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Laub, Robert (2022) A Comparison of Portuguese-Lexified Creoles of Southeast Asia: Kristang, Makista, Batavia, and Tugu. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is a comparison of four Portuguese-lexified creoles in Southeast Asia: the endangered Kristang and Makista, and the extinct Batavia and Tugu Creoles. Kristang is spoken by about 2000 people, mostly in the city of Malacca, Malaysia. Originating in the 16th Century from intermarriage between Portuguese sailors and Malay-speaking locals, Kristang is still spoken today with Malay influence in its structure. Makista, spoken in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China, is far more endangered, with fewer than 100 native speakers. The speakers of this language are descended from the Eurasians who settled in Macau shortly after Portuguese colonization in 1557. While Makista has retained Malayo-Portuguese features from Kristang, it has diverged in certain ways. Tugu and Batavia Creoles both have their origins in the location of modern-day Jakarta, Indonesia, where Dutch colonists brought Eurasians from Malacca over as slaves in the 17th Century. Batavia Creole, formerly spoken in central Jakarta retained more Portuguese influence, while the less central Tugu Creole shows more Malayo-Indonesian influence. As creoles, Kristang, Makista, Batavia, and Tugu have their origins from more than one language and their particular background languages are taken into account in terms of their histories and interactions with other languages in their environments. Kristang, with its Malay substrate, continues to exist in a majority Malay-speaking city, while the lexifier Portuguese lost influence after about a century in Malacca. Makista, on the other hand, was removed from the Malay-speaking world and came to be spoken in a city where a majority of residents speak Cantonese, and that to this day has Portuguese as an official language. The difference in structures we can see between Kristang and Makista can be attributed to these sociopolitical differences as well. Batavia and Tugu Creoles were spoken in a city whose only European colonial power was the Dutch. This thesis addresses the more general question of the influence of substrates on the development of a creole language, and aims to show that Kristang Makista, Batavia Creole and Tugu Creole exhibit features that are representative of their respective histories, ecologies, and languages in contact.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Peter Austin
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2022 16:11

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