May 5th – International Day of the Portuguese Language

CC-BY-3.0 by instituto de ajuda ao aluno carente

On May 5th we celebrate the International Day of the Portuguese Language & Culture. Established in June 2009 during the 14th CPLP (Community of Portuguese Language Countries) meeting, the date celebrates the common linguist and cultural ties that unite the nine Portuguese speaking members: Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, and East Timor.  

Interesting facts:

  • Portuguese evolved from Latin and was officially declared a language in 1290. 
  • With 220 million native speakers and 261 million total speakers, Portuguese is listed as the fourth most spoken language in the world, the third-most spoken European language worldwide in terms of native speakers, and the most spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Portuguese is the third most used language on Facebook. 
  • The metropolis of São Paulo, in Brazil, concentrates the biggest population of Portuguese speakers in the world.  
  • Brazil became independent from Portugal in 1822 and developed a different writing and spoken systems. In 1990 an orthographic agreement was created in order to unify the language in all the countries where Portuguese is the official language.  
  • The language is influenced by Arabic. Spain and Portugal were under the Moorish rule from 700  to 1500 CE, which influenced Portuguese. Many words are derived from Arabic including azeitona (olive), almofada (cushion), açafrão (saffron) and some others. 
  • According to Instituto Camões, by 2050 Portuguese will be spoken by 380 million people.  
  • Portuguese is now recognized as a working language by European Union, the Mercosul, the African Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, and the Organization of American States, among other world organizations. 
  • In Brazil, the Portuguese language is also celebrated on November 5, (Dia Nacional da Língua Portuguesa) as a tribute to the great Brazilian writer Ruy Barbosa, which was born on this day.  

In order to celebrate this day and to promote the language, we’ve created a series of FREE Workshops that will provide a great introduction to the Portuguese language. Sign up today to participate and get cultural tips, learn key phrases all travelers should know, and the essentials you need to know for a basic conversation!

Photo CC-BY-3.0 by instituto de ajuda ao aluno carente