A New Study of the Portuguese in the East

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya’s THE PORTUGUESE IN THE EAST: A CULTURAL HISTORY OF A MARITIME TRADING EMPIRE  is due in print soon, under the imprint of IB Tauris

:Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India in the late fifteenth century opened up new economic and cultural horizons for the Portuguese. Undertaken at the height of Portugal’s maritime influence, it helped to create an oceanic state ranging from the Cape of Good Hope to China. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya charts the influences of the Portuguese in more than 50 Asian tongues. Luso-Asian influence became engrained in eastern cultures in subtle ways, such as the Portuguese oral traditions in folk literature, embedded in postcolonial Asian music and song. Portuguese cultural legacies are a lasting reminder of an unexpected outcome of seaborne commerce. “Jayasuriya’s use of music and linguistic innovations as a source for the history of the Portuguese presence in Asia opens new paths for other historians … an important contribution.” — João Vicente MeloJournal for Maritime Research

“A seminal study of significant value… History, Anthropology and Linguistics come together to provide a multifaceted picture of the Portuguese imprint in the East.’– Manuela CookInternational Journal of Ethnic & Social Studies

“A valuable contribution to the study of Portuguese Asia.”– John Villiers, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

 BOOK LAUNCH =  Wednesday 31 May 2017 from 6-8 pm, Room G22 (Woburn Suite), Senate House,, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU .. Introduced by Professor Lutz Marten (Dean, Faculty of Languages & Cultures, SOAS, University of London)

Speaker: Dr. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya …………..followed by a Concert of Luso-Asian Music and a Wine Reception

SHIHAN DE SILVA JAYASURIYA is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London; a former Research Associate in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at King’s College London; and a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. She is the author of five other books:

Tagus to Taprobane: Portuguese Impact on the Socio-culture of Sri Lanka from 1505AD,

An Anthology of Indo-Portuguese Verse,

 Indo-Portuguese of Ceylon, African Identity in Asia:

Cultural Effects of Forced Migration and African Diaspora in Asian

Trade Routes and Cultural Memories.

Special Offer Price £17.50 (RRP £25.00) Paperback | 232 pages | 216 x 134 mm | 9781784539160 |……………….April 2017 Offer expires 30th September 2017

To order online go to http://www.ibtauris.com and enter the discount code AN2 when prompted

Entrance free. RSVP to shihan.desilva@sas.ac.uk if attending.

TABLE OF Contents; The Portuguese in the East

List of Illustrations List of Abbreviations Acknowledgements Preface viii

ix xi xiii

1.       The Portuguese and the Indian Ocean 1
2.       Luso-Asian Literature 12
3.       Music and Postcolonial Identity 39
4.       Portuguese Expansion and Language Contact 71
5.        Cultural Interactions and Linguistic Innovations in an Indo-Portuguese 100
6.       Portuguese in Malacca and Sri Lanka 125
7.       Language Change in Portuguese Space 152
8.       Twilight of the Estado da India 170
Bibliography 195
Glossary 208
Index 209


The Portuguese expansion in the Orient following Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India in the late fifteenth century led to prolonged contact between diverse cultures. The activities of Afonso de Albuquerque and da Gama encouraged miscegenation between the Portuguese and the Asians which resulted in generations of mother-tongue speakers of Luso-Asian languages which were spoken in negotiating oriental commerce. These languages outlasted Portuguese presence in Asia and are now becoming moribund, due to the sociopolitical changes that followed when the Portuguese presence ended. Nevertheless, the Portuguese stamp is evident in the words that have been adopted by several indigenous languages. Portuguese became the language of colonisation in sundry places in the Indian sub-continent, and also in Malacca, Macau and Timor. Portuguese is now an official language in East Timor.

Chapter 1 sets the scene for a hypothesis that a Portuguese lingua franca served as the link language in Portuguese Asia. This language outlasted Portuguese rule in certain parts of Asia and also became the bridging tongue between other European powers who followed the Portuguese into the Indian Ocean. Contact languages result from contact of cultures. By taking the case of the Indo-Portuguese of Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka Portuguese Creole), which has both a voluminous recorded literature and contemporary communities who speak this language, I demonstrate the importance of language in trading and empire building. Indo-Portuguese of Ceylon and Sri Lanka Portuguese Creole are synonymous. Ceylon is the name given to the Island by the British administrators. The name changed to Sri Lanka when it became a republic in 1972.

