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Portuguese: The fastest growing European language after English

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10 facts about the Portuguese language


Portuguese is a Romance language. It is spoken in Portugal, Brazil and other Portuguese colonial territories.


Portuguese is the second most spoken Romance language after Spanish in Latin America.


There are over 10 million Portuguese speaking people in Portugal and over 187 million in Brazil.


Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe.


Countries or people who speak Portuguese are called “Lusophone.”


It is the sixth most spoken language and the third most spoken European language in the world.


The Brazilian variant of Portuguese is ranked as one of the 10 most significant languages in the world.


Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese differ in sound changes as well as grammatical syntax.


Portuguese is closely linked to Galician, a language spoken in Northwestern Spain.


Portuguese is also mutually intelligible with Spanish, even though both languages vary in grammar and vocabulary.

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Origin of the language

Portuguese emerged in the Iberian Peninsula.

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History of the language

It is believed that Portuguese originated in the 2nd century.

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Learning the language

It takes 600 hours to learn Portuguese as an English speaker.

Portuguese language diversity

Portuguese is the native language of Portugal and Brazil, and 8 other countries.

There are four primary dialect groups in Portuguese, all of which are mutually intelligible: (1) Central, or Beira; (2) Southern, which includes Lisbon, Alentejo, and Algarve; (3) Insular, which includes Madeira and the Azores dialects; and (4) Brazilian. The 16th century saw the development of standard Portuguese, which was based on dialects spoken from Lisbon to Coimbra.


Did you know?

Sound differences as well as grammatical syntax distinguish Brazilian Portuguese from European Portuguese.

Portuguese uses nasal vowels, denoted in the orthography by m or n following the vowel.

Its verb system is quite distinct from that of Spanish in terms of grammar.

Until the 15th century, Galician and Portuguese were a single language known as Gallego-Portuguese, or Galician-Portuguese, Old Portuguese or Medieval Galician.

The initial evidence for the language comes from a few words in Latin literature dating from the 9th to 12th centuries.

The Portuguese parliament enacted legislation in 2008 requiring the adoption of a uniform spelling based on Brazilian forms.

Language for beginners

Ten basic words to start learning in Portuguese:

Hello: Olá
Bye: Tchau
Come: venha
Love: amor
Thank you: obrigada
Sorry: desculpe
Sad: triste
Happy: feliz
Good: boa or bom
New: nova or novo


Cross the meadow and the stream and listen as the peaceful water brings peace onto your soul.

Maximillian Degenerez


Talent without working hard is nothing.

Christiano Ronaldo


Look, there's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates.

Fernando Pessoa


Fun facts about Portuguese

Sao Paulo and Portuguese

Only 5% of Portuguese speakers reside in Portugal. The majority of them reside in Brazil. The city of Sao Paulo has the highest number of Portuguese speakers in the world.

Fastest growing language

Portuguese is believed to be the fastest growing European language in the world after English. This is due to the constantly growing population of Brazil.

English to Portuguese

When English is translated into Portuguese, the text is longer and normally increases by up to 30% in overall length.

Arabic influences

When Spain and Portugal were invaded by the Islamic Sultanate in the 8th century, Arabic gradually seeped into the local languages.

The longest word

The longest Portuguese word has 29 letters,  anticonstitucionalíssimamente, and it means to do something in an unorthodox way.

Portuguese words in the English language

Cobra, fetish and embarrass are examples of Portuguese words which have been incorporated into the standard English lexicon.

Until recently, Portuguese only had 23 letters

Before 2009, the Portuguese alphabet did not include the letters “k,” “w” and “y.” They were introduced to the language then.

Verb tenses have different endings

Unlike English,  each verb tense in Portuguese has six distinct conjugations for a variety of pronouns.

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