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Portuguese (português or, in full, língua portuguesa) is a Western Romance language of the Indo-European language family, originating in the Iberian Peninsula of . It is the official language of , , , , , and São Tomé and Príncipe, while having co-official language status in , Equatorial Guinea, and . Portuguese-speaking people or nations are "" (lusófonos). As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese speakers is also found around the world. Portuguese is part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia and the County of Portugal, and has kept some Celtic phonology.

With approximately 230 million native speakers and 25–30 million speakers, Portuguese has approximately 250 million total speakers. It is usually listed as the fifth-most spoken native language, the third-most spoken European language in the world in terms of native speakers and the second-most spoken Romance language in the world, surpassed only by . Being the second most widely spoken language in and the most-spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere, it is also the second-most spoken language, after , in , one of the 10 most spoken languages in , and an official language of the , , the Organization of American States, the Economic Community of West African States, the , and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, an international organization made up of all of the world's officially nations. In 1997, a comprehensive academic study ranked Portuguese as one of the 10 most influential languages in the world. "The World's 10 most influential languages", George Weber, 1997, Language Today

"...includes besides many other languages, Bengali, English, French, German, Hindi/Urdu, Italian, Marathi, Panjabi, Persian, Brazilian (Portuguese), Russian, the Scandinavian languages, and Spanish."

" Portuguese today means above all Brazilian."Bernard Comrie, Encarta Encyclopedia (1998); George Weber, "Top Languages: The World's 10 Most Influential Languages", Language Today (Vol. 2, December 1997). Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-09-28.

When the arrived in the Iberian Peninsula in 216 BC, they brought with them the , from which all Romance languages are descended. The language was spread by Roman soldiers, settlers, and merchants, who built Roman cities mostly near the settlements of previous civilizations established long before the Roman arrivals. For that reason, the language has kept a relevant substratum of much older, Megalithic CultureBenozzo, F. (2018): "Uma paisagem atlântica pré-histórica. Etnogénese e etno-filologia paleo-mesolítica das tradições galega e portuguesa", in proceedings of Jornadas das Letras Galego-Portugesas 2015–2017. Università de Bologna, DTS and Academia Galega da Língua Portuguesa. pp. 159–170 and , part of the Hispano-Celtic group of ancient languages."In the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, and more specifically between the west and north Atlantic coasts and an imaginary line running north-south and linking Oviedo and Merida, there is a corpus of Latin inscriptions with particular characteristics of its own. This corpus contains some linguistic features that are clearly Celtic and others that in our opinion are not Celtic. The former we shall group, for the moment, under the label northwestern Hispano-Celtic. The latter are the same features found in well-documented contemporary inscriptions in the region occupied by the Lusitanians, and therefore belonging to the variety known as LUSITANIAN, or more broadly as GALLO-LUSITANIAN. As we have already said, we do not consider this variety to belong to the Celtic language family." Jordán Colera 2007: p.750 In Latin, the Portuguese language is known as lusitana or (latina) lusitanica, after the , a pre-Celtic tribe that lived in the territory of present-day Portugal and Spain that adopted the Latin language as Roman settlers moved in. This is also the origin of the luso- prefix, seen in terms like "".

Between AD 409 and AD 711, as the collapsed in , the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by of the . The occupiers, mainly , Ethnologic Map of Pre-Roman Iberia (c. 200 BC) . Retrieved 14 November 2011. and Domingos Maria da Silva, Os Búrios, Terras de Bouro, Câmara Municipal de Terras de Bouro, 2006. (in Portuguese) who originally spoke Germanic languages, quickly adopted late Roman culture and the dialects of the peninsula and over the next 300 years totally integrated into the local populations. Some Germanic words from that period are part of the Portuguese lexicon, together with place names, surnames, and first names. With the Umayyad conquest beginning in 711, became the administrative and common language in the conquered regions, but most of the continued to speak a form of called Mozarabic which introduced a few hundred words from Arabic as well as Persian, Turkish, and Berber.

(2024). 9789004168589, Brill. .
Like other Neo-Latin and European languages, Portuguese has adopted a significant number of from , mainly in technical and scientific terminology. These borrowings occurred via Latin, and later during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Portuguese evolved from the medieval language, known today by linguists as Galician-Portuguese, Old Portuguese or Old Galician, of the northwestern medieval Kingdom of Galicia of which the County of Portugal was part. (also known as Old Portuguese or Medieval Galician) in the kingdoms of Galicia and León around the 10th century, before the separation of Galician and Portuguese.]]It is in Latin administrative documents of the 9th century that written Galician-Portuguese words and phrases are first recorded. This phase is known as Proto-Portuguese, which lasted from the 9th century until the 12th-century independence of the County of Portugal from the Kingdom of León, which had by then assumed reign over Galicia.

In the first part of the Galician-Portuguese period (from the 12th to the 14th century), the language was increasingly used for documents and other written forms. For some time, it was the language of preference for in Christian , much as was the language of the poetry of the troubadours in France. The Occitan digraphs lh and nh, used in its classical orthography, were adopted by the orthography of Portuguese, presumably by Gerald of Braga, a monk from , who became bishop of in Portugal in 1047, playing a major role in modernizing written Portuguese using classical norms.Jean-Pierre Juge (2001) Petit précis – Chronologie occitane – Histoire & civilisation, p. 25 Portugal became an independent kingdom in 1139, under King Afonso I of Portugal. In 1290, King Denis of Portugal created the first Portuguese university in Lisbon (the Estudos Gerais, which later moved to Coimbra) and decreed for Portuguese, then simply called the "common language", to be known as the Portuguese language and used officially.

In the second period of Old Portuguese, in the 15th and 16th centuries, with the Portuguese discoveries, the language was taken to many regions of Africa, Asia, and the . By the mid-16th century, Portuguese had become a in Asia and Africa, used not only for colonial administration and trade but also for communication between local officials and Europeans of all nationalities. The Portuguese expanded across South America, across Africa to the Pacific Ocean, taking their language with them.

