Early Notices Regarding Creole Portuguese in Former Portuguese Timor

in Journal of Language Contact

The area of Bidau, in the East Timorese capital of Dili, was home to the only documented form of Creole Portuguese in Timor. Although Bidau Creole Portuguese is now extinct, by most accounts, a few scattered records allow a glimpse into what it must have been like, and reveal its clear relationship with other Southeast Asian Portuguese-based creoles; Baxter’s (1990a) study of Bidau Creole Portuguese was based mostly on a set of recordings made in the context of the Missão Antropológica de Timor [“Anthropological Mission to Timor”, 1953–1954]. In this article, Baxter (1990a: 3) mentions that “[s]o far, the earliest located reference to Bidau Creole Portuguese, and one which contains some impressionistic examples of conversations and the verse of a song, is Castro (1943: 56, 177)”. However, since the publication of this study, a few earlier references to what can be interpreted as Portuguese-based creole in Timor have been located in unpublished archival sources. These sources are letters sent to two important philologists of the late 19th and early 20th century, Hugo Schuchardt and José Leite de Vasconcelos, who were greatly interested in ascertaining whether a creole was spoken in Timor and what the local Portuguese was like. The present study introduces and contextualises these epistolary sources, discussing the linguistic and sociolinguistic material contained therein, and its relevance for the confirmation of different threads of language contact involving Portuguese.

Abstract

The area of Bidau, in the East Timorese capital of Dili, was home to the only documented form of Creole Portuguese in Timor. Although Bidau Creole Portuguese is now extinct, by most accounts, a few scattered records allow a glimpse into what it must have been like, and reveal its clear relationship with other Southeast Asian Portuguese-based creoles; Baxter’s (1990a) study of Bidau Creole Portuguese was based mostly on a set of recordings made in the context of the Missão Antropológica de Timor [“Anthropological Mission to Timor”, 1953–1954]. In this article, Baxter (1990a: 3) mentions that “[s]o far, the earliest located reference to Bidau Creole Portuguese, and one which contains some impressionistic examples of conversations and the verse of a song, is Castro (1943: 56, 177)”. However, since the publication of this study, a few earlier references to what can be interpreted as Portuguese-based creole in Timor have been located in unpublished archival sources. These sources are letters sent to two important philologists of the late 19th and early 20th century, Hugo Schuchardt and José Leite de Vasconcelos, who were greatly interested in ascertaining whether a creole was spoken in Timor and what the local Portuguese was like. The present study introduces and contextualises these epistolary sources, discussing the linguistic and sociolinguistic material contained therein, and its relevance for the confirmation of different threads of language contact involving Portuguese.

1 Introduction

The only documented form of Creole Portuguese in Timor was associated with Bidau, a district of Dili, the East Timorese capital. Bidau Creole Portuguese (bcp) has its roots in the Portuguese presence in the Flores-Timor region as of the 16th century, involving missionary activities and the Timor sandalwood trade, connected with both Malacca and Macau. Although bcp is now extinct, by most accounts, a few scattered records allow a glimpse into what it must have been like, and reveal its relationship with other Southeast Asian Portuguese-based creoles. This point is clearly made in Baxter (1990a), in a study of bcp which was based mostly on recordings made by the Portuguese Missão Antropológica de Timor [“Anthropological Mission to Timor”, 1953–1954], highlighting important similarities with both Malacca Creole (MalCP) and Macau Creole (MacCP), in the lexicon (e.g. atardi ‘afternoon’; anoti ‘night’; nomas ‘only’) and morphosyntax (e.g. verb serialisation involving directional verbs bai ‘go’ and beŋ ‘come’; a possessive construction with the structure Possessor + sa/su/sua + Possessee; copula-possessive verb syncretism).

Baxter (1990a: 3) also mentions that “[s]o far, the earliest located reference to bcp, and one which contains some impressionistic examples of conversations and the verse of a song, is Castro (1943: 56, 177)”. The reference is to A ilha verde e vermelha de Timor,1 written by Alberto Osório de Castro, a Portuguese poet and jurist who worked as a judge in Timor, in which the author transcribes a song in “português de Dílli” (‘Dili Portuguese’) strongly reminiscent of Luso-Asian oral traditions—see 2.5 below—, and a few short dialogues. In addition, Baxter (1990a) transcribes and analyses a letter to Hugo Schuchardt in 1885 from João Gomes Ferreira—see 2.3 below—, the vicar general and superior of the Catholic missions of Timor;2 this letter contains language samples identified as “portuguez corrompido” (‘corrupt Portuguese’) with some features in common with the Asian Portuguese-based Creoles, but the author attributes this variety to incomplete acquisition of L2 Portuguese and interference from the speakers’ L1.

Since Baxter’s (1990a) study, we have identified further early references to the specificities of “Portuguese” in Timor and to the debate of whether or not this should be interpreted as a creole. These notices provide more explicit (yet occasionally contradictory) descriptions of the variation underlying “Portuguese” in late-19th-c. /early 20th-c.Timor but also, crucially, further linguistic snippets of Creole Portuguese (CP), recognizable in comparison with the 1950s corpus of bcp. The linguistic data in these accounts are somewhat variable and contribute to reconstructing a linguistic space in which L2 Portuguese and Portuguese-based creoles coexisted. Despite the difficulty in setting boundaries between all these linguistic variants, we try to interpret the data by ascertaining whether the reported linguistic features resulted from the diffusion of contact varieties of Portuguese across (Southeast) Asia, whether they constitute specifically Timorese developments or bear the hallmarks of L2 acquisition.

2 Early Notices

In European academia, the late 19th century and early 20th century was a moment of renewed philological interest in the cultural (and, therefore, linguistic) diversity of the world. The publication of linguistic corpora and descriptions was boosted by the creation of scholarly institutions and periodicals, and was promoted by professional philologists and learned laymen alike.

It was at this time that modern Portuguese dialectology took off, a process which allowed some space for the study of the Portuguese-based creoles (Morais-Barbosa, 1967: XIII ff). The diffusion of the Portuguese language around the world and its linguistic consequences—from the production of dialectal variation to the formation of creole languages—aroused the interest of Portuguese as well as foreign philologists. In Portugal and the Portuguese-speaking world, major names of this line of enquiry include Adolfo Coelho, José Leite de Vasconcelos, Sebastião Rodolfo Dalgado and António de Paula Brito; elsewhere, Hugo Schuchardt and Emilio Teza are particularly relevant.

Naturally, collecting primary linguistic data on non-European Portuguese dialects and Portuguese-based creoles would have been challenging for most of these scholars—except for those residing in the field, such as António de Paula Brito (Cape Verde) or Sebastião Dalgado (India and Ceylon). Therefore, they often relied on a global network of correspondents who could collect data in various parts of the world and comment on linguistic matters concerning their areas of residence. These networks comprised not only linguistically-trained correspondents (in short supply) but mostly people with various other functions (missionaries, colonial administrators, military agents, etc.). One of the most active in this type of methodology was the German scholar Hugo Schuchardt, working at the Austrian University of Graz since 1876. In Portugal, simultaneously, a wide network of informants was developed by José Leite de Vasconcelos, a founding figure of Portuguese dialectology (1901).

These letters often contain crucial linguistic data unavailable from published sources. Fortunately, the epistolary archives of Hugo Schuchardt and of Leite de Vasconcelos are publicly available at the University of Graz (Austria) and the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia (Lisbon, Portugal), respectively. Both scholars took an interest in the linguistics of Portuguese Timor, and they queried their informants about its indigenous languages, the Portuguese language and the possible use of a Portuguese-based creole. Their interest in ascertaining whether a Portuguese-based creole formed in Timor could have derived from their awareness that such creoles existed in other Asian locations such as India, Ceylon, Malacca and Macau. However, there was also an earlier reference to a Timorese “crioulo” in the book As possessões portuguezas na Oceânia, published in 1867 by Afonso de Castro (governor of Portuguese Timor, 1858–1861). Leite de Vasconcelos knew of this source because it is discussed in a letter addressed to him by Rafael das Dores (see 2.4), and Schuchardt may also have had access to it. In this book, Castro refers to the linguistic situation of Dili in the following terms:

Têem os timores tão grande facilidade para aprender o malaio, quanta difficuldade para o portuguez, que rarissimos fallam correctamente, e que uma grande parte dos chefes e dos habitantes de Dilly estropiam, fazendo um crioulo, que nos custa quasi tanto a comprehender, como os dialectos timores.Castro, 1867: 328

[The Timorese have as much ease in learning Malay as they have difficulty in learning Portuguese, which very few speak correctly, and which a majority of the chiefs and inhabitants of Dili mutilate, producing a creole that is almost as difficult for us to understand as the Timorese languages.]

This passage impacted on contemporary scholars concerned with Portuguese and Portuguese-based creoles; Adolfo Coelho, considered that “[f]ora do maior interesse reunir alguns espécimes do crioulo de Timor, assim como continuar a obra começada tão bem pelo Sr. Afonso de Castro” [it would be of the utmost interest to collect a few samples of the creole of Timor, as well as to continue the work so well started by Mr. Afonso de Castro] (Coelho, 1882). However, Castro’s report raises many questions. One of these relates to the author’s understanding of the linguistic variation he addresses—see also, in this respect, Rafael das Dores’ later criticism of this passage (section 2.4.).

Another question, which also applies to other sources discussed here, concerns what exactly is understood by “crioulo”, a word with a complex semantic history (Baker and Mühlhäusler 2007). In this instance, the description appears to imply that what was classified as “crioulo” was synchronically produced by difficulties in the acquisition of Portuguese as an L2. Therefore, Castro is probably not referring to a variety used as an L1. Indeed, in any Portuguese establishment in Asia, a range of interacting varieties typically developed extending from L1 competence in (creole) Portuguese to more or less rudimentary L2. Such situations usually included flow-ons from other establishments, and local developments. Hence, Castro’s “crioulo” may not have referred to the L1 creole we know as bdp or any similar creole, but rather to a set of interlanguages. This is probably also true of other scattered and vague references to the Portuguese of Timor, such as that of the D. António de Medeiros, the bishop of Macau and Timor, in a letter included in the prologue of an 1885 catechism in Tetun3 written by Father Sebastião Maria Aparício da Silva, who had dedicated the work to him:

Acceito o que deseja que acceite, porque é com verdadeira emoção que eu vejo os primeiros fructos d’um trabalho a que V. Rev.ma se votou dedicadamente ha mais de oito annos, que eu reputo de grande valor para a civilisação dos povos malasios da nossa colonia de Timor, sabendo por experiencia, que recebem mais ideias d’uma pratica em lingua do paiz, que de muitas palestras no algaraviado portuguez d’aquelle paiz.Aparício da Silva, 1885: 7

[I accept what you wish me to accept, because it is with real emotion that I see the first fruit of a labour to which Your Excellency has been diligently dedicated for over eight years, which I find of great worth for the civilization of the Malay peoples of our colony of Timor, knowing by experience that they extract more ideas from a sermon in the country’s own language than from many speeches in the gibberish Portuguese of that country.]

This reference suggests that the contemporary Catholic missionaries (native speakers of Portuguese) preached in ‘gibberish Portuguese’ to native speakers of a Timorese language. Here, again, we have no clear reference to a Portuguese-based creole language used as L1 but rather to either a form of foreigner talk produced by L1 Portuguese speakers or, to the extent that this ‘gibberish Portuguese’ constituted a means of interethnic communication, a Portuguese-based pidgin. Nonetheless, for scholars such as Schuchardt and Leite de Vasconcelos these descriptions must have prompted a wish to clarify the linguistic situation in Timor. For clarity, we will organize the remainder of this section by author, chronologically on the basis of the earliest of each author’s commentaries.

