Research topic: Portuguese

Portuguese is used in important countries for Norwegian trade and development aid, including Angola, Mozambique and Brazil.

With more than 200 million speakers, Portuguese is the seventh most widely spoken language in the world. Portuguese is an Ibero-Romance language which belongs to the Indo-European language family.

More than 2000 years ago the language developed in the western parts of the Iberian Peninsula from the Vulgar Latin which the Roman soldiers and colonists brought with them.

After the migrations of tribes and the fall of the Roman Empire in the 400s, the language began to diverge from other Romance languages. In the 1400s, Portugal was a great power and Portuguese an important language with a rich literature.

The language was spread over the entire world in the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when Portugal expanded as a great power and established colonies from Brazil in South America to Macau in China.

Similarly to French, Portuguese is known for its contrastive use of nasal sounds and its large number of diphthongs.

European Portuguese differs from the dialects in Brazil, but is mutually comprehensible. African Portuguese are variants of the Portuguese language  spoken in Africa.

Portuguese is at present the only official language in its country of origin, Portugal, and in countries such as Brazil, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe. The language is becoming ever more important in South America thanks to the strong influence of Brazil.

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Published Feb. 8, 2013 2:25 PM - Last modified Jan. 16, 2018 1:10 PM