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Why Study Portuguese?

Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world

Spoken by about 230 million people, Portuguese is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world, well in front of German, French and Italian. It is the official language of eight countries. Portuguese is spoken all over the world - in Europe (Portugal and Portuguese islands), in Africa (Angola, Moçambique, Guiné-Bissau, São Tomé e Príncipe, Cabo Verde), in Asia (East Timor, Macau, Goa) and of course in South America (Brazil). There is a large community of Portuguese and Brazilian immigrants in the United States and Canada, and the Portuguese language has become commonly spoken in several areas of North America. Portuguese is the third most spoken European language (after English and Spanish), and the fastest growing language of Europe (with Spanish). One of the largest Portuguese speaking nations is Brazil, the 5th largest country in the world with the 8th largest economy. Today Brazil is considered by many to be an emerging superpower, whose progress will impact the world. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are among the biggest urban centres in the Americas. Already Brazil makes its mark hosting the 2016 Olympics, and is known for its passionate music and innovative dance, soccer teams, engineering and architectural firsts. The site of the Amazon river and forest, this places Brazil in the forefront of environmental discussions

Why Portuguese is not as hard as you think

  • Portuguese is descended from Latin, and is quite closely related to Spanish; if by chance you have learnt Spanish, you will find it quite easy; French or Italian would also help
  • Many Portuguese words will seem quite familiar to you right from the beginning. English also has a lot of words of Latin origin. If you know that “nation” is “nação”, and “situation” is “situação”, what do you think “organisation” will be?
  • The basic grammar of Portuguese is not difficult, and you will pick up a lot of the key points as you start to learn phrases and everyday language
  • Portuguese pronunciation may be a little harder than that of Spanish or Italian. However, it is not hard to achieve pronunciation which will at least be easily understood
  • Most of the spelling of the Portuguese language is reasonably predictable, though the link between spelling and pronunciation is a little more complicated than it is in Spanish
  • Brazilian Portuguese does differ somewhat from the language spoken in Portugal, but the two peoples understand one other in much the same way that speakers of British and American English understand one other
  • In terms of vocabulary, the ’80/20′ rule is certainly applicable here, generally speaking; one can understand 80% of what is spoken by knowing about 20% of the language. This is the way languages work – the most common word is twice as common as the second-most common word, which is twice as common as the third-most common word and so on


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