2.1 Tancredo Caldeira do Casal Ribeiro

The first letter in Hugo Schuchardt’s epistolary archive to address the issue at hand was sent in 1882 by Tancredo do Casal Ribeiro (hsa nr. 01553), a Portuguese agronomist working in Timor.

Casal Ribeiro writes that he enlisted the help of a missionary4 and, therefore, his report may have relied heavily on this missionary’s opinion and observations. He insists that no particular “dialect” of Portuguese (by which he appears to be thinking of an L1 variety) formed in Timor but that the small Timorese population of Dili spoke a “corrupted” form of L2 Portuguese highly influenced by their L1 and that, in the hinterland, only a few members of the local nobility spoke Portuguese at all. This form of Portuguese in Dili was known as “lingua da praça”, the word praça referring not only to a marketplace but also, in the Luso-Asian context, to an important town. Casal Ribeiro includes a few example sentences:

tab2

The sentences in (1), as Casal Ribeiro notes, illustrate that the verb forms are invariable (based on either Portuguese 3s present tense forms or infinitives5) and employ the preverbal forms (based on Ptg. adverb ‘already’) and há de (from the Ptg. complex auxiliary há-de ‘will’) to indicate past and future tense, respectively. With respect to the verb fala in (1a,b), Casal Ribeiro observes that this form (from the Ptg. verb falar ‘to speak’) is preferred to the Ptg. verb dizer ‘to say’, and that it occurs in a construction with indefinite reference as follows:

tab3

Casal Ribeiro also refers to the occasional replacement of the Portuguese stage-level and locative copula estar ‘to be (at)’ with the Portuguese possessive verb ter ‘to have’. The only example provided is of a locative context:

tab4

Further examples show that the Portuguese comitative/instrumental preposition com ‘with’ marks the source with verbs of transfer, a context wherein Portuguese employs the preposition a:6

tab5

Casal Ribeiro also notes that pronouns “vary”, which presumably refers to the person and number distinctions observed. The corpus does not clarify whether there were gender distinctions; verbs are invariable, articles are mostly absent and there is no agreement. Another interesting observation is that the generic negator can have the form nunca, which in Portuguese is a negative adverb of frequency meaning ‘never’:

tab6

This short corpus makes important contributions to the question of the presence of a creole language in Timor. Despite the author’s explicit denial of its existence, his examples reveal parallels with Asian CPs elsewhere, although they are perhaps not clear enough indication that the variety described descends from this group. Let us briefly reflect on some relevant features.

Absence of verbal inflection does typify various Asian CPs but an independent Timorese development can equally well be posited. Since Malay8 and Tetun, the other languages most relevant to the context of 19th-c. Dili, do not inflect for tense-aspect-mood or subject agreement, it would be natural for contact acquirers of Portuguese to not readily notice inflection. 3s present forms and infinitive forms are especially salient in spoken Portuguese input, widely observed in L1 acquisition (Simões and Stoel-Gammon, 1979; Rubino and Pine, 1998; Davidson and Goldrick, 2003) and L2 acquisition (McCarthy, 2007; Clements, 2009; Ao, 2013) and, of course, constitute common bases in Ibero-Romance creoles (Holm, 1989: 268; Clements, 2009: 48).

Similarly, regarding the use of ‘already’ as an aspect marker, Malay and Tetun have a perfective aspect marker, so it would be natural for contact acquirers of Portuguese to seek out something similar. As for the use of há de as a future tense marker, it is relevant that future is also expressed with an element external to the verb in both Malay and Tetun. In Malay, perfective aspect, via sudah ‘already’, and future marking, via akan ‘presently, will’, are both pre-verbal (Crawfurd, 1852: 48–49; Marsden, 1812: 68), as in examples (6) and (7):

tab7

In Tetun, however, perfective aspect is usually post-verbal, as in (8), yet can also be expressed pre-verbally by the marker foin ‘just’ seen in example (9). The future is indicated pre-verbally, as in (10):

tab8

The motivation for pre-verbal tense and aspect markers in Timorese L2 Portuguese could therefore come from similar constructions in Tetun and Malay. Nevertheless, when considering the actual forms used, it is interesting to note that tense (-aspect) markers based on and há-de are found in Asian CPs elsewhere (Ferraz, 1987: 350ff). Perfective or a derivation thereof is widespread in the group, whereas future marking by a form of há-de is restricted to the northern Indo-Portuguese creoles of Daman and Diu (Clements and Koontz-Garboden, 2002: 220; Cardoso, 2009: 148ff), with other Asian CPs using a future marker derived from Ptg. logo ‘later, immediately, then’.

However, the past currency of há-de in Asian contexts is revealed in the fact that even creoles that do not use a cognate of há-de to mark future (such as those of Sri Lanka and Malacca) have a special future negator derived from its negated version, não há-de (see section 3).

The preference for the verb falar over dizer to express ‘to say/tell’ is equally interesting, as this is also common to most Asian CPs, and may be exemplified by those of Korlai, Cochin, Cannanore, Sri Lanka, Malacca, Tugu and Macau.9 This could be a further point in favour of Asian CP influence in Timor but, in fairness, there are also plausible alternative explanations for the prevalence of falar over dizer. To begin, from an L2 learner’s viewpoint, Portuguese falar offers salience advantages over dizer because of its higher paradigmatic regularity. Furthermore, the use of falar for ‘to say/tell’ seems surprising in the light of modern standard European Portuguese, but falar may have been dominant in the Portuguese used throughout Asia (and elsewhere, cf. a similar use in modern Brazilian Portuguese) from the 16th-c. onwards.

The syncretism of ter ‘have’ and estar ‘be, be located’ also has a broad parallel in the Asian CPs (Ferraz, 1987: 353–354). Yet, both Malay and Tetun also express these functions through a single verb, so a speaker of these languages acquiring Portuguese as L2 in a contact situation would have some predisposition for such a conflation.10

The absence of articles and of agreement mentioned by Casal Ribeiro are also observed in L2 acquisition of Portuguese, and in acquisition of L1 Portuguese with contact L2 Portuguese input (Baxter, 2002), and are common in Asian CPs. In the context of Dili, these features could also just be interpreted as products of L2 acquisition involving transfer from the L1, plus the fact that low phonological saliency of the Portuguese definite article would hinder its acquisition in an informal setting. Neither Malay nor Tetun have agreement morphology or dedicated articles.

There remain two items mentioned by Casal Ribeiro that may be more promising in support of a creole connection. The first is the use of the preposition com with source (verbs of transfer). As a marker of benefactive arguments, a form derived from Ptg. com ‘with’ is common to the creoles of Malacca and Tugu (Baxter, 1995; Maurer, 2011) and occurs with the same function in 19th-c. texts of MacCP. It displays multifunctionality in these varieties, representing ‘to, with, and’ and, in MalCP, may mark a human goal (Baxter, 1995). Whereas Tetun lacks a similar item, in colloquial varieties of Malay, the use of sama ‘with’ as an object marker is widespread, and in Riau Malay (Gil, 2004: 10) and Malacca vernacular Malay sama can mark an animate source. So, the use of com noticed by Casal Ribeiro could be an extension of Southeast Asian CP use, influenced by Malay.

The final item mentioned is the negator nunca, which is cognate with the main clause negator in the creoles of Malacca, Tugu and Macau (Baxter, 1990a), also occurs in the South Asian varieties of Sri Lanka (Smith, 1979), and in Cochin and Cannanore functions as a dedicated past tense negator (Krajinović, 2015: 53). The phonological salience of Portuguese nunca would facilitate its inclusion in a contact-acquired L2, as happened in the so-called Língua de Preto ‘Black Language’ of the 16th c., which Kihm and Rougé (2013) consider an L2 Basic Variety of Portuguese developed by Africans in Portugal. Although, theoretically, it could have been developed locally, this coincidence may suggest the influence of a migrant creole. There is no motive in the substrates for this feature, whether in a formally similar negator or in any syncretism between a generic negation (with la or lae in Tetun Dili) and temporal negation (for which Tetun Dili has borrowed the term nunka from Ptg nunca ‘never’).

While we have indicated the possibility of local formation of certain features identified by Casal Ribeiro, with potential substrate influence, it is important to stress that creole and L2 contact varieties of Portuguese did develop in the string of Portuguese ‘bases’ or staging posts around Timor (Baxter, 1996). So, in the pool of models available in Timor, crystalized pidgin or genuine L1 creole verb forms, tma markers derived from and há-de, and a negator from nunca are likely to have been present.

2.2 José dos Santos Vaquinhas

Hugo Schuchardt’s correspondence also includes letters from José dos Santos Vaquinhas, a Portuguese military man and colonial administrator who spent long periods in Timor and served as interim governor of the colony in 1881–1882 (Cardoso and Sousa, 2015). His interest in philological matters is clear from his contributions (from 1883 onwards) to the journal of the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa. In addition to his correspondence with Schuchardt, Vaquinhas also provided Adolfo Coelho with linguistic data collected in Macau. He had an interest in the indigenous languages of Timor, as is evident from the fact that Rafael das Dores, author of one of the earliest dictionaries of Tetun (see 2.4), acknowledges his assistance with linguistic notes.

Schuchardt’s archive contains 7 letters from Vaquinhas, addressing not only the issue of CP in Timor but also in Macau (with which he was very familiar, having resided there), Flores and Malacca. The first letter relevant here is classified as anonymous (hsa nr. B0022) and lacks date and location. However, Vaquinhas was clearly the author and it probably accompanied a manuscript of the Epistle to the Corinthians (hsa nr. 2614) purportedly in the Portuguese-based creole of Malacca, which is indeed signed by Vaquinhas and dated: Macau, November 3rd, 1884. Aside from the consistency in the handwriting of both documents, the anonymous letter gives biographical information (Vaquinha’s impending return to Timor and the near-publication of a particular article) verifiable elsewhere.

This is an important letter because Vaquinhas not only confirms the existence of a creole language in Timor, but also in Batavia as well as on Flores and surrounding islands:

[…] eu mesmo ouvi fallar em Batavia o portuguez corrupto e é por isso que assim o asseverei tambem nas minhas cartas, dirigidas á Sociedade de Geographia de Lisboa, […] e as pessoas que negam que em Batavia se falla o portuguez por aquella fórma, desconhecem por certo a língua portugueza e sobre tudo o que seja o portuguez corrupto; pois de contrario não posso explicar como haja quem negue a existencia de um tal facto. […] Eu tambem posso assegurar a V Ex.a que n’alguns pontos da ilha Flores e n’outras proximas se falla ainda o mesmo portuguez corrupto, o que tive occasião de observar durante 16 annos que vivi na Oceania […]

[[…] I myself heard the corrupted Portuguese being spoken in Batavia, and that is why I have also asserted that in my letters addressed to the Sociedade de Geographia de Lisboa, […] and the people who deny that Portuguese is spoken in such a fashion in Batavia certainly do not know the Portuguese language nor, above all, what corrupted Portuguese is; otherwise, I cannot explain how there can be anyone who denies the existence of this fact. […] I can also assure Your Excellency that the same corrupted Portuguese is still spoken in some parts of the island of Flores and other ones close by, which I had a chance to observe in the 16 years in which I lived in Oceania […]]

This extract is significant for validating the vitality of CP in Batavia (confirmed, among other indications, by Schuchardt (1890)) and in the Lesser Sunda islands. But it also reveals that the identification of a particular linguistic variant as a “creole”11 was problematic, and that obtaining the relevant information was challenging:

Se o viajante não entender algum dialecto ou deixar de ter bom interprete e não visitar o interior das ilhas como já disse, obterão sempre informações erradas e inexactas do primeiro pantomineiro ou cicerone que se faz comprehender ao viajante para lhe apanhar algumas moedas de prata—Das más informações resulta que muitas pessoas negam a existência do que não investigam ou não entenderam e ainda mais atrevem-se depois a pôr em duvida o testemunho occular de quem as investigou fielmente.

