Portuguese is often thought of as an under appreciated language, often falling into the shadow of Spanish. But here at Lingo Books, we think Portuguese is a great language and here are our reasons why you should think so too, and why you should consider Portuguese as your next language to learn!
Reasons why you should learn Portuguese
Loads of people speak Portuguese
Approximately 260 million people speak Portuguese, with between 215 million and 220 million being native speakers. This makes Portuguese the 9th country with the largest number of native speakers in the world. This is a lot of people for you to practise with, and also means that it’s a lot of people to do business with if your language learning motives are more commercial.
Portuguese is spoken in lots of different countries
Portuguese isn’t just spoken in Brazil and Portugal. Nope, Portuguese is spoken in more countries than you might think. It is an official language in the following countries: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal São Tomé and Príncipe. Although only Brazil, Portugal and São Tomé have Portuguese as the language spoken by the majority of the population.
This is a lot of countries you will have access to if you make the effort to learn Portuguese. Which again can be useful for your personal travel or for business opportunities. It’s also great that Portuguese is spoken across different continents, so whether you want to go to South America, Europe, Asia or Africa, this beautiful language could still come in useful.
It’s a gateway language to other romantic languages
Portuguese is a romantic language and has lots of similarities with the other romantics languages, and particularly with Spanish. If you learn Portuguese, Spanish becomes a lot easier to learn and even just to understand. It can be used as a gateway language into the other romantic languages and will make learning them much quicker.
This also works the other way. Lots of people who learn Portuguese already speak Spanish. So if you can already speak a romantic language, this will make learning Portuguese much easier for you.
Also because it’s a romantic language, we probably don’t need to point out that it sounds really beautiful. Both to listen to and to speak.
Unpopular languages make great secret languages
Learn Portuguese to have a secret language. Because not as many people choose to learn Portuguese compared to Spanish or French, you have more chance of being the only Portuguese speakers about. If you learn Portuguese along with your partner or friend then you have an almost secret language to use that other people won’t be able to understand. This is something that can come in very very useful.
Learn Portuguese for Travel
If you’re planning a trip to South America, then most people will start to learn some Spanish to some degree. Especially if you’re from the US, you probably will have already been taught a lot of Spanish in school. Then when people get to South America, they use their Spanish for most countries and just get by in a mix of Spaniglish once they’re in Brazil. Because why learn Portuguese for one country when the majority of countries you’re going to visit are Spanish speaking? I get that, I really do.
However, if you make the effort to learn Portuguese when you visit Brazil, then the reaction you’re going to get from the locals is going to be fantastic. Because they’re used to a lot of their tourists not being able to speak Portuguese but often being able to speak Spanish. They don’t mind this of course, it makes sense. But you being able to speak Portuguese will go down so well for the locals, you will get interactions, experiences and sometimes perks that other tourists won’t have access to. It also gives you an insight into the culture of the place. Speaking to locals is the best way to get to know somewhere.
Obviously the same can be said for the other Portuguese speaking countries. If you go to Portugal and you speak Portuguese, you’re going to have a better experience. But where we’ve noticed this the most strongly is in Brazil.
Learn Portuguese for your career
Brazil has the largest economy in all of South America (that’s an entire continent!), and the 9th largest economy in the world, which is still growing and developing faster than countries ahead of it in the list. This means that Brazil is a major trading power in the world and lots of companies require Portuguese speakers to accommodate this.
Many people also prefer to choose Spanish over Portuguese because more people and countries speak it. This could put you at an advantage as there are less native English speakers who can also speak Portuguese, making you valuable for companies, and more employable.
Not to mention the rising trade in Africa. Energy and mining are becoming more and more prominent in African countries and many engineering companies are requiring French and Portuguese speakers to help them access these markets.
Reasons why you shouldn’t learn Portuguese
These are some of the reasons why you might want to consider not learning Portuguese. Of course we don’t think that these should put you off really, but it’s also important to know what you’re getting into, and then if you still want to learn Portuguese, great!
The accent is more difficult to manage than Spanish. Spanish phonemes are easier to learn than Portuguese phonemes, so if you’re choosing between these two languages for ease of learning you may want to consider learning Portuguese. However, although more difficult, they’re easier to produce than other languages, like Arabic phonemes or Chinese tones. They are really manageable and it would be a shame for that to put you off the language.
There are more ‘useful’ languages. If you’re learning other languages, then your country will have other languages which are in high demand and needed for jobs. In the UK Spanish and Chinese are fast becoming some of the most sought after languages for employers. So if you are going for pure ‘use,’ and you don’t have specific goals to work with Portuguese speaking companies or to travel to Portuguese speaking countries, you may find other languages are more useful to you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of reasons why you should learn Portuguese, and we hope we’ve managed to convince you that Portuguese just might be the language for you.
Now you just need to decide which type of Portuguese you’re going to learn.
And if we have convinced you to learn Portuguese, take a look at some of the top Portuguese textbooks.
If you’ve had any experience learning Portuguese, or maybe you decided you didn’t want to and you have a good reason why, then please tell us all about your experiences in the comments below. We love to hear what you’ve been up to and we love to get some insight into which languages are more popular or which languages you guys think are the most useful.