Its spread was helped by mixed marriages between Portuguese and local people and by its association with efforts, which led to the formation of such as that called Kristang in many parts of Asia (from the word cristão, "Christian"). The language continued to be popular in parts of Asia until the 19th century. Some Portuguese-speaking Christian communities in , , , and preserved their language even after they were isolated from Portugal.

The end of the Old Portuguese period was marked by the publication of the Cancioneiro Geral by Garcia de Resende, in 1516. The early times of Modern Portuguese, which spans the period from the 16th century to the present day, were characterized by an increase in the number of learned words borrowed from and because of the (learned words borrowed from Latin also came from Renaissance Latin, the form of Latin during that time), which greatly enriched the lexicon. Most literate Portuguese speakers were also literate in Latin; and thus they easily adopted Latin words into their writing, and eventually speech, in Portuguese.

Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes once called Portuguese "the sweet and gracious language", while the Brazilian poet described it as a última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela ("the last flower of , naïve and beautiful").

(2024). 9788572441605, Contexto.
Portuguese is also termed "the language of Camões", after Luís Vaz de Camões, one of the greatest literary figures in the Portuguese language and author of the Portuguese .
(2024). 9780748623945, Edinburgh University Press.

In March 2006, the Museum of the Portuguese Language, an interactive museum about the Portuguese language, was founded in São Paulo, Brazil, the city with the greatest number of Portuguese language speakers in the world. The museum is the first of its kind in the world. In 2015 the museum was partially destroyed in a fire, but restored and reopened in 2020.

Geographic distribution
Portuguese is spoken by approximately 200 million people in South America, 30 million in Africa, 15 million in Europe, 5 million in North America and 0.33 million in Asia and Oceania. Portuguese is the native language of the vast majority of the people in Portugal, Brazil and São Tomé and Príncipe (95%). Perhaps 75% of the population of urban Angola speaks Portuguese natively, with approximately 85% fluent; these rates are lower in the countryside.Medeiros, Adelardo. Portuguese in Africa – Angola Just over 50% (and rapidly increasing) of the population of are native speakers of Portuguese, and 70% are fluent, according to the 2007 census. Portuguese is also spoken natively by 30% of the population in Guinea-Bissau, and a Portuguese-based creole is understood by all. Almost 50% of the East Timorese are fluent in Portuguese. No data is available for Cape Verde, but almost all the population is bilingual, and the monolingual population speaks the Portuguese-based Cape Verdean Creole. Portuguese is mentioned in the Constitution of South Africa as one of the languages spoken by communities within the country for which the Pan South African Language Board was charged with promoting and ensuring respect.

There are also significant Portuguese-speaking immigrant communities in many countries including (17.1%), , (400,275 people in the 2006 census), (1,625,000 people), (400,000 people), , (about 25% of the population as of 2021), (about 4–5% of the population, mainly refugees from Angola in the north of the country), (10.7% or 636,000 people), Paraguay in (550,000 in 2019, learning + mother tongue), (554,000), Venezuela in and the United States (0.35% of the population or 1,228,126 speakers according to the 2007 American Community Survey).

(2024). 9780521745338, Cambridge University Press.

In some parts of former , namely and Daman and Diu, the language is still spoken by about 10,000 people. In 2014, an estimated 1,500 students were learning Portuguese in Goa. Approximately 2% of the people of Macau, China are fluent speakers of Portuguese. Additionally, the language is being very actively studied in the Chinese school system right up to the doctorate level. The in speak Kristang, a Portuguese-Malay creole; however, the Portuguese language itself is not widely spoken in the country.

Official status
The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (in Portuguese Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, with the Portuguese acronym CPLP) consists of the nine independent countries that have Portuguese as an official language: , , , , Equatorial Guinea, , , and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Equatorial Guinea made a formal application for full membership to the CPLP in June 2010, a status given only to states with Portuguese as an official language. In 2011, Portuguese became its third official language (besides and ) and, in July 2014, the country was accepted as a member of the CPLP.

Portuguese is also one of the official languages of the Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China of Macau (alongside ) and of several international organizations, including , the Organization of Ibero-American States,Statutes, Article 1 the Union of South American Nations,Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations, Article 23 the Organization of American States,General Assembly of the OAS, Amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly , 5 June 2000 the ,Article 11, Protocol on Amendments to the Constitutive Act of the African Union the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African Development Community and the .

Lusophone countries
According to The World Factbooks country population estimates for 2018, the population of each of the ten jurisdictions is as follows (by descending order):
+ ! Country ! Population of country ! More information ! Native language
of the majority ! Spoken by
95% as a native language, 2022
40% as a native language, 60% total, 2021
17% as a native language, 44% total, 2022
95% as a native language
0.3% as a native language, 20% total, 2015
Small minority as a second language
0.1% as a first language; 5% total, 2015
0.5% as a native language, 3% total, 2017 (L1), 2021 census (L2)
2% as a native language, 48% total, 2010 census
65% as a native language, 99% total, 2022
Community of Portuguese Language Countries

The combined population of the entire area was estimated at 300 million in January 2022. This number does not include the Lusophone , estimated at 10 million people (including 4.5 million Portuguese, 3 million Brazilians, although it is hard to obtain official accurate numbers of diasporic Portuguese speakers because a significant portion of these citizens are naturalized citizens born outside of Lusophone territory or are children of immigrants, and may have only a basic command of the language. Additionally, a large part of the diaspora is a part of the already-counted population of the Portuguese-speaking countries and territories, such as the high number of Brazilian and PALOP emigrant citizens in Portugal or the high number of Portuguese emigrant citizens in the PALOP and Brazil.

The Portuguese language therefore serves more than 250 million people daily, who have direct or indirect legal, juridical and social contact with it, varying from the only language used in any contact, to only education, contact with local or international administration, commerce and services or the simple sight of road signs, public information and advertising in Portuguese.

