Portuguese is a language that is spoken by almost 300 million people across 11 different countries and is the 5th most popular language in the world in terms of the number of speakers. It is amazing that in spite of this, many people in the United States are unaware that Portuguese is very different from Spanish. If you want to learn Portuguese, there are a few things you should learn about the language and its speakers.
When preparing for a tour of South America, do not make the mistake of learning just Spanish. Brazil is home to the largest population of Portuguese speakers and is located in South America. Although many people think they will be able to get by speaking Spanish in Brazil, the two languages are actually very different and often times Portuguese speakers will not understand much of Spanish.
One important thing to know about Portuguese is that there are two different standards of Portuguese. The Portuguese spoken in Portugal and the Portuguese spoken in Brazil are drastically different. Not only do the two standards sound different in terms of pronunciation, their grammatical structure and vocabulary differ greatly as well.
Brazilian Portuguese, although derived from European Portuguese, has been affected by other languages. One of the reasons that Brazilian Portuguese has strayed so far from European Portuguese is because of its contact with indigenous languages. Before the Europeans arrived with all of their African slaves, there were many indigenous tribes in Brazil. In addition, many African languages have had lasting affects on Brazilian Portuguese.
Portuguese is not just the official language of Brazil and Portugal but 9 other countries as well. Portuguese is spoken in several areas of Africa such as Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde. In addition, it is one of the official languages of East Timor and Macau, in Asia. That means that Portuguese is spoken in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Not to mention the expansive immigrant populations in the United States.
Learning Portuguese is a great idea because it is such a beautiful language. Not to mention, once you learn the language you can travel to any of the many countries where it is spoken. If you are learning the language in order to travel, you should probably first decide where you want to go.
If you are dead set on traveling to Brazil or Portugal, try finding a beginner’s Portuguese language school in your area. Chances are you will find a language course that focuses on European Portuguese. However, if you have already decided you want to travel to Brazil, it would be in your best interest to find a course that focuses on Brazilian Portuguese.
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There are tons of ways you can help yourself learn portuguese. Consider using books on your own and languages courses to get the fastest results. If you are teaching yourself the language, make sure you have a resource that lets you hear the language being spoken so you can become accustomed to the sound of it.