How old is the Portuguese language


The Portuguese language belongs to the family of Romance languages. Like all other languages ​​in this group, Portuguese emerged directly from Latin. The basis, however, was less the classical Latin of the educated citizens of Rome than the everyday language spoken by Roman soldiers and colonists. The Portuguese language developed in ancient Gallaecia (present-day Galicia in northwestern Spain) and northern Portugal, and then spread throughout the area of ​​present-day Portugal. Of the Romance languages, Portuguese bears the greatest resemblance to Spanish. The speakers of these languages ​​can make themselves understood despite the differences in phonology, grammar and vocabulary. Like Spanish, the Portuguese language has borrowed numerous words from Arabic and, like other modern languages, has many borrowed words from French and Greek. A very small number of words come from Carthaginian, Celtic, and Phoenician. Standard Portuguese is based on the Lisbon dialect and is used in Portugal, Galicia (in a dialectal form called Galician), Brazil, some islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Angola, Mozambique, and other earlier colonies in Africa and Asia, as well as parts of Indonesia spoken.

Portuguese is the official language not only in Portugal, but also in Brazil, Angola and other areas of its distribution. Strictly speaking, Brazilian Portuguese is a dialect of Portuguese that has some peculiarities in vocabulary, pronunciation and syntax. The relationship between Brazilian Portuguese and the Portuguese spoken in Portugal is comparable to the relationship between American English and British English.

Portuguese has retained many grammatical forms that have been lost in other Romance languages; common is z. B. also the future tense exactum, which comes from Latin. As in Old Spanish, in modern Portuguese the future and conditional endings can be separated from the verbal stem and pronouns inserted in the object function. Portuguese is the only Romance language with something called a personal infinitive. In addition to the compound past perfect, Portuguese also has a simple past perfect, which is derived from the Latin past perfect; so the amara in the past perfect next to the common “I would love” also means “I had loved”. A large number of nouns have the feminine form ending in -a and the masculine form ending in -o and thus correspond to the respective Latin nouns of the first and second declension. The plural is usually formed with s in Portuguese.

The Portuguese language has proven to be of particular interest to linguists because of its complex phonetic structure. The language has eleven different vowels, and there are great differences in the pronunciation of the closed and open a, e, and o. Portuguese also has a number of diphthongs, some of which can be nasalized.

Phonetically, a total of 25 consonantic speech sounds can be distinguished in Portuguese, which, with minor regional variations, are characterized by almost the same qualities as the sounds of other Romance languages. An important regional pronunciation variant is that the rr in Portugal is generally an alveolar sound, whereas in Brazil it is often implemented as a uvular or guttural sound. Another important regional difference is that the Brazilian form of Portuguese has the sounds represented by ti and di that correspond to the German tsch and dsch, while these sounds do not occur in Portugal. Lh corresponds to the Spanish ll and the Italian gl. Nh corresponds to the Spanish ñ and the Italian gn. Ch and j are pronounced as in French.

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The consonants d, t, n and l are to be counted among the dentals in Portuguese, since when these sounds are articulated, the tongue generally touches the lower edge of the upper teeth. It is characteristic of Portuguese that in the spoken language syntactically related words are phonetically linked. As a result of this phenomenon, some consonants vary in pronunciation. This dependence is particularly evident in the sibilants s and z. One of the most important peculiarities of Portuguese compared to other Romance languages ​​is the disappearance of the so-called intervowel l and n. The Latin quales corresponds to the Portuguese word quais and the Latin persona Portuguese pessoa. The Portuguese forms of the definite article o, a (“the, the”) are explained by the intervowel position of the l in syntactic combinations such as de-lo and de-la (“from the, from the”), from which the contracted Forms do and there have developed. These complex shapes were broken down again into their component parts, and thus d’o and d’a were created. A word that ends in -l in the singular loses this consonant due to its intervowel position in the plural. So the singular of “sun” is sol, but the plural is sóis.

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