definition of Wikipedia
|Spoken in||See geographic distribution of Portuguese|
|Native speakers||203 million
Total: 252 million (2011)
|Writing system||Latin (Portuguese alphabet)|
|Official language in||
Numerous international organisations
|Regulated by||International Portuguese Language Institute
Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazil)
Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, Classe de Letras (Portugal)
Official and administrative language
Cultural or secondary language
Portuguese speaking minorities
Portuguese ( português (help·info) or língua portuguesa) is a Romance language. It is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guiné-Bissau and São Tomé e Príncipe. Portuguese has co-official status (alongside the indigenous language) in Macau, and in East Timor in South East Asia; Portuguese speakers are also found in Goa in India.
Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes once called Portuguese "the sweet language" and Spanish playwright Lope de Vega referred to it as "sweet", while the Brazilian writer Olavo Bilac poetically described it as a última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela (the last flower of Latium, wild and beautiful). Portuguese is also termed "the language of Camões", after one of Portugal's greatest literary figures, Luís Vaz de Camões.
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.
With a total of 236 million speakers, Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world, the 3rd most spoken language in the western hemisphere, and the most spoken language in the southern hemisphere.
When Romans arrived in the Iberian Peninsula in 216 BC, they brought the Latin language, from which all Romance languages descend. The language was spread by arriving Roman soldiers, settlers, and merchants, who built Roman cities mostly near the settlements of previous civilizations.
Between AD 409 and 711, as the Roman Empire collapsed in Western Europe, the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by Germanic peoples (Migration Period). The occupiers, mainly Suebi and Visigoths, quickly adopted late Roman culture and the Vulgar Latin dialects of the peninsula. After the Moorish invasion of 711, Arabic became the administrative language in the conquered regions, but most of the population continued to speak a form of Romance commonly known as Mozarabic. The influence exerted by Arabic on the Romance dialects spoken in the Christian kingdoms was mainly restricted to affecting their lexicon.
|Das que vejo|
|outra senhor se vós nom,|
|mataria um leon,|
|senhor do meu coraçom:|
|bela sobre toda fror,|
|nom me meta|
|em tal coita voss'amor!|
Portuguese evolved from the medieval language, known today by linguists as Galician-Portuguese or Old Portuguese or Old Galician, of the north-western medieval Kingdom of Galicia. 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 Galicia, then a subkingdom of León. In the first part of 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. 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, later moved to Coimbra) and decreed that Portuguese, then simply called the "common language", 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. Nowadays, the great majority of Portuguese speakers live in Brazil, in South America, Portugal's biggest former colony. 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. 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 a creole language 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 a 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 since the Renaissance, which greatly enriched the lexicon.
Portuguese is the language of majority of people in Angola (80%), Brazil, Portugal, and São Tomé and Príncipe (95%). Although only just over 10% of the population are native speakers of Portuguese in Mozambique, the language is spoken by about 50.4% there according to the 2007 census. It is also spoken by 11.5% of the population in Guinea-Bissau. No data is available for Cape Verde, but almost all the population is bilingual, and the monolingual population speaks Cape Verdean Creole.
There are also significant Portuguese-speaking immigrant communities in many countries including Andorra (15.4%), Australia, Bermuda, Canada (0.72% or 219,275 persons in the 2006 census but between 400,000 and 500,000 according to Nancy Gomes), Curaçao, France, Japan, Jersey, Luxembourg (9%), Namibia (about 4-5% of the population, mainly refugees from Angola in the North of the country) Paraguay (10.7% or 636,000 persons), Macau (0.6% or 12,000 persons), South Africa, Switzerland (196,000 nationals in 2008), Venezuela (1 to 2% or 254,000 to 480,000), and the USA (0.24% of the population or 687,126 speakers according to the 2007 American Community Survey), mainly in Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts (where it is the second most spoken language in the state), New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (with the Portuguese acronym CPLP) consists of the eight independent countries that have Portuguese as an official language: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe.
Equatorial Guinea made a formal application for full membership to the CPLP in June 2010 and should add Portuguese as its third official language (alongside Spanish and French) since this is one of the conditions. The President of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema Mbasog, and Prime-Minister Cheaf of State, Ignacio Milam Tang, have approved on July 20, 2011 the new Constitutional bill that intends to add Portuguese as an official language of the country. The bill is now waiting for ratification by the People's Representative Chamber and it shall come into force 20 days after its publication at the official state's gazette.
