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Portuguese language

Portuguese (Português)
Spoken in: Angola, Andorra, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Luxembourg, Macau (China), Mozambique, Namibia, Paraguay, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and other countries.
Region: see below
Total speakers: 208 million–218 million1
Ranking: 6
Genetic classification: Indo-European

 Italic
  Romance
   Italo-Western
    Western
     Gallo-Iberian
      Ibero-Romance
       West-Iberian
        Portuguese-Galician
         Portuguese

Official status
Official language of: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, European Union, Guinea Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe
Regulated by: International Portuguese Language Institute; CPLP
Language codes
ISO 639-1pt
ISO 639–2por
SILPOR
See also: Language – List of languages

Portuguese (português) is a Romance language predominantly spoken in Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, and East Timor. Many linguists consider that Galician (galego), the native language of Galicia, is actually a variety of Portuguese, that has been strongly influenced by Spanish. With more than 200 million native speakers, Portuguese is one of the few languages spoken in such widely-distributed parts of the world, and is the fifth or sixth most-spoken first language in the world. Because Brazil, with 184 million inhabitants, constitutes about 51% of South America's population, Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in South America and it is also one of the key languages in Africa.

The language was spread worldwide in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as Portugal created the first and the longest lived modern-world colonial and commercial empire (14151975), spanning from Brazil in the Americas to Macau in China. As a result, Portuguese is now the official language of several independent countries and is widely spoken or studied as a second language in many others. There are still various Portuguese Creole languages all over the world. It is an important minority language in Andorra, Luxembourg, Namibia, and Paraguay. Large Portuguese-speaking immigrant communities exist in many cities around the world, including Paris in France and Boston, New Bedford, Cape Cod and Newark in the United States.

Portuguese is nicknamed A língua de Camões ("The language of Camões", after Luís de Camões, the author of The Lusiad); A última flor do Lácio ("The last flower of Latium") or The sweet language (by Cervantes). Portuguese language speakers are known as Lusitanic or Lusophones (after the Roman name for the province of Lusitania).

Table of contents

History

Ajuda Library, created in the 15th century as "Royal Library". Mother of the Portuguese and Brazilian National Libraries. (courtesy IPPAR)

Portuguese developed in the Western Iberian Peninsula from the spoken Latin language brought there by Roman soldiers and colonists starting in the 3rd century BC. The language began to differentiate itself from other Romance languages after the fall of the Roman Empire and the barbarian invasions in the 5th century. It started to be used in written documents around the 9th century, and by the 15th century it had become a mature language with a rich literature.

Arriving on the Iberian Peninsula in 218 BC, the Romans brought with them the Roman people's language, Vulgar Latin, from which all Romance languages (also known as "New Latin Languages") descend. Already in the 2nd century BC southern Lusitania was Romanized. Strabo, a 1st-century Greek geographer, comments in one book of his Geographia: "they have adopted the Roman customs, and they no longer remember their own language." The language was spread by arriving Roman soldiers, settlers and merchants, who built Roman cities mostly near previous civilizations' settlements.

Between 409 A.D. and 711, as the Roman Empire was collapsing, the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by peoples of Germanic origin, known by the Romans as Barbarians. The Barbarians (mainly Suevi and Visigoths) largely absorbed the Roman culture and language of the peninsula; however, since the Roman schools and administration were closed, Europe entered the Dark Ages and communities became isolated, the popular Latin language was left free to evolve on its own and the uniformity of the Peninsula was soon disrupted, leading to the formation of the "Lusitanian Romance". From 711, with the Moorish invasion of the Peninsula, Arabic was adopted as the administrative language in the conquered regions. However, the population continued to speak their Romance dialects so that when the Moors were overthrown, the influence that they had exerted on the language was small. Its main effect was in the lexicon.

The earliest surviving records of a distinctively Portuguese language are administrative documents from the ninth century, still interspersed with many phrases in Latin. Today this phase is known as "Proto-Portuguese" (spoken in the period between the 9th to the 12th century).

