Structure dataset 43: Batavia Creole

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 43.

Batavia Creole is an extinct Portuguese-based creole once spoken in the city of Batavia (now Jakarta), on the island of Java (now Indonesia). Batavia Creole originated after 1619, the year when the Dutch occupied the city; the decline of the language started in the second half of the eighteenth century (when it started to be replaced by Malay), and the language was extinct by the end of the nineteenth century. Since the Portuguese never occupied Batavia, this creole must have been brought to Batavia from outside. Strong structural similarities point to Papiá Kristang spoken in Malacca as its source, but the language has also been influenced by southern Indo-Portuguese varieties. Note that from the first half of the seventeenth century onwards, both Malacca and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) were occupied by the Dutch.

The default lect chosen for APiCS is based on one single written source: the Nieuwe Woordenschat, uyt het Nedertuitsch in het gemeene Maleidsch en Portugeesch, zeer gemakkelyk vor die eerst op Batavia komen (‘New vocabulary, From Dutch to Common Malay and Portuguese, very convenient for those coming to Batavia for the first time’), which was published in 1780 in Batavia. This source contains a narrative texts, dialogues, and about 1,400 lexical entries.

The other lect which is dealt with in APiCS, called Batavia Creole (Tugu), refers to Tugu Creole, which is an offshoot of Batavia Creole brought during the 1660 to Batavia’s hinterland by about 150 members of Batavia’s Portuguese community which were slaves who were freed and who were given land because they converted from Catholicism to Calvinism. Nowadays, the small village of Tugu is a neighbourhood of North Jakarta called Kampung Tugu. Tugu Creole became obsolete in the first half of the twentieth century. This Portuguese creole variety is characterized by a strong influence from spoken Malay at all levels of its grammar, an influence which is not that strong in Batavia Creole.

No. Feature Value lect Details Source
No. Feature Value lect Details Source


Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p b t d k g
Sibilant affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s
Non-sibilant fricative f v
Approximant l j ʎ
Flap or tap
Trill r
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open ihigh front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel əmid central unrounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value lect Details Source