Portuguese as a foreign language
Portuguese is a mandatory subject in the school curriculum in . Other countries where Portuguese is commonly taught in schools or where it has been introduced as an option include , , the Republic of the Congo, , , , , , and . In 2017, a project was launched to introduce Portuguese as a school subject in . Also, according to Portugal's Minister of Foreign Affairs, the language will be part of the school curriculum of a total of 32 countries by 2020. In the countries listed below, Portuguese is spoken either as a native language by vast majorities due to the Portuguese colonial past or as a in bordering and multilingual regions, such as on the border between Brazil and Uruguay & Paraguay, as well as Angola and Namibia. In many other countries, Portuguese is spoken by majorities as a second language. And there are still communities of thousands of Portuguese (or ) first language speakers in , , , Daman and Diu, etc. due to Portuguese colonization. In East Timor, the number of Portuguese speakers is quickly increasing as Portuguese and Brazilian teachers are making great strides in teaching Portuguese in the schools all over the island. Additionally, there are many large Portuguese immigrant communities all over the world.

+ ! Country ! Population
(July 2017 est.) ! More information ! Mandatory taught ! Spoken by
Significant minority as a native language; significant minority as a second language
Minority as a second language
Significant minority as a native language
Minority as a second language
Small minority as a native language
Small minority as a native language
Small minority as a second language
Small minority as a second language
Small minority as a second language
Small minority as a second language

According to estimates by , Portuguese is the fastest-growing European language after and the language has, according to the newspaper The Portugal News publishing data given from UNESCO, the highest potential for growth as an international language in and . Portuguese is a globalized language spoken officially on five continents, and as a second language by millions worldwide.

Since 1991, when Brazil signed into the economic community of with other South American nations, namely , and , Portuguese is either mandatory, or taught, in the schools of those South American countries.

Although early in the 21st century, after was returned to and immigration of Brazilians of Japanese descent to slowed down, the use of Portuguese was in decline in , it is once again becoming a language of opportunity there, mostly because of increased diplomatic and financial ties with economically powerful Portuguese-speaking countries in the world.

Current status and importance
Portuguese, being a language spread on all continents, is official in several international organizations; one of twenty official languages of the , an official language of NATO, the Organization of American States (alongside Spanish, French and English), and one of eighteen official languages of the European Space Agency.

It is also a working language in nonprofit organisations such as the Red Cross (alongside English, German, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian), Amnesty International (alongside 32 other languages of which English is the most used, followed by Spanish, French, German, and Italian), and Médecins sans Frontières (used alongside English, Spanish, French and Arabic), in addition to being the official legal language in the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, also in Community of Portuguese Language Countries, an international organization formed essentially by .

Dialects, accents and varieties
Você, a pronoun meaning "you", is used for educated, formal, and colloquial respectful speech in most Portuguese-speaking regions. In a few Brazilian states such as Rio Grande do Sul, Pará, among others, você is virtually absent from the spoken language. Riograndense and European Portuguese normally distinguishes formal from informal speech by verbal conjugation. Informal speech employs tu followed by second person verbs, formal language retains the formal você, followed by the third person conjugation.

Conjugation of verbs in tu has three different forms in Brazil (verb "to see": tu viste?, in the traditional second person, tu viu?, in the third person, and tu visse?, in the innovative second person), the conjugation used in the Brazilian states of Pará, Santa Catarina and Maranhão being generally traditional second person, the kind that is used in other Portuguese-speaking countries and learned in Brazilian schools.

The predominance of Southeastern-based media products has established você as the pronoun of choice for the second person singular in both writing and multimedia communications. However, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, the country's main cultural center, the usage of tu has been expanding ever since the end of the 20th century, being most frequent among youngsters, and a number of studies have also shown an increase in its use in a number of other Brazilian dialects.

[[File:Uso dos pronomes de segunda pessoa no Brasil.svg|thumb|The status of second person pronouns in Brazil.


Modern Standard European Portuguese (português padrão or português continental) is based on the Portuguese spoken in the area including and surrounding the cities of and , in central Portugal. Standard European Portuguese is also the preferred standard by the Portuguese-speaking African countries. As such, and despite the fact that its speakers are dispersed around the world, Portuguese has only two dialects used for learning: the European and the Brazilian. Some aspects and sounds found in many dialects of Brazil are exclusive to South America, and cannot be found in Europe. The same occur with the Santomean, Mozambican, Bissau-Guinean, Angolan and Cape Verdean dialects, being exclusive to Africa. See Portuguese in Africa.

Audio samples of some dialects and accents of Portuguese are available below. There are some differences between the areas but these are the best approximations possible. IPA transcriptions refer to the names in local pronunciation.

