Portuguese language

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Portuguese
português
Pronunciation[puɾtuˈɣeʃ], [poɾtuˈɡes], [poʁtuˈɡes], [poɹtuˈɡes], [pohtuˈgejʃ], [pɔhtuˈgejs]
EthnicityLusophones
Native speakers
Native: 250 million;[1]
24 million L2 speakers;[1] Total: 274 million
Early forms
Manually coded Portuguese
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by
Language codes
Map of the portuguese language in the world.svg
  Native language
  Official and administrative language
  Cultural or secondary language
  Portuguese-speaking minorities
  
Lang Status 99-NI.png
Portuguese is not endangered according to the classification system of the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
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Portuguese (português or, in full, língua portuguesa) is a western Romance language of the Indo-European language family, originating in the Iberian Peninsula of Europe. It is an official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe,[6] while having co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, and Macau. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (lusófono). As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese speakers is also found around the world. Portuguese is part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia and the County of Portugal, and has kept some Celtic phonology in its lexicon.[7][8]

With approximately 250 million native speakers and 24 million L2 (second language) speakers, Portuguese has approximately 274 million total speakers. It is usually listed as the sixth-most spoken language, the third-most spoken European language in the world in terms of native speakers[9] and the second most spoken Romance language in the world, surpassed only by Spanish. Being the most widely spoken language in South America[10][11] and all of the Southern Hemisphere,[12] it is also the second-most spoken language, after Spanish, in Latin America, one of the 10 most spoken languages in Africa,[13] and an official language of the European Union, Mercosur, the Organization of American States, the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, an international organization made up of all of the world's officially Lusophone nations. In 1997, a comprehensive academic study ranked Portuguese as one of the 10 most influential languages in the world.[14][15]

History

When the Romans arrived in the Iberian Peninsula in 216 BC, they brought with them the Latin language, from which all Romance languages are descended. The language was spread by Roman soldiers, settlers, and merchants, who built Roman cities mostly near the settlements of previous Celtic civilizations established long before the Roman arrivals. For that reason, the language has kept a relevant substratum of much older, Atlantic European Megalithic Culture[16] and Celtic culture,[17] part of the Hispano-Celtic group of ancient languages.[18] In Latin, the Portuguese language is known as lusitana or (latina) lusitanica, after the Lusitanians, a Celtic tribe that lived in the territory of present-day Portugal and Spain that adopted the Latin language as Roman settlers moved in. This is also the origin of the luso- prefix, seen in terms like "Lusophone."

Between AD 409 and AD 711, as the Roman Empire collapsed in Western Europe, the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by Germanic peoples of the Migration Period. The occupiers, mainly Suebi,[19][20] Visigoths and Buri[21] who originally spoke Germanic languages, quickly adopted late Roman culture and the Vulgar Latin dialects of the peninsula and over the next 300 years totally integrated into the local populations. Some Germanic words from that period are part of the Portuguese lexicon. After the Moorish invasion beginning in 711, Arabic became the administrative and common language in the conquered regions, but most of the remaining Christian population continued to speak a form of Romance commonly known as Mozarabic, which lasted three centuries longer in Spain. Like other Neo-Latin and European languages, Portuguese has adopted a significant number of loanwords from Greek,[22] mainly in technical and scientific terminology. These borrowings occurred via Latin, and later during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Portuguese evolved from the medieval language, known today by linguists as

Spoken area of Galician-Portuguese (also known as Old Portuguese or Medieval Galician) in the kingdoms of Galicia and León around the 10th century, before the separation of Galician and Portuguese.

It is in Latin administrative documents of the 9th century that written Galician-Portuguese words and phrases are first recorded. This phase is known as Proto-Portuguese, which lasted from the 9th century until the 12th-century independence of the County of Portugal from the Kingdom of León, which had by then assumed reign over Galicia

.

In the first part of the Galician-Portuguese period (from the 12th to the 14th century), the language was increasingly used for documents and other written forms. For some time, it was the language of preference for lyric poetry in Christian Hispania, much as Occitan was the language of the poetry of the troubadours in France. The Occitan digraphs lh and nh, used in its classical orthography, were adopted by the orthography of Portuguese, presumably by Gerald of Braga,[24] a monk from Moissac, who became bishop of Braga in Portugal in 1047, playing a major role in modernizing written Portuguese using classical Occitan norms.[25] Portugal became an independent kingdom in 1139, under King Afonso I of Portugal. In 1290, King Denis of Portugal created the first Portuguese university in Lisbon (the Estudos Gerais, which later moved to Coimbra) and decreed for Portuguese, then simply called the "common language," to be known as the Portuguese language and used officially.

In the second period of Old Portuguese, in the 15th and 16th centuries, with the Portuguese discoveries, the language was taken to many regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. By the mid-16th century, Portuguese 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 Portuguese expanded across South America, across Africa to the Pacific Ocean, taking their language with them.

