Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language with about 230 million speakers worldwide. Also, after Spanish and English, it is the third most spoken European language. It was added as one of the official languages of the European Union in 1986.
1. Official Language Of Portugal Since 1290
Portuguese evolved from Latin, it was introduced to Portugal somewhere around 200 BC. However Portuguese did not become the national language of Portugal until 1290, when King Denis of Portugal declared it as the official language of Portugal. Also, it is the official language of seven other countries excluding Portugal, which are – Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guine-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé e Príncipe.
2. Only 5% Of Portuguese Speakers Reside In Portugal
Of over 200 million native Portuguese speakers, only about 10 million of them live in Portugal. Although it is the official language of Portuguese, there are more Portuguese speakers in Brazil than any other country where Portuguese is used! Apart from that, Portuguese is spoken in Europe, South America, and even Africa.
3. Widely Spoken In Four Continents
Portuguese is widely spoken in 4 continents: in Europe (Portugal and Portuguese islands – Madeiras and Azores), in South America (Brazil), Africa (Angola, Moçambique, Guiné-Bissau, São Tomé e Príncipe), and in Asia (East Timor, Macau, Goa).
source: cua.edu, image: Wikimedia.org
4. Addition Of K, W, And Y
Before 2009, the letters k, y, and w were not a Part of Portuguese Alphabet, but due to the recent influx of loanwords from English, these letters had to be added in the Alphabet in January 2009.
5. To Be Or Not To Be!
In Portuguese, there are two different meanings for the verb “to be”. So, you have to be really careful about its usage. “Ser” means “to be” in the sense of your existence, your quintessential characteristic and “Estar” means “to be” for transient situations. For example – “estar esquecido” means “to be forgotten”, but “ser esquecido” means “to be forgetful”. Another such example is – “estar morto” – to be dead and “ser morto” – to be killed.
6. One Of The Five Languages Of Romance
It is one of the five main Romance languages, including French, Italian, Romanian and Spanish. Romance languages are basically the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the sixth and ninth centuries.
7. Influence From Various Languages
Hundreds of words from the Portuguese language are derived from Arabic. It has also absorbed words from Italian, French, and English. The most common ones include – televisão, estudante, universidade, mapa, problema and bicicleta. English also, has adopted some words from Portuguese like cobra, flamingo Piranha and the Brazilian cocktail – caipirinha.
8. Longest Portuguese Word
The longest Portuguese word is otorrinolaringologista, meaning an ear, nose, and throat doctor. It is strange how the longest words in most languages happen to come from the medical side.
9. Very Similar To Spanish
Even though Portuguese language has superficial similarities to Spanish, it is more closely related to Galician, which is spoken by around 3 million people in the Northwest corner of Spain. Portuguese speaking people can understand Spanish easily.