Extract of medieval
Portuguese poetry
Das que vejo
non desejo
outra senhor se vós non,
e desejo
tan sobejo,
mataria um leon,
senhor do meu coraçon:
fin roseta,
bela sobre toda fror,
fin roseta,
non me meta
en tal coita voss'amor!
João de Lobeira
(1270?–1330?)

Portugal became an independent country in 1143, with King Alfonso Henriques. In the first period of "Old Portuguese" – Portuguese-Galician Period (from 12th to the 14th century), the language came gradually into general use in the following centuries, after gaining popularity in the Christian Iberian Peninsula as a language for poetry. In 1290, king Denis created the first Portuguese University in Lisbon (the Estudo Geral) and decreed that Portuguese, then simply called the "Vulgar language" should be known as the Portuguese language and should be officially used.

In the second period of Old Portuguese, between the 14th and the 16th centuries, with the Portuguese discoveries, the Portuguese language spread to many regions of Asia, Africa and The Americas. Today most of the Portuguese speakers live in Brazil, in South America. By the 16th century it had become a lingua franca in Asia and Africa, used not only for colonial administration and trade but also for communication between local officials and Europeans of all nationalities. The spread of the language was helped by mixed marriages between Portuguese and local people (also very common in other areas of the world) and its association with the Catholic missionary efforts, which led to its being called Cristão ("Christian") in many places in Asia. The Japanese-Portuguese Dictionary of 1603 was a product of Jesuit missionary actvity in Japan. The language continued to be popular in parts of Asia until the 19th century.

Some Portuguese-speaking Christian communities in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia preserved their language even after they were isolated from Portugal. The language has largely changed in these communities and has evolved through the centuries into several Portuguese creoles, some still exist today, after hundreds of years in isolation. Also, a considerable number of words of Portuguese origin are found in Tetum. Portuguese words entered the lexicons of many other languages, such as Japanese, Indonesian, Malay, or Swahili.

The end of "Old Portuguese" was marked by the publication of the Cancioneiro Geral de Garcia de Resende, in 1516. The period of "Modern Portuguese" (from the 16th century to the present) saw an increase in the number of words of Classical Latin origin and erudite words of Greek origin borrowed into Portuguese during the Renaissance, which augmented the complexity of the language.

Classification and related languages

Indo-European – Italic - Romance – Italo-Western – Western – Gallo-Iberian – Ibero-Romance – West-Iberian – Portuguese-Galician

Portuguese is orthographically similar in many ways to Spanish, but it has a very distinctive phonology. A speaker of one may require some practice to effectively understand a speaker of the other. Compare, for example:

Ela fecha sempre a janela antes de jantar. (Portuguese)
Ella cierra siempre la ventana antes de cenar. (Spanish)

Some less common phrasings and word choices have closer cognates in Spanish:

Ela encerra sempre a janela antes de cear. (less common Portuguese)

(Which translates as "She always closes the window before having dinner.")

In some places, Spanish and Portuguese are spoken almost interchangeably. Portuguese speakers are generally able to read Spanish, and Spanish speakers are generally able to read Portuguese, even if they cannot understand the spoken language.

Portuguese also has significant similarities with Mirandese, Catalan, Italian, French and with other Romance languages. Portuguese sometimes appears closer to French and Catalan than Spanish does, due to the occurrence of nasalization in both French and Portuguese, and due to certain sound changes (for example, diphthongization of low-mid stressed vowels, aspiration of /f/, devoicing of sibilants, and change of intervocalic [ʎ] to [ʒ]) that set off Spanish from the others. For example, Portuguese "bom" (masculine word for good) and French "bon" are very similar, while Spanish "bueno" is somewhat different, and Portuguese "filha", French "fille" and Catalan "filla" are opposed to Spanish "hija". European Portuguese came under additional French influence as a result of the Napoleonic dominion in Lisbon from 1807–1812, and cultural influences after that.

