Countries that Speak Portuguese
Did you know that Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world?
You already know that Portuguese is spoken in Portugal, but there are also many other countries that speak the language.
Here’s a list, (descending in population): Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Macau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe. More at wikipedia.com.
Have you noticed that you can already recognize some Portuguese words? That’s because, just like English, Portuguese has strong Latin roots.
Portuguese is considered a “Romance” or “Vulgar Latin” language (just like Spanish, French, Italian and Romanian). If you have studied any of these other languages, you will see even more similarities not only in vocabulary but also grammar structure.
Aside from Latin, Portuguese has also been influenced by other languages like Arabic, French, Italian, indigenous South American, as well as African languages.
Portuguese is usually divided into 2 main dialects:
- Brazilian Portuguese
- European Portuguese (which also includes the African and Asian colonies’ dialects, because they are much more similar to European than Brazilian Portuguese)
#GoogleProblems: The Struggle Is Real!
As you may have figured out by now (in your desperate Google searches for non-Brazilian Portuguese resources!), “European Portuguese” is also referred to as:
- Continental Portuguese
- Lusitanian Portuguese
- Portuguese of Portugal
- …or sometimes even referred to informally as Portuguese Portuguese!
With only 11 million European Portuguese speakers vs. 200 million Brazilian Portuguese speakers, there’s no wonder why it’s so hard to find quality resources!
European Portuguese vs. Brazilian:
Although Brazilian and European Portuguese are technically the same language, the differences are so great that even Brazilian Portuguese natives can have a hard time understanding European Portuguese when spoken quickly. Here are just a few of these differences:
- Pronunciation: The European accent is much more closed, especially in the varying degrees of open and closed vowels.
- Informal vs. formal: In most of Brazil, the word for “you” is “você”. In Portugal, we use “tu” in informal situations, and different forms of “você” in formal situations. There are many ways to speak to someone formally, which can be confusing even for long-term residents of Portugal! For example, it’s common to address someone to their face using the third person. To ask Rui the question “Do you want coffee?” in a more formal way, you would say: O Rui quer café? Does the Rui want coffee?
- Vocabulary: There are many common words that are completely different. For example, the word for “dog” in Brazil is: “o cachorro” and in Portugal: “o cão”.