The Macanese patois ( patuá in Portuguese, papia Macaísta in Macanese) is one of the so-called Creole languages which are broadly described as stable languages that evolved from several influences.
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(There is a similarity to the use of a suffix in Cantonese to denote tenses: choh, kun and procuro namorado para minha cachorrinha pastor alemão wui for the past, present and procuro um homem milionário future tenses respectively, but I have no idea whether the evolution of grammar in the patuá was influenced in any way.
A feature of the patuá is that it is delivered in a sing-song voice but, unlike the Chinese dialects, the patuá does not rely on tonality to convey meaning.In the following, I have drawn from a short introduction to the patuá written by my father "Riri" d'Assumpção, in his unpublished, anecdotes from Old Macau.However, its close relative, Papia Cristam, appears to be surviving in the Portuguese village in Malacca.Grammar The patuá was used as the lingua franca of trade in the Far East and had a small vocabulary and rudimentary grammar and syntax.Spelling The patuá was only spoken so there is no consistency in spelling; apart from minor differences in pronunciation, people tend to use spell phonetically according to the principal language in which they received education.Thus chuchu (to poke or prod) is never pronouced in a flat monotone as in "choo-choo train" in English but has its second syllable delivered some 4 or 5 semitones above the first or, with heightened animation, up to 8 semitones.Buy the Full Version, you're Reading a Free Preview, pages 179 to 226 are not shown in this preview.The accented syllable(s) are always delivered at a higher pitch.Repetition was used for plurals and superlatives: the plural of filho (son for example, is filho filho ; very slowly is vagar vagar.
Today it is all but dead, remembered fondly by the very old and spoken only by a handful of Macanese dispersed all over the world.
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It is based on Portuguese with admixtures mainly of Malay, Sinhalese and Cantonese.
There is an excellent introduction to the patuá in the blog: Como Tá Vai?
Thus the verbs "abrir" (to open "comer" (to eat) and "dormir" (to sleep) are pronounced as "abri".
Thus from vai go we have ta vai going, ja vai went or gone, and logo vai will.Buy the Full Version, you're Reading a Free Preview, pages 235 to 242 are not shown in this preview.Thus people from Macau would spell the famous Macanese dish minchi while those from Hong Kong would spell it minchy.Buy the Full Version, you're Reading a Free Preview, pages 251 to 365 are not shown in this preview.To help preserve this language, the pronunciation of words in the lexicon have been recorded and included in this website.I thou/you he/she we thee/you they, portuguese eu tu/vos ele/ela nos vos eles/elas, macanese yow vos/voceh ele/ela nos/nosotro vosotro olotro, tenses, tenses were generated simply with a prefix: for the past tense, ja from the Portuguese word já already; for the present tense, ta (short.
Concluding remarks In some sense the patuá was a primitive language and yet its phrases, frequently interspersed with words from two or three languages, were richly inventive and often wickedly humorous, revealing a surprising sophistication.