.Mundo Lusófono/Portuguese-speaking world
EUROPA/EUROPE Portugal/Portugal ÁSIA/ASIA Timor-Leste/East timor Macau/Macau ÁFRICA/AFRICA Angola/Angola Cabo Verde/Cape Verde São Tomé e Principe/Saint Tomé and Principe Guinea-Bissau/Guinea-Bissau Moçambique/Mozambique Guiné Equatorial/Equatorial Guinea AMÉRICA DO SUL/SOUTH AMERICA Brasil/Brazil
Sexta-feira, 7 de Agosto de 2009
The beautiful language of Camões

For the past days my state of mind has been "lusophony"; everything Portuguese and the Portuguese-speaking community that is. So I think it deserves a post dedicated to it. But instead of writing in Portuguese, I'll do it in English so anyone who happens to stumble upon my blog and does not speak Portuguese will be able to understand it...


The Portuguese language is my favourite foreign language. Although my level of proficiency is not as high as that of my Spanish language skills (not yet...but I'll get there!) mainly due to lack of exposure and use , I still consider this language of Camões as the most beautiful language of all languages. All right...all right....along with Spanish, hehehehehe. Or maybe Spanish comes second.


Portuguese is one of the world's major languages and as of now it's spoken by almost 300 million people around the world: from Asia to South America to Europe and Africa.


It is the official language of the following countries/territories:






São Tomé e Príncipe

Cape Verde

East Timor


Equatorial Guinea



*India (Goa) and Sri Lanka also have strong Portuguese influences but numbers of Portuguese speakers in these countries have already diminished.



The following countries/territories have also signifcant speakers due to immigration:






United States





Netherlands Antilles



South Africa




And in the following countries, the study of Portuguese is obligatory:





This is the map of Lusophone world





*Portuguese (along with Spanish) is the fastest-growing European languages (with the exception of English, being the world lingua franca) and, according to estimates by UNESCO, the Portuguese language has the highest potential for growth as an international language in southern Africa and South America. The Portuguese-speaking African countries are expected to have a combined population of 83 million by 2050. In total, the Portuguese-speaking countries will have 335 million people by the same year


*Although Macau was ceded to China in 1999, the use of Portuguese was in decline in Asia, it is becoming a language of opportunity there and according to the Instituto Camões (the Portugeuse government organization to promote Portuguese language and culture), there are more than a thousand Chinese people (and people of neighboring countries) enrolled in some Macanese institutions to learn Portuguese.


*As a result of Brazilian migration, there are 300,000 fluent Portuguese speakers (and growing) in Japan, more than in East Timor, Macau and Goa combined.


*Due to its size and population, Brazil may be the most successful Portuguese-speaking country in turning Portuguese into a world language.


Enough of statistics, hehehehehe. 


On a personal note, this language has been helpful to me. I started learning it back in 2001. I borrowed a photocopied Portuguese book from my friend who was studying Portguese at the University of the Philippines and started from there (self-study). But as I advanced my level,  I found no enough learning materials, so I went to Manila and made some request from the embassies of Portugal and Brazil. Both embassies gave me every sort of materials from newspapers to magazines.


The cultural attaché of the Brazilian Embassy emphasized that although Spanish and Portuguese spelling can be similar at some point (but not totally), the pronunciation of Portuguese is so different. She suggested some good universities in Brazil where to study Portuguese (drum roll...darara ra ran...make a wish, no money, especially during that time hehehehehe). She talked about how humid Brasilia is (that's the capital of Brazil) and Campinas University is one of the best in Brazil and other stuff. That was lovely.


But the highlight would be my visit to the Portuguese Embassy. I went to there in 2001 when they have still one here in the Philippines but as of writing it's closed and the Embassy of Portugal in Jakarta is the one in charge of Philippine affairs inclusing issuance of visa to Filipinos). I just loved the reaction of the staff to whom I gave my letter written in Portuguese (stating that I was learning Portuguese and that I wanted to receive some learning materials.). She said it was strange that only after 3 months of learning Portuguese by myself, I could already  write in Portuguese! Well, partly because I was also studying Spanish so these languages complemented each other. She told me to wait at the lounge and after a couple of minutes, the consul and her husband came to me and almost all staff was there also, as if waiting how would I fare with my Portuguese. Wow, the pressure! Hahahahaha. I was nervous actually and the consul started to talk to me in Portuguese. I did not understand many of what she said so I would ask her to repeat herself, hehehehehehe. But really, I felt like I was a star at that moment. Funny but exciting as well as it was my first time to talk in Portuguese. I think I did not do well...but....(drum rol!!!!!!!)....the nice consul said the embassy would organise something for me to improve my Portuguese!!! They asked for my telephone number and stuff. And then gave me some newspapers among them was two copies of the February 2001 edition of the regional newspaper of Águeda, Portugal which until now I read just to for the sake of reading.


When I left, the security guard (who, I realised, was also watching my "performace") told me: "Baka ipadala ka sa Portugal! Alam mo mabait yang si consul! (It's possible that they'll send you to Portugal! You know, the consul is very nice!). 


Wow, that was the most exciting moment as far as language learning is concerned.


I did not get a call from them though. Or maybe they did but I did not know about it? First, the telephone number I gave them was not mine (it was my grandmother's and I did not live in her place). I had no e-mail at that time (yeah, promdi, hehehehehe). And no follow-up from me cos I was just waiting. Maybe it wasn't for me. But I was happy. Their willingness to help was there and I was more than happy about it. 


A month after, I got hired in a multinational company because of my knowledge in Portuguese. That was my first real job. Then time went so fast. After a couple of months, the Spanish government offered me a scholarship to pursue postgraduate studies in one of the most prestigious universities in Spain. I opted for the Spanish-Portuguese program but no enough students enrolled so I was trasferred to Spanish-French.


The first time I visited Portugal, I cried. I really had a wonderful time (and misadventures as well) during my first visit to this beautiful country. The Portuguese are hospitable and nice people. I want to vist this country again and again.


Some old pictures of my first visit in Portugal. This is the beautiful city of Porto:

















Ahhh saudades! I will return to Portugal............


And I'd also want to visit all countries of the Lusophone world. I don't know when though, hehehehehe. But for sure, these are things to do before I die, hehehehehehe. I will be the happiest person on earth when this objective is attained! Hehehehehehe


For now, I am preparing for the Portuguese language Proficiency Exam and maybe one day, I can teach Portuguese (and Spanish of course) in a university. That would be a dream job for me. This way, promote the Portuguese language and Lusophone culture not only of Portugal but also other countries of Lusofonia like Brazil and Angola, etc etc.  No one knows but I am actually a teacher at heart (and my mother, my grandmother, my aunts are all teachers) but I never really entertained this idea... until now... =)


publicado por Sadiri Gonzales às 22:56
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