Monday, June 10, 2013

Portugal Day: The Languages Of Portugal

This guy has a whole national day in his honour.
Since today is Portugal Day, or Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas in Portuguese, the day is technically in honour of Luís Vaz de Camões, who is considered to be the greatest poet of the Portugese language.

We felt it was only fitting to pay homage to the languages spoken in Portugal today. Since we've already covered Portuguese, we thought we should recap and then delve into some of the lesser-known languages that are spoken in Europe's westernmost nation.

Though Portuguese originated in what is now Galicia, Spain, it is certainly more prominent in Portugal where it is spoken almost universally, though not by every single person. Like many other languages, it has several dialects that are prominently used in various regions of Portugal. None is more interesting than the Barranquenho dialect found in the town of Barrancos, which is located on the border between Portugal and the Spanish regions of Andalusia and Extremadura. As a result of its placement, the dialect is heavily influenced by the variety of Spanish that is spoken there.

Another language found in Portugal is Mirandese, a language descended from the Astur-Leonese language group, which is of course found in the Spanish region of Asturias and the province of León. It is certainly more of a language in its own right rather than a dialect, especially given its co-official status for local matters in the areas where it is spoken.

Despite Portugal's proximity to Spain, only 9% of the population speaks Spanish as a foreign language, whereas 24% speak French and a huge 32% speak English.

Do you celebrate Portugal Day? If so, we'd love to know what you do to celebrate the day, so please let us know in the comments below!