Portuguese language


May 29, 2022

The Portuguese language, also known as Portuguese, is an Indo-European Romance West inflection language originated from the Galician-Portuguese spoken in the Kingdom of Galicia and northern Portugal. With the creation of the Kingdom of Portugal in 1139 and the expansion to the south following the Reconquest, the language spread throughout the conquered lands and later, with the Portuguese discoveries, to Brazil, Africa and other parts of the world. Portuguese was used, at that time, not only in the cities conquered by the Portuguese, but also by many local rulers in their contacts with other powerful foreigners. Especially at that time the Portuguese language also influenced several languages. During the Age of Discovery, Portuguese sailors took their language to distant places. Exploration was followed by attempts to colonize new lands for the Portuguese Empire, and as a result, Portuguese dispersed across the world. Brazil and Portugal are the only two countries whose primary language is Portuguese. It is an official language in former Portuguese colonies, namely Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe, all in Africa. Furthermore, for historical reasons, speakers of Portuguese, or Portuguese Creoles, are also found in Macau (China), East Timor, in Damão and Diu and in the state of Goa (India), Malacca (Malaysia), in enclaves in Flores Island (Indonesia), Bataloa in (Sri Lanka) and the ABC Islands in the Caribbean. It is one of the official languages ​​of the European Union, Mercosur, the Union of South American Nations, the Organization of American States, the African Union and of Lusophone Countries. With approximately 280 million speakers, Portuguese is the 5th most spoken language in the world, the 3rd most spoken in the western hemisphere and the most spoken in the southern hemisphere of the planet. Portuguese is known as "the language of Camões" (in honor of one of Portugal's best-known literary figures, Luís Vaz de Camões, author of Os Lusíadas) and "the last flower of Lazio" (an expression used in the sonnet Língua Portuguesa, by the Brazilian writer Olavo Bilac). Miguel de Cervantes, the famous Spanish author, considered the language "sweet and pleasant". In March 2006, the Museu da Língua Portuguesa, an interactive museum about the language, was founded in São Paulo, Brazil, the city with the largest number of Portuguese speakers in the world. The International Day of the Portuguese Language is celebrated in May 5th. The date was established in 2009, within the scope of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), with the purpose of promoting the sense of community and pluralism of Portuguese speakers. The commemoration also promotes the discussion of idiomatic and cultural issues of Lusophony, promoting integration between the peoples of these nine countries.


Origins and Roman period

Portuguese originated in what is now Galicia and northern Portugal, derived from Vulgar Latin that was introduced to the west of the Iberian Peninsula around two thousand years ago. It has a Celtic-Lusitanian substrate, resulting from the native language of the pre-Roman Iberian peoples who inhabited the western part of the Peninsula (Galaicos, Lusitanos, Celtics and Cónios). It arose in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula and developed in its western range, including part of ancient Lusitania and Roman Baetica. The Galician-Portuguese novel is born from spoken Latin, brought by Roman soldiers, colonists and magistrates. Contact with Vulgar Latin meant that, after a period of bilingualism, local languages ​​disappeared, leading to the emergence of new dialects. It is assumed that the language started its process of differentiation from other Iberian languages ​​through the contact of different local native languages ​​with Vulgar Latin, which led to the possible development of several individual traits still in the period.