Portuguese is also one of the official languages of the Chinese special administrative region of Macau (alongside Chinese) and of several international organizations, including the Mercosur, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union of South American Nations, the Organization of American States, the African Union and the European Union.
According to statistical and credible data from each government and their statistical national bureaus the population of each of the nine jurisdictions is as follows (by descending order):
This means that the population living in the lusophone official area is of 240,569,133 inhabitants.
To this number there is yet to add the big diaspora of lusophone nations spread throughout the world, estimated in little less than 10 million people (4.5 million Portuguese, 3 million Brazilians, half a million Cape Verdeans, etc.) although it is hard to obtain official accurate numbers — including the percentage of this diaspora that can actually speak Portuguese, because a significative portion of these citizens are Portuguese or non-Portuguese citizens born outside of lusophone territory, descendants of immigrants, and who do not speak the language. It is also important to refer that a big part of these national diasporas is a part of the already counted population of the Portuguese-speaking countries and territories, like the high number of Brazilian and PALOP's emigrant citizens in Portugal, or the high number of Portuguese emigrant citizens in the PALOP's and Brazil.
So being, the Portuguese language serves daily little more than 240 million people, who have direct or indirect legal, juridic 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.
It's also noticeable the growing numbers of these countries and jurisdictions' population to raw numbers easily identified: Continental Portugal with 10 million speakers and Azores and Madeira counting already half a million together; Brazil reaches 190 million, Mozambique 20 million, Angola 15 million, Guinea-Bissau an accurate 1 and a half million, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe count for half a million together as well, Macau reaches half a million and Timor reaches finally the group of countries with one million inhabitants leaving the list of thousands. These are recent and real numbers that individually and all together strengthen the lusophone identities and the Portuguese language on an international basis.
The mandatory offering of Portuguese in school curricula is observed in Uruguay and Argentina. Other countries where Portuguese is taught at schools or is being introduced now include Venezuela, Zambia, Congo, Senegal, Namibia, Swaziland, Côte d'Ivoire, and South Africa.
According to estimates by UNESCO, Portuguese and Spanish are the fastest-growing European languages after English and the language has the highest potential for growth as an international language in southern Africa and South America. The Portuguese-speaking African countries are expected to have a combined population of 83 million by 2050. In total, the Portuguese-speaking countries will have 335 million people by the same year.
Since 1991, when Brazil signed into the economic community of Mercosur with other South American nations, such as Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, there has been an increase in interest in the study of Portuguese in those South American countries. The demographic weight of Brazil in the continent will continue to strengthen the presence of the language in the region.
Although early in the 21st century, after Macau was ceded to China, the use of Portuguese was in decline in Asia, it is once again becoming a language of opportunity there; mostly because of increased Chinese diplomatic and financial ties with Portuguese-speaking countries.
Modern Standard Portuguese (português padrão) is based on the Portuguese spoken in the area including and surrounding the city of Coimbra, in Central Portugal. Standard 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 dialects in Brazil are exclusive to South America, and cannot be found in Europe. However, the Santomean Portuguese in Africa may be confused with a Brazilian accent. Some aspects link some Brazilian accents with the ones spoken in Africa, such as the pronunciation of "menino", which is pronounced as [mininu] compared to [mɨninu] in Standard Portuguese. Dialects from inland Northern Portugal have significant similarities with Galician.
Audio samples of some dialects and accents of Portuguese are available below. There are some differences between the areas but these are the best approximations possible. IPA transcriptions refer to the names in local pronounce.
Differences between dialects are mostly of accent and vocabulary, but between the Brazilian dialects and other dialects, especially in their most colloquial forms, there can also be some grammatical differences. The Portuguese-based creoles spoken in various parts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas are independent languages.