  1.  – Spoken in the states of São Paulo (most markedly on the countryside and rural areas); southern , northern Paraná and southeastern Mato Grosso do Sul. Depending on the vision of what constitutes caipira, Triângulo Mineiro, border areas of Goiás and the remaining parts of Mato Grosso do Sul are included, and the frontier of caipira in Minas Gerais is expanded further northerly, though not reaching metropolitan . It is often said that caipira appeared by of the and the related língua geral paulista, then spoken in almost all of what is now São Paulo, a former in most of the contemporary of Brazil before the 18th century, brought by the , interior pioneers of , closely related to its northern counterpart Nheengatu, and that is why the dialect shows many general differences from other variants of the language. It has striking remarkable differences in comparison to other Brazilian dialects in phonology, prosody and grammar, often as being strongly associated with a substandard variant, now mostly rural.
  2. Cearense or Costa norte – is a dialect spoken more sharply in the states of Ceará and Piauí. The variant of Ceará includes fairly distinctive traits it shares with the one spoken in Piauí, though, such as distinctive regional phonology and vocabulary (for example, a debuccalization process stronger than that of Portuguese, a different system of the vowel harmony that spans Brazil from fluminense and mineiro to amazofonia but is especially prevalent in nordestino, a very coherent coda sibilant palatalization as those of Portugal and Rio de Janeiro but allowed in fewer environments than in other accents of nordestino, a greater presence of dental stop palatalization to palato-alveolar in comparison to other accents of nordestino, among others, as well as a great number of archaic Portuguese words).
  3. Baiano – Found in and border regions with Goiás and . Similar to nordestino, it has a very characteristic and the greatest tendency to pronounce unstressed vowels as open-mid and . and of Brazilian Portuguese.]]
  4. Fluminense – A broad dialect with many variants spoken in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and neighboring eastern regions of . Fluminense formed in these previously caipira-speaking areas due to the gradual influence of European migrants, causing many people to distance their speech from their original dialect and incorporate new terms. Fluminense is sometimes referred to as carioca, however carioca is a more specific term referring to the accent of the Greater Rio de Janeiro area by speakers with a fluminense dialect.
  5. Gaúcho – in Rio Grande do Sul, similar to sulista. There are many distinct accents in Rio Grande do Sul, mainly due to the heavy influx of European immigrants of diverse origins who have settled in colonies throughout the state, and to the proximity to . The gaúcho word in itself is a Spanish into Portuguese of obscure Indigenous Amerindian origins.
  6. , according to the scientific study Esboço de um Atlas Linguístico de Minas Gerais (EALMG), "Draft of a Linguistic Atlas for Minas Gerais". Federal University of Juiz de Fora, 1977. The light zone speaks , the intermeadite zone , the dark zone baiano.]]  – (not prevalent in the Triângulo Mineiro). As the fluminense area, its associated region was formerly a sparsely populated land where caipira was spoken, but the discovery of gold and gems made it the most prosperous Brazilian region, what attracted Portuguese colonists, commoners from other parts of Brazil and their African slaves. South-southwestern, southeastern and northern areas of the state have fairly distinctive speech, actually approximating to caipira, fluminense (popularly called, often pejoratively, carioca do brejo, "marsh carioca") and baiano respectively. Areas including and surrounding have a distinctive accent.
  7. NordestinoNote: the speaker of this sound file is from Rio de Janeiro, and he is talking about his experience with nordestino and nortista accents. – more marked in the Sertão (7), where, in the 19th and 20th centuries and especially in the area including and surrounding the sertão (the dry land after ) of Pernambuco and southern Ceará, it could sound less comprehensible to speakers of other Portuguese dialects than Galician or Rioplatense Spanish, and nowadays less distinctive from other variants in the metropolitan cities along the coasts. It can be divided in two regional variants, one that includes the northern Maranhão and southern of Piauí, and other that goes from Ceará to .
  8. Nortista or amazofonia – Most of states, i.e. Northern Brazil. Before the 20th century, most people from the nordestino area fleeing the droughts and their associated poverty settled here, so it has some similarities with the Portuguese dialect there spoken. The speech in and around the cities of Belém and has a more European flavor in phonology, prosody and grammar.
  9. Paulistano – Variants spoken around Greater São Paulo in its maximum definition and more easterly areas of São Paulo state, as well as perhaps "educated speech" from anywhere in the state of São Paulo (where it coexists with caipira). Caipira is the hinterland sociolect of much of the of Brazil, nowadays conservative only in the rural areas and associated with them, that has a historically low prestige in cities as Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Belo Horizonte, and until some years ago, in São Paulo itself. , or what by times is described as "linguistic prejudice", often correlated with classism, is a polemic topic in the entirety of the country since the times of Adoniran Barbosa. Also, the "Paulistano" accent was heavily influenced by the presence of immigrants in the city of São Paulo, especially the Italians.
  10. Sertanejo – Center-Western states, and also much of and Rondônia. It is closer to mineiro, caipira, nordestino or nortista depending on the location.
  11. Sulista – The variants spoken in the areas between the northern regions of Rio Grande do Sul and southern regions of São Paulo state, encompassing most of southern Brazil. The city of does have a fairly distinct accent as well, and a relative majority of speakers around and in Florianópolis also speak this variant (many speak florianopolitano or manezinho da ilha instead, related to the European Portuguese dialects spoken in and ). Speech of northern Paraná is closer to that of inland São Paulo.
  12. Florianopolitano – Variants heavily influenced by European Portuguese spoken in Florianópolis city (due to a heavy immigration movement from Portugal, mainly its insular regions) and much of its metropolitan area, Grande Florianópolis, said to be a continuum between those whose speech most resemble sulista dialects and those whose speech most resemble fluminense and European ones, called, often pejoratively, manezinho da ilha.
  13.  – Not a dialect, but of the fluminense variant spoken in an area roughly corresponding to Greater Rio de Janeiro. It appeared after locals came in contact with the Portuguese aristocracy amidst the Portuguese royal family fled in the early 19th century. There is actually a continuum between Vernacular countryside accents and the carioca sociolect, and the educated speech (in Portuguese norma culta, which most closely resembles other Brazilian Portuguese standards but with marked recent Portuguese influences, the nearest ones among the country's dialects along florianopolitano), so that not all people native to the state of Rio de Janeiro speak the said sociolect, but most carioca speakers will use the standard variant not influenced by it that is rather uniform around Brazil depending on context (emphasis or formality, for example).
  14. Brasiliense – used in Brasília and its metropolitan area. It is not considered a dialect, but more of a regional variant – often deemed to be closer to fluminense than the dialect commonly spoken in most of Goiás, sertanejo.
  15. Arco do desflorestamento or  – Known in its region as the "accent of the migrants", it has similarities with caipira, sertanejo and often sulista that make it differing from amazofonia (in the opposite group of Brazilian dialects, in which it is placed along nordestino, baiano, mineiro and fluminense). It is the most recent dialect, which appeared by the settlement of families from various other Brazilian regions attracted by the cheap land offer in recently areas.
  16. Recifense – used in and its metropolitan area.
  17. Amazônico Ocidental — used in the extreme Western Amazon region, namely: Southwestern Amazonas, including the region of Boca do Acre and throughout the State of Acre, which share important historical-cultural aspects, such as, once belonging to Peru-Bolivian Confederation , the First Amazon rubber cycle and Acre Time Zone, sociologically, is considered a homogenous region. Differing from the traditional Northern dialect, in which the phonetic realization of the "s" always has the sound of ch, in the Brazilian Western Amazon region, there will only be the sound of ch whose words the "s" are in the middle of the word, as examples; costa, festa or destino, as well as the one observed in dialect of the north coast. Within the , it is one of the few areas where the phonetic realization of "r" resembles those observed in the Carioca dialect (open), other examples where this phenomenon is observed: Brasília dialect and . pdf - Seringueiros da Amazônia, University of São Paulo (USP), Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences, Department of Geography

