The ultimate guide
Portuguese, often known as português or the Portuguese language in its full form, is a western Romance language that is a member of the Indo-European language family and has its roots in the Iberian Peninsula of Europe. The countries of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, and So Tomé and Prncipe all recognize it as their official language, while East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, and Macau recognize it as a co-official language. Macau also recognizes Portuguese as its official language. The term “Lusophone” (lusófono) refers to a person or country that speaks Portuguese as their primary language. A cultural presence of Portuguese speakers may be found all over the globe as a direct consequence of the spread of the language throughout the period of colonial rule. Portuguese is a member of the Ibero-Romance language family, which developed from multiple dialects of Vulgar Latin in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia and the County of Portugal. Despite its Ibero-Romance origins, Portuguese retains some Celtic phonology and vocabulary in its language.
There are around 230 million native speakers of Portuguese, and between 25 and 30 million people speak it as a second language. The total number of people who speak Portuguese is roughly 260 million. It is often ranked as the sixth most spoken language, the third most spoken European language in the world in terms of native speakers, and the second-most spoken Romance language in the world, with Spanish being the only Romance language that ranks higher. Portuguese is 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. In addition to being the language that is spoken the most in South America and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, it is also the second-most spoken language in Latin America, after Spanish. It is also one of the 10 most widely spoken languages in Africa. In 1997, a rigorous academic research determined that Portuguese was one of the 10 languages that had the most significant impact on the globe.
Latin, the ancestor language of all Romance languages, was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans when they landed there in 216 BC. All Romance languages are derived from Latin. Roman troops, immigrants, and merchants were responsible for the expansion of the language. These people created Roman towns in most cases close to the settlements of earlier Celtic civilizations that had been formed a considerable time before the Roman advent. Because of this, the language, which is considered to be a member of the Hispano-Celtic group of ancient languages, has maintained a significant substratum of the considerably more ancient Atlantic European Megalithic civilisation and Celtic civilisation. After the Lusitanians, the Latin name for the Portuguese language is lusitana or (latina) lusitanica. The Lusitanians were a Celtic people who resided in what is now Portugal and Spain and who learned Latin when the Romans advanced into the area. This is also where the luso- prefix came from, which you can see in words like “Lusophone.”
The Iberian Peninsula was overrun by Germanic peoples during the Migration Period between the years AD 409 and AD 711, at the same time period when the Roman Empire was falling apart in Western Europe. The occupiers, who spoke Germanic languages when they arrived, rapidly assimilated late Roman culture and the Vulgar Latin dialects spoken on the peninsula, and over the course of the subsequent 300 years, they were completely incorporated into the local communities. The majority of the occupants were Suebi, Visigoths, and Buri. The Portuguese language retains certain Germanic loanwords from the time period in its vocabulary. With the beginning of the Umayyad conquest in 711, Arabic became the administrative and common language in the conquered regions. However, the majority of the remaining Christian population continued to speak a form of Romance known as Mozarabic. This form of Romance introduced a few hundred words from Arabic, in addition to words from Persian, Turkish, and Berber. In the same way as other Neo-Latin and European languages, Portuguese has absorbed a substantial number of loanwords from Greek, most of which may be found in the terminology of technical and scientific fields. Latin was the language that was used to transmit these borrowings, and subsequently, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance saw their use.
Galician-Portuguese, also known as Old Portuguese or Old Galician, was the language spoken in the medieval period in the northwestern region of the Kingdom of Galicia, of which the County of Portugal was a part. Today, linguists refer to this language as the ancestor of Portuguese.
Words and phrases written in Galician-Portuguese were first documented in writing in administrative papers written in Latin around the 9th century. These documents were located in Galicia. Proto-Portuguese is the name given to this stage, which lasted from the 9th century until the independence of the County of Portugal from the Kingdom of León in the 12th century. At this point in time, the Kingdom of León had already acquired control over Galicia.
From the 12th through the 14th century, which is considered to be the beginning of the Galician-Portuguese era, the language was increasingly used for documents and other kinds of written expression. It was the language of choice for lyric poetry in Christian Hispania for a period of time, much in the same way that Occitan was the language of the poetry of the troubadours in France. In Hispania, the language of preference was Spanish. Gerald of Braga, a monk from Moissac who became bishop of Braga in Portugal in 1047 and had a significant part in modernizing written Portuguese using classical Occitan standards, is said to have been the one who introduced the Occitan digraphs lh and nh into the Portuguese alphabet. These digraphs were employed in the classical orthography of Occitan. In 1139, during the reign of King Afonso I of Portugal, Portugal established its status as an independent country. In the year 1290, King Denis of Portugal established the first Portuguese university in Lisbon. It was named the Estudos Gerais, and it was eventually relocated to Coimbra. King Denis also issued a proclamation that Portuguese, which was previously known as the “common language,” would henceforth be referred to as the Portuguese language and used officially.
