How similar are Portuguese and Italian


The Portuguese language (Portuguese: Português) is a language from the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family and forms the closer unit of Ibero-Romance with Spanish, Catalan and other languages ​​of the Iberian Peninsula. Together with Galician in north-west Spain, it goes back to a common original language, Galician-Portuguese, which developed between late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. After the formation of the statehood of Portugal, the two today's languages ​​developed from it. Today, Portuguese is a global language and is spoken by over 210 million native speakers; including second speakers, the number of speakers is around 240 million.

The Portuguese language spread worldwide in the 15th and 16th centuries when Portugal established its colonial empire, which largely lasted until 1975 and included Brazil, parts of Africa and Macau (until 1999) in China. As a result, Portuguese is now the official language of several independent states and is also learned and spoken by many as a second language. In addition to the actual Portuguese, there are about twenty Creole languages ​​on a predominantly Portuguese basis. As a result of the emigration from Portugal in recent decades, Portuguese has become an important minority language in several countries in Western Europe and in North America.

Portuguese is the only official language in Angola, Brazil, Mozambique, Portuga and São Tomé and Príncipe. Together with other languages, Portuguese is the official language in East Timor (together with Tetum), Macau (together with Chinese). It is the official language on Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, but not the most important language. An important language, but not an official language, is Portuguese in Andorra, Luxembourg (spoken by around ten percent of the population due to the immigration of Portuguese workers), Namibia and South Africa.

Portuguese is growing in importance in South America. Because of the great influence of Brazil, Portuguese is taught in some of the rest of South American countries, particularly Argentina and the other Mercosur (Mercosul) member states. In addition to the approximately 190 million native speakers in Brazil, there are people in the border areas of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay (Brasiguayos) and Uruguay for whom Portuguese is the mother tongue (122,520 Portuguese native speakers live in Paraguay according to the 2002 census), and in some cases has also a mixed language called Portunhol developed with Spanish. There are large Portuguese-speaking colonies in Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Canada, Guyana, Jamaica, the USA and Venezuela, with the majority made up of immigrants or guest workers from Brazil or Portugal.
In Europe, Portuguese is mainly spoken by the 10.6 million inhabitants of Portugal. In Central Europe, the language has spread mainly through immigration from Portugal in recent decades and is spoken by more than ten percent of the population of Luxembourg and Andorra. There is also a significant proportion of the Portuguese-speaking population in Belgium, France, Germany, Jersey and Switzerland. In Spain, Portuguese is spoken in the Vale do Xalima, where it is referred to as A fala. A Portuguese dialect was spoken in oliveça, now in Spain, until the 1940s. Galician, which is very closely related to Portuguese, is spoken in Galicia in northwestern Spain.

Portuguese is an important language in sub-Saharan Africa. Angola and Mozambique, together with São Tomé and Príncipe, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea – Bissau, are known and organized as PALOP (Paises Africanos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa); they represent around 16 million speakers of Portuguese (a generous estimate is 9 million native speakers, the rest being bilingual). Paradoxically, the use of the Portuguese language increased after the independence of the former colonies from Portugal. The governments of the young states saw the Portuguese language as an instrument for the development of the country and a national unity.

However, the areas where Portuguese had spread before the development of New Portuguese largely did not go along with these developments. In Brazil and São Tomé and Príncipe, but also in some remote rural areas of Portugal, dialects are therefore spoken that are similar to Old Portuguese.

In addition to the 182 million Brazilians, 10 million Portuguese and just as many residents of the former African and Asian colonies speak Portuguese as their mother tongue. Portuguese developed into the second most common Romance mother tongue after Spanish. Portuguese owes this position to the fact that the population of Brazil has increased more than tenfold in the last 100 years: in 1900 Brazil had a population of only 17 million.

Portuguese is spoken in East Timor, in the Indian states of Goa and Daman and Diu, and in Macau (People's Republic of China). In Goa, Portuguese is called the language of the grandparents because it is no longer taught in school, has no official status and is therefore spoken by fewer and fewer people. In Macau, Portuguese is spoken only by the small Portuguese population who stayed there after the former colony was handed over to China, and there is only one school that teaches in Portuguese. Nevertheless, Portuguese will remain an official language alongside Chinese for the time being.

The Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries CPLP is an international organization of eight independent states whose official language is Portuguese. Portuguese is also the official language of the European Union, Mercosul, the African Union and some other organizations.