  1. Micaelense (Açores) (São Miguel) – .
  2. Alentejano (Alentejan Portuguese), with the Oliventine subdialect.
  3. Algarvio (there is a particular dialect in a small part of western Algarve).
  4. Minhoto – Districts of and Viana do Castelo (hinterland).
  5. Beirão; Alto-Alentejano – Central Portugal (hinterland).
  6. Beirão – Central Portugal.
  7. Estremenho – Regions of and (this is a disputed denomination, as Coimbra and is not part of "Estremadura", and the Lisbon dialect has some peculiar features that are not only not shared with that of Coimbra, but also significantly distinct and recognizable to most native speakers from elsewhere in Portugal).
  8. Madeirense (Madeiran) – .
  9. Portuense – Regions of the district of and parts of Aveiro.
  10. Transmontano – Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro.

Other countries and dependencies

Differences between dialects are mostly of accent and , but between the Brazilian dialects and other dialects, especially in their most colloquial forms, there can also be some grammatical differences. The Portuguese-based creoles spoken in various parts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas are independent languages.

Characterization and peculiarities
Portuguese, like , preserves the stressed vowels of which became diphthongs in most other Romance languages; cf. Port., Cat., Sard. ; Fr. , Sp. , It. , Ro. , from Lat. ("stone"); or Port. , Cat. , Sard. ; Sp. , It. , Fr. , Ro. , from Lat. ("fire"). Another characteristic of early Portuguese was the loss of l and n, sometimes followed by the merger of the two surrounding vowels, or by the insertion of an between them: cf. Lat. ("to exit"), ("to have"), ("jail"), Port. , , .

When the consonant was n, it often the preceding vowel: cf. Lat. ("hand"), ("frog"), ("good"), Old Portuguese , , (Portuguese: , , ). This process was the source of most of the language's distinctive nasal diphthongs. In particular, the Latin endings -anem, and became in most cases, cf. Lat. ("dog"), ("brother"), ("reason") with Modern Port. , , , and their plurals -anes, -anos, -ones normally became -ães, -ãos, -ões, cf. cães, irmãos, razões. This also occurs in the minority Swiss language in many equivalent words such as maun ("hand"), bun ("good"), or chaun ("dog").

The Portuguese language is the only that preserves the clitic case : cf. dar-te-ei (I'll give thee), amar-te-ei (I'll love you), contactá-los-ei (I'll contact them). Like Galician, it also retains the Latin synthetic tense: eu estivera (I had been), eu vivera (I had lived), vós vivêreis (you had lived).

(1997). 9780195091939, Oxford University Press.
Romanian also has this tense, but uses the -s- form.

Most of the lexicon of Portuguese is derived, directly or through other Romance languages, from Latin. Nevertheless, because of its original and Celtic heritage, and the later participation of Portugal in the Age of Discovery, it has a relevant number of words from the ancient Hispano-Celtic group and adopted from other languages around the world.

A number of Portuguese words can still be traced to the pre-Roman inhabitants of Portugal, which included the , , and . Most of these words derived from the Hispano-Celtic Gallaecian language of northwestern Iberia, and are very often shared with Galician since both languages have the same origin in the medieval language of Galician-Portuguese. A few of these words existed in Latin as loanwords from other sources, often . Altogether these are over 3,000 words, verbs, toponymic names of towns, rivers, surnames, tools, lexicon linked to rural life and natural world.

In the 5th century, the Iberian Peninsula (the Roman ) was conquered by the , and . As they adopted the civilization and language, however, these people contributed with some 500 Germanic words to the lexicon. Many of these words are related to:

  • warfare, such as espora 'spur', estaca ('stake'), and guerra ('war'), from *spaúra, *stakka, and *wirro respectively;
  • natural world, such as suino ('swine') from *sweina, gavião ('hawk') from *gabilans, vaga ('wave') from *vigan;
  • human emotions, such as orgulho or orgulhoso ('pride', 'proud') from Old Germanic *urguol, and
  • verbs like gravar ('to craft, record, graft') from *graba or esmagar ('to squeeze, quash, grind') from Suebian *magōn or esfarrapar ('to shred') from *harpō.

The Germanic languages influence also exists in toponymic surnames and patronymic surnames borne by Visigoth sovereigns and their descendants, and it dwells on placenames such as , and Resende where sinde and sende are derived from the Germanic sinths ('military expedition') and in the case of Resende, the prefix re comes from Germanic reths ('council'). Other examples of Portuguese names, surnames and town names of Germanic origin include Henrique, Henriques, Vermoim, Mandim, Calquim, Baguim, Gemunde, Guetim, Sermonde and many more, are quite common mainly in the old and later dominated regions, covering today's Northern half of Portugal and Galicia.

Between the 9th and early 13th centuries, Portuguese acquired some 400 to 600 words from by influence of . They are often recognizable by the initial Arabic article a(l)-, and include common words such as aldeia ('village') from الضيعة aḍ-ḍayʿa, alface ('lettuce') from الخسة al-khassa, armazém ('warehouse') from المخزن al-makhzan, and azeite ('olive oil') from الزيت az-zayt.

Starting in the 15th century, the Portuguese maritime explorations led to the introduction of many loanwords from Asian languages. For instance, catana ('') from Japanese , chá ('tea') from chá, and canja ('chicken-soup, piece of cake') from .