Its spread was helped by mixed marriages between Portuguese and local people and by its association with Roman Catholic missionary efforts, which led to the formation of creole languages such as that called Kristang in many parts of Asia (from the word cristão, "Christian"). 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 end of the Old Portuguese period was marked by the publication of the Cancioneiro Geral by Garcia de Resende, in 1516. The early times of Modern Portuguese, which spans the period from the 16th century to the present day, were characterized by an increase in the number of learned words borrowed from Classical Latin and Classical Greek because of the Renaissance (learned words borrowed from Latin also came from Renaissance Latin, the form of Latin during that time), which greatly enriched the lexicon. Most literate Portuguese speakers were also literate in Latin; and thus they easily adopted Latin words into their writing, and eventually speech, in Portuguese.[26]

Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes once called Portuguese "the sweet and gracious language", while the Brazilian poet Olavo Bilac described it as a última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela ("the last flower of Latium, naïve and beautiful"). Portuguese is also termed "the language of Camões," after Luís Vaz de Camões, one of the greatest literary figures in the Portuguese language and author of the Portuguese epic poem The Lusiads.[27][28][29]

In March 2006, the Museum of the Portuguese Language, an interactive museum about the Portuguese language, was founded in São Paulo, Brazil, the city with the greatest number of Portuguese language speakers in the world.[30] The museum is the first of its kind in the world.[30] In 2015 the museum was partially destroyed in a fire,[31] but restored and reopened in 2020.[32]

Geographic distribution

Sign in Japanese, Portuguese, and English in Oizumi, Japan, which has a large lusophone community due to return immigration of Japanese Brazilians.[33]

Portuguese is the native language of the vast majority of the people in Portugal,[34] Brazil[35] and São Tomé and Príncipe (95%).[36] Perhaps 75% of the population of urban Angola speaks Portuguese natively,[37] with approximately 85% fluent; these rates are lower in the countryside.[38] Just over 50% (and rapidly increasing) of the population of Mozambique are native speakers of Portuguese, and 70% are fluent, according to the 2007 census.[39] Portuguese is also spoken natively by 30% of the population in Guinea-Bissau, and a Portuguese-based creole is understood by all.[40] No data is available for Cape Verde, but almost all the population is bilingual, and the monolingual population speaks the Portuguese-based Cape Verdean Creole. Portuguese is mentioned in the Constitution of South Africa as one of the languages spoken by communities within the country for which the Pan South African Language Board was charged with promoting and ensuring respect.[41]

There are also significant Portuguese-speaking immigrant communities in many countries including Andorra (17.1%),[42] Bermuda,[43] Canada (400,275 people in the 2006 census),[44] France (1,625,000 people),[45] Japan (400,000 people),[46] Jersey,[47] Luxembourg (about 25% of the population as of 2021), Namibia (about 4–5% of the population, mainly refugees from Angola in the north of the country),[48] Paraguay (10.7% or 636,000 people),[49] Macau (2.3% speak fluent Portuguese or 15,000 people),[50] Switzerland (550,000 in 2019, learning + mother tongue),[51] Venezuela (554,000).[52] and the United States (0.35% of the population or 1,228,126 speakers according to the 2007 American Community Survey).[53]

In some parts of former Portuguese India, namely Goa[54] and Daman and Diu,[55] the language is still spoken by about 10,000 people. In 2014, an estimated 1,500 students were learning Portuguese in Goa.[56]

Official status

The Community of Portuguese Language Countries[6] (in Portuguese Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, with the Portuguese acronym CPLP) consists of the nine independent countries that have Portuguese as an official language: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe.[6]

Equatorial Guinea made a formal application for full membership to the CPLP in June 2010, a status given only to states with Portuguese as an official language.[57] In 2011, Portuguese became its third official language (besides Spanish and French)[58] and, in July 2014, the country was accepted as a member of the CPLP.[59]

Portuguese is also one of the official languages of the Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China of Macau (alongside Chinese) and of several international organizations, including Mercosur,[60] the Organization of Ibero-American States,[61] the Union of South American Nations,[62] the Organization of American States,[63] the African Union,[64] the Economic Community of West African States,[64] the Southern African Development Community[64] and the European Union.[65]

Lusophone countries

According to The World Factbook's country population estimates for 2018, the population of each of the ten jurisdictions is as follows (by descending order):