Speakers of other Romance languages may find a peculiarity in the conjugating of certain apparently infinitive verbs. In particular, when constructing a future tense or conditional tense expression involving an indirect object pronoun, the pronoun is placed between the verb stem and the verb ending. For example, Dupondt said trazer-vos-emos o vosso ceptro. Translating as literally as possible, this is "bring (stem)-to you (formal)-we (future) the your scepter". In English we would say, "We will bring you your scepter." The form Nós vos traremos o vosso ceptro. is also correct, used mainly in spoken Portuguese, while the first form is preferred for written Portuguese.

Geographic distribution

Portuguese language territories
country speakers
(native)
speakers population
(2005)
Africa
Angola1 7 60% NA 11,190,786
Cape Verde5 4% 72% 418,224
Guinea-Bissau2 6 NA 14% 1,416,027
Mozambique1 9% 40% 19,406,703
São Tomé and Príncipe2 5 50% 95% 187,410
not official:
Namibia2 3 20% 20% 2,030,692
South Africa3 2% 2% 44,344,136
Asia
East Timor2 NA 25% 1,040,880
Macau, China 2% 3% 449,198
not official:
Daman, India2 10% 10% NA
Goa, India 3–5% 5% NA
Europe
Portugal 100% 100% 10,566,212
not official:
Luxembourg3 14% 14% 468,571
Andorra4 4–13% 4–13% 70,549
France4 2% 2% 60,656,178
Switzerland4 2% 2% 7,489,370
The Americas
Brazil 99% 100% 186,112,794
not official:
Paraguay4 7% 7% 6,347,884
Bermuda4 4% 4% 65,365
Venezuela4 1–2% 1–2% 25,375,281
Canada4 1–2% 1–2% 32,805,041
Netherlands Antilles4 1% 1% 219,958
United States of America4 0.5–0.7% 0.5–0.7% 295,900,500

1 Official data, Mozambique – 1997; Angola – 1983
2 Projection made by government, Catholic church or association
3 Official teaching of Portuguese
4 Based on emigration numbers
5 The remaining population speaks a Portuguese Creole
6 A substantial part of the population speaks a Portuguese Creole
7 A Portuguese Pidgin/ Simple Portuguese is used has lingua franca for communication between different tribes. 30% of Angolans are monolingual in Portuguese, many speak Portuguese as second language and tribal languages as native tongue, or vice-versa.

Portuguese is the first language in Angola, Brazil, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe, and the most widely used language in Mozambique.

Portuguese is also one of the official languages of East Timor (with Tetum) and Macau (with Chinese). It is widely spoken, but not official, in Andorra, Luxembourg, Namibia and Paraguay. Portuguese Creoles are the mother tongue of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau's population.

Portuguese is spoken by about 187 million people in South America, 16 million Africans, 12 million Europeans, two million in North America and 0.33 million in Asia. The table "Portuguese language countries and territories" includes countries where the Portuguese language is official and while not official, where it is spoken by more than 0.5% of the population.

The CPLP or Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries is an international organization consisting of the eight independent countries which have Portuguese as an official language. Portuguese is also an official language of the European Union, Mercosul and the African Union (one of the working languages) and one of the official languages of other organizations. The Portuguese language is gaining popularity in Africa, Asia, and South America as a second language for study.

Dialects

Main article: Portuguese dialects

Portuguese is a very rich language in terms of dialects, each with its particularity. Most of the differenciation between them are the pronunciation of certain vowels. Between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese, there are differences in vocabulary, pronunciation and syntax, especially in popular varieties. The dialect of Piauí, in northeastern Brazil is closest dialect to European Portuguese in Brasil, other very close dialects are the ones of Belém and Rio de Janeiro. There are several similarities in pronunciation, syntax and simplification in grammar use between vernacular Brazilian Portuguese and vernacular Angolan Portuguese. But there are no differences between standard European and Angolan Portuguese. Coimbra Portuguese is considered the most standardized Portuguese dialect.

