Institute of Malaysian and International Studies


iKON’s Project

Research Project


Addressing Cross-Cultural Challenges in the Teaching and Learning of Portuguese as an Additional Language (PAL) in Malaysia and Indonesia

Funding : Geran Universiti Penyelidikan (GUP)

Year: 2020-2023


Description: Portuguese is spoken or understood by 260 million people on five continents. One Portuguese-speaking country, viz. Brazil, is currently Malaysia’s and Indonesia’s main trade partner in the South American region. Knowledge of Portuguese is not only important for historical studies and the translation and interpretation professions, but also an added value for diplomacy and trade as post-Covid-19 Malaysia diversifies her market and trade partners. While various aspects of foreign language education have received much attention with regard to languages such as English, Japanese, and French, this has certainly not been the case for Portuguese in Malaysia. In line with current national policies which favour internationalization of higher education, this research examines the teaching and learning of Portuguese in Malaysian and Indonesian universities, considering Malay and Indonesian are closely related languages.


Related to this research project, a course on Introduction to Portuguese Language and Culture has been offered via the School of Liberal Studies (Citra UKM) since 2017. It aims to introduce Portuguese language and culture as well as the Portuguese-speaking countries. At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to identify the historical and socio-cultural aspects of Portugal, to use basic Portuguese words and phrases for communication, and to appreciate the Portuguese cultural tradition across the world.