From the 16th to the 19th centuries, because of the role of Portugal as intermediary in the Atlantic slave trade, and the establishment of large Portuguese colonies in Angola, Mozambique, and Brazil, Portuguese acquired several words of African and Amerind origin, especially names for most of the animals and plants found in those territories. While those terms are mostly used in the former colonies, many became current in European Portuguese as well. From Kimbundu, for example, came kifumate > cafuné ('head caress') (Brazil), kusula > caçula ('youngest child') (Brazil), marimbondo ('tropical wasp') (Brazil), and kubungula > bungular ('to dance like a wizard') (Angola). From South America came batata (''), from Taino; ananás and abacaxi, from Tupi–Guarani naná and ibá cati, respectively (two species of ), and pipoca ('') from Tupi and tucano ('') from tucan.

Finally, it has received a steady influx of loanwords from other European languages, especially French and . These are by far the most important languages when referring to loanwords. There are many examples such as: colchete/crochê ('bracket'/'crochet'), paletó ('jacket'), batom ('lipstick'), and filé/filete ('steak'/'slice'), rua ('street'), respectively, from French crochet, paletot, bâton, filet, rue; and bife ('steak'), futebol, revólver, stock/estoque, folclore, from English "beef", "football", "revolver", "stock", "folklore."

Examples from other European languages: macarrão ('pasta'), piloto ('pilot'), carroça ('carriage'), and barraca ('barrack'), from Italian maccherone, pilota, carrozza, and baracca; melena ('hair lock'), fiambre ('wet-cured ham') (in Portugal, in contrast with presunto 'dry-cured ham' from Latin prae-exsuctus 'dehydrated') or ('canned ham') (in Brazil, in contrast with non-canned, wet-cured ( presunto cozido) and dry-cured ( presunto cru)), or castelhano ('Castilian'), from Spanish melena ('mane'), fiambre and castellano.

Classification and related languages
Portuguese belongs to the West Iberian branch of the , and it has special ties with the following members of this group:
  • Galician, and portunhol do pampa (the way riverense and its sibling dialects are referred to in Portuguese), its closest relatives.
  • Mirandese, , Asturian, Extremaduran and Cantabrian (Astur-Leonese languages). Mirandese is the only recognised regional language spoken in Portugal (beside Portuguese, the only official language in Portugal).
  • and calão (the way caló, language of the Iberian , is referred to in Portuguese).

Portuguese and other Romance languages (namely and ) share considerable similarities in both vocabulary and grammar. Portuguese speakers will usually need some formal study before attaining strong comprehension in those Romance languages, and vice versa. However, Portuguese and Galician are fully mutually intelligible, and Spanish is considerably intelligible for lusophones, owing to their genealogical proximity and shared genealogical history as West Iberian (Ibero-Romance languages), historical contact between speakers and mutual influence, shared as well as modern lexical, structural, and grammatical similarity (89%) between them.

(2024). 9780521780452, Cambridge University Press. .
(1998). 9780231115681, Columbia University Press. .
(2024). 9780691136899, Princeton University Press. .

Portuñol/Portunhol, a form of , has a more lively use and is more readily mentioned in popular culture in South America. Said code-switching is not to be confused with the Portuñol spoken on the borders of Brazil with Uruguay (dialeto do pampa) and Paraguay (Brasiguayos]]), and of Portugal with Spain (), that are Portuguese dialects spoken natively by thousands of people, which have been heavily influenced by Spanish.

Portuguese and Spanish are the only Ibero-Romance languages, and perhaps the only Romance languages with such thriving inter-language forms, in which visible and lively bilingual contact dialects and code-switching have formed, in which functional bilingual communication is achieved through attempting an approximation to the target foreign language (known as 'Portuñol') without a learned acquisition process, but nevertheless facilitates communication. There is an emerging literature focused on such phenomena (including informal attempts of standardization of the linguistic continua and their usage).

Galician-Portuguese in Spain
The closest relative of Portuguese is Galician, which is spoken in the autonomous community and nationality of Galicia (Spanish Kingdom). The two were at one time a single language, known today as Galician-Portuguese, but they have diverged especially in pronunciation and vocabulary due to the political separation of Portugal from Galicia. There is, however, still a linguistic continuity consisting of the variant of Galician referred to as galego-português baixo-limiao, which is spoken in several Galician and Portuguese villages within the transboundary biosphere reserve of Gerês-Xurés. It is "considered a rarity, a living vestige of the medieval language that ranged from to ...". As reported by UNESCO, due to the pressure of Spanish on the standard official version of Galician and centuries-old Hispanization, the Galician language was on the verge of disappearing. According to the UNESCO philologist Tapani Salminen, the proximity to Portuguese protects Galician. The core vocabulary and grammar of Galician are noticeably closer to Portuguese than to those of Spanish and within the EU context, Galician is often considered the same language as Portuguese. Galician like Portuguese, uses the future subjunctive, the personal infinitive, and the synthetic pluperfect. Mutual intelligibility estimated at 85% is excellent between Galicians and Portuguese. Despite political efforts in Spain to define them as separate languages, many linguists consider Galician to be a co-dialect of the Portuguese language with regional variations.

Another member of the Galician-Portuguese group, most commonly thought of as a Galician dialect, is spoken in the Eonavian region in a western strip in and the westernmost parts of the provinces of León and Zamora, along the frontier with Galicia, between the Eo and Navia rivers (or more exactly Eo and Frexulfe rivers). It is called eonaviego or gallego-asturiano by its speakers.

The Fala language, known by its speakers as xalimés, mañegu, a fala de Xálima and chapurráu and in Portuguese as a fala de Xálima, a fala da Estremadura, o galego da Estremadura, valego or galaico-estremenho, is another descendant of Galician-Portuguese, spoken by a small number of people in the Spanish towns of Valverde del Fresno ( Valverdi du Fresnu), ( As Ellas) and San Martín de Trevejo ( Sa Martín de Trevellu) in the autonomous community of , near the border with Portugal.

There are a number of other places in Spain in which the native language of the common people is a descendant of the Galician-Portuguese group, such as , ( Cedilho), Herrera de Alcántara ( Ferreira d'Alcântara) and ( Olivença), but in these municipalities, what is spoken is actually Portuguese, not disputed as such in the mainstream.