Some apparent differences between the two varieties in lexicon are not really differences. In Brazil, the common term for carpet is tapete. And, in Portugal, alcatifa. However, many dialectal zones in Portugal use tapete and other areas in Brazil use alcatifa. This applies in several such apparent differences, except in the new terms, such as ônibus in Brazil, which is autocarro in Portugal. A conversation between an Angolan, a Brazilian and a Portuguese from very rural areas flows very easily. The most exotic Portuguese dialect is vernacular São Tomean Portuguese, because of the interaction with local Portuguese Creoles, but even with this one there are no difficulties when talking to another person from another country.

Examples of words that are different in Portuguese dialects from three different continents Angola (Africa), Portugal (Europe) and Brazil (South America).

Bus

  • Angola: machimbombo
  • Brazil: ônibus
  • Portugal: autocarro

slum quarter

  • Angola: musseque
  • Brazil: favela
  • Portugal: bairro de lata or ilha

Go away

  • Angola: bazar, ir embora
  • Brazil: ir embora, (or vazar as a slang – Portuguese "to leak");
  • Portugal: ir embora, (or bazar as a slang – from Kimbundu kubaza – to break, leave with rush);

Major Portuguese dialects:

Portuguese dialects of Brazil

Brazil

  1. Caipira — Countryside of São Paulo – Piraquara — caipira from Vale do Paraíba (São Paulo (state) / Minas Gerais)
  2. Cearense — Ceará
  3. Baiano — Region of Bahia
  4. FluminenseStates of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo (the city of Rio de Janeiro has a particular way of speaking)
  5. Gaúcho — Rio Grande do Sul
  6. Mineiro — Minas Gerais
  7. Nordestinonortheastern states of Brazil (the interior area and Recife have particular ways of speaking)
  8. Nortista — Amazon Basin states
  9. Paulistano — city of São Paulo
  10. Sertanejo — States of Goiás and Mato Grosso
  11. Sulista — south of Brazil (the city of Curitiba has a particular way of speaking)
Portuguese dialects of Portugal

Portugal

  1. AçoreanoAzores
  2. AlentejanoAlentejo
  3. AlgarvioAlgarve (there is a particular small dialect in the western area)
  4. Alto-MinhotoNorth of Braga (interior)
  5. Baixo-Beirão; Alto-AlentejanoCentral Portugal (interior)
  6. Beirãocentral Portugal
  7. EstremenhoRegions of Coimbra and Lisbon (can be subdivided in Lisbon Portuguese and Coimbra Portuguese)
  8. MadeirenseMadeira
  9. NortenhoRegions of Braga and Porto
  10. TransmontanoTrás-os-Montes

Angola

  1. Benguelense — Benguela province
  2. LuandenseLuanda province
  3. Sulista — South of Angola
Portuguese dialects of Angola

Other areas

Creoles

Main article: Portuguese Creole

Portugal in the period of discoveries and colonization created a linguistic contact with native languages and people of the discovered lands and thus pidgins were formed. Until the 18th century, these Portuguese pidgins were used as Lingua Franca in Asia and Africa. Later, the Portuguese pidgins were expanded grammatically and lexically, as it became a native language. About three million people worldwide speak a Portuguese Creole. These creoles are spoken, mostly, by inter-racial communities (Portuguese people with natives).

Cape Verde:

Equatorial Guinea:

Guinea-Bissau and Senegal:

India:

Macau, China:

Malaysia and Singapore:

Netherlands Antilles and Aruba:

São Tomé and Principe:

Sri Lanka:

Suriname:

In the past, Portuguese creoles were also spoken in India (several other areas), Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia (other areas) and possibly in Brazil.

Sounds

Main article: Portuguese phonology

The Portuguese language is particularly interesting to linguists because of the complexity of its phonetic structure. The language contains 9 oral vowels (EP) vs. 7 oral vowels (BP), 5 nasal vowels and a large number of possible diphthongs including five nasal diphthongs.

The following table includes standardized forms of Portuguese and most common pronunciation in most regions:

Vowels

sound examples meaning Observation
[a] lá, rato, there, mouse
[ɐ] luva, dia glove, day
[ɛ] café, festa, coffee, party
[e] você, medo you, fear
[ɨ] or [ə] leite, levar milk, to take occurs mostly in European Portuguese. In Brazil, in general, it sounds as [i] (post-stress) or [e] (pre-stressed)
[i] idiota, milhão idiot, milion
[ɔ] nó, moda knot, fashion
[o] avô, olho, grandparent, eye
[u] santo, uvas saint, grapes

Nasal vowels

sound examples meaning Observation
[ɐ̃] irmã, lançar sister, to launch In Northern Portugal the sound is [ã]
[ẽ] lembrar, então remember, then
[ĩ] limbo, brincar limb, to play
[õ] bom, montanha good (m, sg), mountain
[ũ] um, untar one, to dip in grease

Semi-vowels

sound examples meaning
[j] caixa, ideia box, idea
[w] ao, mau to, bad

Diphthongs
In addition, there are two classes of Diphthongs in Portuguese:

  • The Oral Diphthongs: ai [aj], ei [ɐj] (Lisbon only) or [ej], éi [ɛj], oi [oj], ói [ɔj], ui [uj], au ao [aw], eu [ew], éu [ɛw], ou [ow] (Northern Portugal/ few areas in Brazil only) and iu [iw].
  • The Nasal Diphthongs: ãe ãi [ɐ̃j], em en(s) [ẽj̃], õe [õj̃], ui [ũj̃] and ão (tonic verbal forms) am (atonic verbal forms) [ɐ̃w̃].


Consonants

sound examples meaning Observation
[b] bola ball
[p] pera pear
[t] tosta toast
[d] dedo finger
[k] casa, aquilo house, that
[g] gato cat
[f] ferro iron
[v] vento wind
[s] sapo, assado frog, roasted
[z] natureza, raso nature, shallow
[ʃ] cheque, xadrez check, chess
[ʒ] jogo, gelo game, ice
[l] logo soon
[ɫ] Brasil Brazil With a few exceptions, in Brazil it sounds as [w].
[ʎ] alho garlic
[ɾ] tiro, mar shot, sea Ending "r" on a word can be surpressed in some Brazilian and some African dialects.
[r] rosa, carro rose, car Most dialects in Portugal and Africa uses it. Occurs in a few dialects in Brazil.
[ʀ] rosa, carro rose, car Occurs mostly in Lisbon and main urban areas of Portugal. It can occur in Rio de Janeiro.
[h] or [χ] rosa, carro rose, car For most most dialects in Brazil. It can also occur in ending "r" as in "mar".
[m] mapa map
[n] número number
[ɲ] ninho nest In Brazil, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe it can be pronunced has [ ̃j̃].

Note: In most Brazilian dialects, especially the most widely spoken ones, D and T tend to become affricate before the unstressed phoneme /i/ (which can correspond to either E or I in the alphabet). The affricate D is /dʒ/ and the affricate T is /tʃ/. Therefore, in the most common Brazilian pronunciation for the word "dia" (day) is /dʒiɐ/.

Grammar

Main article: Portuguese grammar

Verbs are divided into three conjugations, which can be identified by looking at the infinitive ending, one of "-ar", "-er", "-ir" (and "-or", which is present in a single verb, "por" (to put). This verb pertains, however, to the "-er" conjugation, as in past it was spoken "poner", then "poer" then "por".). Most verbs end with "-ar", such as cantar (to sing). All verbs with the same ending follow the same pattern.

In Portuguese, verbs are divided into moods:

  • Imperative. Used to express a wish, command or advice
  • Indicative. Used to express a fact
  • Subjunctive. Used to express a wish or a possibility

All Portuguese nouns have one of two genders: masculine or inclusive and feminine or exclusive. Most adjectives and pronouns, and all articles indicate the gender of the noun they reference. The feminine gender in adjectives is formed in a different way from that in nouns. Most adjectives ending in a consonant remain unchanged: homem superior (superior man), mulher superior (superior woman). This is also true for adjectives ending in "e": homem forte (strong man), mulher forte (strong woman). Except for this, the noun and the adjective must always be in agreement: homem alto (tall man), mulher alta (tall woman).

