Roots of the Portuguese Language

Portuguese is a romance language and is one of the official languages of the European Union including other language associations. Portuguese is an extremely popular language, with over 270 million speakers. Today, Portuguese is known as the main language of Brazil. The history of this romance language has had many effects on other languages around the world.

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Influences

Galician is the closet language to Portuguese. Galician-Portuguese was spoken in Medieval Times, in the Kingdom of Galicia (northern Spain). The two languages were separated, but still share many verb tenses and vocabulary. Today, Galician is considered to be a dialect of Portuguese. These two languages also gave birth to another language, Fala. However, this language is not nearly as possible as Portuguese and Galician.

The Portuguese language has provided influence to over 15 languages around the world. In many of these influential languages, Portuguese is used as a holy language for rituals and other religious practices. The Japanese-Portuguese dictionary first documented Portuguese in a European language in the 1600s. Jesuit missionaries who visited the country brought these efforts forth. Portuguese also had a great effect on Chinese and Vietnamese.

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Brazilian Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese is a large dialect, with nearly 200 million speakers. European and Brazilian Portuguese are very similar. With slight word differences, the two types of Portuguese would be closely compared with English to British English. Brazil’s language developed in the late 1800s from European Portuguese when the colonization of immigrants took place. “God’s Marines,” or the Jesuit Missionaries, were responsible for the colonization of South America. St. Ignatius founded the society. The missionaries believed in spreading their beliefs throughout the world, even in the harshest of conditions.

There are some major differences in the spelling of the two regional languages. This is mainly due to the pronunciation of words. European Portuguese has many influences from Italian pronunciation. Brazilian Portuguese tends to be more influenced from English and the missionaries who colonized the region. Today, many animals that are native to the region are named from the original Portuguese language, such as macaw and alligator. Both regions and languages do possess a formal and informal tense.

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The Portuguese Language

The Portuguese language is one of the major languages of the world. It is derived from Latin, which makes it a Romance language. It came specifically from the language of Latium in Ancient Italy, or more specifically, the city of Rome. Many groups that immigrated to what is now Portugal throughout history didn’t have much of an effect on the Portuguese language. In spite of this, there are still a few words that are from Celtic times (like ontem, meaning "yesterday" and esquecer, meaning "to forget"). There are also a few words of Germanic origin (like roubar, meaning "to steal," and guerrear, which means "to wage war"). Additionally, there are roughly five hundred words that are from Moorish times (especially words that start with the "al" prefix, such as almofada meaning "pillow").

Portuguese Influenced by Other Languages

In the midst of what is called the Age of Discovery (when Portugal established an overseas empire), the Portuguese language could be found in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Due to local influences, Portuguese adopted a few words like jangada ("raft") of Malay origin, and chá ("tea"), of Chinese origin.

Another language that greatly influenced the Portuguese language was French. This was because of the introduction of French manners and customs in Portugal during the tenth and eleventh centuries, when the French immigrated to Portugal. Many Frenchmen traveled to Portugal in these times. This included pilgrims, courtiers, statesmen, scholars, and soldiers of fortune to help fight the Moors. Provençal, a language from the south of France, also influenced Portuguese. It did this with words such as rua ("street"), comparable to the French word rue.

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Influence on Other Languages

The Portuguese discoveries had a great influence of other languages. There are now many Portuguese words within other languages. Japanese is an example of a language that has adopted many Portuguese words. Portuguese has also supplied words to languages like Indonesian, Manado Malay, Sri Lankan Tamil and Sinhalese (see Sri Lanka Indo-Portuguese), Malay, Bengali, English, Hindi, Konkani, Marathi, Tetum, Xitsonga, Papiamentu, Lanc-Patuá (spoken in northern Brazil), Esan and Sranan Tongo (spoken in Suriname).

Portuguese dramatically influenced the língua brasílica, a Tupi–Guarani language. This language was most frequently spoken in Brazil until the 18th century. Portuguese also influenced the language spoken around Sikka in Flores Island, Indonesia. Portuguese is used in prayers for Holy Week rituals in Larantuka.

In 1603, Nippo Jisho (the Japanese–Portuguese dictionary) was the first dictionary of Japanese in a European language. This was because of Jesuit missionaries in Japan. The Romanization of Chinese was also strongly influenced by the Portuguese language (as well as other languages). This was most noticeable in regard to Chinese last names. One example of this is the name Mei. Between 1583 and 1588, Italian Jesuits Michele Ruggieri and Matteo Ricci made a Portuguese–Chinese dictionary.  This was the first European–Chinese dictionary to exist.

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