Macao is more Portuguese with China

I read an interesting article in the New York Times about the popularity of studying Portuguese in Macao.

"Five years ago, when Portugal surrendered this 10-square-mile enclave to China, most people predicted that its language would disappear here in a blink of an eye. The Portuguese had done little to promote their language here since their merchants first stepped ashore around 1553. By the time they left, only about 2 percent of Macao's 450,000 people spoke the language of Lisbon, with the other 98 percent speaking Cantonese and other languages.

But in a surprising turnaround, enrollments for private Portuguese classes have tripled, to 1,000, since 2002. That prompted public schools here to offer Portuguese this fall, drawing more than 5,000 students."

To promote tourism, Macao has been rehabbing the island. "Far from shrinking from Macao's colonial past, city leaders have restored and illuminated such colonial landmarks as churches, forts, hospitals, theaters, museums, an observatory and the governor's palace. Rare for a modern Asian city, the historic preservation has been so extensive that Macao is expected to win recognition next year from Unesco as a world heritage site."

China wants to also open business to Brazil and Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa. Manuel F. Moreira de Almeida, who runs a bookstore there, said, "Portuguese has gone from a colonial hangover to a business opportunity."

So if you want to study Portuguese in China, Macao is the place to do it.

No comments: