Sri Lanka Portuguese

Sri Lanka Portuguese is spoken by a dwindling number of the island’s Burgher ethnic group, descendants of unions between (primarily) Portuguese and Dutch men and local women. Speakers are still found in the Tamil-dominant east coast towns of Batticaloa and Trincomalee. The spoken varieties of these two towns exhibit only minor differences. Many of the South Asian characteristics of these varieties were also exhibited by speakers in the Sinhala-dominant region of the island. In addition, there existed a formal register displaying more European than South Asian morphosyntax. This register can be found in the 19th century literature, but by the 1970s, it was only poorly known by a very small number of speakers. Its origin is moot: was it a holdover of an earlier spoken variety or (my view) an artificial norm created by Anglophone missionaries, who began to use the language for evangelical purposes in the early 1800’s? The default lect documented in APiCS is the spoken variety of Batticaloa in the 1970s. Examples are taken mostly from my field notes of 1974-5.

Glossed text (111.9KB, application/pdf)
No. Feature Value % Details Source
No. Feature Value % Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

ʋvoiced labio-dental approximant - Exists (as a major allophone)
əːlong mid central unrounded vowel - Exists only in loanwords

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % Details Source