The diversity of dialects of the Portuguese language is known since the time of medieval Portuguese-Galician language when it coexisted with the Lusitanian-Mozarabic dialect, spoken in the south of Portugal. The dialectal diversity becomes more evident in the work of Fernão d'Oliveira, in the Grammatica da Lingoagem Portuguesa, (1536), where he remarks that the people of Portuguese regions of Beira, Alentejo, Estremadura, and Entre Douro e Minho, all speak differently from each other. Also Contador d'Argote (1725) distinguishes three main varieties of dialects: the local dialects, the dialects of time, and of profession (work jargon). Of local dialects he highlights five main dialects: the dialect of Estremadura, of Entre-Douro e Minho, of Beira, of Algarve and of Trás-os-Montes. He also makes reference to the overseas dialects, the rustic dialects, the poetic dialect and that of prose.

In the kingdom of Portugal, Ladinho (or Lingoagem Ladinha) was the name given to the pure Portuguese romance language, without any mixture of Aravia or Gerigonça Judenga. While the term língua vulgar was used to name the language before D. Dinis decided to call it "Portuguese language", the erudite version used and known as Galician-Portuguese (the language of the Portuguese court) and all other Portuguese dialects were spoken at the same time. In a historical perspective the Portuguese language was never just one dialect. Just like today there is a standard Portuguese (actually two) among the several dialects of Portuguese, in the past there was Galician-Portuguese as the "standard", coexisting with other dialects.

Influence on other languages
Portuguese has provided to many languages, such as Indonesian, , , Sri Lankan Tamil and , , , English, , , , , , , , , Japanese, Lanc-Patuá, Esan, (spoken in Iran) and (spoken in Suriname). It left a strong influence on the , a Tupi–Guarani language, which was the most widely spoken in Brazil until the 18th century, and on the language spoken around in Island, . In nearby , Portuguese is used for prayers in rituals. The Japanese–Portuguese dictionary (1603) was the first dictionary of Japanese in a European language, a product of Jesuit missionary activity in Japan. Building on the work of earlier Portuguese missionaries, the Dictionarium Anamiticum, Lusitanum et Latinum (Annamite–Portuguese–Latin dictionary) of Alexandre de Rhodes (1651) introduced the modern orthography of Vietnamese, which is based on the orthography of 17th-century Portuguese. The of was also influenced by the Portuguese language (among others), particularly regarding Chinese surnames; one example is Mei. During 1583–88 Italian Jesuits and created a Portuguese–Chinese dictionary – the first ever European–Chinese dictionary. Dicionário Português–Chinês : Pu Han ci dian: Portuguese–Chinese dictionary, by Michele Ruggieri, Matteo Ricci; edited by John W. Witek. Published 2001, Biblioteca Nacional. . Partial preview available on

For instance, as Portuguese merchants were presumably the first to introduce the in Europe, in several modern Indo-European languages the fruit has been named after them. Some examples are Albanian , Bosnian (archaic) portokal, prtokal, Bulgarian ( portokal), Greek ( portokáli), Macedonian , Persian ( porteghal), and Romanian .

(2024). 9781609181406, . .
Related names can be found in other languages, such as Arabic ( burtuqāl), Georgian ( p'ort'oxali), Turkish and birtukan. Also, in southern (e.g. Neapolitan), an orange is or , literally "(the) Portuguese (one)", in contrast to arancia.

Derived languages
Beginning in the 16th century, the extensive contacts between Portuguese travelers and settlers, African and Asian slaves, and local populations led to the appearance of many with varying amounts of Portuguese influence.

As each of these pidgins became the mother tongue of succeeding generations, they evolved into fully fledged , which remained in use in many parts of Asia, Africa and South America until the 18th century.

Some Portuguese-based or Portuguese-influenced creoles are still spoken today, by over three million people worldwide, especially people of partial Portuguese ancestry.

Portuguese phonology is similar to those of languages such as Franco-Provençal and Catalan, whereas that of Spanish is similar to those of Sardinian and the Southern Italian dialects. Some would describe the phonology of Portuguese as a blend of , Gallo-Romance (e.g. ) and the languages of northern Italy (especially ). Handbook of the International Phonetic Association pp. 126–130

There is a maximum of 9 oral vowels, 2 semivowels and 21 consonants; though some varieties of the language have fewer . There are also five , which some linguists regard as of the oral vowels. Galician-Portuguese developed in the region of the former Roman province of , from the (common Latin) that had been introduced by Roman soldiers, colonists and magistrates during the time of the . Although the process may have been slower than in other regions, the centuries of contact with Vulgar Latin, after a period of bilingualism, completely extinguished the native languages, leading to the evolution of a new variety of Latin with a few Gallaecian features.

Gallaecian and Lusitanian influences were absorbed into the local Vulgar Latin dialect, which can be detected in some Galician-Portuguese words as well as in placenames of and origin.Such as Bolso: A Toponímia Céltica e os vestígios de cultura material da Proto-História de Portugal. Freire, José. Revista de Guimarães, Volume Especial, I, Guimarães, 1999, pp. 265–275 . (PDF) . Retrieved 14 November 2011.

(2024). 9788494222443, Toxosoutos.

An early form of Galician-Portuguese was already spoken in the Kingdom of the Suebi and by the year 800 Galician-Portuguese had already become the of northwestern Iberia. The first known changes in Vulgar Latin, which began the evolution to Galician-Portuguese, took place during the rule of the Germanic groups, the (411–585) and (585–711). The Galician-Portuguese "inflected infinitive" (or "personal infinitive")

(2024). 9789896182007 .
(1989). 9781556080876
and the may have evolved under the influence of local (as in ). The nasal vowels would thus be a phonologic characteristic of the Vulgar Latin spoken in Roman , but they are not attested in writing until after the 6th and 7th centuries.

+ Vowel phonemes of Portuguese (Portugal)
Like and , Portuguese uses vowel quality to contrast stressed syllables with unstressed syllables. Unstressed isolated vowels tend to be and sometimes centralized.

