Brazilian Portuguese is a group of Portuguese dialects used by the majority of the 190 million residents of Brazil. A few million Brazilian emigrants in the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, Japan, and Paraguay also integrate Portuguese into their everyday life. It is said that the differences between Brazilian Portuguese and the European variety are like those between British and American English. The differences in the spoken language are quite a bit more evident than those in the written language.
The existence of Portuguese in Brazil is due to Portuguese immigration in the Americas. The first Portuguese-speaking settlers arrived in Brazil during the 16th century. In spite of this, the language was not commonly used at that time. For a while, Portuguese existed side-by-side with Língua Gera, which was a lingua franca derived from Amerindian languages that was used by the Jesuit missionaries.
Portuguese became the national language in Brazil at the end of the 18th century. The rise of Portuguese immigration to the Brazilian inlands made the Portuguese language more common. The Portuguese settlers introduced their language and soon became a vital ethnic group for the country.
In the 16th century, the failed immigration efforts made by the French in Rio de Janeiro and the Dutch in the Northeast in the 17th century hardly affected Portuguese. In the late 19th and early 20th century, there was a large increase in non-Portuguese-speaking immigration (mainly from Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Japan and Lebanon). In spite of this, the languages dissolved into the Portuguese-speaking majority in a very short amount. This was the case for most regions of Brazil apart from some regions of the three southern states (in the case of Germans, Italians and Slavs) and rural parts of So Paulo (Italians and Japanese).
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Brazilian Portuguese Today
Currently, most of the Brazilian population speaks Portuguese as their native tongue. This occurs almost everywhere except for some of the little villages that have descendants of European and Japanese immigrants. These appear mainly in the South and Southeast. It also occurs in the Amerindian villages where the inhabitants comprise a very small part of the population. In spite of this, even these populations commonly speak Portuguese in order to communicate with others and to understand the language used on TV and on the radio.
In recent history, Brazilian Portuguese has acted as a significant cultural influence to the rest of the Portuguese-speaking world. This is because of the fame Brazilian music and soap operas have gained.
Portuguese in South America
Portuguese is a Romance language with roots dating to the medieval Kingdom of Galicia. There are over 270 millions speakers of Portuguese, making it the fifth-most spoken language in the world. In South America, Portuguese is the official language of Brazil. The introduction of this language to Brazil began over 500 years ago. Settlements and colonization then spread the Portuguese language throughout the territories of Brazil. As trade grew, Portugal increased its influence and political power in Brazil. Other European countries then established their own colonies in South America. Brazil became the central source of Portugal’s entry into South America. As a result, Portuguese is now the main language of Brazil. Unlike other South American countries where Spanish is the main language, Brazil is an exception to this rule.
Introduction of Portuguese to Brazil
Portuguese became the unofficial language of Brazil in 1534 with the spread of colonies. In 1549, the King of Portugal appointed a Governor-General to run these colonies. The Portuguese then brought various tribes together and introduced European customs to the entire country. At the same time, the Portuguese language began to spread throughout the country. The language became an important part of managing Brazil’s economy. By the 16th century, Brazil’s most important export was sugar and the Portuguese language was a crucial element in global trade.
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Today, Portuguese is the main language of Brazil and a key feature of the country’s cultural and economic success. Within the language, there are several dialects. Brazilian Portuguese is the most common dialect. Most of the 190 million people in Brazil speak this dialect. Other speakers are in countries like the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Japan, Paraguay, and Portugal.
The differences between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese are similar to the variation between British and American English. Others think the differences are more substantial and difficult to understand. Approximately 15% of the words between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese are different. These differences apply mostly to food, flora and fauna. Still, the rules of grammar are the same between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese. The major changes have more to do with informal use of words and the cultural variations between the two countries.
Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo
These dialects are now the unofficial standard for spoken communication throughout Brazil. Since the 1960s, the influence of TV networks in Rio de Janeiro and So Paulo has made Brazilian Portuguese the country’s main language. Along with newspapers and films, this dialect is a critical feature in Brazil’s cultural identity.