[If a traveller does not understand any of the dialects or fails to enlist a good interpreter and does not visit the hinterland of the islands, as I have already mentioned, he will always obtain wrong and inexact information from the first charlatan or cicerone who makes himself understood to get a few silver coins from him—Such bad information results in many people denying the existence of what they did not research or understand and, what is more, daring to question the eyewitness evidence of those who researched it faithfully.]

This may begin to explain some of the diversity of opinions among the authors studied here. Recall that Casal Ribeiro (who spent much less time in Timor than Vaquinhas) denied the development of any specifically Timorese L1 form of Portuguese or CP; and another of Schuchardt’s correspondents, the Dutch Austronesianist George Karel Niemann, wrote in 1883 (hsa nr. 7845):

Herr Humme, der mehrere Jahre resident auf Timor war, hat mir bestimmt gesagt dass weder auf dem holländisches Timor noch bei den schwarzen Portugiesen auf Flores ein portugiesisches Jargon gesprochen wird; nur finden sich in dem auf Timor and Flores gesprochenes Malaiischen mehrere Portugiesische Wörter und Ausdrücke.[Mister Humme, who resided in Timor for several years, has assured me that neither in Dutch Timor nor among the black Portuguese of Flores is a Portuguese jargon spoken; one only finds in the Malay spoken in Timor and Flores several Portuguese words and expressions.]

Vaquinhas, however, takes an absolutely contrary position when he writes (hsa nr. B0022):

Eu devo voltar para Timor em maio ou junho de 1885 e logo que ali chegue enviarei os esclarecimentos que puder obter e que me são pedidos por V Ex.ª com relação aos dialectos de Timor e da língua creoula fallada na praça de Dilly-Timor.

[I shall return to Timor in May or June 1885 and, as soon as I get there, I will send you any clarifications I am able to obtain and which Your Excellency requests of me concerning the dialects of Timor and the creole language spoken in the town of Dili-Timor.]

Vaquinhas kept his promise. In a letter (hsa nr. 2615) from Dili in November 1885, he wrote:

Eu envio incluso uns apontamentos do portuguez crioulo fallado em Dilly

[I have enclosed some notes of the creole Portuguese spoken in Dili]

These notes, unfortunately, are no longer to be found in Schuchardt’s archive. However, some of the data is repeated in Vaquinhas’ subsequent letter (hsa nr. 2616), sent from Macau in 1886, in answer to some of Schuchardt’s queries based on the original notes:

tab9

These examples display verbs based on the 3s or imperative forms of the Portuguese verb (or perhaps the infinitive, in all cases except for bem, see footnote 5), reminiscent of Casal Ribeiro’s comments on the form of Portuguese spoken in Dili. Here too, the examples match other varieties of Creole Portuguese in Asia (Baxter, 1996). Additionally, the word bença ‘blessing’ is common to Macau CP (Senna Fernandes and Baxter, 2001: 58), as is the greeting pidi bença ‘ask for the blessing’ (Mário Nunes, p.c.).

However, the verb forms also correspond to recurrent solutions in L1 and L2 acquisition. Research on the acquisition of Portuguese and Spanish provides evidence of a phase in which non-agreeing verbs derived from 3s play a significant role in L1 acquisition (Simões and Stoel-Gammon, 1979; Slobin, 1985; Radford and Ploennig-Pacheco, 1995; Pratt and Grinstead, 2007) and in L2 acquisition (Bybee, 1995; Garavito, 2003; Montrul, 2004; McCarthy, 2006; Mory, 2008). Non-agreeing verbs derived from infinitives are also attested in L1 and L2 acquisition research on Portuguese and Spanish (Liceras, Valenzuela and Díaz, 1999; Ezeizabarrena, 2002; Montrul, 2004; Kupisch and Rinke, 2008).14 Non-agreeing generalized 3s verbs, and infinitive bases, may also be observed in diverse contact varieties with histories of L2 acquisition. Examples include the contact Portuguese of the Xingu indigenous reserve in Brazil (Emmerich, 1984; Mattos e Silva et al., 1988), the Portuguese of the Tongas of São Tomé (Baxter, 2002); Spanish in contact with indigenous languages in Mexico (Garavito and Atoche, 2006), and Afro-Bolivian and Afro-Peruvian Spanish (Lipsky, 2008; Sessarego, 2015).

The following examples, however, provide direct evidence of CP presence, or of input originating from CP, with the word iloutro:

tab10

The form iloutro, from Ptg. ele(s) + outro(s) ‘3m(p) + other’, establishes a clear link with Asian CPs elsewhere. Cognates of iloutro are widespread in Asian CP and occur in Bidau CP data from the 1950s (Baxter, 1990a), but only as a 3p pronoun. However, the constructions criança iloutro in (14) and (15), and nai iloutro in (16), show iloutro functioning as a post-nominal pluralizer (competing with the Portuguese-like pluralizing suffix -s in (12)) but also, judging from Vaquinhas’ alternative translations, possibly interpreted as a distal (singular or plural) demonstrative. This combination of functions is partly paralleled in Tetun, where the plural marker sira is post-nominal and conveys a notion of definiteness (Williams-van Klinken et al., 2002: 30); of particular interest, however, is that sira also functions as the 3p pronoun (Williams-van Klinken et al., 2002: 20). Clearly, for iloutro to be used as a plural marker, it must first have been used in a pronominal function and, although Vaquinhas’ corpus is too short to reflect this, it is likely that it was also used as such at the time.

At the same time, the use of preposition na in (15) is curious, as it has no exact parallel in the languages relevant for Timor nor the Asian CPs. Furthermore, the selection of na in these contexts appears to contradict the data provided by Casal Ribeiro, wherein human objects occur with the preposition com (see example (4)). In fact, as mentioned earlier, most Asian CP varieties—including, in Southeast Asia, those of Malacca, Batavia/Tugu and Macau—mark human objects with a preposition derived from Ptg. com ‘with’ (Baxter, 1995; Clements, 2009; Maurer, 2011). In these creoles, na is usually a generalized locative preposition meaning ‘to, in, at’ (Hancock, 1975).

Turning to the substrates, both Malay and Tetun mark human oblique arguments. Although colloquial Malay varieties employ the preposition sama ‘with’ (Gil, 2004), in Tetun Dili, the use of preposition ba 16 could underlie the use of na in example (15), as it introduces human obliques and directed locations, as in examples (17) and (18):

tab11

The overlap of these functions in Tetun ba may have induced an overextension of the Portuguese locative na to indicate human indirect objects, perhaps aided by the fact that the Portuguese preposition that marks indirect objects, a, is also a locative preposition (ir a Timor ‘go to Timor’). This interpretation predicts the locative use of na in this variety of Portuguese, which could be upset by the fact that the only instance of a locative preposition in Vaquinhas’ corpus has the form no:

tab12

The word no here could be simply a contextual/idiolectal variant of na or, less likely, reflect the contraction of a masculine definite article as in Portuguese no ‘in the’, corresponding to em ‘in’ + oART.m’. In any case, locative na is amply attested in references to restructured Portuguese in Timor elsewhere—see the song transcribed in 2.5 below, and the 1950s Bidau data in Baxter (1990a: 23–24).

The locative compound no baixo ‘beneath’, while paralleled in structure in Malay di bawah and Tetun iha okos and even Portuguese em baixo, respectively LOC + ‘under’, also resembles Malacca, Tugu and Macau CP use; cf. Malacca na basu.

Another structure exemplified in Vaquinhas’ list is the adjectival predicate, without a copula and modified by :

tab13

This construction is common to East/Southeast Asian CPs, yet also a feature of Malay (21):

tab14

In Tetun Dili the proximate perfective marker foin ‘just, only just’ may occur preceding a change-of-state predication where a strong contrast of states is involved:

tab15

Finally, example (23) displays two interesting features:

tab16

Similarly to this example, in various Asian CPs, such as those of Diu or Sri Lanka, complements of verbs of motion do not necessarily take a locative marker. In Southeast Asian CPs, the verb bai introduces directional locations without a preposition, and anda takes a preposition if the referred location is non-goal (e.g. andá na rua ‘walk in the street’). Otherwise, anda frequently takes a serial ‘go’ or ‘come’ according to the direction of the motion, as described for MalCP (Baxter 1990b: 176) and also recorded in bcp (Baxter (1990a: 22). However, the structure in (23) is also an option in MalCP if the goal is indefinite.19 While colloquial varieties of Malay permit absence of a preposition following the verb pergi ‘go’, generally they do not permit the verb jalan ‘walk, go’ without a preposition (Novi Djenar, p.c. 25.3.2015). In contrast, some sociolects of Tetun Dili do permit absence of a preposition with indefinite goals (24), so the occurrence of this feature in Vaquinhas’ Timor corpus is hardly surprising.

tab17

The second feature of interest here is the use of mais. Vaquinhas’ interpretation is that this should be derived from Ptg. mais ‘more’ but used here as an adverb meaning ‘even’. Another possible interpretation is that this should be an (incorrectly transcribed) instance of Tetun mai ‘come, to, in, for’ (Dores, 1907: 161; Hull, 1996: 28), in which case it would be providing the directional element to a typical serial verb construction (with anda). In either case, its position is unexpected if, accepting the translation provided by Vaquinhas, we consider that Dilly and cidade constitute a single NP meaning ‘the city of Dili’ made discontinuous by the interposition of mais. Other interpretations are possible, however, that would not treat these two items as a single NP.

Among Vaquinhas’ reports published in the journal of the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa, only one provides an item of linguistic data for our study:

Diz-se no patois timorense sol-sube e sol-cáe, correspondendo aquella designação ao lado que o sol nasce e esta ao lado que o sol se põe; por exemplo: nascente chamam sol-sube, poente sol-cáe. (Vaquinhas, 1885: 63)

[In the Timorese patois one says sol-sube and sol-cáe, the former term corresponding to the side from which the sun rises and the latter to the side in which the sun sets; for example: they call east sol-sube and west sol-cáe.]

What is at play here is the lexicalization of two predicates literally meaning ‘sun rises’ (sol ‘sun’ + sube ‘rise’) and ‘sun falls’ (sol + cae ‘fall’). These are calques from Tetun, in which lorosae ‘east’ literally signifies ‘sun’ + ‘rise’ and loromonu ‘west’ literally signifies ‘sun’ + ‘fall’.

2.3 João Gomes Ferreira

In a letter (hsa nr. 3853) from Dili sent on November 3rd 1885, the Vigário Geral ‘Vicar General’, Fr. João Gomes Ferreira, provided Hugo Schuchardt with valuable comments on the use of Portuguese by the Timorese in Dili. As this source was discussed in Baxter (1990a), we will merely underline certain details which are significant to the present paper. For a full transcription of the letter and some introductory remarks, see Sousa (2013).

