Traducción de Portugal ● Need a specialised Portuguese translation?
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Did you know about the Portuguese language?
- More than 220 million people speak Portuguese as their mother tongue. Official language in Brazil (185 million), Portugal/Azores/Madeira Islands (11 million), Angola (60,000), Mozambique (30,000), Cape Verde (25,000), Timor-Leste, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Macao, EU.
- It belongs to the Indo-European Romance language family. It has hundreds of dialects, of which Galician considers itself a separate language.
- Dialects. There are only two standard written versions used in education: European (Lusitanian) Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. The spelling and lexical differences between the two can be compared to the difference between British and American English, but there are also some grammatical differences between the two. There are also a number of surviving Portuguese Creole languages which are not dialects, but are separate languages that evolved from the Pijin languages that developed as a result of the Portuguese trade, such as Kabuverdiano (Cape Verde Islands), Forro (São Tomé and Príncipe) and Papiamento (Dutch Caribbean ABC Islands).
- Letters. The Portuguese language uses the Latin alphabet with the letter ç, and vowels can also have accents. These accents are not only simple stress markers, but also have a phonetic meaning.
- Portuguese is not a compound language, it only uses prefixes (e.g. hyper- "hyper-") and suffixes (e.g. -ização "-isation"). For this reason, the longest words in the language are scientific names of Greek and Latin origin (in the fields of chemistry, medicine or sociology). The longest word is tetraclorodibenzoparadioxina, or chemistry.
- The origin of words. In European Portuguese, there are many words with deep Arabic roots dating back more than 500 years of Islamic rule and reconquista. When they came into contact with Brazilian nature, they adopted tens of thousands of animal, plant and place names from indigenous languages, especially Tupí and its version regularised by the Jesuits, the Lingua Geral. This is the origin of place names ending in -açu ('big'), such as big waterfall and Iguaçu ('big water')
- To pronounce correctly, you need to know where the stress is. If it is not marked, you need to look at the end of the word. If the word has an a, e, o, s or m ending, the stress is on the penultimate syllable, in all other cases it is on the last. In cases other than these, as in Spanish, the stress is marked by an accent (sharp accent means open, hat means closed): José [zsuze], você 'you' [vuszé]. The Portuguese sound system, unlike Spanish, is rich in nasal vowels and double vowels (perhaps even surpassing French!), not to mention the fact that there can be huge differences in the pronunciation of such vowels between European and Brazilian languages.
- Language history. The closest ancestor of modern Portuguese is the so-called Galician-Portuguese, or Old Portuguese, which was spoken in the north-western part of the Pyrenees Peninsula, in what is now Galicia, Spain. Old Portuguese was a dialect of Latin spoken in Spain, like its Spanish ancestors, Old Castilian and Leonese or Aragonese. During the medieval conquests, the language area began to expand southwards, under various influences, and several dialects developed.
- Some say it is the most beautiful Slavic language. Because unaccented vowels are unstable and short, they are barely or not at all audible in rapid speech. Add to this the softenings and nasal sounds, and it is considered by many to be similar to Slavic.
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