Portuguese


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Portuguese

the official language of Portugal, its overseas territories, and Brazil: the native language of approximately 110 million people. It belongs to the Romance group of the Indo-European family and is derived from the Galician dialect of Vulgar Latin

Portuguese

 

the nation that constitutes 99 percent of the population of Portugal, including the Azores and the Madeira Islands. There are about 11 million Portuguese (1972, estimate), of whom about 9 million live in Portugal. The rest live in North and South America, mainly in the USA and Brazil, in the former Portuguese possessions in Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Principe), in some parts of Asia (Macao and Timor), and in several European countries. They speak Portuguese and most are Catholics.

Lusitanian tribes, influenced by the Celts, were involved in the ethnogenesis of the Portuguese. Between the second century B.C. and the fourth century A.D. they were to a large extent romanized. The ethnic makeup of the Portuguese was also influenced by the Suevi and the Visigoths (fifth to eighth centuries) and in southern Portugal by the Arabs (eighth to first half of the 12th centuries). The evolution of the Portuguese nationality began after the establishment of an independent state in Portugal in the mid-12th century. The Spanish domination (1581–1640) and Portugal’s economic and political dependence on Great Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries retarded capitalist development and the formation of the Portuguese nation, a process that continued down to the late 19th century.

In the age of discovery, when Portugal built one of the first colonial empires, the Portuguese settled on conquered South American, African, and Asian territory. The Portuguese played an important part in the formation of the Brazilian nation. (For the history, culture, and economy of the Portuguese, see.)

REFERENCE

Narody zarubezhnoi Evropy, vol. 2. Moscow, 1965. (With bibliography.)

Portuguese

 

the language of the Portuguese and Brazilians. Portuguese is spoken in Portugal, Brazil, Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tomé, Príncipe), and Asia (Aomen [Macao] and Timor) by a total of more than 110 million people (1973, estimate). Portuguese belongs to the Ibero-Romance subgroup of the Romance languages. The oldest written record in Portuguese is the Auto de Partilhas, a business letter dating from 1192. The literary language took shape in the 16th century, the time when L. Camoẽs’ epic poem Os Lusíadas was written. Portuguese was introduced into Brazil in the 16th century and by the early 19th century had almost completely displaced the local Indian languages.

The two principal variants of Portuguese, the Portuguese of Portugal and Brazilian Portuguese, differ mainly in phonetics and vocabulary. Three dialects are preserved in Portugal, and northern and southern dialects are distinguished in Brazil. The phonetic structure is characterized by a reduction of unstressed vowels, chiefly at the end of a word, and by the presence of open and closed vowels, nasalized vowels, and nasalized diphthongs. Modern Portuguese has retained the Latin tense forms: the pluperfect (with the suffix -ra) and the future subjunctive (with the suffix -re). The verb system has two infinitive forms, one of which —the conjugated, or personal, infinitive—is found in no other Romance language. The writing system is based on the Latin alphabet.

REFERENCE

Vol’f, E. M., and B. A. Nikonov. Portugal’skii iazyk. Moscow, 1965.
Katagoshchina, N. A., and E. M. Vol’f. Sravnitel’no-sopostavitel’naia grammatika romanskikh iazykov: Ibero-romanskaia podgruppa. Moscow, 1968.
Portugal’sko-russkii slovar’, 2nd ed. Mocow, 1972.
Nascentes, A. O idioma nacional, 3rd ed. Rio de Janeiro, 1960.
Nunes, J. J. Compendio de gramática histórica portuguesa (fonética e morfologia), 5th ed. Lisbon, 1956.
Vázquez Guesta, P., and M. A. Mendes da Luz. Gramática portuguesa, vols. 1–2, 3rd ed. Madrid, 1971.
Moraes e Silva, A. de. Grande dicionário da língua portuguesa, 10th ed., vols. 1–12. Lisbon, 1949–59.

E. M. VOL’F

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