The Vigário Geral’s letter refers to the L2 Portuguese of indigenous Timorese. He notes that Tetun is spoken in Dili, yet most Timorese there understand Portuguese and speak it in a broken manner (“estropeadamente”), some better, some worse (“uns melhor, outros peór”). He observes that this corrupt Portuguese (“portuguez corrompido”) is typified by influence from the structure of the indigenous language (i.e. Tetun), to which he attributes its poor number and gender agreement. The letter contains a list of sentences in Portuguese with their parallel translations in Tetun and Portuguez corrompido, following which the Vigário Geral asserts that the latter is essentially a direct translation of Tetun. He claims that the Portuguez corrompido is not a language (i.e. an L1), as the Timorese do not speak it among themselves:

[…] comparando o portuguez corrompido com o tetum, vê-se claramente que esse modo de fallar é mais ou menos a traducção á letra do mesmo tetum. E em todo caso não constitue uma lingua—Em Macau dá-se uma cousa inteiramente differente: os Macaistas fallam o portuguez corrompido, mas é essa a lingua d'elles. Não têem outra.

[[…] upon comparing the corrupted Portuguese with Tetun, one sees clearly that that way of speaking is more or less a literal translation of Tetun. And, in any case, it does not constitute a language—In Macau something entirely different happens: the Macanese speak corrupted Portuguese, but that is their language. They have no other.]

Nevertheless, the examples in the letter contain items found in varieties of CP in East and Southeast Asia, and some in South Asian CPs as well, which we list here:20

  • Post-nominal genitive: Antonio sua bufalo ‘Antonio’s buffalo’; and, notably, mim sua ‘mine’;

  • Invariant verbs generally derived from 3s present indicative Portuguese forms: e.g. bai/vai ‘go’, bem/vem ‘come’, visita ‘visit’: eu quer vai Lahane visita vosso reverendissimo ‘I want to go to Lahane to visit your grace’;

  • Directed motion serial verb: Anda bem aqui ‘come here’;

  • Copula tem: pôrco tem gordo ‘the pig is fat’; but also copula são: De quem são este cavallo? ‘Whose horse is this?’;

  • Copula-less adjectival predicate: Minha sombreilo nunca bom ‘my hat is no good’;

  • Negator nunca, as in the previous example.

Whereas, for many items on the list, the potential for local contact L2 derivation must be recognized, the possibility of CP input cannot be ignored. Indeed, the example mim sua in item (i), which consists of an oblique personal pronoun mim plus a genitive marker sua, resembles one of the 1s genitives common to earlier Southeast Asian CP. Thus, 19th century materials register minha su(a) in MalCP,21 and me sua in Tugu CP; whereas 18th century materials register mienja soea in Batavia CP (Baxter and Bastos, 2012: 56–59; Maurer, 2011: 28–29).

For a discussion of how the texts provided by Gomes Ferreira compare with the other sources discussed here, see section 3 below.

2.4 Rafael das Dores

Some 15 years after Schuchardt, Leite de Vasconcelos also exchanged letters with informants familiar with Portuguese Timor, regarding the linguistic landscape of the colony. One such correspondent was Rafael das Dores, who wrote a Tetun-Portuguese dictionary and, encouraged by Leite de Vasconcelos, began publishing it in the journal of the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa in 1904.

Dores was a military man who served a long time in Macau and Timor. He visited Timor four times: in 1871–1873, 1878–1879, 1886 and 1891–1892 (Dores, 1903: 7–8). His correspondence with Leite de Vasconcelos, however, occurred in 1901, in Portugal. He also resided in Macau, where, evidently, he became acquainted with MacCP. In his first letter (ejlv nr. 7026), nonetheless, he is adamant that no such variety was spoken in Timor:

Em Timor os indígenas que fallam portuguez, fallam-o exactamente como nós, não havendo patuá, como em Macau e nas outras colónias. […] Em vista do que expus atrás já V. Ex.ª vê que sobre Timor, nada lhe posso proporcionar com relação à língua portugueza alli fallada; quanto porèm a Macau, estou prompto a verter-lhe no patuá, os textos que me indicar, assim como na língua portugueza fallada pelos chinas que é coisa perfeitamente distinta da língua de Macau como creio que V. Ex.ª já sabe.

[In Timor, the natives who speak Portuguese speak it exactly like us, there not being any patois, as in Macau and in the other colonies. […] Given what I have explained before, Your Excellency will understand that, concerning Timor I cannot provide you with anything about the Portuguese language spoken there; however, with respect to Macau, I am ready to translate the texts you send me into patois, as well as into the Portuguese language spoken by the Chinese, which is a very different thing from the language of Macau, as I believe Your Excellency already knows.]

Considering the linguistic data analyzed above, it seems strange that someone so familiar with MacCP and Macau L2 Portuguese varieties should be so adamant about the absence of any such variation in Timor. Aware of Afonso de Castro’s description, Leite de Vasconcelos must have pointed out that this position contradicted other sources because, in his second letter (ejlv nr. 7027), Dores continues:

Quanto ao que me diz sobre o crioulo em Timor, conheço e possuo o livro d’Affonso de Castro. Este na curta demora que teve em Timor e sem sahir de Lahane, não teve tempo d’estudar practicamente tudo que tratou no seu livro, que mais parece coordenado d’escritos anteriores. […] Eu estive 4 vezes em Timor, e pela 1ª vez demorei-me perto de 3 annos, e percorrendo o litoral, e a maior parte do interior, não encontrei o tal crioulo de que elle falla […]

[As for what you say about the creole of Timor, I do know and own Afonso de Castro’s book. In his short stay in Timor, and without leaving Lahane, he did not have the time to study practically everything that he addresses in his book, which seems to be collated from previous writings. […] I was in Timor 4 times and the first time stayed for nearly 3 years, and, having travelled the coast and most of the hinterland, I did not find that creole he talks about […]]

Dores does concede, however, that a creole was present in Timor, but that it was the creole of Macau, introduced by Macanese who settled in Timor:

De facto algumas raparigas vindas do interior para creadas, e servindo em casa de pessoas de Macau residentes em Timor, aprendem palavras de crioulo macaísta, mas tanto estas raparigas como as próprias pessoas de Macau, com o tempo chegam a fallar o portuguez como nós, o que eu observei, e mesmo se nota em Macau, nas senhoras que regressam de Timor. […] Em vista do exposto, apesar da minha manifesta incompetencia em philologia, continuo com a convicção de que não existe em Timor um crioulo proprio.22

[In fact, some girls who come from the hinterland as servants and work in the homes of people from Macau residing in Timor learn some words in Macanese creole, but both these girls and the Macanese themselves in time come to speak Portuguese like us, which I have observed and can even be seen in Macau, in the ladies who return from Timor. […] In view of the above, despite my manifest incompetence in philology, I am still convinced that there is no specific creole in Timor.]

It is plausible that, familiar with Macau Creole, Dores simply assumed that any similar variety was either Macau Creole or a derivation of it, thereby failing to identify the specifically Timorese creole for which we have evidence in the form of bcp and the data provided by other coeval sources (see 2.5. below). While his letters to Leite de Vasconcelos do not contain any linguistic samples for our study, they do add complexity to the linguistic ecology of turn-of-the-century Timor. Specifically, his comments underline the importance of the Macanese community in Timor at the time; and they also suggest that, among a particular section of the colonial community, Portuguese exerted a strong influence, to the point of replacing the creole within traditional Macanese families.

2.5 Alberto Osório de Castro

As noted, Alberto Osório de Castro—who resided in Timor at the very start of the 20th century following a period in India—was the author of A ilha verde e vermelha de Timor (Castro, 1943), in which he includes a song in ‘Dili Portuguese’ analysed in Baxter (1990a). However, we now know that he had reported on this variety much earlier and, contrary to Rafael das Dores, stressed the presence of a creole in Timor. Flores de Coral (Castro, 1908) is essentially a book of poems, but it also contains a glossary with many facts about the East (especially the areas which had contact with the Portuguese). In this glossary, under the entry for “Pantume” (a Southeast Asian poetic form, cf. pantun), Osório de Castro transcribes a few verses “em português de Dílli” (‘in the Portuguese of Dili’) (Castro, 1908: 144–145):23

tab18

This song is transcribed in his 1943 book. Its particular significance is that it points to the mobility of creole elements within the network of Portuguese outposts in Asia. Variants of this song, referring to a green bird (usually a parrot) are widespread in Luso-Asian communities (Jackson, 2012). Just who introduced it to Timor is impossible to say, but the song does belong to Asian CP culture.

Linguistically, the song is quite a mixture. We find some Tetun items, such as lamuca (Tet. lamuka/lamukan) ‘emerald dove [Chalcophaps indica]’; mata-ôi (possibly Tet. mata ‘eye’ and oin ‘face’25), a kind of fish; manére (possibly Tet. ‘agentive affix’ + nére ‘net’); and coilão (Tet. kolan). Some structures are closely modeled on Portuguese, e.g. Culpa não foi minha ‘It wasn’t my fault (lit. fault not was mine)’, with an inflected form of the Portuguese copula ser. Other features are recognizable from the Asian CPs, such as the form of the 2s pronoun, derived from archaic Portuguese vós, or the word pástero ‘bird’ (rather than Ptg. pássaro). The song also contains reduplication (tapa-tapa ‘(lit. hide~hide ‘hidden away’; tanto fala fala ‘(lit. talk~talk ‘continual talking’), common to Asian CP varieties, but also to Malay and Tetun. Whether the absence of definite articles on the noun phrases is significant is impossible to say, yet it was noticed earlier, in the letter from Casal Ribeiro, that this absence was considered typical of Dili Portuguese spoken by locals, and that Tetun has no dedicated articles.

Coincidentally, Osório de Castro was Leite de Vasconcelos’ relative and numerous letters from Castro are kept in Vasconcelos’ epistolar archive. Two such letters are relevant here. In the first (ejlv nr. 4215), Castro refers to the creole data he published in Flores de Coral and, apparently for the first time, identifies it explicitly with Dili’s Bidau neighbourhood:

Teria V Exa recebido o meu livro Flores de Coral? Foi um dos primeiros exemplares que remetti. Lá encontra uma parte sobre linguas timoresas, e sobre um dialecto crioulo que ninguém ainda descobrira, creio, o português de Bidau.

[Has Your Excellency received my book Flores de Coral? It was one of the first copies I dispatched. In it, you will find a section about the Timorese languages, and about a creole dialect which, I believe, no one had found before, the Portuguese of Bidau.]

In another letter (ejlv nr. 24255), undated but sent from Portugal (probably in the 1920s), Castro transcribes the short creole text in (24), which he describes as something midwives said to a woman in labour.

tab19

Here, two items merit comment as they are typical of Asian CPs at large. The first is the sequence Homem à L’outro, where à L’outro may represent iloutro ‘they’ acting as plural marker—cf. examples (14)–(16) above and related discussion. The second item is the presence of com where Portuguese would use the preposition a ‘to’: mata um com outro (Ptg. mata um ao outro). The use of com with [+human] object NPs is very much reminiscent of (South)East Asian CP (see also 2.2. above), and specifically in contexts of reciprocity, as in the following Tugu CP sentence (Maurer, 2011: 98):

tab20

The complex ant’èstè is not easy to interpret, but there are several possibilities. The orthography, which indicates a word boundary with the apostrophe (or, in the later-published version, a space, see Footnote 26), suggests that this comprises two words: ant(e) + ésté. Most likely, the first one represents the Portuguese adverb antes and the second indicates the proximate demonstrative este ‘this’. In addition to being a time adverb meaning ‘before’, antes also has an adversative meaning of ‘rather, instead’; this use could be reflected here, with the sentence meaning ‘This is our war, rather [than that of men]’. On the other hand, the transcription seems rather tentative at times—recall the orthographic break-up of à L’outro discussed above—and so, the real boundary may be elsewhere. Another possibility is that ant’èstè consists of antes + te, standing for the copula described in 2.1 and 2.3 above. In this case, the sentence would mean ‘Our war is before/prior’, meaning that women’s labour precedes anything in men’s lives.

