Sri Lanka Indo-Portuguese language

Sri Lanka Indo-Portuguese language

Infobox Language
name = Sri Lanka Portuguese Creole
nativename =
states = Sri Lanka
speakers = 3,406 [ [ Ethnologue] ]
familycolor = Creole
fam1 = Creole language
fam2 = Portuguese Creole
fam3 = Indo-Portuguese Creole
iso2=cpp |iso3=idb

Sri Lanka Indo-Portuguese or Sri Lanka Portuguese Creole is a language spoken in Sri Lanka. The language was a lingua franca in the island for 350 years (From 16th to mid-19th century).

Origins and distribution

The language initially developed among the people of mixed Portuguese, African Slaves and Sri Lankan descent (then called "mestiços" or "casados").

Today the language is spoken by their descendants, the Portuguese Burgher community, in the Eastern towns of Batticaloa (Koolavaddy, Mamangam, Uppodai, Dutch Bar, Akkaraipattu) and Trincomalee (Palayuttu). But there are also speakers among the Kaffirs, descendant of African slaves, in the Northwestern province, in Puttalam (Mannar). In the village of Wahakotte near Galewala, in central Sri Lanka, there is a small community of Catholics with partial Portuguese ancestry, where the language was spoken until two generations ago.

The language is facing extinction, as it is now only used at home and few are able to speak it well. Many of its speakers emigrated to other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and Europe. There are still 100 Burgher families in Batticaloa and Trincomalee and 80 Kaffir families in Puttalam that speak the language.

An early sample of the language was collected by Hugh Nevill, a British civil servant stationed in Sri Lanka in the late 19th century. Among his large collection of oriental manuscripts is the "Sri Lanka Portuguese Creole Manuscript", containing over a thousand verses and a long text in prose.


The Sri Lanka Indo-Portuguese language has a syntax and phonology similar to Tamil.


External links

* [ Complete downloadable book teaching the basics of Sri Lanka Indo-Portuguese]
* [ Sri Lanka Portuguese Creoles] at a Sri Lanka virtual library site.

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