Far be it from me to be the language police, but I can’t help but have a disappproving chuckle with the number of English words that have entered into Dili Tetum:

artikulu (for article)
bankrup (from Indonesian?)

Any additions?


2 thoughts on “Tetumglish

  1. Yeah, it’s funny the way they try to ‘lusify’ these words (make them like Portuguese) – others include ‘esteitmentu’, ‘estafe’. In Brazilian Portuguese, ‘stock’ becomes ‘estoque’, and ‘sport’ becomes ‘esporte’.

    Another is ‘suporta’, used instead of ‘apoia’ – although there is a Portuguese verb ‘apoiar’, which means to support or hold up, as well as bear or tolerate.

    Some words do have cognates in Portuguese – ‘cometimento’, ‘tenderização’ and ‘treinamento’. My copy of Geoffrey Hull’s Tetum-English dictionary has ‘treina’ (to train) and ‘treinadór’ (trainer), so ‘treinamentu’ sounds a logical enough addition.

    Of course, it works the other way – ‘actual’ to mean ‘current; is commonplace – ‘aktual’ in Indonesian, from Dutch ‘actueel’, means ‘current’, not ‘actual’. And I grinned when I saw an article in ‘The Dili Weekly’ talking about the President’s ‘edifice’!

    The Indonesian for ‘bankrupt’ is ‘bangkrut’ but ‘bankarrota’ (or ‘bankruptcy’) exists in Tetum, although ‘bancarrota’ only exists in Spanish, not Portuguese.

  2. From Alex Tilman (thanks!):

    Here are some more English words which have been Lusified before ending up being Tetumised:

    tarjetu or targetu – from ‘target’ (my favourite)
    badjetu (very funny)
    departura (at Comoro airport, but since removed and replaced with ‘partida’)
    developmentu (haahahaaa….)
    akuntabilidade (even government ministers use it)

    Most English words that end in “-ment” can be safely Tetumised. This is the bottom rule, I reckon.

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