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Asia-Europe Dialogue Series: Exploring linguistic influences through a Manuscript of Malayo-Portuguese Pantuns

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Published:
31 Aug 2023

The “Asia-Europe Dialogue Series: Exploring linguistic influences through a Manuscript of Malayo-Portuguese Pantuns” was the inaugural event of the Asia-Europe Dialogue Series, and it was organised in partnership with the Embassy of Portugal in Singapore.

“According to data from the UNESCO Atlas of Endangered Languages, there are approximately 7,000 living languages in the world, many of which will become extinct by 2100. And when a language dies, the human heritage it carries, local knowledge, and a piece of human history also disappear.”

One of the areas of rich exchange between Asia and Europe is visible through the languages that we speak today. Our languages are a window to our shared linguistic heritage. Exploring the development of the new measures and guides that resulted in the creation of these languages, allows us to have a peak into historical movement of peoples and the intricate cultural connections. The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), in partnership with the Embassy of Portugal in Singapore, organised a conversation between two experts from Asia and Europe to reflect on the importance and diversity of languages.

This discussion is motivated by the recent discovery of a Manuscript of Malayo-Portuguese Pantuns in the archives of the National Archaeology Museum of Lisbon, Portugal, that presents a considerable historical, linguistic, and literary interest for peoples from both regions.

Read the Opening Remarks by ASEF Executive Director, Ambassador MORIKAWA Toru.

Prof Hugo Cardoso (Portuguese), assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Lisbon and a researcher of the Portuguese-lexified creole languages of Asia, and Prof Hilarian Larry Francis (Singapore), ethnomusicologist and lecturer of visual and performing arts at the Nanyang Technology University Singapore, had a conversation about the rich exchange between Asia and Europe visible through the languages that we speak today.

The discussion was accompanied by a live recital of the pantuns, a Malay oral poetic form, and a music performance with a qanbūs, a traditional musical instrument that sparked a whole musical genre in the Malay Muslim world, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia.

 

The event was graced with the presence of the distinguished guests of honour:

• ASEF Governor and Ambassador of Portugal in Singapore, HE Mario Miranda Duarte

• Ambassador of Indonesia in Singapore, HE Suryo Pratomo

Prof Hugo Cardoso, as one of the authors of the Book of Pantuns, announced the offering of the book to the Asia-Europe Foundation through the Embassy of Portugal in Singapore in the presence of the Embassy of Indonesia in Singapore.

See all the event photos

ASEF is an intergovernmental not-for-profit organisation, which brings together the peoples of Asia and Europe to advance mutual understanding and collaboration in the spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.

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