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Oral corpus of Malabar Indo-Portuguese Creole


Language Malabar Indo-Portuguese
Depositor Hugo Cardoso
Affiliation Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Letras
Location India
Collection ID 0567
Grant ID IF/01009/2012
Funding Body Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Collection Status Forthcoming
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

The oral corpus deposited here includes interviews with the very last speakers of Malabar Indo-Portuguese, or Portuguese-lexified creole of Southwestern India. The data was collected from 2006 onwards, in Cannanore [Kannur], in Calicut [Kozhikode], and in the Vypeen region of Cochin [Kochi]. While there is some linguistic diversity between the materials collected in all three locations, the overwhelming similarities among them (which also reflect centuries of populational interchange between the various towns) and the small numbers of speakers in each location justify their joint deposit in this corpus. Nonetheless, the location of each recording session is rigorously indicated, so that geographical variation can be aprehended.


Group represented

The speakers currently identify as ‘Anglo-Indians’ (a generic term for Eurasians in the region) but recognise their Portuguese ancestry.


Language information

Malabar Indo-Portuguese’ is a cover term for a number of variants of a Portuguese-lexified creole language developed and spoken in the region formerly known as the Malabar Coast, roughly corresponding to the modern-day Indian state of Kerala. Its origin lies in the establishment of various Portuguese settlements in the region, starting in the beginning of the 16th century. ‘Malabar Indo-Portuguese’ belongs to the larger group of the ‘Indo-Portuguese’ creoles (i.e. those of South Asia), in turn part of the group of ‘Asian-Portuguese’ or ‘Luso-Asian’ creoles. Its few speakers nowadays identify as members of the ‘Anglo-Indian’ community – a term introduced in India in the British colonial period to designate Eurasians as a whole – but stress their Portuguese ancestry, preserved in their family names, Catholic religion, and several cultural traits.

Malabar Indo-Portuguese is severely endangered, as it is spoken by very few people and there is no intergenerational transmission. This corpus represents the production of the very last speakers of this language. English was often used as the mediator language during the interviews, and, occasionally, there are also words and sentences in Malayalam, the dominant language of the region.


Special characteristics

To the best of our knowledge, this corpus contains testimonies of all the remaining fluent speakers of Malabar Indo-Portuguese, and also some who have recently passed away. It is, of course, not impossible that there may be other fluent speakers elsewhere in Southwestern India or in the diaspora, but our research has not identified any. A considerable section of the corpus is made up of interviews and elicitation sessions done with the last speaker of the language in the Cochin region, who passed away in 2010.


Collection history

The materials were collected by Hugo Cardoso during four visits to the field (February 2006, March 2007, January 2010, March 2015) and include unconstrained speech as well as elicitation sessions. Initial transcriptions and analysis were made by Hugo Cardoso and Ana Krajinovic, and later revised and migrated into ELAN by Hugo Cardoso and Vanessa López.

Since the collection was protracted in time, fieldwork and data-processing have benefitted from the financial and institutional support of various institutions: the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, the Fundação Oriente, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Macau, and the University of Lisbon.


Acknowledgement and citation

Users of any part of this collection should acknowledge Hugo C. Cardoso as the collector and principal investigator behind the corpus. Please cite the corpus with the following information:

Cardoso, Hugo C. 2018. Oral Corpus of Malabar Indo-Portuguese Creole. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].

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