Portuguese American Journal

East Timor: Coimbra University will help preserve Tetum language – Portugal

The National University of East Timor and the University of Coimbra, Portugal, will work together to develop Tetum, the Timorese national language.

According to Lusa news agency, an accord between the two institutions was signed Friday, in Dili, the Timorese capital, by representatives of both universities.

“We’re absolutely determined that this collaboration will function with quality,” the University of Coimbra’s rector, João Gabriel Silva, said at the ceremony.

His Timorese counterpart, Aurélio Guterres, described the agreement as a new step toward cooperation between the two institutions.

On regaining its independence from Indonesia, East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, adopted Portuguese and Tetum as its official languages, along with English and Indonesian Bahasa as working languages.

Dili’s efforts to reintroduce Portuguese, after it was banned from teh country for nearly a quarter century by Indonesia, is a centerpiece of the accord.

Tetum (also Tetun) is an Astronesia language, a national language and one of the two official languages of Timor-Leste. There are 400.000 speakers in Indonesia (Nusa Tenggara Timur) and 50.000 speakers in East-Timor. The speakers in Indonesia speak different Tetum dialect than speakers in East-Timor. Read more >>


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