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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Portuguese Language and What Makes it Intriguing

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So, where are you from?

Oh, Brasil. Es verdad? Hablo español! Awe! (Oh Brazil. Really? I speak Spanish.)

Hello everyone. Welcome to the Langfocus channel. My name is Paul.

Today, I'm going to talk about Portuguese.

Portuguese is a language that far too often gets ignored.

In Canada, if you tell someone you want to study Portuguese, they might say "Oh. Isn't that kind of like Spanish?"

Or worse yet, they might say: "Why Portuguese? Why don't you study Spanish instead?"

And I'm sure Portuguese-speakers just love that.

The truth is that Portuguese is one of the world's major languages with between 215 and 220 million people.

It is the second most widely spoken Romance language after Spanish.

Like Spanish, it is so widely spoken because it spread to the four corners of the globe during the colonial period.

It is the only official language in Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Saõ Tomé and Príncipe

and it's co-official in East-Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau.

Like all romance languages, Portuguese developed from Vulgar Latin which was the spoken Latin used during the Roman Empire

Together with Castilian Spanish along with Galician and a few other languages, it forms the Ibero-Romance branch of the Romance language family.

It's called the Ibero-Romance because it's located on the Iberian Peninsula.

When the Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula, Vulgar Latin began to be spoken there.

And it started to diverge gradually over time into different regional dialects.

And by the 10th century, those dialects had diverged enough to be considered separate languages.

But Portuguese didn't exactly exist yet.

Galician-Portuguese also known as "Old Portuguese" existed.

Galician-Portuguese diverged into two separate modern languages : Galician and Portuguese by about the 16th century.

Although they're still quite similar from what I hear.

The language received its name "Portuguese" in the year 1290 when the King of Portugal opened the first university in Portugal.

And he decided that the language of instruction would not be Latin but would be the Vulgar Latin,

the spoken language and he decided to call that language "Português".

Portugal was still a relatively new kingdom at that time and the language had never been called Portuguese yet.

It was just called "Vulgar Latin" and it was not yet very distinct from the Vulgar Latin spoken in Galicia.

In the 1500s, when the newly developed printing press helped make Portuguese a standardized language,

Portugal had already started exploring and colonizing different areas of the world, bringing their language with them.

The net result is this:

Portuguese is spoken by around ten million people in Portugal

but it is much more dispersed around the world.

It is spoken by 205 million people in Brazil

And then, of course, there's Africa.

In Angola, it is the native language of about 5 million people, 20 % percent of the population.

But it's also widely used as a lingua franca that unites the country's different ethnic groups.

That is about 15 million more second language speakers.

Cape Verde's 500,000 people speak a Portuguese-based Creole as their native language

but they learn Portuguese as a second language for official purposes.

Also in Guinea-Bissau, the most common language is a Portuguese Creole

but Portuguese is also an official language with around 200,000 native speakers

In Mozambique there are 1.9 million native speakers and another 10 million who speak it as a second language.

In Saõ Tomé and Príncipe, it is spoken by another 120,000 people as a native language.

In Equatorial Guinea, it was made an official language in recent years though nobody really speaks it.

I think they did that to promote their relations with other Portuguese-speaking countries in the area.

And let's not forget Asia.

Portuguese is a co-official language in East-Timor, which was a Portuguese colony until 1975.

Nowadays, it is co-official language again but mostly only older people can speak it

and they are almost all second language speakers.

Also in Macau, Portuguese is spoken by 0.6% of the population as a native language

and it's also spoken by some elderly people as a second language but not so much these days.

There are also the former Portuguese colonies in India, specifically Goa, Daman y Diu.

Portuguese is spoken by some people there but the numbers are quite small these days

There are also Portuguese Creoles spoken in Malacca (Malaysia), Flores (Indonesia), Batticaloa (Sri Lanka) and Aruba.

If we include the second language speakers, then there are about 250 to 260 million speakers of Portuguese.

That does not include the creole languages.

Portuguese's the six most widely spoken language in the world.

And it is also the most widely spoken language in South America, even though it's only spoken in one country there, Brazil.

There are different accents and dialects of Portuguese but the main 2 categories are:

European Portuguese, which is spoken in Portugal and Brazilian Portuguese, which is spoken in Brazil.

Brazilian Portuguese is similar to 18th c. Portuguese and also has some influences from the indian languages and African languages of the people who were present in Brazil.

I've read a lot of comments by lots of different people about this.

But it seems like the difference between Brazilian and European Portuguese is basically like the difference between UK English versus American English.

There is different accent, different pronunciation. There are some different vocabulary words and idioms and some of the grammar is slightly different.

But basically, they are the same language and are intelligible.

Though sometimes depending on your exposure to the other variety of the language, you might have some trouble understanding or communicating.

Which one is better to study?

Well, most students of Portuguese seem to say that Brazilian Portuguese is easier to learn.

And, on top of that, Brazil has a huge population of over 200 million people and you're much more likely to meet Brazilians around the world, then you are Portuguese people in my experience.

On top of that, Brazilian soap operas are very popular around the world

and they make people in all Portuguese-speaking countries quite familiar with Brazilian Portuguese.

So, in my opinion, the best one to learn is Brazilian Portuguese,

unless you have a specific plan to visit or live in Portugal.

There might be some other reasons I prefer Brazilian Portuguese but there's no need to get into that right now

Did you know... ?

The Iberian Peninsula was under Islamic rule for several hundred years and, during that time,

Portugal absorbed some influence from the Arabic language and that includes about 800 vocabulary words of Arabic origin.

Something similar happened to Spanish too.

There are also some Portuguese words that have made their way into the english vocabulary.

For example:

Some food like:

And the insect:

Like most Romance languages, Portuguese has a lot of vocabulary that is recognizable to English-speakers, because of the French and Latin influence on English.

Let's look at a Portuguese sentence and I'll show you what I mean.

Okay, forgive my pronunciation, you guys.

So let's look at some of the words here.

"Cantora". Well, that looks like the English word "Cantor" which is someone who recites music in a synagogue or church, I think.

So I think that "cantora" is a "singer".

"Compositora". Well, that looks like composer. So I think that means "musical composer".

"Instrumentista". Well, I think that looks like "instrumentalist" or "musician".

And "produtora". That looks like producer so "produtora musical" must mean "musical producer"

And then, "atriz" that must mean "actress" and "norte-americana" that looks like "North-American"

So, if you look at all of those words and just kind of analyze each word, you can figure out the meaning of that sentence pretty easily.

A lot of Portuguese sentences are like that though they're not always that simple, but...

I give you a simple example just to show you that you can often recognize words like that.

So you can probably learn to read some Portuguese fairly easily if you're an English-speaker.

And if you know another Romance language, then you can probably already read a lot of it without having studied the language.

Of course, learning to speak it and to write it will require focus and effort because that means

you have to actually produce the phonology and produced the grammar as you have to do with any language.

So, stop thinking of Portuguese as the strange little brother of Spanish.

It's actually an important global language that stands on its own.

Thank you for watching the Langfocus channel.

If you are interested in Portuguese and in Brazil, make sure you also check out my video on Brazil

on my other channel Geofocus and it's right here

Thank you for watching. And have a nice day!

The Description of The Portuguese Language and What Makes it Intriguing