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| May 5th | World Portuguese Language Day – PortugalPortuguese American Journal

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Posted on 05 May 2024.

World Portuguese Language Day is celebrated on May 5th, in about 50 countries, every year.

On this day, various cultural events and activities are organized worldwide to raise awareness of the importance of Portuguese as a global language and encourage people to learn the language.

The events include lectures, literature readings, cultural shows, art exhibitions, plays, musical performances, competitions, and other cultural events worldwide to highlight the use and spread of the Portuguese language worldwide.

According to estimates by UNESCO, Portuguese is one of the fastest-growing European languages globally after English. It is the sixth most spoken language in the world, spoken by approximately 260 million people. It is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and East Timor.

Portuguese is also spoken in many Portuguese communities in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and parts of Africa and Asia. In New England, and the United States, Portuguese is the third most widely spoken language after English and Spanish.

Brazil, which has a population of over 207 million, is the largest Portuguese-speaking nation. Portuguese is also spoken in Goa in India and the territory of Macau in China. Someone who speaks Portuguese is called a Lusophone.

Spoken by 3.7% of the world population, Portuguese is also an official language of international organizations such as the European Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, and the Union of South American Nations. Portuguese is also recognized as a working language of the African Union, the Mercosur, and the Organization of Ibero-American States. It is an important language for diplomacy, trade, and communication. Portuguese is also the fifth most used language on the Internet and is the fourth most used on Facebook.

The future of Portuguese as a world language looks promising, as its speakers continue to increase in number, especially in Brazil and other countries in South America. Brazil is projected to become the fifth-largest economy in the world by 2030, and Portuguese is projected to be spoken in 2050 by about 400 million, and in 2100 by more than 500 million people, when the population of Angola will increase to more than 170 million and Mozambique to more than 130 million people. Its continued growth and importance in business and international relations make Portuguese a valuable language to learn and one with a bright future as a global language.

The World Portuguese Language Day on May 5th was established by the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) in 2009, an intergovernmental organization that has been in official partnership with UNESCO since 2000, to promote the Portuguese language and its cultural heritage. Founded in 1996, the CPLP is an international organization made up of Lusophone countries where Portuguese is the official language to promote cooperation and solidarity among its members.

The date was officially recognized in 2019, on the occasion of the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, which officially proclaimed May 5th, of each year, as “World Portuguese Language Day” as a “major language of international communication, as well as a global language of science, culture, economics, and diplomacy.”

Carolina Matos/Editor/ Updated 


The Portuguese language belongs to the Romance language family, along with Spanish, French, Italian, and Romanian, with roots in Latin and influences from Arabic, Germanic languages, and indigenous languages of the Americas, Africa, and Asia due to Portugal’s historical colonial expansion. The language has evolved over centuries, resulting in distinct regional variations. The most notable differences are between European Portuguese (spoken in Portugal and parts of Africa and Asia) and Brazilian Portuguese (spoken in Brazil). Portuguese has a rich literary tradition, with renowned authors like Luís de Camões, Fernando Pessoa, Machado de Assis, and Clarice Lispector contributing significantly to world literature.




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