€ Spanish and what other language are the top two fastest-growing European languages (According to UNESCO)?
€ Also according to UNESCO, what language has the highest growth potential as an international language?
€ Finally, what is the sixth most spoken language in the world? (Ranking third, behind English and Spanish, among European languages used around the world)
Well, meus amigos, if you answered Portuguese to each and every one of the questions above you’re either a dorky linguist, a close friend or colleague of mine, or a smug Brazilian (which probably means you live in either São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro… not to hate…)
Seriously? Sixth most spoken language in the world?? Yuppers, Portuguese is the native language of approximately 240,000,000 people, and you know whats coming next; Where do all these lusophones live? Humbly submitted, a map of the regions of the world where Portuguese is an official language (mind you, a map of the actual Portuguese speaking world would have to include places like Eastern Massachusetts and Coastal California and London and shit…)
Portuguese is the language of Portugal, including the autonomous regions of the Azores (Açores in Portuguese spelling) and Madeira. Additionally, it is the official language of Brazil, Mozambique (Moçambique), Angola, Guinea-Bissau (Guiné-Bissau), São Tomé e Príncipe, the Cape Verde Islands (Cabo Verde), and East Timor. It is also still spoken in Macau and Goa.
There are SO many reasons to learn Portuguese! A buddy of mine who used to do work in Bolívia recently switched his focus to Brazil. Though his mother is from Guatemala and he is a master of both Spanish and English (well… Canadian English), the sheer awesomeness of Brazil and the Portuguese speaking world compelled him to jump ship e començar de aprender esse lingua bacana. Por quê não?
I mean, in the many centuries since the unfolding of Portuguese colonialism that spanned the Atlantic, circumnavigated Africa, and nipped at the feet of Asia, it is possible to travel the world and every continent (I’m sure there are Brazilian scientists at the Antarctic research base) on that one language alone. That or connect with people in your local area who are from all of those far-flung worldly corners. Plus, you won’t feel compelled to explain away your North America English as “Canadian”. What could be more humiliating than that??
O Mundo é Seu,