Portuguese, like Catalan and Sardinian, preserved the stressed vowels of Vulgar Latin, which became diphthongs in most other Romance languages; cf. Port., Cat., Sard. pedra ; Fr. pierre, Sp. piedra, It. pietra, Ro. piatră, from Lat. petram ("stone"); or Port. fogo, Cat. foc, Sard. fogu; Sp. fuego, It. fuoco, Fr. feu, Ro. foc, from Lat. focus ("fire"). Another characteristic of early Portuguese was the loss of intervocalic l and n, sometimes followed by the merger of the two surrounding vowels, or by the insertion of an epenthetic vowel between them: cf. Lat. salire ("to leave"), tenere ("to have"), catenam ("chain"), Sp. salir, tener, cadena, Port. sair, ter, cadeia.
When the elided consonant was n, it often nasalized the preceding vowel: cf. Lat. manum ("hand"), ranam ("frog"), bonum ("good"), Port. mão, rãa, bõo (now mão, rã, bom). This process was the source of most of the language's distinctive nasal diphthongs. In particular, the Latin endings -anem, -anum and -onem became -ão in most cases, cf. Lat. canem ("dog"), germanum ("brother"), rationem ("reason") with Modern Port. cão, irmão, razão, and their plurals -anes, -anos, -ones normally became -ães, -ãos, -ões, cf. cães, irmãos, razões.
Most of the lexicon of Portuguese is derived from Latin. Nevertheless, because of the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages, and the participation of Portugal in the Age of Discovery, it has adopted loanwords from all over the world.
Very few Portuguese words can be traced to the pre-Roman inhabitants of Portugal, which included the Gallaeci, Lusitanians, Celtici and Cynetes. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians, briefly present, also left some scarce traces. Some notable examples are abóbora "pumpkin" and bezerro "year-old calf", from the nearby Celtiberian language (probably through the Celtici); cerveja "beer", from Celtic; through Latin "cervisia."
In the 5th century, the Iberian Peninsula (the Roman Hispania) was conquered by the Germanic Suebi and Visigoths. As they adopted the Roman civilization and language, however, these people contributed only a few words to the lexicon, mostly related to warfare—such as espora "spur", estaca "stake", and guerra "war", from Gothic *spaúra, *stakka, and *wirro, respectively. The influence also exists in toponymic and patronymic surnames borne by Visigoth sovereigns and their descendants, and it dwells on placenames such has Ermesinde, Esposende and Resende where sinde and sende are derived from the Germanic "sinths" (military expedition) and in the case of Resende, the prefix re comes from Germanic "reths" (council).
Between the 9th and 13th centuries, Portuguese acquired about 800 words from Arabic by influence of Moorish Iberia. They are often recognizable by the initial Arabic article a(l)-, and include many common words such as aldeia "village" from الضيعة alḍai`a, alface "lettuce" from الخس alkhass, armazém "warehouse" from المخزن almakhzan, and azeite "olive oil" from الزيت azzait. From Arabic came also the grammatically peculiar word oxalá إن شاء الله "hopefully". The Mozambican currency name metical was derived from the word متقال mitqāl, a unit of weight. The word Mozambique itself is from the Arabic name of sultan Muça Alebique (Musa Alibiki).
Starting in the 15th century, the Portuguese maritime explorations led to the introduction of many loanwords from Asian languages. For instance, catana "cutlass" from Japanese katana and chá "tea" from Chinese chá.
From the 16th to the 19th centuries, because of the role of Portugal as intermediary in the Atlantic slave trade, and the establishment of large Portuguese colonies in Angola, Mozambique, and Brazil, Portuguese got several words of African and Amerind origin, especially names for most of the animals and plants found in those territories. While those terms are mostly used in the former colonies, many became current in European Portuguese as well. From Kimbundu, for example, came kifumate → cafuné "head caress", kusula → caçula "youngest child", marimbondo "tropical wasp", and kubungula → bungular "to dance like a wizard".
Finally, it has received a steady influx of loanwords from other European languages. For example, melena "hair lock", fiambre "wet-cured ham" (in contrast with presunto "dry-cured ham" from Latin prae-exsuctus "dehydrated"), and castelhano "Castilian", from Spanish; colchete/crochê "bracket"/"crochet", paletó "jacket", batom "lipstick", and filé/filete "steak"/"slice", rua "street" respectively, from French crochet, paletot, bâton, filet; macarrão "pasta", piloto "pilot", carroça "carriage", and barraca "barrack", from Italian maccherone, pilota, carrozza, baracca; and bife "steak", futebol, revólver, estoque, folclore, from English beef, football, revolver, stock, folklore.