During the second phase of Old Portuguese, which occurred during the 15th and 16th centuries, the Portuguese language spread to many different parts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas as a result of the discoveries made by the Portuguese. By the middle of the 16th century, Portuguese had established itself as a lingua franca throughout Asia and Africa. This meant that it was used not only for the administration and commerce of colonial governments, but also for communication between local authorities and Europeans of all different nationalities. The Portuguese colonized a large portion of what is now South America, as well as parts of Africa and Asia, and they brought their language with them.
Its growth was facilitated by mixed marriages between Portuguese and local people as well as by its link with Roman Catholic missionary activities. This relationship led to the emergence of creole languages such as that called Kristang in various regions of Asia (from the term cristo, which may be translated as “Christian”). Up until the 19th century, the language maintained a high level of use in many countries of Asia. Even after they were cut off from Portugal, certain Portuguese-speaking Christian groups in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Indonesia managed to keep their language alive.
The publication of Garcia de Resende’s Cancioneiro Geral in 1516 signaled the end of the Old Portuguese period, which lasted from the 12th through the 16th centuries. The early times of Modern Portuguese, which span 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 as a result of the Renaissance. Learned words borrowed from Latin also came from Renaissance Latin, the form of Latin that was spoken during that time, which greatly enriched the lexicon. The early times of Modern Portuguese span the period from the 16th century to the present day. The vast majority of people who were literate in Portuguese were also fluent in Latin, and as a result, they effortlessly incorporated Latin vocabulary into their writing and, subsequently, their spoken language.
Miguel de Cervantes, a writer from Spain, once referred to Portuguese as “the sweet and gracious language,” while Olavo Bilac, a poet from Brazil, referred to it as “the last flower of Latium, naive and beautiful.” Cervantes’s description of Portuguese as “the sweet and gracious language” was echoed by Bilac. The Portuguese epic poem The Lusiads was written by Luis Vaz de Cames, considered to be one of the most significant literary personalities in the Portuguese language. As a result, the Portuguese language is also referred to as “the language of Cames.”
An interactive museum on the Portuguese language was established in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in March 2006. Sao Paulo is the city in the world with the highest number of people who use Portuguese as their primary language. It is the very first museum of its sort anywhere in the globe. A fire occurred at the museum in 2015, however it was renovated and reopened in 2020 after being closed for repairs.
There are about 200 million Portuguese speakers in South America, 30 million Portuguese speakers in Africa, 15 million Portuguese speakers in Europe, 5 million Portuguese speakers in North America, and 0.33 million Portuguese speakers in Asia and Oceania. At least 95% of the people who live in Portugal, Brazil, and Sao Tome and Principe are native Portuguese speakers. In Sao Tome and Principe, Portuguese is also spoken as a first language by the majority of the population. It is estimated that over 75% of the population in metropolitan areas of Angola is native Portuguese speakers , with approximately 85% of the population being skilled in the language. In contrast, these numbers are far lower in the country. According to the census that was carried out in 2007, somewhat more than half of Mozambique’s population is native to Portugal, and seventy percent of them are skilled in the Portuguese language. In addition, roughly a third of Guinea-Bissau’s population is composed of native Portuguese speakers, and the creole language spoken in that nation is highly impacted by Portuguese. It is estimated that close to half of East Timor’s population speaks Portuguese as their first language. Cape Verdean Creole is a Creole language that is based on Portuguese and is named Cape Verdean Creole. However, there are no data available for Cape Verde; still, the majority of the population is able to speak both Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole. The Constitution of South Africa acknowledges Portuguese as one of the languages that are spoken by communities that are situated within the country’s boundaries. As a direct consequence of this, the Pan South African Language Board was charged with the duty of fostering and sustaining respect for these languages.
There are also substantial immigrant populations who speak Portuguese in a number of countries, the most prominent of which being Andorra (17.1%), Bermuda, and Brazil. Canada (the nation has a total population of 407,275 people as of the most recent census in 2006), France (1,625,000 people), Japan (400,000 people), and Jersey Luxembourg (about 25% of the population as of 2021), Namibia (around 4–5% of the population, the majority of them are refugees from Angola in the north of the country), Paraguay (10.7% or 636,000 people), Switzerland (550,000 in 2019, studying + native language), and Venezuela (554,000 people). As well as in the United States, according to the American Community Survey from 2007, it is spoken by 0.35% of the population, which equates to 1,228,126 persons in the United States.
