Ideological, Attitudinal and Social Identity Perspectives
Edited By Martin Pütz and Neele Mundt
Eileen Lee - Linguistic diversity and endangerment in Malaysia: The case of Papia Kristang
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Department of Communication & Liberal Arts, Faculty of Arts Sunway University, Malaysia
Linguistic diversity and endangerment in Malaysia: The case of Papia Kristang
Abstract Papia(h) Kristang (PK) is the heritage language spoken at the Portuguese Settlement, Malacca, Malaysia, by the Kristang speech community. However, by 1984 the creole is considered endangered and is listed on the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages. In 2005 this community language is reported to be seriously endangered. This paper reports on how the ecology of languages surrounding and influencing the use of the creole at the Portuguese Settlement impacts on its maintenance thus contributing to the endangerment of PK. Attention is drawn to how the interaction of macro factors such as the Malaysian bilingual education system and micro factors such as the daily bilingual patterns of communication of the different races in the country, namely the Malays, Chinese, Indians and the minority communities, provide a rich platform for linguistic diversity and multilingualism to thrive in the country. Data of recorded talk in the neighbourhood of the Portuguese Settlement provide evidence of a multilingual use of languages among the interlocutors including the phenomenon of a mixed code as a popular means of communication. Analysis of the mixed codes reveal a polyglossic language behaviour as a result of long term and intense language contacts between the different languages in the country.
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