Despite the obvious lexical and grammatical similarities between Portuguese and other Romance languages, it is not mutually intelligible with them. Apart from Galician and Spanish, Portuguese speakers will usually need some formal study of basic grammar and vocabulary before attaining a reasonable level of comprehension in the other Romance languages, and vice versa.
The closest language to Portuguese is Galician, spoken in the autonomous community of Galicia (northwestern Spain). The two were at one time a single language, known today as Galician-Portuguese, but since the political separation of Portugal from Galicia they have diverged, especially in pronunciation and vocabulary. Nevertheless, the core vocabulary and grammar of Galician are still noticeably closer to Portuguese than to those of Spanish. In particular, like Portuguese, it uses the future subjunctive, the personal infinitive, and the synthetic pluperfect. Mutual intelligibility (estimated at 85% by R. A. Hall, Jr., 1989) is very good between Galicians and northern Portuguese, but poorer between Galicians and speakers from central Portugal. Nevertheless, many renowned linguists still consider Galician to be a dialect of the Portuguese language.
The Fala language is another descendant of Galician-Portuguese, spoken by a small number of people in the Spanish towns of Valverde del Fresno, Eljas and San Martín de Trevejo (autonomous community of Extremadura, near the border with Portugal).
Portuguese has provided loanwords to many languages, such as Indonesian, Manado Malay, Sri Lankan Tamil and Sinhalese, Malay, Bengali, English, Hindi, Swahili, Afrikaans, Konkani, Marathi, Tetum, Xitsonga, Papiamentu, Japanese, Lanc-Patuá (spoken in northern Brazil), Esan and Sranan Tongo (spoken in Suriname). It left a strong influence on the língua brasílica, a Tupi–Guarani language, which was the most widely spoken in Brazil until the 18th century, and on the language spoken around Sikka in Flores Island, Indonesia. In nearby Larantuka, Portuguese is used for prayers in Holy Week rituals. The Japanese–Portuguese dictionary Nippo Jisho (1603) was the first dictionary of Japanese in a European language, a product of Jesuit missionary activity in Japan. Building on the work of earlier Portuguese missionaries, the Dictionarium Anamiticum, Lusitanum et Latinum (Annamite–Portuguese–Latin dictionary) of Alexandre de Rhodes (1651) introduced the modern orthography of Vietnamese, which is based on the orthography of 17th-century Portuguese. The Romanization of Chinese was also influenced by the Portuguese language (among others), particularly regarding Chinese surnames; one example is Mei. During 1583–88 Italian Jesuits Michele Ruggieri and Matteo Ricci created a Portuguese–Chinese dictionary—the first ever European–Chinese dictionary.
Beginning in the 16th century, the extensive contacts between Portuguese travelers and settlers, African and Asian slaves, and local populations led to the appearance of many pidgins with varying amounts of Portuguese influence. As each of these pidgins became the mother tongue of succeeding generations, they evolved into fully fledged creole languages, which remained in use in many parts of Asia, Africa and South America until the 18th century. Some Portuguese-based or Portuguese-influenced creoles are still spoken today, by over 3 million people worldwide, especially people of partial Portuguese ancestry.
There is a maximum of 9 oral vowels and 19 consonants, though some varieties of the language have fewer phonemes (Brazilian Portuguese is usually analyzed as having 7 oral vowels). There are also five nasal vowels, which some linguists regard as allophones of the oral vowels, ten oral diphthongs, and five nasal diphthongs. In total, Brazilian Portuguese has 13 vowel phonemes.
To the seven vowels of Vulgar Latin, European Portuguese has added two near central vowels, one of which tends to be elided in rapid speech, like the e caduc of French (/ɯ̽/, but commonly represented as [ɨ]). The functional load of these two additional vowels is very low. The high vowels /e o/ and the low vowels /ɛ ɔ/ are four distinct phonemes, and they alternate in various forms of apophony. Like Catalan, Portuguese uses vowel quality to contrast stressed syllables with unstressed syllables: isolated vowels tend to be raised, and in some cases centralized, when unstressed. Nasal diphthongs occur mostly at the ends of words.
