World Portuguese Language Day

May 5, 2023

Every year on 5 May, the UN celebrates World Portuguese Language Day and to mark this we wanted to share with you three reasons to learn Portuguese.
Firstly, the Portuguese language is the 6th most spoken language in the world.  
It is also the most widely spoken language in the southern hemisphere and in ten different territories in four continents including: Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, The Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome, Macau, East Timor and Equatorial Guinea. Only 5% of Portuguese speakers actually live in Portugal!
Secondly, Portuguese remains today a major language of international communication and a language with a strong geographical projection, which is destined to increase.
Thirdly, it opens the door to working in Brazil, which is the 8th largest economy in the world and a major exported of crude petroleum, iron, corn, wood pulp products and soya beans.
Just as there are differences between American English and British English, there are differences between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese. They might seem the same to a non-speaker, but there are considerable differences between the two: the most obvious is the accent in that the Portuguese ‘swallow’ their vowels, while the Brazilians ‘stretch’ them. There are also differences in grammar, and there are even some words that sound perfectly normal in European Portuguese but are an insult in Brazilian Portuguese.
Portuguese isn’t the easiest language to learn, especially if you don’t speak Spanish or Italian (which are fairly similar to Portuguese when it comes to grammar). People learning Portuguese tend to say that the Brazilian Portuguese is easier to learn and understand. That happens because of the pronunciation. As Brazilians say all the letters in a word with an open accent, it makes it easier to understand for a foreigner than when the Portuguese cut the sound of most vowels.
When it comes to deciding whether you should learn European or Brazilian Portuguese, it depends a lot on your personal goals. You’ll be able to read in both types no matter which one you’ll choose to learn even if there are a few differences. When it comes to speaking and listening, it won’t always be easy for you to understand what people with a different accent are saying but, as we’ve learned, not even natives can understand each other all the time!
For those interested in learning Portuguese, Babel can provide you with a focused and tailored language training programme to help you reach your language learning goals, so get in touch today and see how we can help.


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