This text is repeated in Castro’s 1943 book,26 along with three short dialogues described as “fragmentos de conversa ouvidas [sic] ao acaso”, ‘fragments of conversations overheard by chance’ (Castro, 1943: 56). These comprise exchanges between mother and daughter (25), between neighbours (26) and between mother, daughter and daughter’s husband (27):

tab21

In addition, Castro (1943) also records two isolated sentences (28) and (29), the last of which may have been heard in court in connection with his judicial functions:

tab22

These short texts contain further items that establish a connection with Asian CPs. The first concerns negation of the verb podi by a short negator num, in (25), reminiscent of the reduced negator required with podi in Malaca, Tugu and Macau, as noted by (Baxter, 1990a: 19), but also found in the South Asian CP varieties. The second item is the presence in (25) of the negator nunca in a tag interrogative, a feature common to MalCP (Baxter, 1988: 187).

As in a wide set of Asian CPs, the verb is invariable and derived from the Portuguese 3s present tense form (e.g. bai from Ptg. vai ‘goes’), or infinitive (comê in eu quérè comê), and a past reference verb may be preceded by , as in (27). The verb also occurs unmarked for tense and aspect, in a past perfective context eu bate meu perna in (25), or in what appear to be present progressive contexts, as in Vósse bai na ôndi? in (26). While zero-marked verbs in past contexts occur in Malacca (Baxter, 1988: 135–135), Tugu (Maurer, 2011: 60–61) and Macau (Ferraz, 1987: 351), they have only been noted in progressive aspect contexts in Tugu CP (Maurer, 2011: 60). However, in Tetun (Williams-van Klinken et al., 2002: 35) and Malay (Crawfurd, 1852: 48), the interpretation of the tense-aspect values of zero-marked verbs through utterance context is common. Additional items suggesting a link with Asian CPs are found in (26), in the use of the locative na with locative adverbs in na ôndi and na riba, and the items águ ‘water’ and cuza ‘what (thing)’. Whereas the former three items are widespread in (S)(E) acp and occur in the creoles of Malacca, Tugu and Macau, cuza is common to MacCP (Senna Fernandes and Baxter, 2001) and has the form kudja in Batavia CP (Maurer, 2011: 325).

At the same time, there is evidence of substrate influence in (26), in the use of sólè>Malay colek ‘dig out, draw out’, and the Tetun discourse marker , also present in (27)—along with Tetun exclamations ôi and ó, and interjection hou and the terms of address nónó and nônôi 28—and (28). Syntactic influence is also evident in (25), in na pedra grande àquêlè , where the demonstrative àquêlè occurs after the noun and its modifying adjective, as in Tetun (Williams-van Klinken et al., 2002: 23) and Malay (Crawfurd, 1852: 28; Sneddon, 1996: 129–130). In (27), sentence-final bai ‘go’, coming after a pause, appears to function as sentence-final Tetun , indicating an invitation for the addressee to perform an action independent of the speaker (Williams-van Klinken et al., 2002: 48).

Finally, variation is evident. Thus, in addition to the two forms of the verb vai/bai ‘go’ in (26), the first person pronoun occurs as nósse in (25), but also nós in (26), the latter form being common to other South East Asian CP varieties. The phonological interpretation of nósse is difficult, as is also that of the second person subject pronoun vósse. With respect to the latter, note that the form bos of the pronoun, registered in the bcp materials from the mat (Baxter 1990a: 11), does not occur. Nor is there evidence of the post-nominal genitive marker found in the mat materials, as in eli su búfara [3s + gen + buffalo] ‘his buffalo’ (Baxter, 1990a: 12–13), as possession in the dialogues is indicated by the Portuguese possessive determiners meu (in 25/26) and seu (in 27). So, while these forms resemble possessive pronouns as in (24), in these short texts they do not seem to be so. They may constitute the mere addition of a paragogic vowel after an etymologically word-final sibilant, which finds support in the apparent addition of a vocalic segment, in a comparable phonetic context, in the word arroze/arrôze (from Ptg. arroz ‘rice’) in (26/27).

The observed variation and absences may reflect ongoing contact with Metropolitan Portuguese. The role of Portuguese in colonial Timor could have motivated the type of variation one finds in these texts and the development of different idiolects and registers. We may have evidence of this in sentence (29), which uses standard Portuguese morphemes which are rare elsewhere in the corpus, including plural suffix -s in minhas afilhades and 3s past tense morphology in the verb fuchiu (cf. Ptg. fugiu). Yet, at least in the case of the plural markers, this is perhaps a hypercorrection, since Castro clarifies that the intended reference was singular.

3 Discussion

The relevance of the early archival and published sources under study derives either from the linguistic snippets they contain or from the authors’ explicit remarks concerning the linguistic make-up of colonial Timor. In this section, we address these two types of evidence. In 3.1., we discuss the authors’ claims about the “types” of Portuguese and related language varieties, and in 3.2. we analyse the linguistic data they provide.

3.1 Portuguese and Creole(s) in Timor

Summarizing their opinions, these five correspondents express three points of view:

  • There was a creole spoken by locals, according to Vaquinhas and Castro, the latter referring to the language as crioulo de Bidau;

  • There was no local creole, but rather L2 Portuguese influenced by Tetun, according to Casal Ribeiro and Gomes Ferreira;

  • There was no local creole, but MacCP was present and exerted an influence on local speech, according to Dores.

This suggests that the contact situation in late 19th-c. Dili involved a range of L2 Portuguese and what some authors identified as creole languages. However, interpreting these remarks is not easy, as we cannot be certain of what the definitions of “creole” were for the various correspondents. Some observers appear to have proceeded by comparison with better-known creole languages spoken elsewhere. MacCP was an important reference but, although Gomes Ferreira, Dores and Vaquinhas (at least) were well-acquainted with it, they reached different conclusions regarding the existence of a Timorese creole. In addition, we learn from these sources that MacCP was present in Timor; and yet, Vaquinhas identifies a Timorese variety which he does not associate with MacCP. Osório de Castro followed suit and explicitly identified this Timorese creole variety with Bidau, which is an important reference to reconstruct the language’s development.

Bidau and the community that came to speak bcp have always been described as something of a melting pot. In the first published reference to Bidau Portuguese, Osório de Castro (1943: 56) writes that the population must have consisted of

[…] o resto dos cristãos, foragidos da nossa primeira e abandonada capital de Lifau, no encrave de Oèkussi, mixto de portugueses, goeses, moluqueses, malaqueses e de conversos de Larentuca.

[the remainder of the Christians, fugitives from our first and abandoned capital of Lifau, in the Oekussi enclave, a mix of Portuguese, Goans, Moluccans, Malaccans and converts from Larantuka.]

Boxer (1947) refers to the 1566 establishment of a Portuguese fort on the island of Solor, adjacent to Flores, and the growth of a community of native Christians, Portuguese missionaries, soldiers, sailors, and sandalwood traders from Malacca and Macau, and their local descendants. The initial base for the founding of this community was Malacca.

Portuguese interests subsequently shifted to Larantuka, where a similar community formed, dominated by powerful clans of mestiços, referred to as ‘Black Portuguese’, Topazes or Larantuqueiros. In these establishments, Portuguese, CP and L2 contact Portuguese must have been current, alongside Malay and other local languages. The influx of refugees from the 1660 Dutch conquest of Makassar introduced further elements from a Portuguese community with a similar racial and linguistic composition, and most certainly (re)introduced a CP ultimately originating in Malacca. Conflicts with the Larantuqueiros led to the removal of the Portuguese administrative base first to Lifau, in 1701, and subsequently to Dili, in 1769 (Boxer, 1947). Thomaz (1985) attributed bcp to the descendants of militiamen originating from the Flores region, the moradores de Bidau, characterized by Gunn (1999: 111) as Christianized mestiços from the Solor-Flores region.

In 1859, a treaty consigned Eastern Flores, Adonara and Solor to the Dutch. Portuguese influence continued only in the Eastern tip of Flores, at several locations, including Maumere, Sikka, Konga and Larantuka. As Portuguese cultural inheritance is still quite visible in Eastern Flores (cf. Viola, 2013), it is plausible that the Dutch takeover of Larantuka failed to displace the local Asian-Portuguese. José dos Santos Vaquinhas’ reference to contact Portuguese on Flores, akin to that of Batavia, was noted in section 2.2. Further correspondence from Vaquinhas to Hugo Schuchardt lends additional support to such a view. An 1885 letter (hsa nr. 2615) reads:

[…] oportuguez [sic] corrompido que se falla em Larantuka (Flores) é o mesmo que se falla em Dilly.

[the corrupted Portuguese spoken in Larantuka (Flores) is the same one that is spoken in Dili.]

And, the following year, Vaquinhas (hsa nr. 2616) adds:

Muito filhos dos regulos e principaes de Larantuka foram educados nas escolas portuguezas em Okusse (Lifaú) e da hi veem elles fallar o portuguez criolo em Larantuka. Actualmente estão estudando com os missionarios portuguezes na escola de Lahane (em Dilly) alguns rapazes de Larantuka; não perdem estes nunca o ensejo de aprender oportuguez [sic] de que com o andar dos annos se esquecem e dá hi vem o fallarem o portuguez corrupto ou portuguez criolo.

[Many children (sons) of the régulos (local rulers) and princes of Larantuka were educated in the Portuguese schools in Oe-kusse (Lifau) and because of this come to speak creole Portuguese in Larantuka. Currently, some boys from Larantuka are studying with the Portuguese missionaries in the school at Lahane (Dili); they never lose the interest to learn Portuguese, which they forget as years go by and thus begin to speak broken Portuguese or creole Portuguese.]

This report is important because it points to a little-documented connection between Larantuka and Portuguese Timor as late as the 19th century. Indeed, Dutch missionaries reported in the mid-19th century that Portuguese had to be used in religious ceremonies, and noted that, in Larantuka, “a number of children of the elite had had one or even several years of instruction in Dili” (Steenbrink, 2002: 74, 109).29 From Vaquinhas’ letter of 1886, it is clear that links with Lifau and Dili persisted in the late-19th century.

While the link to Larantuka constitutes an important part of the earlier background to contact Portuguese in Dili, the Macau connection amply referred to in our sources is also significant, as the sandalwood trade mostly exported to Macau and, after the Dutch conquests of Malacca (1642) and Makassar (1660), Macau became the nearest official Portuguese administrative centre.

The presence of Chinese from Macau and of Macanese (Luso-Chinese mestiços) is noted for the 18th and 19th centuries (Dores, 1901; Matos, 1974; Gunn, 1999). In fact, in one of his publications, Rafael das Dores (1903: 20) observes that Bidau, aside from housing the majority of the militiamen of the former Bidau battalion, was also home to most Chinese shop-owners. We assume they would have had knowledge of L2 Portuguese and, quite possibly, some knowledge of MacCP. For their part, the Macanese were of various sources, including convicts, traders and, principally, minor government officials and military personnel (Dores, 1901: 2; Thomaz, 1974: 281). That the presence of MacCP in Dili was noticed by Portuguese observers, and, according to Dores, even influenced Tetun Dili, suggests that its number of speakers may not have been insignificant. Indeed, Dores (1907: 19, 185) attributes the use of a copula san in Tetun to the influence of MacCP. Thus, there is a strong possibility that MacCP could have contributed to a pre-existing bcp.

