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Thread: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

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    The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    I was talking to a language professor who told me that Portuguese no longer serves any purpose, that it is an "archaic" language, and it is destined to serve no purpose in the future. She also said that it is not in a person's best interest to learn it since it is hardly used, except in Brazil and Portugal. Realistically, she mentioned that Portuguese has no distinct advantage that will make it a language that will survive for years to come.

    What is your opinion on this topic? Is Portuguese one of the world's leading language, or could it be forgotten with little impact on the globe?
    Más contexto, más contento. Ayúdenos a mejorar las traducciones. Denos contexto.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    I think if many people thought like your teacher, the world would be a sad place.

    I don't understand how someone can say that Portuguese is not a language worth learning, not only due to the large quantity of people who speak it (not only in Brazil and Portugal, let's not forget Madeira, Cabo Verde, Angola, Mozambique...) but because if she thinks this way about Portuguese, what does she think of languages such as Dutch or Rumantsch (to say two random languages spoken by minor populations?.)


    I can't understand the logics behind your teacher's diatribe.
    Last edited by belen; 17th February 2007 at 11:53 PM. Reason: ah, typos!
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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Brazilians are one the fastest growing communities here in Florida. While I'd say that they all are somewhat conversant in Spanish, Portuguese is definitely very important for them.

    I have never heard that Portuguese is useless. I also don't understand the usage of the word "archaic." How can the 6th most spoken language in the word be considered both archaic and useless. Have they noted a change in the number of speakers? Have people started shifting over the Spanish and regional African tongues?

    I find no reason to agree with your professor.
    Correccions en qualsevol idioma sempre són agraïdes.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Please excuse my terrible ignorance, but i never knew that portguese was spoken in Africa (aside from cape verde). In what countries is it spoken?

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Ok, then, why should anyone bother to learn German, Italian or French, each one of which has significantly less speakers than Portuguese?

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sorcha View Post
    Please excuse my terrible ignorance, but i never knew that portguese was spoken in Africa (aside from cape verde). In what countries is it spoken?
    Wikipedia:
    Portuguese (português (help·info), also língua portuguesa) is a Romance language that originated in what is today Galicia (Spain) and northern Portugal. It is the official language of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe, and co-official with Chinese in the Chinese S.A.R. of Macau and with Tetum in East Timor.
    Correccions en qualsevol idioma sempre són agraïdes.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Ah, it will certainly die when the 188.227.393 Brazilian inhabitants who insist in breeding 321 babies an hour (5,36 per minute, one each 11,2 second) die! And we are not including the Portuguese, the Angolan, the people from Mozambique, Cabo Verde, Guiné-Bissau, São Tomé e Príncipe and Timor Leste.
    Eu quase que nada não sei. Mas desconfio de muita coisa...- Guimarães Rosa

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Quote Originally Posted by faranji View Post
    Ok, then, why should anyone bother to learn German, Italian or French, each one of which has significantly less speakers than Portuguese?
    Perhaps it's a question of prestige? I am unaware of any influence prestige may have on Portuguese in regards to Spanish as I do not know Portuguese, but numbers sometimes do not count if prestige the reason. Ethnolgue.com shows that Pakistan has a significantly higher number of Panjabi speakers than Urdu, but people continue to throw their linguistic loyalties to Urdu.
    Correccions en qualsevol idioma sempre són agraïdes.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bienvenidos View Post
    I was talking to a language professor who told me that Portuguese no longer serves any purpose, that it is an "archaic" language, and it is destined to serve no purpose in the future. As a speaker of (Brazilian) Portuguese (but even if I weren't one), I have to strongly disagree with this. To begin with, what does she think will happen to the more than 200,000,000 people speaking Portuguese in the present? Will they vanish from the planet as if it were a magician's trick? Will they substitute English for Portuguese? I think that these are pure speculations. Nothing can be said for certain about the future of a language as Portuguese. She also said that it is not in a person's best interest to learn it since it is hardly used, except in Brazil and Portugal. She was right there, but what if the person in question is fond of the language, wants to live in Brazil or Portugal, wants to read authors in the original? Of course Portuguese can't compete with English in the world of business, but I don't think it is a useless language at all. Realistically, she mentioned that Portuguese has no distinct advantage that will make it a language that will survive for years to come. What apparently makes her so angry with Portuguese? What does she base her argumentation upon? She sounds unrealistic and pessimistic. Does she have a crystal ball?

