Scholar Alan Baxter has recently returned to the territory after being away to lecture at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil for over five years. The former director (between 2007 and 2011) of the department of Portuguese at the University of Macau returned to the territory to lead the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Saint Joseph (USJ).
Baxter was attracted by the possibility of working in a “smaller dimension and more flexible institution,” he said on the sidelines of a two-day conference on language contact in Asia and the Pacific held by the University of Macau (UM).
“I spent almost six years at the Federal University of Bahia which is an institution that I have been connected to since 1985, but to work in a university that has about 40,000 undergraduate students and may have between 15,000 and 20,000 of post-graduates with well establish programs and lots of ‘fixed’ things that you can’t move or change or any change is subjected to a lot of bureaucracy [that] is complicated,” he said. According to the scholar, what brought him back to Macau was “the possibility of working in a different environment;more flexible is very attractive.” Baxter said. “But I won’t deny that my return also has to do with the fact that I was longing for closer contact with the Malacca community,” he said.
But those are not the only motives, as professor Baxter revealed that “there are other projects related with Patuá language,” and also an interest regarding “East Timor that might be interesting in my research,” he said.
Baxter was one of the presenters at the two-day conference held by UM last week, where he presented a paper addressing the current ecology of the surviving varieties of Asian Creole Portuguese.
In the paper, Baxter discusses the role of the non-governmental (NGO) and governmental organizations working on the field that, he believes, has done little for the preservation of the creole languages.
digital archive of patuá to be created at um
On the sidelines of the two-day conference on language contact in Asia and the Pacific, one of the conference organizers, Professor Mário Pinharanda Nunes from the Department of Portuguese language of the University of Macau (UM) has announced that the university will create a digital archive of Patuá by the end of this year. Nunes holds a PhD in Linguistics in Creole Studies which is related to the Patuá language. According to Nunes, the digital archive can be used for a number of functions, ranging from a heritage mark and memory to supporting post-graduation students’ works. Help to create the archive will also from the local theater group “Dóci Papiaçám di Macau.”