In spite of recognizing the many dimensions of multiracialism and multilingualism in Malaysia, there have been often times that some especially indigenous and hybrid communities get overlooked in the conception of our plural society. We know how to say, “Selamat pagi”, “Vanakam” or even “Ni hao ma?” but has it ever crossed our minds how do we say “Hello, how are you?” in Kristang, a Portuguese Creole spoken by the Malaccan minority community known as Serani.
Spoken mostly in the Portuguese settlement in Malacca, Kristang has a rich history, dating back to before the name Malacca was officially recognised. However, due to dislocation and urbanization, the number of speakers of the language are facing a decline.
What does it take to keep a language alive for posterity? Why does it even matter in the first place? Language plays a crucial role in carrying discourses that are unique to an ethnic group, especially its culture and community values. Without the language of the heart, the soul of an identity ceases to exist.
In the fifth part of our Malaysia Before Malaysia Lecture Series, Associate Professor Dr Stefanie Pillai will talk about her journey of initiating an effort to document the endangered language of Kristang, upon receiving a grant from the Endangered Languages Programme by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
Details of event are as follow:
Date: Saturday, 20th August 2016
Time: 10.45am – 1.00pm
Venue: MCCHR Pusat Rakyat LB, Jalan Pantai Baharu (A-3-8 Pantai Business Park), 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Admission is free and open to all. Donations are encouraged. Directions to the venue are available at mcchr.org/space.
This lecture is part of the Malaysia Before Malaysia series, brought to you by Imagined Malaysia and MCCHR.
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