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Language and Culture Home >About Portugal >Language and Culture
Portuguese language is the most enduring legacy of the exchange between different regions, people and cultures around the world that the Portuguese pioneered since the XV Century.

Portuguese is spoken today by around 200 million people spread over Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

It is the 6th most spoken language by the number of native speakers and the 3rd most international European language.

In all former 9 Portuguese overseas possessions (including Macau), Portuguese has the statute of official language.

Portuguese is also, along with Spanish, and with the exception of English, the fastest growing language around the world: it is estimated that in 2050 about 335 million people will speak Portuguese.

It is the official or working language in a number of important international organizations such as the European Union, Mercosul, the Organization of American States, the Community of Ibero-American States, the African Union (working language) and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (acronym CPLP in Portuguese).

It is spoken by sizeable Portuguese expatriate communities in Europe, the Americas, in Africa and in Australia.

Along with the Portuguese language, Portuguese sea faring and presence left distinctive and unique traits in Africa and the Middle East, the Americas and Asia: from fortresses to folk dances, and from food recipes and cuisine to civil architecture and patterns of urban development (unlike most cities founded by the Spanish, the Portuguese built most of their cities overlooking the sea). Many more examples could be given of course.

Last but not least, Portuguese culture and music was in turn profoundly influenced by Portuguese explorations and contacts with overseas people and cultures. To name a striking example, Fado – the national folk song – mixes Mediterranean, African and Arab elements which together contribute to its unique character, nostalgic, enthralling and sensuous. Lisbon and its surroundings strike foreign visitors by its cosmopolitan charm, at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and the Americas.
  • Related Links:
  • Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa / Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries 
     www.cplp.org
  • Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior / Ministry of Science and Technology and Higher Education  www.mctes.pt