole"


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to contact Joan Marbeck