Country Population[66][67][68] More information Native language
of the majority
Spoken by
Brazil 214,364,583 Portuguese in Brazil Yes Vast majority as a native language
Angola 34,731,760 Portuguese in Angola Yes Majority as a home language or second language[69]
Mozambique 32,842,099 Portuguese in Mozambique No Significant minority as a native language; slight majority as a second language
Portugal 10,344,802 Portuguese in Portugal Yes Vast majority as a native language
Guinea-Bissau 2,051,458 Portuguese in Guinea-Bissau No Significant minority as a second language
Equatorial Guinea2 1,487,427 Portuguese in Equatorial Guinea No Small minority as a second language
East Timor 1,363,047 Portuguese in East Timor No Small minority as a first language; majority as a second language
Macau1 664,872 Portuguese in Macau No Small minority as a native language
Cape Verde 566,523 Portuguese in Cape Verde No Majority as a second language
São Tomé and Príncipe 226,380 Portuguese in São Tomé and Príncipe Yes Vast majority as a native language
Total c. 295–300 million Community of Portuguese Language Countries
Notes:
  1. Macau is one of the two autonomous Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China (the other being Anglophone Hong Kong, a former British colony).
  2. Equatorial Guinea adopted Portuguese as one of its official languages in 2007, being admitted to CPLP in 2014. The use of the Portuguese language in this country is limited.

The combined population of the entire Lusophone area was estimated at 300 million in January 2022.[68][67][70] This number does not include the Lusophone diaspora, estimated at 10 million people (including 4.5 million Portuguese, 3 million Brazilians, although it is hard to obtain official accurate numbers of diasporic Portuguese speakers because a significant portion of these citizens are naturalized citizens born outside of Lusophone territory or are children of immigrants, and may have only a basic command of the language. Additionally, a large part of the diaspora is a part of the already-counted population of the Portuguese-speaking countries and territories, such as the high number of Brazilian and PALOP emigrant citizens in Portugal or the high number of Portuguese emigrant citizens in the PALOP and Brazil.

The Portuguese language therefore serves more than 250 million people daily, who have direct or indirect legal, juridical and social contact with it, varying from the only language used in any contact, to only education, contact with local or international administration, commerce and services or the simple sight of road signs, public information and advertising in Portuguese.

Portuguese as a foreign language

Portuguese is a mandatory subject in the school curriculum in Uruguay.[71] Other countries where Portuguese is commonly taught in schools or where it has been introduced as an option include Venezuela,[72] Zambia,[73] the Republic of the Congo,[74] Senegal,[74] Namibia,[48] Eswatini (Swaziland),[74] South Africa,[74] Ivory Coast,[75] and Mauritius.[76] In 2017, a project was launched to introduce Portuguese as a school subject in Zimbabwe.[77][78] Also, according to Portugal's Minister of Foreign Affairs, the language will be part of the school curriculum of a total of 32 countries by 2020.[79] In the countries listed below, Portuguese is spoken either as a native language by vast majorities due to the Portuguese colonial past or as a lingua franca in bordering and multilingual regions, such as on the border between Brazil and Uruguay & Paraguay, as well as Angola and Namibia. In many other countries, Portuguese is spoken by majorities as a second language. And there are still communities of thousands of Portuguese (or Creole) first language speakers in Goa, Sri Lanka, Kuala Lumpur, Daman and Diu, etc. due to Portuguese colonization. In East Timor, the number of Portuguese speakers is quickly increasing as Portuguese and Brazilian teachers are making great strides in teaching Portuguese in the schools all over the island.[80] Additionally, there are many large Portuguese immigrant communities all over the world.

Country Population[81]
(July 2017 est.)
More information Mandatory taught Spoken by
 Uruguay 3,444,006 Portuguese in Uruguay Yes Significant minority as a native language; significant minority as a second language
 Argentina 43,847,430 Portuguese in Argentina Yes Minority as a second language
 Paraguay 7,052,984 Portuguese in Paraguay No Significant minority as a native language
 Venezuela 31,568,179 Portuguese in Venezuela Yes Minority as a second language
 South Africa 57,725,600 Portuguese in South Africa No Small minority as a native language
 Namibia 2,606,971 Portuguese in Namibia No Small minority as a native language
 Congo 5,125,821 Portuguese in Congo No Small minority as a second language
 Zambia 16,591,390 Portuguese in Zambia No Small minority as a second language
 Senegal 15,411,614 Portuguese in Senegal No Small minority as a second language
 Eswatini 1,343,098 Portuguese in Eswatini No Small minority as a second language

Future

Multilingual signage in Chinese, Portuguese and English at the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge port building in Macau
. Portuguese is a co-official language in Macau.

According to estimates by UNESCO, Portuguese is the fastest-growing European language after English and the language has, according to the newspaper The Portugal News publishing data given from UNESCO, the highest potential for growth as an international language in southern Africa and South America.[82] Portuguese is a globalized language spoken officially on four continents, and as a second language by millions worldwide.

Since 1991, when Brazil signed into the economic community of Mercosul with other South American nations, namely Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, Portuguese is either mandatory, or taught, in the schools of those South American countries.

