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 language, 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.
They are so different, in fact, that Brazilians often have to use Brazilian Portuguese subtitles when watching movies made in Portugal. Learning one of the standards does not mean that you will automatically understand the other. Brazilian Portuguese has been strongly affected by African influence (from the time of slavery) and indigenous languages (native of the Brazilian Amazon).
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.
Traveling to a country without being able to speak their native language is a risky idea. Usually, residents will appreciate if you attempt to at least learn basic phrases in their language. Instead of assuming that everyone speaks English, enroll in a language course so you can be better prepared for travel.
Most colleges offer European Portuguese language courses because it is the standard. If you really search, you might be able to find courses that teach Brazilian Portuguese. Try to take a course that teaches the dialect of Portuguese that is spoken in the region you want to travel to. This is important because accents and vocabulary differ even within different areas of the same country.
Some people who speak Spanish find it easier to learn portuguese language. The two languages have similar linguistic elements. However, the phonology of Portuguese is quite different from Spanish and this can prove to be a difficult adaptation for a lot of Spanish speakers. Learning Portuguese on your own from a book is generally very difficult because the language is like nothing you have ever heard before.
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