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Portuguese language needs to be promoted in everyday life, Consul General says

The Portuguese consul general of Macao and Hong Kong believes that steps need to be taken to boost the local use of Portuguese
  • The language holds official status in Macao but is spoken only by a small minority of the population

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Portuguese should not simply be a tool for official communication in Macao, but needs to be promoted as a language in daily life, the consul general of Portugal in Macao and Hong Kong, Alexandre Leitão recently said in a TDM report. 

Speaking during a forum on the evolution of Portuguese culture in Macao that was held yesterday at the local Portuguese Consulate, Leitão underscored the importance of the Portuguese language in the city, pointing out that studying the language “makes more and more sense… [as] the territory still uses Portuguese as an official language.” 

He added that a more integrated approach was required in the Greater Bay Area when it comes to the promotion of the language, which he said should not be treated as “a monument.” 

The head of the Macanese Youth Association, António Monteiro, supported Leitão’s contention by urging the government to implement measures that will allow learners, especially those in the younger demographic, to develop a genuine interest in Portuguese, rather than learning it as “an obligation.” 

[See more: Local organisations call for more Portuguese language promotion]

André Ritchie, a Macanese architect, meanwhile suggested that the authorities boost the numbers of resident Portuguese in the SAR, which he said would have a positive impact on the use of the language in the city. 

“We celebrate the gastronomy, the patuá, the architecture, but we should also celebrate the people,” Ritchie said. “The Portuguese are still here, and we want more Portuguese, more generations to be here in Macao.” 

Although Portuguese remains an official language of Macao, it is spoken by only about 2 percent of the city’s residents. Despite this, a study published this year found that the Portuguese community remains an integral part of Macao society. 

Since the handover of the administrative rights of Macao to mainland China in 1999, the SAR government has taken steps to help preserve Portuguese use in the city, which include Portuguese courses in local schools and the development of a new Portuguese school.

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