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THE PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE


One of the Latin languages, Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world and the native tongue of about 200 million people.

The Portuguese-speaking countries are scattered all over the world. Portuguese is spoken in Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé e Príncipe), in South America (Brazil) and in Asia, (East Timor, the youngest nation in the world).

In Portugal there are lots of people who are able to communicate in English, French and Spanish.

History & origins

Portuguese is a Romance language that originated in what is now Galicia (Spain) and northern Portugal from the Latin spoken by Romanized Celts about 1000 years ago. It spread worldwide in the 15th and 16th centuries as Portugal established a colonial and commercial empire (1415–1999) which spanned from Brazil in the Americas to Goa in India and Macau in China. During that time, many Creole languages based on Portuguese also appeared around the world, especially in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes once called Portuguese "the sweet language", while Brazilian writer Olavo Bilac poetically described it as a última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela: "the last flower of Latium, wild and beautiful".

Luis de Camões - Portugal's greatest poet

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