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Saving Macau’s dying language

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    [MUSIC]
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    Meet Aida de Jesus. She's 103 years old.
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    I don't like to feel so old.
    I like to feel only 80.
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    Aida is from Macau, a Chinese city
    that was formerly
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    colonized by Portugal for 400 years.
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    She and her daughter Sonia
    are among the few people
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    who still speak Patuà,
    a critically endangered language
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    that is unique to Macau.
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    [MUSIC]
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    Here's a local music video
    with subtitles in four languages:
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    Patuà, Cantonese,
    Portuguese and English.
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    You can see how Patuà mixes
    the languages
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    of places along the Portuguese
    trade route
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    in the 16th century.
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    [MUSIC]
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    When I was in school,
    in our days
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    they didn't like us to speak
    Patuà,
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    because they used to say
    that it is not real Portuguese.
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    Aida and Sonia are Macau locals
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    of mixed Portuguese-Chinese ancestry.
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    They are the Macanese,
    and they make up
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    less than 1% of a city that is
    over 90% Chinese.
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    You can say it's a dying race.
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    To understand Aida's community, we
    first have to understand her city, Macau,
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    which is an hour ferry ride away
    from Hong Kong.
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    It has rapidly developed
    over the last few decades,
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    and is now known as the world's
    largest casino town,
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    raking in five times
    as much money as Las Vegas.
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    This is thanks, in part,
    to the Portuguese
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    legalizing gambling in the 1800s.
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    So when Portugal returned Macau to China
    20 years ago,
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    it became the only place in the country
    where gambling was legal.
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    Many Portuguese left
    sfter World War II
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    and an anti-Portuguese riot
    in the '60s,
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    but you can still spot signs
    of portuguese influence all over the city.
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    Chinese and Portuguese are the
    official languages,
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    and colonial buildings are protected
    Unesco heritage sites.
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    And just outside the city center
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    is Aida and Sonia's
    traditional Macanese restaurant.
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    When the Portuguese married Chinese wives
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    they tried to cook as close as possible to
    Portuguese food.
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    But in those days, they didn't have
    so much Portuguese ingredients,
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    so they tried to put some Chinese
    ingredients into it,
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    and that's how Macanese food started.
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    In our restaurant, our signature dish
    is minchi.
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    It's a very simple dish.
    It's made of minced pork.
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    Another signature dish is pato cabidela.
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    Of course, in Portugal
    they also have cabidela.
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    It's made of duck blood
    mixed with vinegar.
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    Unesco calls Macau
    "the home of the first fusion food",
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    and also recognizes the Macabese
    language, Patuà, as a dying language,
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    with only 50 speakers left.
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    Patuà, before, my grandmother
    spoke it more.
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    Young people don't speak much Patuà.
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    Although there are only 4.000 Macanese
    left in Macau,
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    one study suggests there could be
    over 1.5 million of them around the world.
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    It's a hidden population
    because they're scattered.
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    With the rise of social media,
    many of them have maintained their ties.
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    The diaspora is even invited
    to visit Macau every three years.
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    But those who remain in Macau
    feel they have to fight
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    to preserve their culture and identity.
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    They have been in Macau for generations,
    but they are often mistaken
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    for foreigners in their own land.
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    For me, every single day, I get people
    saying "Wow,
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    you speak Cantonese really well!"
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    That's Sergio Perez, a 39-year-old
    Macanese filmaker
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    who makes
Title:
Saving Macau’s dying language
Description:

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Video Language:
English
Team:
Amplifying Voices
Project:
Endangered Languages
Duration:
05:01

English subtitles

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