Eu Falo Português!

The topic about the Portuguese language spoken in Daman by Damanenses is very popular on the forums.

Here’s my take on the current status of the language…

There are four main types of Portuguese in today’s Daman:

1. The most popular is the ‘remix’ version – Portuguese (ungrammatical), garnished with English words, a dash of Gujarati and of late, a sprinkling of Hindi! This is spoken by everyone up to the age of 50 to 55. If you’re at a distance where the speech is audible but the words are not decipherable, the ‘tune’ is Gujarati! To cite an example, I was attending mass in the Se Cathedral in the Fort a few years back when a group of Portuguese tourists entered from the main door. The mass was in Portuguese and therefore, the choir was singing a Portuguese hymn. A good three minutes into the hymn, one of the Portuguese men tapped the shoulders of his colleagues and whispered, “E Portugues!”

2. Badrapor Portuguese – same as above but grammatically the most incorrect and with a few dozens of words that are said to be ‘original’ Portuguese and decidedly old. Badrapor Portuguese is romanticized the most by Westerners and locals ‘scholars.’

3. The Portuguese spoken by those who studied it at least up to ‘segunda grau.’ These are in the age group of 55+ and have also studied English post-liberation. They are the self-appointed ambassadors of the Indo Portuguese culture of Daman, forming a closely knit circle that is as impenetrable as the forts of Daman. They swear by ‘Badrapor Portuguese,’ but try to speak their best ‘European Portuguese’ in the presence of whites. Interestingly, they speak the ‘remix’ version amongst themselves and in their homes:)

4. The Portuguese spoken by the endangered species of Damanenses in Daman – the erstwhile elite of Damanense society, who speak grammatically correct though ‘old’ Portuguese, even in their underwear – before whites as well as amongst themselves in their own homes. They are old, 70+, have an old-world aura, old-world values and have seen or rather heard it all but have chosen to remain silent and let the babble go on and on…

Noel Gama

7 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Today, as I was praying the salve Rainha from my heart (I am ashaimed to say I dont know the full meaning of this prayer as we were asked to memorise by heart but no one explained the meaning) something crossed my mind which I want to share.

    Why not have all mass/church meetings functions etc all in portugues along with translators so we can understand the meaning of portugues words and eventually learn, and grasp the most difficult words as well. I dont expect this happen overnight but its possible.

    Viva Damao

    Portu – Damanese

  2. Noel Gama
    Noel Gama says:

    Eureka! Now, I am sure I know your ID;)

    Feedjit’s live traffic feed shows you as a visitor from Valsad – that’s your ISP’s region – so you’re based in Daman and English is your first language.

    Yes, you have a language block vis a vis prayers. On the other hand, I know my prayers in both the languages – P’guese (mother tongue) and English. My block is different and worse than yours… I don’t know the full meaning of most prayers in both the languages! I too was taught them as you’d teach your parrot to recite:) This is perhaps why I don’t care much for rituals in religion. No doubt, ‘ritual’ is the ‘doing part’ of religion but I’d prefer doing something mundane for my fellow beings (that included animals) than perform rituals.

    Your suggestion of having an interpreter is good. I’ll pass it on to a few of our representatives in the parish… you know those people with those fancy tags like ‘PPC’ etc., not that I know what they mean… to a netizen like me, it’s short for Google’s Pay Per Click!!

    Noel Gama

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Oh thanks for passing this on to the parish rep, secondly….

    Não Não Não Noel.
    Eu fui nascido na Damão.
    Eu estudei idioma inglês na praça, em nosso senhora de fátima. Morada na campos dos remédios pra muitos anos. Inglês Eu falo muito bem, mais também falo fluente x “os” “dos” “poros” x.

    Valsad? ai ai ai.

    Tenho certesa que tem bicho dentro do mackbook?

    Bicho de palmeira senhor ensim de jaqueira….

    Portu – Cantou


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