In the regions that were originally a part of Portuguese India, there are around 10,000 people who are able to speak in this language. Goa , Daman and Diu are two of the territories that fall under this category. It was projected that there would be 1,500 students enrolling in Portuguese studies in Goa during the school year of 2014. There are around 2% of the people of Macau, which is situated in China, who are able to speak Portuguese on an advanced level. In addition, the language is being researched in a very intense manner all the way up to the PhD level in the educational system of China.
Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, with the Portuguese initials CPLP) consists of the nine sovereign states that use Portuguese as an official language: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe.
In June of 2010, Equatorial Guinea made a formal application to become a full member of the CPLP. This is a status that can only be achieved by nations who acknowledge Portuguese as an official language. In July of 2014, the country was officially welcomed into the CPLP as a member of the organization. Portuguese was added to the roster of official languages in 2011, joining both Spanish and French already on the list. In addition, the Portuguese language was acknowledged as the country’s third official language in the year 2011.
Portuguese is one of the official languages of a number of international organizations, including Mercosur, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union of South American Nations, the Organization of American States, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African Development Community, and the Southern African Languages Community. In addition to being one of the official languages of the People’s Republic of China’s Special Administrative Region of Macau, Portuguese is also one of the official languages of the People’s Republic of China’s.
About 200 million people in South America, 30 million people in Africa, 15 million people in Europe, 5 million people in North America, and 0.33 million people in Asia and Oceania speak Portuguese. In Portugal, Brazil, and Sao Tome and Principe, the majority of the population (at least 95% of the population) speaks Portuguese as their first language. It is estimated that roughly 75% of the population in urban areas of Angola is native Portuguese speakers, with approximately 85% being proficient in the language. These percentages are lower in the rural areas. According to the census carried out in 2007, somewhat more than fifty percent of Mozambique’s population are native Portuguese speakers, and seventy percent of them are proficient in the language. In addition, native speakers of Portuguese make almost thirty percent of Guinea-Bissau’s population, and the country’s creole language is heavily influenced by Portuguese. Portuguese is the native language of close to half of East Timor’s population. There is no statistics available for Cape Verde; nonetheless, the majority of the population is able to speak both Portuguese and a Creole language that is based on Portuguese called Cape Verdean Creole. The Constitution of South Africa recognizes Portuguese as one of the languages spoken by groups located within the borders of the nation. As a result, the Pan South African Language Board was given the responsibility of developing and maintaining respect for these languages.
There are also sizeable immigrant groups that speak Portuguese in a number of countries, notably Andorra (17.1%), Bermuda, Canada (according to the 2006 census, there were 400,275 inhabitants in the country), France (1,625,000 people), Japan (400,000 people), and Jersey Luxembourg (about 25% of the population as of 2021), Namibia (around 4–5% of the population, mostly refugees from Angola in the north of the nation), Paraguay (10.7% or 636,000 people), Switzerland (550,000 in 2019, learning + native tongue), Venezuela (554,000 people). as well as in the United States, where it is spoken by 0.35% of the population, or 1,228,126 people, according to the American Community Survey from 2007.
Approximately 10,000 individuals are able to communicate in this language in the territories that were once a part of Portuguese India. These territories include Goa and Daman and Diu. In Goa, it was anticipated that there were 1,500 pupils taking Portuguese classes in 2014. Macau, which is located in China, has a population of around 2% persons who speak Portuguese fluently. Additionally, the language is being studied in a very vigorous manner all the way up to the doctoral level in the Chinese educational system.
Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, with the Portuguese abbreviation CPLP) consists of the nine independent nations that use Portuguese as an official language: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe.
In June of 2010, Equatorial Guinea submitted a formal application to become a full member of the CPLP, which is a position that can only be attained by countries who recognize Portuguese as an official language. In July of 2014, the nation was recognized as a member of the CPLP. In 2011, Portuguese was added to the list of official languages, joining Spanish and French. In addition, in 2011 Portuguese was designated as the country’s third official language.
In addition to being one of the official languages of the People’s Republic of China’s Special Administrative Region of Macau, Portuguese is also one of the official languages of a number of international organizations, such as Mercosur, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union of South American Nations, the Organization of American States, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African Development Community, and the Southern African Development Community.