Have you ever wanted to learn Portuguese? It is a beautiful language that is spoken by over 200 million people around the world. I was surprised to find this out, but it makes sense when you think about how big Brazil is – 207 million people live there and 10 million people live in Portugal!
When Rype recently added Portuguese to its language learning offerings, I was interested to learn more about it. I was surprised to find so many good reasons to learn this language which is often overlooked by language learners. Portuguese is a beautiful language which you can listen to here, if you like. If it sounds like something you would like to learn, here are 7 great reasons for you to start taking lessons!
7 Great reasons to learn Portuguese
1. Nine countries speak it
If you only consider Brazil and Portugal’s populations, you already have around 217 million people who speak it! Did you know that they speak Portuguese in other countries too? In fact, there are 9 member countries in the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa which is an organization of countries where Portuguese is widely spoken. Those member countries are: Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe.
2. You already speak Spanish, French, Italian
Portuguese is a Romance language, just like Spanish, French, and Italian. If you already know one of these languages, it will be easier for you to learn Portuguese. Since all of these languages have the same origin, you will find some helpful similarities in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation among them.
For example, Hello is hola in Spanish and olá in Portuguese – they sound similar. The word education is educación in Spanish, éducation in French, educação in Portuguese, and educazione in Italian. They all sound similar enough that you would recognize that it means education.
In fact, if you speak English, you speak a language that shares 60% of its vocabulary with French. This can also help you learn Portuguese more easily!
3. It’s not widely studied
If you learn Portuguese, you will be unique. Spanish and French are two of the world’s most widely studied second languages, and so they are taught in most schools. Portuguese, though, is something special that is not widely taught – in English speaking countries, at least.
While it is true that you are more likely to run into someone that you can speak Spanish or French with in your home country, if you learn Portuguese you will be able to speak a language that makes you stand out in the crowd!
4. You love soccer
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport. It is even becoming popular here in the United States. And you know we tend to reject everything we don’t invent – from the metric system to socialism! I kid! They love soccer in Brazil and Portugal, too, and I know a lot of non-Brazilians who are fans of their team.
If you learn Portuguese, you will be able to follow the sports coverage more closely. You will also be able to follow your favorite soccer stars and teams on social media without having to hit translate this.
5. Paulo Coelho
If you have never heard of Paulo Coelho, you are missing out on one of the best authors of our time! It is no secret that a lot of the world’s best literature comes from South America, the majority of which is written in Spanish. But Paulo Coelho is Brazilian and brilliant. He writes novels that improve your life, just by reading them!
Many people in the US read his novel, The Alchemist, in high school. Other novels include Veronika Decides to Die, Manuscript Found in Accra, and his latest novel Hippie. He is a prolific author having written more than 20 books so far.
If you learn Portuguese, you will be able to read his works in their original language! Nothing lost in translation for you.
6. Expand business opportunities
Brazil is the world’s 8th largest economy. Even though it has been up and down in past years, Brazil is still an important player on the international business scene. As a matter of fact, the economy has been experiencing real growth this year.
Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s top 10 largest markets when it comes to natural resource production. It also has big technology and science development industries where US businesses invest around 30 billion dollars per year.
7. Get to know some amazing cultures
The cultures of Portuguese speaking countries are both diverse and unique. When the countries of Western Europe were off exploring and trying to conquer other parts of the world, Portugal was no exception. This is why you can find people who speak it in Africa, India, South America, and of course, Europe. As a result of this history, you will find cultures that incorporate elements from all of their influences into one, amazing culture.
Brazil, for example, is shaped by the cultures of Africans, Indigenous Peoples, and Portuguese. Carnival is an example of Brazilian culture that is known worldwide. It incorporates the influences of these 3 cultures into something uniquely Brazilian. But the country also has cultural influences from the Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Polish immigrants who have settled there.