If you’re wondering ‘what language is spoken in Portugal?’ you won’t be surprised that their official language is Portuguese. However, English is widely spoken by most of the people working in the tourist industry. Plus, it’s common in many of the larger towns and cities for the locals to also speak English.
Most signs in airports and transport hubs are written in English as well as Portuguese, which is helpful for travellers.
Interestingly, Portuguese is the second fastest-growing European language (behind English). There are vast numbers of Portuguese speakers across the globe, so much so, it ranks as the sixth most commonly spoken language on the planet.
For those of you who don’t know, Portuguese is also widely recognised as one of the five most romantic languages alongside Spanish, Italian, French and Romanian.
Getting the pronunciation right
Forget grammar and sentence structure, the most challenging part of learning Portuguese is mastering the accent and pronunciation. Also, unlike American and British English where the differences between the two are minimal, the variation in Portuguese spoken in Portugal and the Portuguese spoken in Brazil is considerably different.
The main difference comes from the second-person pronoun. In Portugal, ‘tu’ and ‘vós’ are commonly used, while these are rarely utilised in Brazil. Instead, they prefer the pronouns você and vocês.
It’s a common mistake to believe that Portuguese is only spoken in Portugal and Brazil. Interestingly, Portuguese is the official language for nine countries, including Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Principe.
Now you know that, it’s no surprise the majority of Portuguese speakers don’t reside in Portugal and up until 2009, the letters “K,” “W,” and “Y” weren’t part of the Portuguese alphabet. Instead, they used ‘qu’ to substitute the ‘K’ sound, and “W” and “Y” were used only in foreign proper nouns.
However, this changed a few years ago when all the Portuguese-speaking countries came together to sign an Orthographic Agreement. This officially introduced the letters “K,” “W,” and “Y” into their alphabet.
All interesting trivia aside, if you’re able to learn a few words of Portuguese, the locals will really appreciate it. Check out our list of Portugal language basics above and try and remember as many as possible. No matter how shaky your attempts, the locals will love the fact that at least you’re having a go.