3.2 The Linguistic Evidence in Context

It is valid to reflect on how the linguistic features of our late 19th- and early 20th-c. sources compare with those discussed in Baxter (1990a) for bcp, and also which of these are found in the other creoles of (South)East Asia (Malacca, Macau and Batavia/Tugu). Table 1 compares the morphosyntactic features covered in the 1990 study, the matches in the 19th and early 20th c. correspondence and their matches in the (South)East Asian CP varieties. It is divided into 3 sections: the first section lists features found in at least one of the early sources, in the mat corpus of bcp, and in (South)East Asian CPs; the second contains features in the early sources which occur in (South)East Asian CPs but are not attested in the mat corpus; the last section has features attested in the early sources but not in either the mat corpus of bcp nor in the other (South)East Asian CPs. In each section, the features are ordered in decreasing order of the number of early sources that attest them. Brackets indicate values that offer some degree of doubt, most of which were duly explained above. Pluses indicate the definite presence of a feature, while a dot means that the corpus does not attest it.

tab1

In addition to the fact that the list of features in Table 1 is necessarily not exhaustive, the various corpora analysed also differ greatly in size and detail. Therefore, it is not possible to make a very meaningful quantitative analysis of the data, but some interesting observations can be made.

The short turn-of-the-century corpora repeat several of the already attested bcp features which have been invoked to place it within the family of Southeast Asian CPs. Interestingly, this is true not only of the data provided by those authors who recognized the development of a Timorese creole (Vaquinhas and Castro) but even of those who claimed to have been representing L2 Portuguese (Casal Ribeiro and Gomes Ferreira). In fact, Gomes Ferreira’s data has a particularly high incidence of these features: 13 out of 15 in the first section of Table 1, against 9 in Castro’s data, 5 in Vaquinhas’ and 4 in Casal Ribeiro. This can partly be explained by the fact that Gomes Ferreira’s corpus is the largest of the four, but it is significant that, among these features, there are several which are difficult to explain solely on the basis of L2 acquisition of Portuguese by speakers of Tetun or Malay (e.g. the negator nunca, or the postnominal genitive).

Thus, it seems reasonable to confirm that data from CP was present, and the dichotomy between CP (in whatever of the varieties present) and L2 Portuguese was not absolute.41 Of course, as noted, such data could originate from different sources: through general Asian Portuguese which would have inevitably had contact with creolized varieties, or directly from creole speakers, or from L2 creole or L2 Portuguese in contact with creole. Also, while certain items (e.g. the form of the verb, the use of existential tem, or reduplication) could be due to the spread of a (South)East Asian CP, there may well be a case for independent development under influence from Tetun or Malay. Nevertheless, we do have the testimonies of Vaquinhas, Castro and Dores, confirming the presence of at least two varieties of CP: that of Bidau and that of Macau.

While the mat corpus from the 1950s remains the primary corpus of bcp, the turn-of-the-century data adds a few new items to the discussion. Some of these, the ones noted in section 2 of Table 1, have the potential to strengthen the case for the influence of (South)East Asian CP speech forms on the island. Although Table 1 does not indicate features of Asian CP from outside the (South) East Asian region, the fact is that the South Asian CP varieties do not provide as good a pool for explaining the potential introduction of CP elements into Timor. Many of the (South)East Asian CP features analysed can also be found in South Asia (e.g. the locative preposition na, the negator derived from nunca and existential from tem, absence of gender concord, the postnominal genitive,…), but some (such as the copula derived from são, or serialization with bai and beng) cannot. The only feature which might require a reference to South Asian CP is the future tense marker derived from Ptg. há-de ‘shall’, inexistent in the (South)East Asian CPs but found in those of Daman and Diu, in India. However, an independent development of this form in Timor from spoken Portuguese input is conceivable. Furthermore, there are indications that, even though derivations of Ptg. logo came to dominate as markers of future tense in Asian CPs, há-de must have played a role too from very early on; even creoles that do not have a cognate of há-de to mark future tense, such as those of Malacca, Tugu or Macau, have a special future negator nadi or nada derived from Ptg. não há-de (see Baxter 1996: 302).

4 Conclusion

The set of testimonies reviewed here represent different perspectives on the use of “Portuguese” by different sections of non-Europeans in the sociolinguistic setting of 19th- and early 20th-c. Dili, and Portuguese Timor at large. These perspectives capture the use of L2 Portuguese, displaying evidence of both independent contact L2 solutions under the influence of Malay and Tetun, and of the presence of genuine Asian CP items widely attested elsewhere. This suggests that some L2 Portuguese may have been an L2 dimension of a creole or, in the least, had significant exposure to creole features. Certainly, some such features could have been present in general Asian Portuguese usage, having originated from contact between Portuguese speakers and creoles or pidgins in the various other locations where such language varieties are known to have existed, given maritime contacts between the ports under Portuguese control or influence. However, it is also reasonable to assume that items among those listed in Table 1 may well have stemmed directly from CP use in Timor, from the CP of groups originally foreign to Timor.

The testimonies do confirm the presence of two creole-speaking groups: the residents of Bidau, and the Macanese, the latter having exerted influence on the speech of locals, as mentioned by João Gomes Ferreira and reported elsewhere by Dores (1907). That Osório de Castro does not associate the Bidau community with the Macanese seems significant, in the sense that other sources (for example Gunn (1999)), stress the historical link between the Bidau community and the Eastern Flores region. In Bidau, this creole may have come into contact with MacCP or Chinese L2 varieties of Portuguese or MacCP but, in the end, Thomaz’s (1985) view that the two groups are not connected still holds.

Our study also reveals that, at the time these early reports were produced, there must have been a fair degree of variation in the understanding of what constituted a creole language. Thus, even authors whose linguistic contributions contain many features which are recognizable in a later corpus of bcp and in (South)East Asian CPs may fail to classify these varieties as creoles. Therefore, in order to interpret the significance of these sources for the issue of the development of a Timorese CP or of Timorese varieties of L2 Portuguese, it becomes essential to do a wide comparative study of the linguistic features they record.

Aknowledgments

The authors are greatly indebted to the Department of Linguistics and the Hugo Schuchardt Archiv of the Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria, for organizing the 2013 workshop on Asian Ibero-Romance Creoles which facilitated our access to documents on 19th-century Timor. The Museu Nacional de Arqueologia (Lisbon) also deserves our gratitude for making available the materials of the Leite de Vasconcelos collection. For discussion of Tetun-Dili examples, the authors thank Dr. Catharina Williams van-Klinken, Dr. Adérito Correia, and Prof. Geoffrey Hull, as well as three anonymous reviewers. For discussions of Malay examples, gratitude is expressed to Prof. Stefanie Pillai, Dr Novi Djenar, and Prof. Alexander Adelaar. Naturally, all responsibility for the views presented in this article rests with its authors. Alan N. Baxter’s research is supported by grant 307947/2013-0 of the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (cnpq), Brazil. Hugo C. Cardoso’s research was financed by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (fct) under the Investigador fct programme (IF/01009/2012).

Abbreviations

1p

first person plural

1s

first person singular

2s

second person singular

3p

third person plural

3s

third person singular

art

article

bcp

Bidau Creole Portuguese

CP

Creole Portuguese (i.e. Portuguese-lexified)

dem

demonstrative

dis

discourse marker

excl

exclusive

fut

future

intj

interjection

L1

first language

L2

second language

loc

locative

m

masculine

MacCP

Macau Creole Portuguese

MalCP

Malacca Creole Portuguese

mat

Missão Antropológica de Timor

neg

negator

NP

noun phrase

obl

oblique

pfv

perfective

PL

plural

pos

possessive

prox

proximate

pst

past

Ptg

Portuguese

Tet

Tetun

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Transcription of Archival Materials

Appendix A

Letter of Tancredo Caldeira do Casal Ribeiro to Hugo Schuchardt

Dili, June 30th 1882

Hugo Schuchardt Archiv (University of Graz), nr. 01553

---

Ex.moSr.

Dilly 30 de Junho

1882

Recebi a amavel carta de V. E.a, e longe de pedir indulgencia como V. E.a diz, era de meu stricto dever procurar dar o meu auxilio, ainda que insignificantissimo, para um estudo tão valioso, sendo de mais a mais um estrangeiro que a elle se dedicava. Infelizmente o Sr. Meyrelles de Távora, confiando e com boa razão na minha boa vontade, enganou-se bastante quanto á minha capacidade para estudos linguisticos, aos quaes nem de longe me dediquei. Tenho o curso de agronomo e é nesse cargo que me acho em Timor e V. E.a bem vê que nenhuma paridade existe entre a sciencia agronomica e os estudos linguisticos. Portanto limitar-me-hei a assentar os factos, e se alguma vez collocando-me debaixo de um ponto de vista falso apresentar alguma reflexão menos exacta V. E.a a corrigirá. Como eu estou aqui há apenas um anno, não tendo portanto a practica necessária, pedi a um dos missionarios que me coadjuvasse, e espero poder enviar a V. E.a alguma cousa do que deseja.

Em Timor não se formou nenhum dialecto especial, mas sim uma corrupção do portuguez empregada em Dilly entre a pequena população indigena que não sóbe a mais de 4:000 almas. No interior da ilha são raros os indigenas que falam o portuguez, a não ser os regulos e seus principaes (especie de nobreza).

N’este portuguez corrupto que aqui chamam lingua da praça, não fazem mais que dar ao portuguez a construcção da lingua indigena, usando dos verbos ou no infinito ou na terceira pessoa do singular do tempo presente, acrescentando o adverbio para indicar o preterito, e ha de para o futuro. Explo.

Eu já fala – Eu faleiEu já compra – Eu comprei

Eu ha de fala – Eu falareiNós há de compra – Nos compraremos

Convem notar que raras vezes empregam o verbo dizer, substituindo-o pelo verbo falar. Sobre o verbo dizer occorre-me outra singularidade, e é que traduzem o nosso dizem, (que corresponde ao francez on dit), por gente já fala.

O verbo estar é algumas vezes substituído pelo verbo ter, ex.o:

Fulano tem em casa? – F. está em casa?

A particula a é empregada algumas vezes em vez de com, ex.:

Eu compra com F. – Eu compro a F.

Elles já compra com F. – Elles compraram a F.

Como se vê n’estes exemplos, o pronome varia, mas o verbo não é conjugado, o que exactamente acontece nas linguas indigenas.

Na maioria das locuções os artigos são supprimidos, e as regras de concordancia não são respeitadas.

Há algumas palavras portuguezas que os Timores empregam na sua lingua, porque não tem n’ellas expressão correspondente, e se pela lingua se pode conhecer o caracter dos povos chegamos a conclusões engraçadas embora verdadeiras.

As phrases – é preciso – e – obrigado – não tem correspondente nas linguas de Timor, e portanto tomaram as palavras portuguezas. Na realidade elles não tem uma ideia nitida de necessidade e precisão, e quanto a sentimentos de gratidão desconhecem-os completamente. Lembro-me agora de uma phrase, na qual o não é substituído por nunca, e que fere desagradávelmente os ouvidos portuguezes

Nunca sabe – Não sei

Eu nunca tem – Eu não tenho

O malaio não é a lingua de Timor, e é um facto curioso como em uma ilha tão pequena se formaram mais de 25 linguas, das quaes se algumas não passam de dialectos, outras são perfeitamente dissemelhantes, e mesmo entre as que se assemelham há variações notaveis. Eu vivo habitualmente no interior, e para leste de Dilly, e portanto tomo para exemplo as tres linguas que se falam nas proximidades do local que habito, e que são o této, o uáimá e o macassai.

tab23

Convem notar que o h é bastante aspirado.

