Brazilian Portuguese: the Passport to the New Latin American Powerhouse
Slightly larger than the continental United States, Brazil is a vast country with epic beauty and immense natural resources. It is also the birthplace of the Girl from Ipanema, the archetypal beauty whose winsome walk has charmed many as she saunters along that shimmering beach so memorialized in song. Certainly she is symbolic of Brazil’s excessive and exquisite beauty. Not only does Brazil have gorgeous beaches but also mysterious and abundant rain forests in the Amazon, home to savage, carnivorous fish — the legendary Piranha. So between glamorous beach walking beauties (of both sexes) and terrifying man-eating fish, Brazil has an amazing diversity and a lot to experience. Now, it is becoming more than a tourist destination or in the case of the Amazon, a destination for an anthropological expedition. Brazil is fast becoming the new Latin American business powerhouse, an emerging global economic superpower that is now the second largest economy in the Western Hemisphere and the largest in Latin America! Brazil is also now the sixth largest economy in the world and growing. Welcome to the new Brazil! Along with its ascension, Brazilian Portuguese is fast becoming a leading language of international commerce.
Political Stability has Engendered Economic Growth
Already home to many indigenous tribes, the Portuguese settled in and established Brazil as a colony in 1532 when they settled in Sao Vicente. Brazil has gone through periods of dictatorship and military rule. Since the last military dictatorship was overthrown in 1985, it is now a Federal Republic, structured much like the United States with a separation of powers and a president. Brazil’s relatively new political stability has engendered its growing prosperity and its latest famous saunter is not a walk on the beach, but a walk onto the world economic stage. Always envisioned as “the country of the future”, imagined as a future destination of beauty and prosperity, in Brazil that future is fast becoming the now. It is the largest cattle producer in the world, has extremely strong technological and scientific growth, and produces millions of tons of steel, cement, and about 70 million cubic meters of petroleum that is processed into lubricant, propane gas, and fuel. The population has been growing steadily and is now over 190 million. Certainly, all of this commercial activity and production is a sign that Portuguese is of growing importance in business.
Portuguese from Portugal and Brazilian Portuguese
Lusophone countries are those where a large portion of the population speaks Portuguese. Portuguese in Brazil is similar to Portuguese in Portugal although it differs in phonology or the systematic organization of sound in the language. In formal writing, there is relatively little difference between Brazilian Portuguese and Portuguese from Portugal. Some experts believe that these differences in formal writing are comparable to the differences between American and British English. There are certainly some differences in grammar. In 1990, in order to officially organize Portuguese, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), which includes not only Brazil and Portugal but Mozambique, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde, convened and reached an agreement on the written organization (orthography) of Portuguese. The CPLP divided Portuguese into two groups: Brazilian Portuguese and the remaining Lusophone countries outside of Brazil. Certainly the fact that Brazil was large enough, culturally distinctive and influential enough to be recognized as having its own type of Portuguese bodes well for Brazil’s growing economic and cultural influence.
Let us know here at Chang-Castillo and Associates if you need translators or interpreters for projects requiring Brazilian Portuguese or Portuguese from another area. Our Platinum Standard translators and interpreters will be happy to assist you.