The next chapter draws attention to both secular and religious literature in former Portuguese Asia which is a hybrid of European and Oriental imagery. It includes a nineteenth-century manuscript of Indo­Portuguese ballads which I transcribed, edited and translated into Standard Portuguese and English, together with my interpretations of the stanzas through my knowledge of both Portuguese and Sri Lankan cultures. I resisted the temptation to embellish them and remained faithful to the original compositions of the anonymous poets. Hugo Schuchardt, the distinguished German linguist, took a keen interest in contact languages and these ballads are among his collection of manuscripts at the University of Graz, Austria. Through the Cantiga de Ceilão (Song of Ceylon), I also demonstrate how Indo-Portuguese ballads sung in the East Coast of Sri Lanka influenced this composition by Jorge de Sena, the contemporary Portuguese poet. By comparing twentieth-century Indo­Portuguese stanzas with those in a nineteenth-century manuscript in the British Library, London, I demonstrate how oral traditions affect the lyrics of ballads. Ballad fragments from other Luso-Asian languages illustrate how the Lusitanian sailors and soldiers spread the ballads in lands far away from Portugal. Twentieth-century Indo-Portuguese religious literature, the Apostle’s Creed, is of interest linguistically and historically.

The impact of Portuguese presence on the popular music of Asia, an unexpected outcome which falls outside the official plan is the focus of Chapter 3. While the Portuguese impact on religious music has been acknowledged, there has not been much emphasis on how it affected contemporary popular Asian music, and also on the introduction of western music concepts to Asia. It also demonstrates the importance of cross-cultural compositions in the postcolonial identity of decolonised nations. Popular music is more dynamic than traditional music and often neglected as they are oral traditions.

By illustrating Portuguese words that have been adopted by more than fifty Asian languages, the breadth of the Lusitanian imprint is demonstrated in Chapter 4. Tracing contact situations which resulted from trading, missionary activities and Portuguese settlers, I have illustrated how Portuguese words could have passed into Asian languages.

The effect of cultural contact on language is considerd in Chapter 5. Words are most commonly adopted in a contact situation. This is a two-way exchange but in an asymmetric relationship as in colonisation, the colonised people’s language adopts more words from the language of the colonisers. Borrowed words have to be adapted to the phonological system of the borrowing language and I have identified phonological rules that govern this process. These borrowed words can be grouped into semantic categories which represent areas of contact. There are non-Portuguese words in Indo-Portuguese indicating that other languages were also spoken at the time. I also compare Indo-Portuguese in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in order to illustrate the effects of socio-political change on language.

Chapter 6 makes a comparative study of two Luso-Asian languages: Papia Kristang (Malacca Portuguese Creole) and Indo-Portuguese of Ceylon (Sri Lanka Portuguese Creole). It takes into consideration how tense, mood and aspect are expressed in these languages and how they deviate from the pattern found in Standard Portuguese. It considers if these languages are similar to Bickerton’s Prototypical Creole System. These languages are representative of grammaticalisation of the other Portuguese-based contact languages that once thrived in Asia. I also contextualise the development of Indo-Portuguese, illustrating linguistic pressures faced by post-colonial nations. Indo-Portuguese of Ceylon was affected by Dutch and English after the Portuguese era ended. The indigenous languages, Sinhala and Tamil, became more important after Sri Lanka regained her independence. Grammatical variation in Indo­Portuguese is of interest to historians of languages, to linguists and to sociologists.

By considering shared linguistic features in Luso-Asian languages, in Chapter 7, a case is made for a Luso-Asian language to have originated in South India (Cochin) and then spread to other parts of Asia. Comparative studies with Papia Kristang (Malacca Creole Portuguese), Macau Portuguese Creole and Indo-Portuguese dialects of Korlai, Mangalore, Negapatnam, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Norte (Bombay, Bassein area) support the hypothesis for a common origin of these languages, which facilitated communication between the network of fortresses and trading posts that were the pivotal points of the Portuguese maritime empire. It also brings to light the competition that the Portuguese faced in the Indian Ocean.

Finally, in Chapter 8, the nature of the Estado da India, the Portuguese breakthrough in Asia and also Portuguese influence after other Europeans entered into trading partnerships in the Indian Ocean is considered. It highlights the outcomes of cross-cultural interactions emanating from the Portuguese expansion in the East and the intangible Portuguese legacies in Asia which have outlasted the material monuments.



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