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Portuguese language

Pronunciation [puɾtuˈɡeʃ] (European),
[poɾtuˈɡes] (Galician),
[poχtuˈɡe(j)ʃ] (BP-carioca),
[poɾtuˈɡe(j)s] (BP-paulistano),
[poɹtuˈɡejs] (BP-caipira),
[poχ(h)tuˈɡes] (BP-mineiro),
[pɔhtuˈɡejs] (BP-nordestino),
[poɾtuˈɡes] (BP-gaúcho) 
StatesSee geographic distribution of Portuguese
RegionAfrica, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania
SpeakersNative: 236.1 million
Total: 300.9 million
Fam5Western Romance
ScriptLatin alphabet (Portuguese variant)
Nation9 countries
titlestyle=font-weight:normal; background:transparent; text-align:left;
title=9 countries
Cape Verde
East Timor
Equatorial Guinea
São Tomé and Príncipe

3 autonomous regions
titlestyle=font-weight:normal; background:transparent; text-align:left;
title=3 autonomous regions
Azores (Portugal)
Macau (China)
Madeira (Portugal)


Numerous international organisations
AgencyInternational Portuguese Language Institute; CPLP; Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazil); Academia das Ciências de Lisboa, Classe de Letras (Portugal)

     Home | Language | Portuguese language

Portuguese ( or língua portuguesa) is a Romance language that arose in ancient Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of that ancient Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095 (kingdom from 1139). While Galicia decayed increasingly the independent Portugal expanded to South (conquest of Lisbon, 1147), and spread the language, with the Reconquista, to Southern Portugal and with the Portuguese discoveries to Brazil, Africa and other parts of the world. It is an official language of the European Union, the Organisation of American States, the African Union, and Lusophone countries. It has around 272.9 million speakers making it the fifth-most spoken language in the world. Portuguese is the third-most spoken language in the Western Hemisphere, and the most spoken in the Southern Hemisphere.

During the Age of Exploration, Portuguese sailors were among the first to sail to distant locations in the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Eastern Asia. The exploration was followed by the attempts to colonise new lands by Portugal and as a result Portuguese became a widely dispersed language around the world. Alongside Portugal, Portuguese is the main mother tongue of Brazil. It is also widely used as a lingua franca in former Portuguese colonies of Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guiné-Bissau and São Tomé e Príncipe, all of which are in Africa. Additionally Portuguese speakers are also found in the Asian territories of Macau, East Timor and Goa (in India), all of which were Portuguese colonies until the second half of the 20th century.

Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes once called Portuguese "the sweet language", Lope de Vega referred to it as "sweet",

while Brazilian writer Olavo Bilac poetically described it as a última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela (the last flower of Latium, wild and beautiful). Portuguese is also termed "the language of Camões", after one of Portugal's best known literary figures, Luís Vaz de Camões.

In March 2006, the Museum of the Portuguese Language, an interactive museum about the Portuguese language, was founded in São Paulo, Brazil, the city with the greatest number of Portuguese-language speakers in the world.

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