Com respeito ás canções que V. E.a me pede não as posso enviar agora, porque careço de tempo para as as collecionar. Incluso remmetto a V. E.a uma carta que me enviou o regulo de Laleia, desculpando-se de não ter vindo encontrar-se commigo em Dilly, e prommettendo vir.

Desculpe-me V. E.a estas reflexões ao correr da penna, porque a mala está a partir, e nós aqui só uma vez por mez é que temos vapor.

Dentro em poucos dias parto para fazer a exploração completa da ilha, o que levará 5 a 6 mezes, e depois disso é que poderei colher alguns dados uteis para V. E.a, pedindo desde já que não extranhe a demora em mandar os esclarecimentos que deseja. Sou com a maior consideração

De V. E.a

Att° venor e creado obgmo

Tancredo C. do Casal Ribeiro

P. S. Desculpe V. E.a as raspaduras porque não tenho tempo de copiar a limpo esta carta.

Appendix B

Letter of José dos Santos Vaquinhas to Hugo Schuchardt

Macau, November 3 rd 1884 (?) 42

Hugo Schuchardt Archiv (University of Graz), nr. B0022

---

Illmo e Exmo Snr. Dr. Hugo Schuchardt

Professor na Universidade de Graz

Austria

Exmo. Snr.

Recebi a carta de V Ex.a datada de 24 de Maio do corrente anno, e permitta-me V Ex.a que antes de tudo eu aprezente algumas considerações que o contheudo da sua carta me suggeriu.

Diz-me V Ex.a que o fallecido D.r Burnell lhe asseverou que em Batavia se fallava o portuguez corrupto. O D.r Burnell tem razão e creia V Ex.a que elle não se enganou; eu mesmo ouvi fallar em Batavia o portuguez corrupto e é por isso que assim o asseverei tambem nas minhas cartas, dirigidas á Sociedade de Geographia de Lisboa,43 citadas por V Ex.a para confirmar a opinião do D.r Burnell que investigou tudo com aquella minuciosidade de um verdadeiro inglez – e as pessoas que negam que em Batavia se falla o portuguez por aquella fórma, desconhecem por certo a língua portugueza e sobre tudo o que seja o portuguez corrupto; pois de contrario não posso explicar como haja quem negue a existencia de um tal facto.

Eu tambem posso assegurar a V Ex.a que n’alguns pontos da ilha Flores e n’outras proximas se falla ainda o mesmo portuguez corrupto, o que tive occasião de observar durante 16 annos que vivi na Oceania, onde aprendi a fallar alguns dialectos d’aquelles insulares e fiz muitas viagens por aquellas ilhas.

O viajante ou curioso ainda que tenha muita vontade de investigar e de averiguar a verdade com relação aos povos da Oceania que são muito desconfiados não o póde fazer sem se internarem no interior das ilhas para obterem informações exactas e positivas e é isto justamente que poucos viajantes praticam. Se o viajante não entender algum dialecto ou deixar de ter bom interprete e não visitar o interior das ilhas como já disse, obterão sempre informações erradas e inexactas do primeiro pantomineiro ou cicerone que se faz comprehender ao viajante para lhe apanhar algumas moedas de prata – Das más informações resulta que muitas pessoas negam a existência do que não investigam ou não entenderam e ainda mais atrevem-se depois a pôr em duvida o testemunho occular de quem as investigou fielmente.

Eu devo voltar para Timor em maio ou junho de 1885 e logo que ali chegue enviarei os esclarecimentos que puder obter e que me são pedidos por V Ex.ª com relação aos dialectos de Timor e da língua creoula fallada na praça de Dilly-Timor.

Letter of José dos Santos Vaquinhas to Hugo Schuchardt

Dili, November 30 th 1885 44

Hugo Schuchardt Archiv (University of Graz), nr. 02615

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Timor, Dilly 30 de Novo de 1885

Ex.mo Snr.o Dr Hugo Schuchardt

Graz

Estimado Snr.o

Recebi as cartas de V.ª Ex.ª sendo a ultima de 5 de Setembro do presente anno e por motivo de doença não me foi possivel responder logo.

O Snr.o padre Gomes escreveu a V.ª Ex.ª por esta mala, satisfasendo um porte ao seu pedido.

Eu envio incluso uns apontamentos do portuguez crioulo fallado em Dilly; oportuguez [sic] corrompido que se falla em Larantuka (Flores) é o mesmo que se falla em Dilly.

Eide estimar m.to que esses apontamentos possão servir para o fim qˉ V.ª Ex.ª tem em vista.

Sou de Vª Exª

Com a maxima consideração seu affeiçoado e admirado amigo

José dos Santos Vaquinhas

Letter of José dos Santos Vaquinhas to Hugo Schuchardt

Macau, July 14 th 1886 45

Hugo Schuchardt Archiv (University of Graz), nr. 02616

---

Macao 14 de julho de 1886

Ex.mo Snr.o D.r Hugo Schuchardt

Graz

Ex.mo Snr.o

Ha poucos dias recebi a carta de V.ª Ex.ª de 26 de janeiro do presente anno a qual passo a responder sem satisfação ao seu pedido. Pergunta V.ª Ex.ª o que significa:

1o Pidi bença, da bença, significa: Peça benção e dê benção. É um comprimento uzado entre os timorenses e ignoro se isso imitado do malaio. 2o Manda bem da recados, significa que: mandou [ou mandou-me] vir e dar recados ou lembranças. 3o Manda bem pidi bença, isto é que: mandou que viesse pedir a benção. 4o Criança iloutro, – quer dizer: as crianças, ou aquella outra criança, ou aquellas criancas [sic]. 5o Pidi bença, dá bença na criança iloutro. – quer dizer: Peça (ou peço) benção e dê (ou dou) benção ás criancas. Criança iloutro pidi bença (ou dá bença) na Nona, – significa que as crianças pedem benção a Senhora, – aquem é dirigido o comprimento. 6o Nai iloutro bai falla quer dizer: aquelle (ou aquelles) Senhor (ou Senhores) vae (ou vão) fallar, ou alias aquelle disse ou aqueles desiam. 7o No baixo de carteira, – isto significa: De baixo da carteira. Carteira é a mesa ou secretaria sobre a qual se escreve. 8o Cebolla já contente, – significa a referencia que se faz a cebolla quando murcha por effeito do calor do Sol e recupera o vigor com a chuva da trovoada. 9o Anda tudo terra Dilly mais cidade, – que dizer: anda por toda a (parte) terra e mais (ou ate) na cidade de Dilly. Dilly é a cidade.

Muitos filhos dos regulos e principaes de Larantuka foram educados nas escolas portuguezas em Okusse (Lifaú) e da hi veem elles fallar o portuguez criolo em Larantuka. Actualmente estão estudando com os missionarios portuguezes na escola de Lahane (em Dilly) alguns rapazes de Larantuka; não perdem estes nunca o ensejo de aprender oportuguez [sic] de que com o andar dos annos se esquecem e dá hi vem o fallarem o portuguez corrupto ou portuguez criolo. De Timor enviei a Vª Exª um cathecismo de doutrina christa, escripto no dialecto tetu ou tetum que se falla em Dilly e que foi escripto por um missionario portuguez. Em o mez de agosto proximo vou para Lisboa com licença por um anno onde offereco o meu limitado prestimo a Vª Exª.

Subscrevo-me de V.ª Exª

Atto Vendo Obrigado

José dos Santos Vaquinhas

Appendix C

Letter of Rafael das Dores to José Leite de Vasconcelos

Cascais, February 23 rd 1901

Epistolário de José Leite de Vasconcelos (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Lisbon), nr. 7026

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Cascais 23 2o/901

Meu Ex.mo Am.o e Sr.

Respondo immediatamente à sua apreciável cartinha.

Vae V. Ex.ª ficar admirado com o que vou dizer-lhe, mas por mais estranho que pareça é a verdade.

Em Timor os indígenas que fallam portuguez, fallam-o exactamente como nós, não havendo patuá, como em Macau e nas outras colónias.

No litural da ilha falla-se em geral a língua malaia, no commercio, e as línguas indígenas tétum, e galolo; no interior fallam-se estas duas ultimas que eu julgo modificações do Malaio, e uma infenidade de dialectos, mas todos com as características d’esta.

Eu tenho em apontamentos os materiaes para coordenar um vocabulário da língua tétum, mas não me sinto com disposição nem com saúde, nem mesmo tenho competencia para elle.

Em vista do que expus atrás já V. Ex.ª vê que sobre Timor, nada lhe posso proporcionar com relação à língua portugueza alli fallada; quanto porèm a Macau, estou prompto a verter-lhe no patuá, os textos que me indicar, assim como na língua portugueza fallada pelos chinas que é coisa perfeitamente distinta da língua de Macau como creio que V. Ex.ª já sabe.

Fico pois esperando as suas ordens, que serão executadas até onde as minhas debeis forças o permittam, e sou com toda a consideração

De V Exª

Raphael das Dores

Letter of Rafael das Dores to José Leite de Vasconcelos

Cascais, March 13 th 1901

Epistolário de José Leite de Vasconcelos (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Lisbon), nr. 7027

---

Cascais 13 Março 1901

Ex.mo Am.o e Sr.

Respondo à cartinha de V. Ex.ª enviando-lhe a parábola que pede, e para a qual peço toda a sua attenção e indulgencia. Não estará perfeita, mas parece-me que será aproximada.

Quanto ao que me diz sobre o crioulo em Timor, conheço e possuo o livro d’Affonso de Castro. Este na curta demora que teve em Timor e sem sahir de Lahane, não teve tempo d’estudar practicamente tudo que tratou no seu livro, que mais parece coordenado d’escritos anteriores.

Diz elle que as línguas indígenas são ásperas, e nada parecidas com a malaia, o que me parece uma acção[?] gratuita de quem não conhece uma nem outras.

Eu estive 4 vezes em Timor, e pela 1ª vez demorei-me perto de 3 annos, e percorrendo o litoral, e a maior parte do interior, não encontrei o tal crioulo de que elle falla, nem as asperezas das línguas ou dialectos.

Conheço a língua malaia practicam.te e aprendi o que poude da língua teto, e vejo por exemplo, que a palavra «lima» que significa 5 ou mão, é commum em ambas as línguas; não será isto uma aproximação?

De facto algumas raparigas vindas do interior para creadas, e servindo em casa de pessoas de Macau residentes em Timor, aprendem palavras de crioulo macaísta, mas tanto estas raparigas como as próprias pessoas de Macau, com o tempo chegam a fallar o portuguez como nós, o que eu observei, e mesmo se nota em Macau, nas senhoras que regressam de Timor.

A phrase que V. Ex.ª foi encontrar na Áustria é muito minha conhecida; e é usada exactamente nas condições q- venho d’expor, mas já está modificada: ahi usa-se lá «Nai… fó meado, fó bom dia, fó boa noite etc».

A palavra Nai em teto, corresponde a Senhor em portuguez; assim diz-se «Nai Buhot» Sr. Governador, «Nai Lulic» Sr. Padre.

A palavra fó em teto, corresponde ao verbo dar em portuguez, e é a unica forma conhecida do verbo.

Todas as outras palavras são portuguezas e pronunciadas claramente, ou macaístas e pronunciadas com o acento proprio.

Em vista do exposto, apesar da minha manifesta incompetencia em philologia, continuo com a convicção de que não existe em Timor um crioulo proprio.