See also: Portuguese pronouns, Portuguese verb conjugation

Vocabulary

Main article: Portuguese vocabulary

The Dicionário Houaiss da Língua Portuguesa, by Antônio Houaiss (1915 – 1999), son of Lebanese immigrants in Brazil and former Brazilian Minister of Culture, was created with the support of almost two hundred lexicographers from several countries and it is the most complete Portuguese dictionary to date (about 228,500 entries, 376,500 acceptations, 415,500 synonyms, 26,400 antonyms and 57,000 historical words) it includes all variations of the Portuguese language (African, Asian, Brazilian and of Portugal). Dedicating his life to the language, Houaiss started his work in 1986, and died one year before the dictionary was completed by his colleagues in the year 2000, without seeing his dream come true. The dictionary is quickly becoming a reference to the language, some classfied it as a "monument to the language".

Portuguese, both in morphology and syntax, represents an organic transformation of Latin without the direct intervention of any foreign language. The sounds, grammatical forms, and syntactical types, with a few exceptions, are derived from Latin. And almost 90% of the vocabulary is still derived from the language of Rome. Some of the changes began during the Empire, others took place later. In Late Middle Ages, Portuguese was eroding has much has French, but a conservative policy re-approached it to Latin.

  • Nasalization — A vowel before [m] and [n] has a tendency to become a nasal vowel. In the case of Portuguese, it happened between the sixth and seventh centuries, possibly influenced by previously spoken Celtic languages. LVNA → l[ũ]a — Lua (moon).
  • Progressive Nasalization — Spread of nasalization forward from a nasal consonant, especially [m]. MADRE → made → mae → mãe mother; HAC NOCTE → ãnoite → ãõte → ontem /õtẽĩ/ (yesterday).
  • Elision — Vulgar Latin [l], [n], [d] and [g] were deleted between vowels; the vowels then coalesced. DOLORE → door → dor (pain) BONV → bõo → bom (good).
  • Palatalization — Another assimilation occurs before the front vowels [i] and [e], or near the palatal semi-vowel [j]. CENTV → [tj]ento → [ts]ento → cento, (hundred) FACERE → fa[tj]ere → fa[ts]er → fa[dz]er → fazer, (to do). A more ancient evolution was FORTIA → for[ts]a → força (strength).
  • Voicing — voiceless stops became voiced stops between vowels (and [b] became [v]):
MVTV → mudo (deaf) LACV → lago (lake) FABA → fava (broadbean).
  • Simplification of consonant clusters, especially doubled consonants, occurred: GVTTA → gota (drop); PECCARE → pecar (to sin)
  • Dissimilation — similar sounds in a word have a tendency to become different over time, so as to ease pronunciation. Vowels: LOCVSTA → lagosta (lobster). Consonants: ANIMA → alma (soul) LOCALE → logar → lugar (place).
  • metathesis — a sound change that alters the order of phonemes in a word. Semi-vowel metathesis: PRIMARIV → primeiro (first); Consonant metathesis in [l] and [r]: TENEBRAS → teevras → trevas (darkness); these last ones are rare in Portuguese. Vowel metathesis: GENUCULUM → genoclo → gẽo[lj]o → joelho (knee).
  • epenthesis, insertion of a sound to break up a difficult-to-pronounce combination of vowels: GALLINA → Gali~a → Galinha (Chicken); VINO → Vi~o → Vinho (wine)

Another specially relevant shift was the loss of the intervocalic /l/ in a very large set of words, already described in the list above as an example of "elision" → e.g: SALIRE → sair; COLARE → coar; NOTVLA → nódoa, with the typical portuguese voicing of /t/ in /d/ (AMATVS → amado). Fewer words remained unchanged, or reevolved to the original word, such as taberna (tavern) or coxa (thigh). Due to re-influence of Latin, words like LOCALE which evolved to lugar has local as synonym.

