Whether you want to learn a foreign language for travel or pleasure or you need it for work and business, you might want to consider taking Portuguese language classes. Why? Well, Portuguese is, as Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes once put it, “the sweet and gracious language”. And who wouldn’t want to speak such a language, right?
Ok, so this might not be a strong reason to invest in language learning but I will lay out 5 rock-solid reasons why you should learn Portuguese as a foreign language:
Apart from being a beautiful language, Portuguese is also widely spoken and it’s the world’s sixth language with more native speakers (may I recall you there are roughly 7,000 living languages worldwide). Online, Portuguese has gained relevance in terms of Internet penetration in recent years (fifth most used language in 2016). Recent studies show that it is the third most used language on Twitter, right after English and Japanese.
Portuguese is a romance language. That means it will be easier to learn or at least understand Spanish, French and Italian. You already speak Spanish? Great. Portuguese and Spanish share many grammatical structures. Take advantage of that and invest a little in learning Portuguese. You’ll find that it will take less time and energy to become fluent in Portuguese than it did when you were working on your Spanish or other Latin-based language.
Access to beautiful literature from all the Portuguese-speaking countries. Just to name a few:
José Saramago: Nobel Prize in Literature. Among the Portuguese writer’s greatest works is the novel Blindness. This raw and shocking story was turned into a film starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo.
Eça de Queiroz: A brilliant novelist in the realist style, Eça has his work among the greatest in 19th-century literature. Os Maias (The Maias), generally considered Eça’s masterpiece, is a satirical and powerful portrait of the Portuguese society at the time. Influenced by both realism and romanticism, the writer is ranked along with Flaubert, Dickens and Tolstoy.
Paulo Coelho: The all-time bestselling Portuguese language author. The Brazilian writer has published over 30 books. O Alquimista (The Alchemist) is probably the most well-known worldwide.
Mia Couto: The Mozambican writer is one of the most prominent writers in Portuguese-speaking Africa. The novelist was shortlisted for The Man Booker International Prize 2015 with his Terra Sonâmbula (Sleepwalking Land). In most of his work, Mia Couto undertakes to recreate the Portuguese language by infusing it with regional vocabulary and producing new words that you can’t really look up in any dictionary.
Learning Portuguese can also be useful for business purposes. According to the World Bank Group, Portugal is on the top 20% of worldwide economies better ranked on their ease of doing business.
In Asia, particularly in Mainland China, Portuguese language learning is growing fast. This year, the Portuguese language is being taught in more than 30 universities. In around 20 of those universities, it’s as a major. This is due to China’s economic strategies. China is very interested in opening itself to business in the Lusophone countries. So, learning both about the language and culture of their business partners is essential.
Portuguese is also on the top 10 of the most important languages for the UK’s future, according to the British Council’s Languages for the Future report.
At the end of the day, learning Portuguese would make you look really cool. Despite being a well-known language, spoken in four continents, it is not in the top most studied languages worldwide. So, you would make a difference and impress.