Portuguese is very similar to Spanish in many ways, but there are significant differences in pronunciation. With a little practice, however, it is possible for a Portuguese to understand Spanish and vice versa. If you look at the following sentence:

Ela fecha semper a janela antes de jantar. (Portuguese)
Ela pecha semper a fiestra antes de cear. (Galician)
Ella cierra siempre la ventana antes de cenar. (Spanish)
Almost all words in one language have very similar relatives in the other language, but they may be used very rarely.
Ela encerra semper a janela antes de cear. (Portuguese with little choice of words)
(The phrase means 'She always closes the window before dinner.')
However, there are also a number of words in which a relationship between the languages ​​cannot be recognized and which poses problems for the respective speakers in the other country (amigos falsos).

There are places where Spanish and Portuguese are spoken side by side. Native Portuguese speakers can usually read Spanish and vice versa, even if they don't understand each other's spoken language. On the other hand, visitors to Portugal or Brazil shouldn't necessarily try to communicate with the locals in Spanish (unless you are a native Spanish speaker), as this is often not welcomed and suggests ignorance in the eyes of the locals. Portuguese also has obvious parallels with Catalan, Italian, French and all other Romance languages, especially in terms of grammar and syntax.

The native speakers of Portuguese do not refer to their dialects as dialects, but as an impact (port. Sotaque) or vernacular (port. Falar), regardless of whether it is the dialect of another country or the dialect of a different region within the same country . The term dialect has a derogatory meaning in Portuguese and is therefore not used. The word sotaque would also be used for a French accent, for example, and not acento (in Portuguese only the accent indicating the stress).

Standard Portuguese, also known as Estremenho, has changed more often in history than other variations. All forms of the Portuguese language of Portugal can still be found in Brazilian Portuguese. African Portuguese, especially the pronunciation of São Tomé and Príncipe (also called Santomense), has a lot in common with Brazilian Portuguese. The accents of southern Portugal have also retained their peculiarities, including the particularly frequent use of the gerund. In contrast, Alto – Minhoto and Transmontano in northern Portugal are very similar to the Galician language.

Standard Portuguese from Portugal is the preferred pronunciation in the former African colonies. Therefore one can distinguish two forms, namely the European and the Brazilian; Generally speaking, one differentiates between four major standard pronunciations, namely those of Coimbra, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, these are also the most influential forms of pronunciation.

Portuguese has two variants of the written languages ​​(Port. Variedades), which are often called Padrões (pattern). These are:

• European and African Portuguese
• Brazilian Portuguese

The differences between these variants concern the vocabulary, the pronunciation and the syntax, especially in the colloquial language, whereas in the language of the upper classes these differences are smaller. However, these are dialects of the same language, and speakers of the two variants can easily understand the other.

Some vocabulary differences that look like differences at first glance are not in reality. In Brazil, the standard word for 'carpet' is wallpaper. In Portugal they tend to use alcatifa. However, there is also the regional expression tapete in Portugal, just as there is the regional expression alcatifa in Brazil. For old words this is almost generally true, while in new words these differences are indeed country-specific, such as ônibus in Brazil and autocarro in Portugal.

More significant differences exist in the spelling. In Brazil, words that contain cc, cç or ct leave out the first c, and words that contain pc, pç or pt have no p. These letters are not pronounced, but rather represent relics from Latin that have mostly been eliminated in Brazil.
There are also some differences in the accentuation, which are due to the following reasons:

1. Different pronunciation: In Brazil the o is pronounced closed in Antônio, anônimo 'anônimo' or Amazônia, whereas in Portugal and Africa it is spoken openly. That is why in Portugal and Africa one writes António, anónimo or Amazónia.
2. Simplification of reading: The combination qu can be read in two different ways: ku or k. To make reading easier, in Brazil the u is written with a trema when the pronunciation is ku, i.e. cinqüenta instead of cinquenta 'fifty'.

A spelling reform (Port. Reforma Ortográfica) has been in progress since the 1980s in order to achieve an international standard. As part of this reform, the above-mentioned c in cc, cç or ct and p in pc, pç or pt are also to be abolished in Portugal, there are also minor standardizations and attempts are made to adopt a coordinated approach with regard to new loanwords from others To unite languages. At the moment the agreement has been signed by Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal, but it will only come into force when all members of the CPLP have signed, which is not expected for the next few years.

The Portuguese language has a very complex phonetic structure, which makes it particularly interesting for linguists. The language has 9 vowels, 5 nasal vowels and 25 consonants. The following pronunciation hints apply to both European and Brazilian Portuguese; if there are differences, they are indicated with the respective sound.

