When people are asked where Portuguese is spoken, they usually respond with Portugal or Brazil. They do not think about the countries in Africa such as Angola, Mozambique, Angola and Cabo Verde or Cape Verde. Neither do people think about the places in Asia or Oceania including East Timor, Goa and Macao. Over 210 million people throughout the world speak Portuguese as their native tongue and 184 million are from Brazil alone.

Origin of European Portuguese

Portuguese is an old language and the written form can be dated back to the 12th century.

Vulgar Latin, which was spoken on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, (now Portugal and the Spanish province of Galicia) basically replaced all previous local languages. Vulgar Latin evolved into the Galician–Portuguese language. This then broke off into Galacian and Portuguese after the incorporation of Galicia into Spain and the independent development of Portugal.

Origin of Brazilian Portuguese

Portugal colonized Brazil in the 1500s. At that time, Tupinamba or Tupi for short was combined with Portuguese as the official language of the colony. Tupi was banned, so the people were required to strictly speak Portuguese, but adapted a few words from Tupi and other local languages.

When the Differences Began to Rise

In the 18th century, more differences appeared between the European or Standard Portuguese from the Brazilian Portuguese. The French influence brought about the changes in Portugal, and the Italian and other European immigrants to Brazil influenced the Brazilian Portuguese.

Later on, in the 20th Century, More differences came about due to the new technological words. The Europeans did not have a uniform procedure for adapting words. In contrast, the Brazilians were eager to adapt the new words and embraced the use of idiomatic expressions.

Portuguese In Africa, Asia and Oceania

The Portuguese in these regions are categorized into Creole and non–Creole forms. Creole is a mixture of local African languages with Portuguese. They are commonly considered a different language due to the differences between the two.

Angola and Mozambique are the first places in Africa where Portuguese became the spoke language mixed with other local languages. A lot of dialects are close to that of European Portuguese, but some parts do resemble Brazilian Portuguese.

Portuguese is a language rich in history and through past colonization and mixing with local languages has evolved extensively since the 12th century.

Works Cited

Delta Translator USA. (2006). The Portuguese Language. Delta Translator USA. Retrieved August 25, 2006, from

Zdravko Batzarov. (n.d.). General Overview of the Portuguese language. Retrieved August 25, 2006, from

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