To the surprise of many, Portuguese is not only spoken in Portugal, but also in Brazil, Africa, and Asia. In total, nine countries use Portuguese as their primary language. They are Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste. The combined population of these countries stands at approximately 270 million people, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.To the surprise of many, Portuguese is not only spoken in Portugal, but also in Brazil, Africa, and Asia. In total, nine countries use Portuguese as their primary language. They are Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe and Timor-Leste. The combined population of these countries stands at approximately 270 million people, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Yes, Portuguese and Spanish are very similar languages. They are both Latin-based and share many grammatical structures and patterns. But they are not the same. Assuming that because you speak Spanish you will speak and completely understand Portuguese and vice-versa, would be a misconception.

Portuguese Community

The Portuguese language has a very important place in the world; It is no wonder that the countries that speak Portuguese have gathered in a community that has the language as the element of unity.

In July, this community the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) celebrated its twenty-first anniversary. The organization was created in 1996 by the nine Portuguese-speaking countries with the mission of creating apolitical-diplomatic dialogue, increasing cooperation in all matters, and promoting the Portuguese language. Brazil currently holds the 2016-2018 rotating presidency of the organization.

Over the last twenty-one years, the CPLP has been able to consolidate itself as a platform of integration and dialogue among Portuguese language countries and between those countries and the world and has become an international body with credibility with the international community. For Brazil, the CPLP is a valuable forum for political dialogue, offering opportunities for the development of South-South cooperation and for the continued recognition of their common language on the world stage.

The singularity of the CPLP is due to the fact that its member States are scattered in different continents and that it has built, upon the solid ground of a common language and historical and cultural ties, a network of shared values and interests which go beyond geographical distances.

The CPLP has been built upon principles that, according to the Brazilian perspective, are essential. First, decisions are made by consensus, giving them unquestioned legitimacy. As a result, dialogue among members occurs horizontally and democratically, with recognition and respect for existing asymmetries.

The presence and activities of the Community have contributed to the international projection of the Portuguese language; to the institutional and political strengthening of its members in situations of crisis or instability; to the joint affirmation of common interests of its members in other international fora; and to the development of cooperation programs in several areas.

Headquartered in Lisbon, the Executive Secretariat is the operational arm of the organization and its main purposes are to implement the decisions from the governing bodies and to ensure the implementation of cooperation programs. The position of the CPLP Executive-Secretary has been occupied, since July 2012, by Isaac Murade Murargy, from Mozambique.

The CPLP is financed both through the operating budget of the Executive Secretariat, funded by mandatory contributions from member States, and through a Special Fund, promoted by voluntary contributions and aimed at funding cooperation programs, projects, and topical initiatives.

The Future

Portuguese continues to be an important language across the globe. It is a mandatory school subject in Argentina and Uruguay. In addition, it is being taught in Venezuela, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, and Swaziland. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has identified Portuguese as the fastest growing language within Europe (after English) and has the potential to be the fastest-growing foreign language throughout southern Africa and South America. Because of economic ties between Asian and Portuguese speaking countries (especially Brazil), interest in speaking the language has grown. This is seen in China, Korea, and Japan. China has even received large numbers of Brazilian immigrants that are slowly spreading their special dialect of Portuguese. The expected future of Portuguese is one of continued growth.

Source: Itamaraty and British Council