Introduction to the Portuguese language

Portuguese has almost 240 million speakers, making it the sixth most spoken language in the world. As a Romance language, Portuguese originally derives from Latin, which was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans around 200 BC.


History of the Portuguese language

Portuguese became the official language of Portugal in 1290 AD. The Portuguese language was standardised in Portugal in the early 20th century to bring spelling in line with pronunciation. This standardisation was adopted by Brazil in 1943 in a slightly altered form. Portuguese is the official language of countries such as Brazil and Mozambique, as well as Portugal, and is the second official language of others including areas of East Timor and Africa. The Portuguese language is spoken in places as diverse as North America and India.

Portuguese dialects and accents

The fact that Portuguese is spoken so widely throughout the world can mean that there are huge differences between dialects, and in some instances speakers of one dialect may find the spoken Portuguese of another area difficult, if not impossible, to understand. There are particular differences between the varieties of the Portuguese language spoken in Brazil and Europe. Learners should keep this in mind when choosing a Portuguese course.

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Benefits of speaking Portuguese

However, Portuguese is an excellent language for the learner. As a Romance language it has certain features in common with other languages in the Romance family. The speaker of French, Italian or, in particular, Spanish, should find it easy to learn Portuguese. Learners without a second language may find that learning Portuguese could be the first step in also acquiring other languages in the future. As one of the world’s most commonly spoken languages, the acquisition of Portuguese has many benefits for the learner. Portuguese is spoken across several continents giving the learner access to many different cultures. If you learn Portuguese for business purposes you will acquire a language that is understood from Europe to South America.


Master Portuguese with Babbel

With Babbel's Portuguese course, you can learn Portuguese using a multi-media system combined with the most effective methodologies for language teaching. Babbel’s enjoyable material allows you to learn Portuguese in small, simple steps. You learn at your own pace with all the benefits of a very user-friendly system. Learners can access the Babbel multi-media site, or you can learn on the go with Babbel Mobile via iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or even Android devices. Learning materials are accompanied by images and audio and it is suitable for those who are new to Portuguese or those who wish to hone their language skills further. A Review Manager lets you know what needs to be refreshed at a particular time. While learning in your own time you can also benefit from the support of the Babbel community. With the Babbel Portuguese course, learning will not only be simple, it will be enjoyable too.