People and Languages of Macau

Macau’s population consists of mostly Han Chinese with a minority of other ethnicities. As prescribed by the Basic Law of Macau Article 9, the official languages are both Chinese (Cantonese dialect) and Portuguese, but the primary language of the population in Macau is Cantonese. There is only one school in Macau where Portuguese is the medium of instruction.
The Macanese language, which is generally known as Patua, is a distinctive Creole that is still spoken by several dozen Macanese, an ethnic group of mixed Asian and Portuguese ancestry that accounts for a small percentage of Macau’s population.
Signs in Macau are displayed in both Traditional Chinese and Portuguese. In contrast to mainland China, Macau along with Hong Kong and Taiwan generally does not use Simplified Chinese Characters.
Macanese or Macau Creole is a creole language derived mainly from Malay, Sinhalese, Cantonese, and Portuguese, which was originally spoken by the Macanese community of the Portuguese colony of Macau. It is now spoken by a few families in Macau and in the Macanese diaspora.The language is also called by its speakers Papia Cristam di Macau (Christian speech of Macau), and has been nicknamed Doci Lingu di Macau (Sweet Language of Macau) and Doci Papiacam (sweet speech) by poets.
Grammar – There has been little scientific research of Macanese grammar, much less on its development between the 16th and 20th centuries. Its grammatical structure seems to incorporate both European and Asian elements. Like most Asian languages, Macanese lacks definite articles, and does not inflect verbs: for example, io sam means I am, and ele sam means he/she is. Macanese also lacks weak pronouns (io means I, me and mine), and has a peculiar way of forming possessive adjectives (ilotro-sua means theirs).

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