East Timor drowns in language soup

DILI (Reuters) - Portuguese is one of the two official languages in East Timor, but you can hardly hear it spoken in the streets of the young nation.

The tiny country was a Portuguese colony for more than three centuries, but only an estimated 5 percent of its one million people now speak the European language.

After Lisbon cut the territory free, East Timor was occupied by neighboring Indonesia for 24 years before gaining full independence in 2002.

Under Indonesian rule, Portuguese was suppressed and speakers of the language now mostly come from the political elite or are older people educated in the colonial era.

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