The earliest grammars of Sri Lanka Portuguese

Ian Smith


The timing and mechanism of the development of South Asian features in Sri Lanka Portuguese is examined through the lens of two early 19th C grammarians: Berrenger, apparently a native speaker,  and Callaway, an Anglophone missionary. Both authors portray a typologically European rather than South Asian language. Evidence shows that both authors deliberately set out to do this, Berrenger by selecting conservative, European variants, Callaway by borrowing  from Standard Portuguese and by calquing from English. The fact that neither author is consistent, however, allows the conclusion that many of the South Asian features of present-day Sri Lanka Portuguese were already in play by the early 19th C, competing with more conservative, typologicaly European, features, over which they eventually predominated to produce the modern Creole.


Português do Sri Lanka; crioulização; mudança induzida pelo contato.

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