There is a popular but wrong image of Portuguese language. Most people, when hear me saying “I learn Portuguese”, respond “Why not Spanish?”. They truly believe that Portuguese is a small language spoken only in one country of Europe. They cannot be more wrong. In fact, there are only 5% of Portuguese speakers, who live in Portugal! First of all, there is a huge Portuguese-speaking country on the other part of the world – Brazil. There are still people, who think that Brazilians speak either Spanish or Brazilian language. This is weird, you says? I know! So, what is actually so interesting about this language?
Portuguese evolved out of Vulgar Latin and Medieval Galician. Nowadays, it is pretty different in Portugal and Brazil – Brazilian Portuguese has being influenced by Italian and other non-Portuguese colons. Nevertheless, there is a small surprise in the second fact.
Here is the list of facts that I was glad to know and want to share.
1. Portuguese was recognized as an official language of Portugal in 1290, so its status is 730 years old 🙂
2. Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world as a native language. – this is the best respond to the question “Why not Spanish?”. There are also many people in the world, with who you can practice Portuguese. It is also an official language in African and Asian countries, such as Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Mozambique, Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe.
3. The number of speakers is growing rapidly! According to UNESCO, Portuguese has the potential to be an “international communication language”. That would be fun. I hope, this will happen during my life 😀
4. Portuguese language has been influenced by Arabic language. It is historic note: the Islamic Moors conquered Portugal and Spain in the 8th century. This was inevitably that Arabic language has influenced Portuguese during the next few centuries. Now, there are still many Arabic words in Portuguese, for example, açúcar – sugar, azeitona – olive, and garrafa – bottle.
5. On the other hand, Portuguese has also made a huge influence on English and other languages: flamingo, cobra, piranha, fetish and embarrass.
I am convinced that the language, which is spoken so widely in different parts of the world, has a huge potential of development and has already influenced other popular languages, is worth spending some time for learning it.
Just for fun, here are few tongue twisters:
- O rato roeu a roupa do rei de Roma – The rat gnawed the king of Rome’s clothes.
- A aranha arranha a rã. A rã arranha a aranha – The spider scratches the frog. The frog scratches the spider.