Portuguese language


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Portuguese language,

member of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Romance languagesRomance languages,
group of languages belonging to the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Italic languages). Also called Romanic, they are spoken by about 670 million people in many parts of the world, but chiefly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
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). It is the mother tongue of about 170 million people, chiefly in Portugal and the Portuguese islands in the Atlantic (11 million speakers); in Brazil (154 million speakers); and in Portugal's former overseas provinces in Africa and Asia—Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Principe—(about 5 million speakers). (These nations are members of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, which was founded 1996.) Although the Portuguese spoken in Portugal differs to some extent from the Portuguese current in Brazil, with reference to pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, the differences are not major. The Portuguese spelling reform agreed to in 1990 simplifies the spelling of both Brazilian and European/African Portuguese, and greatly reduces the differences in orthography between the two forms. A distinctive phonetic feature of Portuguese is the nasalization of certain vowels and diphthongs, which can be indicated by a tilde (˜) placed above the appropriate vowel. The acute (´) and circumflex (ˆ) accents serve to make clear both stress and pronunciation and also to distinguish homonyms (for example, e "and," but é "is"). The grave accent (`) is a guide to pronunciation. It can also indicate a contraction, as in às, which is a combination of a "to" and as "the" (feminine plural). A c with a cedilla (ç) is pronounced like c in English place when used before the vowels a, o, and u. As in Spanish, there are two forms of the verb "to be": ser, which denotes a comparatively permanent state and which also precedes a predicate noun, and estar, which denotes a comparatively temporary condition. Again like Spanish, Portuguese tends to use reflexive verbs instead of the passive voice. Historically, Portuguese, which developed from the Vulgar Latin (see Latin languageLatin language,
member of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Latin was first encountered in ancient times as the language of Latium, the region of central Italy in which Rome is located (see Italic languages).
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) brought to the Iberian Peninsula by its Roman conquerors, could be distinguished from the parent tongue before the 11th cent. The Portuguese spoken in Lisbon and Coimbra gave rise to the Standard Portuguese of today. Although the greater part of the Portuguese vocabulary comes from Latin, a number of words have also been absorbed from Arabic, French, and Italian, and also from some of the indigenous South American and African languages.

Bibliography

See W. J. Entwistle, The Spanish Language, Together with Portuguese, Catalan and Basque (2d ed. 1962); E. B. Williams, From Latin to Portuguese (2d ed. 1962); M. E. de Alvelos Naar, Colloquial Portuguese (1968); J. M. Câmara, The Portuguese Language (tr. 1972).

References in periodicals archive ?
He added that the Portuguese language course which was introduced at Qatar University two years ago has evoked good response exceeding their expectations.
The envoy also cited the two countries' cultural co-operation with the staging of several shows and endeavour in Doha, including Portugal's participation in the annual European Jazz Festival and the Portuguese Language Day next month.
The minister has described as positive the intention of his Portuguese counterpart, and has confirmed the participation of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, as a member of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) in the fair that will take place in Lisbon, through an important delegation.
The Tunisian Premier also said the meeting focused on cultural exchange, including the teaching of the Portuguese language in Tunisia.
It is really a very nice opportunity starting with the teaching of Portuguese Language at the institute of Languages, University of the Punjab - new Campus, in Lahore, from September 2011.
A large fire engulfed the Museum of the Portuguese Language in SAaAaAe Paulo, Brazil, Monday afternoon, officials said.
ISLAMABAD -- Ambassador of Brazil Alfredo Leoni distributed certificates among students who completed their Portuguese language course here on Thursday.
Jannati voiced Tehran's readiness to help translate Persian books into Portuguese language and vice versa.
Linguists and computer scientists mostly from Portugal and Brazil describe the corpus linguistics being conducted with Portuguese language corpora around the world.
ProofHub account owners can now opt for Portuguese language from the settings tab.
Travel Business Review-August 17, 2012--Hawker Beechcraft Launches Portuguese Language Website(C)2012] ENPublishing - http://www.