Language Centre Resources - Portuguese
An Indo-European language and a member of the Romance group of languages, the mother tongue of nearly 200 million speakers and the official language of eight countries: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and São Tomé e Príncipe. There are also many creole varieties of Portuguese (when it combines with native African languages).
The Portuguese language is traditionally broken into two major types:
- European Portuguese - Portugal, and the variation spoken in the Azores and Madeira archipelagos, and Africa
- Brazilian Portuguese
Both in European and Brazilian Portuguese there are major subdivisions.
Earliest written records in Portuguese date from the 12th century and the literary language, developed out of the Vulgar Latin spoken in Roman Gallaecia and Lusitania and established in the 13th century, was based on the south-central dialect of Lisbon. The national epic Os Lusíadas by Luís de Camões was published in 1572. It was also the time when Portuguese became the first Indo-European language to spread to sub-Saharan Africa.
The language is spelt in the Roman alphabet with diacritics.
CLASSIFICATION = Indo-European family SCRIPT = Roman