Languages Of Brazil
Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, and is spoken by more than 99% of the population. Minority languages include indigenous languages, and languages of more recent European and Asian immigrants. The population speaks or signs approximately 210 languages, of which 180 are indigenous. Less than forty thousand people (about 0,02% of total population) actually speak indigenous languages in the Brazilian territory .
Language is one of the strongest elements of Brazil's national unity. The only non-Portuguese speakers are members of Amerindian groups, and pockets of immigrants who maintain their heritage languages. Within Brazil, there is no major dialect variation of the Portuguese, but only moderate regional variation in accent, vocabulary, and use of personal nouns, pronouns, and verb conjugations. Variations are diminishing as a result of mass media, especially national television networks that are viewed by the majority of Brazilians.
The written language, which is uniform across Brazil, follows national rules of spelling and accentuation that are revised from time to time for simplification. They are slightly different than the rules in Portugal. Written Brazilian Portuguese differs significantly from the spoken language, with only an educated subsection of the population adhering to prescriptive norms.
Many foreigners who speak Portuguese fluently have difficulty writing it properly. Because of Brazil's size, self-sufficiency, and relative isolation, foreign languages are not widely spoken. English is often studied in school and increasingly in private courses. It has replaced French as the principal second language among educated people. Because Spanish is similar to Portuguese, most Brazilians can understand it to a certain degree but find difficulty communicating verbally, while Spanish speakers usually have difficulty understanding spoken Portuguese.
In 2002, Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) was made the official language of the Brazilian deaf community.
Famous quotes containing the word languages:
“The very natural tendency to use terms derived from traditional grammar like verb, noun, adjective, passive voice, in describing languages outside of Indo-European is fraught with grave possibilities of misunderstanding.”
—Benjamin Lee Whorf (18971934)