Documentation of Sri Lanka Portuguese

Documentation of Sri Lanka Portuguese

Depositor: Hugo Cardoso
Location: Sri Lanka
Deposit Id: 0449
Grant id: MDP0357
Funding body: ELDP
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit

Sri Lanka Portuguese (also known as Sri Lanka Creole Portuguese or Burgher Portuguese) is a Portuguese-lexified creole language spoken by the Portuguese Burgher community of Eastern Sri Lanka and historically also by the Kaffir and the Dutch Burgher communities. The formation of the creole is connected with Portuguese colonial domination of large tracts of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) between the early 16th and the mid-17th century. Among other characteristics, the Portuguese Burgher and Kaffir communities are noted for their particular genres of music and dance. This collection focuses on the linguistic production of speakers from Eastern Sri Lanka in different communicative contexts and also documents the community’s musical practices.

The data will be collected by a team led by Hugo C. Cardoso. Earlier, in 2015, the principal investigator conducted a preliminary documentation project in Trincomalee and Batticaloa, the product of which forms a section of the collection and will be complemented with further recordings made in subsequent periods of fieldwork.

The photo accompanying this description was taken by Hugo C. Cardoso and represents the fort that guards the Batticaloa Lagoon, a symbol of the history underlying the formation and establishment of this creole language in Sri Lanka.

Group represented
Portuguese Burghers of Batticaloa and Trincomalee.

Special characteristics
Special characteristics Forthcoming

Deposit history
One set of audio data in this collection is derived from the Principal Investigator's pilot field trip in January and February 2015. Further sessions will be described as they become available.

Other information
Adequate informed consent was collected from the speakers represented in the collection.

Acknowledgement and citation

Users of any part of the collection should acknowledge Hugo C. Cardoso as the principal investigator, and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme at SOAS as well as the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia as funders of the documentation. Individual speakers whose words and/or images are used as well as anyone else involved in collecting, transcribing or translate the data should be acknowledged by name whenever this information is given in the associated metadata.

Please cite the corpus with the following information:

Cardoso, Hugo C. 2017. Documentation of Sri Lanka Portuguese. London: SOAS, Endangered Languages Archive. URL: Accessed on [insert date here].


Collection online
Resources online and curated


Hugo Cardoso

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2019 June 27 to 2019 June 27
Deposit hits:2
Downloaded files
Without statistics

Showing 1 - 10 of 154 Items

Mrs. Ethalin Ragel plays a few traditional songs and comments on them, all the while contributing to a list of names of animal names in Sri Lanka Portuguese.

Recorded on: 2015-01-29

A conversation with Mrs. Brida Speck, at her home, about a range of different topics, including cuisine, language transmission, and family.

Recorded on: 2015-01-22

A chat with Collin and Nireen Barthelot, a young Burgher couple and recent parents. They talk about their families and their jobs, including the periods both spent living in Colombo.

Recorded on: 2017-04-06

A conversation in Batticaloa with Mr. Antony Barthelot and Mrs. Mary Margaret Barthelot about many different topics, including what distinguishes the modern cities of Batticaloa and Trincomalee from the ones they grew up in, and important events such as the conflict and the tsunami.

Recorded on: 2017-04-06

Mr. Ivan Barthelot, of Palayuthu, teaches some useful daily expressions in Sri Lanka Portuguese and talks about several topics, including his professional life as a carpenter for the railways, retirement, and Burgher culture. He also describes the traditions associated with Burgher weddings while browsing through a wedding photo album. This interview was mediated by Mr. Normal Balthazzar.

Recorded on: 2015-01-24

Mrs. Greeta Johnson describes her daily chores at home and talks about Burgher cuisine.

Recorded on: 2017-03-26

Mr. Derrick Keil takes us on a walking tour around of Orr's Hill, his neighbourhood in Trincomalee, explaining the landscape, facilities and his own memories growing up there.

Recorded on: 2018-04-19

Mr. Anthony Ragel, a blacksmith and carpenter, walks us through his home workshop, naming and demonstrating the various tools.

Recorded on: 2017-03-18

Private dance performance by one of the Batticaloa Burgher music and dance groups, including the full kafriinha suite and a lancers.

Recorded on: 2017-10-15

Private performance of Burgher music and songs by one of the music groups of Batticaloa. Here, the musicians demonstrate and explain the sequence of pieces typically played during a traditional Burgher wedding.

Recorded on: 2017-04-12