Very few traces of the native or pre-Roman settlers like the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Iberians, or Celts lexicon persist in the language, but there are some exceptions, such as Abóbora (pumpkin) and Bezerro (year-old calf) from Iberian languages or Cerveja (beer) and Saco (bag) from Celtic and Phoenician, respectively.

Post-Roman influences, before the Discovery age, were also small. The Germanic influence in Portuguese was restricted to warfare and related topics, such has Barão (baron) from Germanic baro or Guerra (war) from Gothic *wirro. Projections indicate 1000 Arabic loan words, including: Aldeia (village) from aldaya, Alface (lettuce) from alkhass, Armazém (warehouse) from almahazan, Azeite (olive oil) from azzait and most words starting with "al".

With the Portuguese discoveries linguistic contact was made, and the Portuguese language became influenced by other languages other than European or Arabic. In Asia, the language gained words such has catana (cutlass) from Japanese katana, Corja (rabble) from Malay Kórchchu or chá (tea) from Chinese cha. In South America, the language gained words such has Ananás, from Tupi-Guarani naná and Abacaxi from Tupi ibá cati both relating to different species of pineapple, or even Tucano (toucan) from Guarani tucan. The African influence in lexicon was made in Brazil and Africa (mostly in Angola) include words such has Bungular (to dance like African wizards) from Kimbundu kubungula or Cafuné (affections made in the head) from Kimbundu kifumate. Many placenames and local animals have Amerindian names in Brazil, in Angola and Mozambique, the same occurring with the local Bantu languages. These influences are also small even in the local variations of Portuguese in Brazil and Africa.

Writing system

Main article: Portuguese alphabet

Portuguese is written using the Latin alphabet with 26 letters. Three of them (K, W and Y) are only used for non-Portuguese origin words, in terms like darwinismo (Darwinism, from English "Darwin"). It uses ç and acute, grave, circumflex and tilde accents over vowels, as well as, in some forms and only in Brazil, diaeresis on a U as in lingüística (Linguistics, linguística is used in the rest of the Portuguese speaking nations).

Written varieties and Spelling Reform

As of 2005, Portuguese has two written standards:

  • European and African Portuguese
  • Brazilian Portuguese
Portugal/ Africa Brazil translation
acção ação action
direcção direção direction
eléctrico elétrico electric
óptimo ótimo very good

In Brazil most first 'c's in 'cc', 'cç' or 'ct'; and 'p's in 'pc', 'pç' or 'pt' were eliminated from the language, since they are not pronounced in the cultivated spoken language, but are remnants from the language's Latin origin (though some continue to exist in cultivated Brazilian Portuguese, others in European Portuguese). An example is "facto" (in Portugal) and "fato" (in Brazil), both meaning fact — one of the rare words that will continue to be accepted and is pronounced differently in both countries.

Also, there are differences in accent marks, due to:

  1. Different pronunciation: Brazil uses closed vowels in words such as "Antônio" (Anthony) or "anônimo" (anonymous), whereas Portugal and Africa use open ones, "António" or "anónimo", respectively.
  2. Easier reading: Because "qu" can be read in two different ways in Portuguese: "kw" or "k", Brazil uses the diaeresis (called 'trema' in Portuguese), instead of "cinquenta" they write "cinqüenta". It was part of an orthographic agreement but abolished in Portugal.

A 1990 Spelling Reform (Port. Reforma Ortográfica), intended to create an International Portuguese Standard, was ratified by Brazil, Cape Verde, and Portugal. East Timor, not an original subscriber, will ratify shortly along with Guinea-Bissau. Brazil and East Timor were the biggest supporters of the reform and pressured the CPLP for a fast implementation, but the implementation date has not yet been set. In East Timor, both orthographies are currently being taught to children.