In Portuguese, words ending (orthographically) on the vowels a, e and o and s or m are usually stressed on the penultimate vowel, while words ending (orthographically) on i and u and consonants (dies are usually l, r, z) end on the last syllable. An accent that deviates from this rule is indicated by an accent (acute or circumflex). Syllables marked with tilde are always stressed, unless another syllable has an acute or a circumflex.

beleza 'beauty' - emphasis on the second e
fonte 'source' - emphasis on the o
obrigado 'Thank you' - emphasis on the a
Pedi 'I asked' - emphasis on the i
Tatu 'armadillo' - emphasis on the u
Brasil 'Brazil' - emphasis on the i
cantar 'to sing' - emphasis on the second a
Sábado 'Saturday' - emphasis on the first a
combinação 'combination' - emphasis on the ã
Cristóvão 'Christoph' - emphasis on the first o

Portuguese is an accent-counting language (accented language; in contrast to Spanish or French, which are quantity languages).

In terms of language typology, this means that the intervals between the stressed syllables are not absolutely the same, but tend to be quantitatively the same.
The Portuguese nasal vowels are not pronounced as completely nasally as in French and there is usually no plosive sound at the end of the nasal in Portuguese. In some publications, for example, the pronunciation of the nasal vowel ã is given as ang, which is not correct because the nasal sounds are a single sound.

Portuguese grammar is closely related to any other Romance language. There are particularities in the position of the pronouns.

Verbs are divided into three conjugations, which are differentiated according to the infinitive ending (either –ar, –er, –ir; –or is irregular), whereby most of the verbs belong to the –ar – group. These verbs then follow the same conjugation rules. Similar to German, there are the imperative (o imperativo), the indicative (o indicativo) and the subjunctive (o conjuntivo), whereby the rules are stricter as to when the subjunctive is to be used, and the use with the use of the German subjunctive is not can be compared, however, more with the use of the Spanish subjuntivo. A special feature is that the second person of the plural has less meaning. A specialty of Brazilian Portuguese is the salutation²: the second person of the singular is hardly used at all (the you form), instead the third person singular is used (the you form). So the Brazilians never use "Du" to anyone (tu), everyone is Gesiezt (você), it is the normal form and is closer to the English you - form than the German you - form. Another special feature is the so-called personal infinitive.

The nouns have one of two grammatical genders (genera): masculine and feminine; Adjectives and numerals must match the noun in gender and number (congruence).

Since Portuguese is a Romance language, most Portuguese words come from the Latin language. However, one can also find traces from other languages ​​with which Portuguese had contact. Portuguese is a derivative of Vulgar Latin, which is related to classical Latin, but not identical. The transformation from Latin to today's Portuguese words began in some cases during the Roman Empire, with other words this process only began later. The Portuguese language has been influenced again and again by the Latin; later words from the written Latin language of the Middle Ages and early modern times also found their way into Portuguese. These so-called book words have changed little compared to the Latin form, while the words that arose from spoken Latin (hereditary words) have changed significantly.

The processes through which Latin hereditary words became Portuguese words are in detail:

• Nasalization: A vowel before [m] and [n] easily becomes a nasal vowel, this is a phenomenon that exists in many languages. In Portuguese this happened between the 6th and 7th centuries, in contrast to Spanish, where it never happened.
o Moon in Vulgar Latin is called LUNA and becomes [l?: a] (written: Lua, 'moon').
• Palatalization: an adjustment before the vowels [i] and [e], or near the half-vowels or the palatal [j]:
o CENTUM> [tj] ento> [ts] ento> cento 'Hundred'
o FACERE> fa [tj] ere> fa [ts] er> fa [dz] er> fazer 'make'
o had an older evolution: FORTIA -> for [ts] a> força 'strength, strength'
• Elision (omission) of consonants between two similar sounding vowels:
o DOLERE / DOLOR> door> dor 'pain'
o BONUS> bõo> bom, 'good'
o ANELLUM> ãelo> elo 'Ring' (bras. anel)
• Sonorisation (change in voicing): some consonants have become voiced consonants:
o MUTUS> mudo 'deaf'
o LACUS> lago 'lake'
o FABA> fava 'broad bean'
• Degemination (simplification of double consonants):
o GUTTA> gota 'drops'
o PECCARE> pecar 'to sin'
• Dissimilation - change of a sound due to the influence of another similar sound:
o Dissimilation between vowels:
• LOCUSTA> lagosta 'lobster'
• CAMPANA> campãa> campa 'grave'
o Dissimilation between consonants:
• MEMORARE> nembrar> lembrar 'remember'
• ANIMA> alma 'soul'
• LOCALE> logar> lugar 'Platz'

Furthermore, words from Arabic, Germanic, African, Asian and Indian origins can be found in the word inventory of Portuguese.

The difficulties in learning Portuguese are many. They extend over all areas. From the syntax to the lexicon to the tenses. Anyone who has to learn Portuguese or Brazilian for everyday business needs to be aware that twice as much time has to be spent as for all other Romania. This is why this idiom ranks right below the level of language reception of Russian. Above that, only Chinese and Japanese are in first place as the most difficult languages ​​in the world.