The consonant inventory of Portuguese is fairly conservative. The medieval affricates /ts/, /dz/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/ merged with the fricatives /s/, /z/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, respectively, but not with each other, and there have been no other significant changes to the consonant phonemes since then. However, some notable dialectal variants and allophones have appeared, among which:
|Original||IPA (Lisbon)||IPA (São Paulo)||IPA (Santiago de Compostela)||Translation|
|Sustentava contra ele Vénus bela,||suʃtẽˈtavɐ ˈkõtɾɐ ˈelɨ ˈvɛnuʒ ˈβɛlɐ||sustẽˈtavɐ ˈkõtɾɐ ˈeli ˈvenuz ˈbɛlɐ||sustenˈtaβa ˈkontɾa ˈel ˈβɛnuz ˈβɛla||Held against him the beautiful Venus|
|Afeiçoada à gente Lusitana,||ɐfɐjsuˈaðaː ˈʒẽtɨ luziˈtɐnɐ||afejsuˈadaː ˈʒẽtʃi luziˈtɐnɐ||afejθoˈaðaː ˈʃente lusiˈtana||Fondly to the Lusitanian people,|
|Por quantas qualidades via nela||puɾ ˈkwɐ̃tɐʃ kwɐliˈðaðɨʒ ˈviɐ ˈnɛlɐ||puɾ ˈkwɐ̃tɐs kwaliˈdadʒiz ˈviɐ ˈnɛlɐ||poɾ ˈkantas kwaliˈðaðez ˈβia ˈnɛla||For many qualities she saw in them|
|Da antiga tão amada sua Romana;||dɐ̃ˈtiɣɐ ˈtɐ̃w̃ ɐˈmaðɐ ˈsuɐ ʁuˈmɐnɐ||dãːˈtʃiɡɐ ˈtɐ̃w̃ ɐˈmadɐ ˈsuɐ hoˈmɐnɐ||danˈtiɣa ˈtaŋ aˈmaða ˈsua roˈmana||From his old beloved Roman;|
|Nos fortes corações,
na grande estrela,
|nuʃ ˈfɔɾtɨʃ kuɾɐˈsõj̃ʃ
|nus ˈfɔɾtʃis koɾaˈsõj̃s
|nos ˈfɔɾtes koɾaˈθons
|In the stout hearts, in the big star|
|Que mostraram na terra Tingitana,||kɨ muʃˈtɾaɾɐ̃w̃ nɐ ˈtɛʁɐ tĩʒiˈtɐnɐ||ki mosˈtɾaɾɐ̃w̃ na ˈtɛhɐ tʃĩʒiˈtɐnɐ||ke mosˈtɾaraŋ na ˈtɛra tinʃiˈtana||That showed in the Tingitana land,|
|E na língua, na qual quando imagina,||i nɐ ˈlĩɡwɐ nɐ ˈkwaɫ ˈkwɐ̃du jmɐˈʒinɐ||i na ˈlĩɡwɐ na ˈkwaw ˈkwɐ̃dimaˈʒinɐ||e na ˈliŋɡwa na ˈkal ˈkando jmaˈʃina||And in the language, which when it is imagined|
|Com pouca corrupção crê que é a Latina.||kõ ˈpokɐ kuʁupˈsɐ̃w̃ ˈkɾe kiˈɛ ɐ lɐˈtinɐ||kũ ˈpokɐ kohup(i)ˈsɐ̃w̃ ˈkɾe kiˈɛ a laˈtʃinɐ||kom ˈpowka korupˈθoŋ ˈkɾe ˈke ˈɛ a laˈtina||With little corruption, believes that it is Latin.|
A notable aspect of the grammar of Portuguese is the verb. Morphologically, more verbal inflections from classical Latin have been preserved by Portuguese than by any other major Romance language. It has also some innovations not found in other Romance languages (except Galician and the Fala):
|Portugal and non-1990 Agreement countries||Brazil and 1990 Agreement countries||translation|
|óptimo||ótimo||best, excellent, optimal|
Portuguese is written with 26 letters of the Latin script, making use of five diacritics to denote stress, vowel height, contraction, nasalization, and other sound changes (acute accent, grave accent, circumflex accent, tilde, and cedilla). Accented characters and digraphs are not counted as separate letters for collation purposes.
|Portuguese language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Portuguese language|
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