Although early in the 21st century, after Macau was returned to China and immigration of Brazilians of Japanese descent to Japan slowed down, the use of Portuguese was in decline in Asia, it is once again becoming a language of opportunity there, mostly because of increased diplomatic and financial ties with economically powerful Portuguese-speaking countries in the world.[83][84]

Current status and importance

Portuguese, being a language spread on all continents, is official in several international organizations; one of twenty official of the European Union, an official language of NATO, Organization of American States (alongside Spanish, French and English), one of eighteen official languages of the European Space Agency.

It is also a working language in nonprofit organisations such as the Red Cross (alongside English, German, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian), Amnesty International (alongside 32 other languages of which English is the most used, followed by Spanish, French, German, and Italian), and Médecins sans Frontières (used alongside English, Spanish, French and Arabic), in addition to being the official legal language in the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, also in Community of Portuguese Language Countries, an international organization formed essentially by lusophone countries.

Dialects, accents and varieties

Você, a pronoun meaning "you", is used for educated, formal, and colloquial respectful speech in most Portuguese-speaking regions. In a few Brazilian states such as Rio Grande do Sul, Pará, among others, você is virtually absent from the spoken language. Riograndense and European Portuguese normally distinguishes formal from informal speech by verbal conjugation. Informal speech employs tu followed by second person verbs, formal language retains the formal você, followed by the third person conjugation.

Conjugation of verbs in tu has three different forms in Brazil (verb "to see": tu viste?, in the traditional second person, tu viu?, in the third person, and tu visse?, in the innovative second person), the conjugation used in the Brazilian states of Pará, Santa Catarina and Maranhão being generally traditional second person, the kind that is used in other Portuguese-speaking countries and learned in Brazilian schools.

The predominance of Southeastern-based media products has established você as the pronoun of choice for the second person singular in both writing and multimedia communications. However, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, the country's main cultural center, the usage of tu has been expanding ever since the end of the 20th century,[85] being most frequent among youngsters, and a number of studies have also shown an increase in its use in a number of other Brazilian dialects.[86][87]

Statue of the Portuguese Poet Luís de Camões at the entrance of the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura in Rio de Janeiro
.

Modern Standard European Portuguese (português padrão[88] or português continental) is based on the Portuguese spoken in the area including and surrounding the cities of Coimbra and Lisbon, in central Portugal. Standard European Portuguese is also the preferred standard by the Portuguese-speaking African countries. As such, and despite the fact that its speakers are dispersed around the world, Portuguese has only two dialects used for learning: the European and the Brazilian. Some aspects and sounds found in many dialects of Brazil are exclusive to South America, and cannot be found in Europe. The same occur with the Santomean, Mozambican, Bissau-Guinean, Angolan and Cape Verdean dialects, being exclusive to Africa. See Portuguese in Africa.

Audio samples of some dialects and accents of Portuguese are available below.[89] There are some differences between the areas but these are the best approximations possible. IPA transcriptions refer to the names in local pronunciation.

Brazil

  1. Caipira – Spoken in the states of São Paulo (most markedly on the countryside and rural areas); southern Minas Gerais, northern Paraná and southeastern Mato Grosso do Sul. Depending on the vision of what constitutes caipira, Triângulo Mineiro, border areas of Goiás and the remaining parts of Mato Grosso do Sul are included, and the frontier of caipira in Minas Gerais is expanded further northerly, though not reaching metropolitan Belo Horizonte. It is often said that caipira appeared by decreolization of the língua brasílica and the related língua geral paulista, then spoken in almost all of what is now São Paulo, a former lingua franca in most of the contemporary Centro-Sul of Brazil before the 18th century, brought by the bandeirantes, interior pioneers of Colonial Brazil, closely related to its northern counterpart Nheengatu, and that is why the dialect shows many general differences from other variants of the language.[90] It has striking remarkable differences in comparison to other Brazilian dialects in phonology, prosody and grammar, often stigmatized as being strongly associated with a substandard variant, now mostly rural.[91][92][93][94][95]
  2. Cearense or Costa norte – is a dialect spoken more sharply in the states of Ceará and Piauí. The variant of Ceará includes fairly distinctive traits it shares with the one spoken in Piauí, though, such as distinctive regional phonology and vocabulary (for example, a debuccalization process stronger than that of Portuguese, a different system of the vowel harmony that spans Brazil from fluminense and mineiro to amazofonia but is especially prevalent in nordestino, a very coherent coda sibilant palatalization as those of Portugal and Rio de Janeiro but allowed in fewer environments than in other accents of nordestino, a greater presence of dental stop palatalization to palato-alveolar in comparison to other accents of nordestino, among others, as well as a great number of archaic Portuguese words).[96][97][98][99][100][101]
  3. Baiano – Found in