+ Consonant phonemes of Portuguese (Portugal): "A proposta é que a sequencia consoante velar + glide posterior seja indicada no léxico como uma unidade monofonemática /kʷ/ e /ɡʷ/. O glide que, nete caso, situa-se no ataque não-ramificado, forma com a vogal seguinte um ditongo crescente em nível pós lexical. Ditongos crescentes somente se formam neste nível. Em resumo, a consoante velar e o glide posterior, quando seguidos de a/o, formam uma só unidade fonológica, ou seja, um segmento consonantal com articulação secundária vocálica, em outros termos, um segmento complexo." ! colspan=2 rowspan=2! rowspan=2 ! rowspan=2/
Alveolar ! rowspan=2
Palatal ! colspan=2 ! rowspan=2

Phonetic notes

  • Semivowels contrast with unstressed high vowels in verbal conjugation, as in (eu) rio and (ele) riu . Phonologists discuss whether their nature is vowel or consonant.
  • In most of Brazil and Angola, the consonant hereafter denoted as is realized as a nasal palatal approximant , which the vowel that precedes it: .
    (2024). 9780300091557, Yale University Press.
  • proposes that Portuguese possesses labio-velar stops and as additional phonemes rather than sequences of a velar stop and .
  • The consonant hereafter denoted as has a variety of realizations depending on dialect. In Europe, it is typically a ; however, a pronunciation as a voiced uvular fricative may be becoming dominant in urban areas. There is also a realization as a voiceless uvular fricative , and the original pronunciation as an also remains very common in various dialects. A common realization of the word-initial in the Lisbon accent is a voiced uvular fricative trill . In Brazil, can be , , or glottal and may be voiceless unless between voiced sounds. It is usually pronounced as a voiceless velar fricative , a voiceless glottal fricative or voiceless uvular fricative . See also .
  • and are normally , as in English. However, a number of dialects in northern Portugal pronounce and as sibilants (sounding somewhat like a soft or ), as in the Romance languages of northern Iberia. Some very few northeastern Portugal dialects still maintain the medieval distinction between apical and laminal (written s/ss and c/ç/z, respectively).
  • As a phoneme, occurs only in loanwords, names, and interjections, with a dialectal tendency for speakers to substitute in in most dialects outside of Brazil (as well as some conservative Brazilian dialects, to a variable extent.) However, is an of before in a majority of Brazilian dialects. Similarly, is an allophone of in the same contexts.
  • In northern and central Portugal, the voiced stops (, , and ) are usually lenited to , , and , respectively, except at the beginning of words or after nasal vowels. At the end of a phrase, due to final-obstruent devoicing, they may even be devoiced to , , and (for example, verde at the end of a sentence may be pronounced ).
  • In Brazil, many speakers further shift to in closed syllables, especially outside the southern region.
  • Phonetically, Portuguese (and ) are quite different from the other major Romance languages. It has been suggested that this stems from the ancient link to Celtic languages such as or , with which it also shares a substantial number of cognates: there are 37 sounds in Portuguese, including vowels, consonants and diphthongs, most of which exist in today's Celtic languages.


Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement of 1990

A notable aspect of the grammar of Portuguese is the verb. Morphologically, more verbal inflections from classical Latin have been preserved by Portuguese than by any other major . Portuguese and Spanish share very similar grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure. Portuguese also has some grammatical innovations not found in other Romance languages (except Galician and Fala):
  • The has an iterative sense unique to the Galician-Portuguese language group. It denotes an action or a series of actions that began in the past but expected to occur again in the future. For instance, the sentence Tenho tentado falar contigo would be translated to "I have been trying to talk to you", not "I have tried to talk to you." On the other hand, the correct translation of "Have you heard the latest news?" is not *Tens ouvido as últimas? but Ouviste as últimas? since no repetition is implied.
    (1998). 9783110161601, Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Portuguese makes use of the future , which developed from medieval West Iberian Romance. In modern Spanish and Galician, it has almost entirely fallen into disuse. The future subjunctive appears in dependent clauses that denote a condition that must be fulfilled in the future so that the independent clause will occur. English normally employs the present tense under the same circumstances:

Se eu for eleito presidente, mudarei a lei.
If I am elected president, I will change the law.

Quando fores mais velho, vais entender.
When you grow older, you will understand.
  • The personal can according to its subject in person and number. It often shows who is expected to perform a certain action. É melhor voltares "It is better for to go back", É melhor voltarmos "It is better for to go back." Perhaps for that reason, infinitive clauses replace subjunctive clauses more often in Portuguese than in other Romance languages.

Sample text
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Portuguese:
Todos os seres humanos nascem livres e iguais em dignidade e em direitos. Dotados de razão e de consciência, devem agir uns para com os outros em espírito de fraternidade.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See also
  • Portuguese literature
  • Portuguese Africans
  • Angolan literature
  • Brazilian literature
  • Gallaecian language
  • International Portuguese Language Institute
  • List of countries and territories where Portuguese is an official language
  • List of international organizations which have Portuguese as an official language
  • List of Portuguese-language poets
  • Lusitanian language
  • Mozambican Portuguese
  • Portuguese language in Asia
  • Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement of 1990
  • Portuguese poetry




  • Poesia e Prosa Medievais, by Maria Ema Tarracha Ferreira, Ulisseia 1998, 3rd ed., .
  • Bases Temáticas – Língua, Literatura e Cultura Portuguesa in Instituto Camões
  • Portuguese literature in The Catholic Encyclopedia

Phonology, orthography and grammar

Reference dictionaries

Linguistic studies

  • Cook, Manuela. Portuguese Pronouns and Other Forms of Address, from the Past into the Future – Structural, Semantic and Pragmatic Reflections, Ellipsis, vol. 11, APSA,, 2013
  • Cook, Manuela. On the Portuguese Forms of Address: From Vossa Mercê to Você, Portuguese Studies Review 3.2, Durham: University of New Hampshire, 1995
  • Lindley Cintra, Luís F. Nova Proposta de Classificação dos Dialectos Galego- Portugueses (PDF) Boletim de Filologia, Lisboa, Centro de Estudos Filológicos, 1971.

External links
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