Portuguese or língua portuguesa [ˈɫĩgwɐ puɾtuˈɣezɐ]) is a Romance language. It is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Portuguese has co-official status in Macau in East Asia and East Timor in Southeast Asia. As the result of expansion during colonial times, Portuguese speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India and in Malacca in Malaysia.
Portuguese is a part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of colloquial Latin in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia. With approximately 210 to 215 million native speakers and 240 million total speakers, Portuguese is usually listed as the seventh most spoken language in the world (or sixth, being very close to Bengali in native speakers) and is the fourth most spoken European language. It is also the second most spoken language in South America and Latin America.
Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes once called Portuguese "the sweet and gracious language" and Spanish playwright Lope de Vega referred to it as "sweet", while the Brazilian writer Olavo Bilac poetically described it as "a última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela" (the last flower of Latium, rustic and beautiful). Portuguese is also termed "the language of Camões", after one of Portugal's greatest 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.
When the Roman Empire collapsed in Western Europe (AD 409 and 711), the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by Germanic peoples, (Suebi and Visigoths) they adopted late Roman culture and the Vulgar Latin dialects of the peninsula. After the Moorish invasion of 711, Arabic became the administrative and common language in the conquered regions, but most of the remaining Christian population continued to speak a form of Romance commonly known as Mozarabic.
Portuguese arouse from the medieval language, as Galician-Portuguese of the north western medieval Kingdom of Galicia, It is in Latin administrative documents of the 9th century that written Galician-Portuguese words and phrases are first recorded. the language was increasingly used for documents and other written forms such poetry.
When Portugal in 1139 gained its independent Portuguese was officially used known as "common language". in the 15th and 16th centuries, with the Portuguese discoveries, the language was taken to many regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas. By the mid-16th century Portuguese had become a lingua franca in Asia and Africa.
The language continued to be popular in parts of Asia until the 19th century. Some Portuguese-speaking Christian communities in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Indonesia preserved their language even after they were isolated from Portugal.
1. Portuguese Europeo : spoken in Portugal and in African countries
2. Portuguese Braziliero (português neutro): spoken in Brazil
Despite the fact that its speakers are dispersed around the world, Portuguese has only two dialects used for learning: the European and the Brazilian. Some aspects and sounds found in many dialects of Brazil are exclusive to South America, and cannot be found in Europe. However, the Santomean Portuguese in Africa may be confused with a Brazilian dialect by its phonology.
Portuguese, like Catalan and Sardinian, preserved the stressed vowels of Vulgar Latin, which became diphthongs in most other Romance languages; cf. Port., Cat., Sard. pedra ; Fr. pierre, Sp. piedra, It. pietra, Ro. piatră, from Lat. petram ("stone"); or Port. fogo, Cat. foc, Sard. fogu; Sp. fuego, It. fuoco, Fr. feu, Ro. foc, from Lat. focus ("fire"). Another characteristic of early Portuguese was the loss of intervocalic l and n, sometimes followed by the merger of the two surrounding vowels, or by the insertion of an epenthetic vowel between them: cf. Lat. salire ("to leave"), tenere ("to have"), catenam ("chain"), Sp. salir, tener, cadena, Port. sair, ter, cadeia.
When the elided consonant was n, it often nasalized the preceding vowel: cf. Lat. manum ("hand"), ranam ("frog"), bonum ("good"), Port. mão, rãa, bõo (now mão, rã, bom). This process was the source of most of the language's distinctive nasal diphthongs. In particular, the Latin endings -anem, -anum and -onem became -ão in most cases, cf. Lat. canem ("dog"), germanum ("brother"), rationem ("reason") with Modern Port. cão, irmão, razão, and their plurals -anes, -anos, -ones normally became -ães, -ãos, -ões, cf. cães, irmãos, razões.
The Portuguese language is also the only Romance language that developed the clitic case mesoclisis: cf. dar-te-ei (I'll give thee), amar-te-ei (I'll love you), contactá-los-ei (I'll contact them). And it was also the only Romance language to develop the "syntatic pluperfect past tense": cf. eu estivera (I had been), eu vivera (I had lived), vós vivêreis (you had lived). It also has three other tense cases among the Romance languages.