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Portuguese is a Romance language spoken by about 220 million people mainly in Portugal and Brazil (Brasil), and also in Angola, Mozambique (Moçambique), Cape Verde (Cabo Verde), Guinea-Bissau (Guiné-Bissau), São Tomé e Principe, East Timor (Timor-Leste), Equatorial Guinea and Macau.
Portuguese is a descendent of Latin, which was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by Roman soldiers, settlers and merchants from 218 BC. The earliest records of a distinctly Portuguese language appear in administrative documents dating from the 9th century AD. In 1290 King Denis decreed that Portuguese, then simply called the “Vulgar language” should be known as the Portuguese language and should be officially used.
A reformed Portuguese orthography (nova ortografia), in which words were spelled more in accordance with their pronunciation, was adopted is Portugal in 1916. A slightly modified form was adopted in Brazil in 1943 and revised in 1970. A new orthography which aims to unify the written Portuguese of all the lusophone countries was adopted in Brazil in 2009. Dates have yet to be set for its adoption in the other Portuguese-speaking countries
If you’re visiting Brazil and you’re familiar with European Portuguese, you should know that the pronunciations are different. Brushing up on the basics of the Portuguese (Brazilian) Alphabet would definitely be in your best interest.
The Portuguese alphabet like almost all Romance languages, Portuguese follows the Latin alphabet and incorporates six diacritics, or special characters. There are the three accents (acute: ó; circumflex: ê; and grave: à), and other special characters. The written system of the Portuguese alphabet includes these letters k, w and y, they are part of the official Portuguese language alphabet, but people rarely use them. One can find these letters in foreign words and persona names. The following table shows you the official Portuguese alphabet and the way they are pronounced.
Pronunciation of the Portuguese of Portugal
Pronunciation of the Portuguese of Brazil