At first, the Agreement established that its entrance into practice would only occur when all the countries of the CPLP had ratified it. But the Portuguese-speaking African countries have not ratified, possibly due to problems in implementing it. In the CPLP’s summit of 2627 July 2004, an adjustment will prompt implementation when just three countries ractify it. The agreement will eliminate most first 'c's in 'cc', 'cç' or 'ct'; and 'p's in 'pc', 'pç' or 'pt' from European/ African Portuguese, the dieresis and accent marks in words ending in "éia" in Brazil and add some new spelling rules. And it will allow either orthography for words like anónimo or anônimo, depending on the dialect of the author or person being transcribed. Late in October 2004, Brazil became the first to approve the adjustment and asked its ambassors in Portugal and Cape Verde to promote the rapid implementation in those countries. The agreement will enter into practice in the first day of the next month when the third country ratifies it.

One aim of this reform is to promote the language internationally, just like the spelling reforms of Spanish by the Real Academia Española in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries helped to promote the Spanish language. The language is not very popular internationally, even if it is the third-most-spoken Western language in the world, after English and Spanish. Even if today's orthographies do not harm intelligibility between native speakers, the orthography of one country is considered incorrect in the other, leading to two different translations of the same book written in another language. Another objective is Brazil's aid to Portugal in education for the Portuguese speaking African countries.

Another agreement was made for the new words that will come into the language.

Literature

To English speakers, the most famous writer in the Portuguese language is the poet Luís Vaz de Camões or Luís Vaz Camoens (15241580), author of the epic poem, the Lusiad.

Several other authors and poets are also internationally known, such as: Machado de Assis (1839-1908), the most traditional Brazilian novelist; Eça de Queirós (18451900), one of the most famous Portuguese language novelists; Fernando Pessoa (18881935), one of the greatest poets in the history of the language; Jorge Amado (19122001), a popular novelist; Pepetela (born 1941), A famous Angolan novelist, Paulo Coelho (born 1947), an internationally bestselling novelist; Mia Couto (1955), the most famous novelist from Mozambique; and José Saramago (born 1922) who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998.

See also: Camoens Prize

Examples

PT. – Standard Pronunciation of Portugal
BR. – Normal Pronunciation of Brazil
translation phrase IPA
Portuguese: português PT. /puɾtu'geʃ/  listen BR. /poɾtu'gejs/
hello: olá; oi (mostly used in Brazil) /o'la/  listen; /oj/
see you later (preferable); good-bye: até logo; adeus /ɐ'tɛ 'lɔgu/; PT. /ɐ'dewʃ/; BR. /a'dews;/;
please: por favor PT. /poɾ 'fɐvoɾ/ BR. /poɾ 'favoɾ/
thank you (m); thank you (f): obrigado; obrigada /obɾi'gadu/; /obɾi'gadɐ/
sorry: desculpe PT. /dɨʃ'kuɫpɨ/ BR. /dʒis'kuwpi/
that one: aquele (m); aquela (f) PT. /ɐ'kelɨ/; /ɐ'kɛlɐ/ BR. /a'keli/; /a'kɛlɐ/
how much?: quanto /'kwɐ̃tu/
yes: sim /'sĩ/
no: não /'nɐ̃w̃/
I don't understand: não entendo /nɐ̃w̃ ẽ'tẽdu/
where's the bathroom?: Brazil: Onde fica o banheiro /õdʒi fikɐ u bɐ̃'j̃ejɾu/
Portugal, others: Onde fica a casa de banho /õdɨ fikɐ ɐ 'kazɐ dɨ 'baɲu/
generic toast: à vossa!; saúde /a 'vɔsɐ/; PT. /sɐ'udɨ/ BR. /sa'udʒi/
Do you speak English?: Fala inglês? PT. /falɐ ĩ'gleʃ/ BR. /falɐ ĩ'glejs/

See also

Notes

  • [1] First and Second with first language speakers, respectively. Only counting figures from countries in the table "Portuguese language countries and Territories". Considering second language speakers those people who are bilingual and use Portuguese as a second language.

References

External links

Advanced speakers
Beginners
(English language websites)


http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/ " title="pt:">Portuguese language edition of Wikipedia







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