Desculpe-me estes dizeres, conte com o dialogo, logo que eu o possa engendrar, e disponha do que é com toda a consideração

De V Exª

Raphael das Dores

Appendix D

Letter of Alberto Osório de Castro to José Leite de Vasconcelos

Dili, August 3 rd 1910

Epistolário de José Leite de Vasconcelos (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Lisbon), nr. 4215

---

Timor – Dilli, Agosto 3, 1910

Meu querido Mestre eExmo Primo

Teria V Exa recebido o meu livro Flores de Coral? Foi um dos primeiros exemplares que remetti. Lá encontra uma parte sobre linguas timoresas, e sobre um dialecto crioulo que ninguém ainda descobrira, creio, o português de Bidau. Estou publicando aqui officialmente um carnis[?] – Plantas uteis de Timor – Lá metterei o que puder de ethnographia, mas verdadeiramente é á ethnographia que virei a fixar toda a attenção. Estou em relações[?] seguidas com Arndt van Gennep. Viu na revista ethnographica allemã Globus uma noticia sobre o meu livro? Dê-me os seus conselhos, as suas indicações de methodo. Sabe que fiz aqui um questionario sobre usos e costumes, e estão publicadas cento e tantas paginas das respostas? Mas [??] agora tudo! Se podesse [??] isto com a sua palavra! De todo o coração […]

Alberto Osório de Castro

Letter of Alberto Osório de Castro to José Leite de Vasconcelos

undated

Epistolário de José Leite de Vasconcelos (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Lisbon), nr. 24255

---

Exmo e querido Primo e Mestre

Ainda não tive um dia livre e a saude para ir a Campolide agradecer-lhe todas as suas bondades, e apresentar-lhes os meus respeitos e à Exma Prima. Encontrei enfim o texto português crioulo de Bidau (bairro de Díli). É dito pelas assistentes do parto à parturiente. Ei-lo: – Fija, pàciencia, aguenta. Nósse guéra ant’èstè. Homem à L’outro pega na arma, vai peleja, mata um com outro. Pèga zagaia, finca um com outro, pega tàmên pedra, pontaum com outro. Nósse guéra ant’èstè!

Ouvi isto em Singapura:

– Então, Lóia, pàpiá um pouco? Porque nunca pàpiá? Papiá é conversar, falar.

Creio que fui eu quem primeiro falou no português de Bidau, certamente o crioulo da destruida Lifau, e de Larantuca, na ilha de Flores.

Em Java ouvi uma palavra portuguesa não indicada ainda: tutrúgu, a casca ou carapaça da tartaruga que se exporta. Em Ternate chama-se à noz moscada – Nócha que deve vir de noz. De todos nós para V. V. Exas apertados cumprimentos.

Primo e discipulo e mt.o admirador e dedicado

Alberto Osório de Castro

1 The text of the book had been published in installments in the journal Seara Nova between 1928 and 1929.

2 Manuscript kept at the University of Graz (Austria), Hugo Schuchardt Archiv, nr. 03853. Available online at <http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/1705/briefe/01-03853>.

3 Tetun, an Austronesian language, exists in East Timor in two main varieties: Tetun Terik, spoken along the border with West Timor and two southern coastal regions, and Tetun Dili, spoken in the capital and immediate area and as a lingua franca in much of East Timor (Hull, 1999; Williams-van Klinken, 2002; Williams-van Klinken et al., 2002). In contrast with Tetun Terik, which has few loan words, Tetun Dili is much influenced by Portuguese. According to Williams-van Klinken (2002), early missionary materials in Tetun broadly followed Tetun Terik, but display certain Tetun Dili characteristics such as the absence of Tetun Terik subject marking.

4 “Como eu estou aqui há apenas um anno, não tendo portanto a practica necessária, pedi a um dos missionarios que me coadjuvasse, e espero poder enviar a V. E.a alguma cousa do que deseja.” [‘Since I have only been here for a year, therefore lacking the necessary experience, I have asked one of the missionaries to help me, and I hope to be able to send Your Excellency some of what you desire.’]. The unnamed missionary was presumably one of the priests trained at Cernache do Bonjardim’s Real Colégio das Missões Ultramarinas who took over the Timorese mission in 1877.

5 While Casal Ribeiro states that the verb is formed “usando dos verbos ou no infinito ou na terceira pessoa do singular do tempo presente” [using the verb either in the infinitive or in the 3s of the present tense], he does not provide examples showing a clear infinitive source. Indication of the word’s stress would have helped to disambiguate, as the two forms differ in this respect in Portuguese, but that is not made clear in the transcription. Furthermore, an imperative source could also be posited, since the imperatives of these verbs in Portuguese are equal to 3s forms.

6 Casal Ribeiro describes this as follows: “A particula a é empregada algumas vezes em vez de com” [The particle a is sometimes employed instead of com], but he clearly means the ­opposite since, in the examples, it is the standard Portuguese translations that contain a and the non-standard sentences collected in Timor that use com.

7 “F” appears to stand for the word Fulano ‘so-and-so’, written in full in the immediately preceding example sentence, transcribed in (3).

8 Throughout this article, “Malay” refers to the varieties of Malaysia and of Indonesia.

9 In these creoles, the verb dizer is often retained only in markers of evidentiality derived from Ptg. diz(-se) que ‘it is said/appears that’, such as e.g. MalCP impersonal quotative verb diski or Sri Lanka Portuguese reportative clitic ski (Smith 1979: 208).

10 Southeast Asian English displays a similar tendency, using got in locative and possessive functions (Platt and Weber, 1980: 61, 181).

11 For Vaquinhas, “corrupted Portuguese” is equivalent to his use of “creole”, as evidenced by the interchangeable use of the two expressions in letter hsa nr. 02615.

12 The past tense reading is given by Vaquinhas in his translation of this sentence.

13  Idem.

14 These non-agreeing verb forms are accounted for in terms of the delayed acquisition of the semantic features of person and number, and the transitional role of 3s and root infinitive in constructing grammars during the acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese. Clements (2009) and Nunes (2013) make significant contributions to our understanding of such verb forms, by identifying potential triggers in the input to acquisition, in terms of salience and frequency in natural speech as discussed by Siegel (1997).

15 Here, Vaquinhas’ letter offers dá bença ‘give the blessing’ as an alternative to pidi bença ‘ask for the blessing’; however, we have omitted it because his translation only refers to the second option.

16 Williams-van Klinken et al. (2002: 28) indicate that ba is the unstressed equivalent of the verb ‘go’.

17 Our gloss and translation.

18 Vaquinhas explains that this expression is used when onions dried by the sun are revived when thunderstorms bring rain.

19 The authors thank MalCP speakers Diego de Silva and Sara Santa Maria for clarifications.

20 The examples retain the original spelling.

21 Modern MalCP employs yo-sa (1s-gen) ‘my’.

22 Part of this passage is transcribed in Vasconcelos (1901: 151).

23 He mentions the names of other residents who also collected oral traditions in ‘the Portuguese of Dili’, still unidentified:

“Prometem-me mais cantigas portuguesas de Dílli os Srs. G. de Araújo e Barreto. Reúne outros materiaes do inexplorado Folklore de Timor o meu amigo Sr. Alfredo de Pratt, funccionario da Repartição superior de Fazenda, antigo jornalista, e poeta muito correcto."” (Castro, 1908: 145)

[I am promised some more Portuguese songs from Dili by the gentlemen G. de Araújo and Barreto. My friend Mr. Alfredo de Pratt, employee of the Treasury Department, former journalist and a very correct poet, has collected further material from the unexplored Folklore of Timor.]

24  Terminalia catappa.

25 Other possibilities are mota-ain ‘place where river and sea water meet’ or ‘river bank’ (A. Correia p.c. 11.4.2015).

26 The 1943 version contains minor alterations:

Fijá, pàciênce, aguenta. Nosse guèra ante éstè. Homem à l’outro péga na arma, vai peleja; mata um com outro. Péga zagaia, finca um com outro, Péga tàmên pedra punta um com outro. Nósse guéra ante éstè!…

27 We translate ‘my godchild’ in the singular despite the use of an apparent Portuguese plural marker -s because Castro himself declares his surprise at hearing a plural NP referring to a singular entity.

28 Hull (1999: 280) observes that noi/nonoi ‘miss’ is a polite term of address for teenage girls, and (traditionally) for Chinese and Indonesian women, whereas ‘master’ is a polite term of address for younger men and teenage boys, as well as Chinese merchants. ­Evidently both terms were traditional for higher status addressees, as Dores (1907: 177) mentions that noi is used for addressing the daughters of kings, princes and Europeans; he translates nónó as equivalent to the Portuguese fidalgo ‘nobleman’.

29 In 1861, at locations such as Maumere, where Portuguese-speaking priests had not been for nearly 25 years, some people still spoke Portuguese (Steenbrink, 2002: 131).

30 For details of the values, in the case of Gomes Ferreira’s corpus, see Baxter (1990a).

31 The verb could also be derived from infinitives, in most cases.

32 Occurs only with the form no.

33 Based on the form Nósse, see 2.5.

34 The form iloutro occurs only as a pluralizer, but it is likely that it was also the 3p pronoun. In Vaquinhas’ letter of 1884, the translation of examples with iloutro as singular NPs—criança iloutro and nai iloutro, which are given alternative translations in Portuguese as aquela criança ‘that child’ and aquele senhor ‘that gentleman’, respectively—suggest that iloutro also had a demonstrative function.

35 With the form à L’outro, see 2.5.

36 There is no evidence for this in the corpus because there are no uniquely plural NPs displaying a mismatch in number-marking morphology. However, there may be variation regarding number marking. In example (12), the NP recados ‘messages’ carries number-marking, whereas in (14) and (16), where iloutro is interpreted as a demonstrative, its NP may be singular or plural without number-marking on other NP components.

37 Occurs only in MacCP.

38 This is an alternative in MalCP, though not the norm.

39 With the form à L’outro, see 2.5.

40 While absent in (South)East Asian cps, this future marker occurs in Diu cp and Daman cp, with the form a or ad.

41 Carvalho (2001) claims that the former presence of CP accounts for particular features in Timorese L1/L2 Portuguese today.

43 Here, Vaquinhas is referring to his letters published in 1883 in the Boletim da Sociedade de Geographia de Lisboa (see Vaquinhas, 1883), in one of which he reports on the portuguez […] estropiado ‘broken Portuguese’ spoken in Batavia.

44 Transcribed from the original manuscript by Silvio Moreira de Sousa, also published online at http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/1352/briefe/02-2615/ (accessed August 14, 2016). With slight stylistic changes by the authors.

45 Transcribed from the original manuscript by Silvio Moreira de Sousa, also published online at http://schuchardt.uni-graz.at/korrespondenz/briefe/korrespondenzpartner/1352/briefe/03-2616/ (accessed August 14, 2016). With slight stylistic changes by the authors.

  • 29

    In 1861, at locations such as Maumere, where Portuguese-speaking priests had not been for nearly 25 years, some people still spoke Portuguese (Steenbrink, 2002: 131).

  • 41

    Carvalho (2001) claims that the former presence of CP accounts for particular features in Timorese L1/L2 Portuguese today.

Journal of Language Contact

Evolution of Languages, Contact and Discourse

Sections

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29

In 1861, at locations such as Maumere, where Portuguese-speaking priests had not been for nearly 25 years, some people still spoke Portuguese (Steenbrink, 2002: 131).

41

Carvalho (2001) claims that the former presence of CP accounts for particular features in Timorese L1/L2 Portuguese today.

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