    What is your opinion on this topic? Is Portuguese one of the world's leading language, or could it be forgotten with little impact on the globe? If the number of speakers tells you about the importance of a language, then yes, Portuguese is a leading language. Unfortunately, Brazil, where the majority of Portuguese speakers are, is only a developing country, having not a large economical role in the world at large. And Portugal, the cradle of Portuguese, although better-developed, is but a small country. But this can gradually change, who knows for sure? A very rich literature has been produced in Portuguese, so I can't help thinking that there would be real loss if the language were forgotten, if ever this were possible. I know, I know, as a Brazilian, I am very partial to Portuguese, so maybe the opinion of non-speakers is equally important, as long as they know something about Portuguese.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bienvenidos View Post

    What is your opinion on this topic? Is Portuguese one of the world's leading language, or could it be forgotten with little impact on the globe?

    No and no. Portugues is a global language with a very bright future for a plethora of reasons the most important one being Brazil.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Can Portuguese be forgotten with little impact on the globe? Certainly not at this stage. And hopefully -- never.
    I often travel to Brazil on business and I understood at once that speaking Spanish, even speaking Spanish well, wasn't enough. So I began to study Portuguese and my Brazilian counterparts are grateful to me for it, though I don't speak perfect Portuguese but I try hard!!! They say they are glad I show respect to them by using their language. So based on my experience Portuguese is not doomed to die yet!
    Last edited by Nanon; 18th February 2007 at 1:00 AM.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Quote Originally Posted by panjabigator View Post
    Perhaps it's a question of prestige? I am unaware of any influence prestige may have on Portuguese in regards to Spanish as I do not know Portuguese, but numbers sometimes do not count if prestige the reason. Ethnolgue.com shows that Pakistan has a significantly higher number of Panjabi speakers than Urdu, but people continue to throw their linguistic loyalties to Urdu.
    I'm afraid I cannot comment on your analogy as I don't know the details of the situation regarding the Punjab. Do Punjabis somehow have the choice to opt between Panjabi and Urdu? I thought the usual dilemma in northern India was between Urdu and Hindi, anyway. Surely I'm at a loss here.

    I think numbers do count in this particular case. We're talking language survival. Please check Vanda's figures. Add to their sheer scale the fact that Brazil's is an incredibly vibrant and resourceful society, one of whose most creative and adaptable features is precisely the use of the language. I don't see prestige playing any role in all this, but should it eventually play any, my feeling is it'd tilt the balance in Portuguese's favour, as Brazil is bound to become the dominant, looked-up-to country in the region.

    I can picture Portuguese eventually mingling with Spanish and becoming a single language in South America. But wholly dying out? No way. Particularly not in the lifetime of anyone wondering whether to pay heed to a Cassandraish misinforming professor or to study one of the most beautiful Romance languages.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Where to begin? There is such copious ignorance and idiocy in the professor's statements.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bienvenidos View Post
    I was talking to a language professor What language might that be?
    Something like APL or esperanto?


    who told me that Portuguese no longer serves any purpose,

    Among the noble purposes it serves are-
    —communication among over 200 million people, not a small thing at all;
    —the maintenance and creation of marvelous literature;
    —lyrics for some of the finest music of the current age.

    that it is an "archaic" language, More archaic than other widely spoken languages? It continues to evolve, just as do all living languages.
    and it is destined to serve no purpose in the future.
    See the noble purposes notes.

    She also said that it is not in a person's best interest to learn it since it is hardly used,
    Her ignorance cannot be embelished with kind words. My life is much richer for knowing a little of the language of Camões, Vinicius, Eça de Queirós, Pessoa and many more.
    except in Brazil and Portugal.

    Realistically, she mentioned that Portuguese has no distinct advantage that will make it a language that will survive for years to come. Realistically, by this contorted logic, many other languages such as Italian will disappear sooner. But both Portuguese and Italian will survive, despite the ignorant protestations of the "language professor".

    What is your opinion on this topic? Is Portuguese one of the world's leading language, or could it be forgotten with little impact on the globe?
    My opinion on this topic, speaking bluntly, is that the "language professor" is an ignorant jerk.
    That mod mods best that mods least...with apologies to Th. Jefferson.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Quote Originally Posted by faranji View Post
    I can picture Portuguese eventually mingling with Spanish and becoming a single language in South America.
    Where do you see signs of that happening, faranji? It's a well known fact that a considerable percentage of Paraguay's population already use Portuguese as their first language due to the huge economical influence of Brazil in that country, but, apart from that, I don't think Spanish and Portuguese will ever 'mingle'.

    As for Portugueses being called 'archaic' is probably because it still retains some verbal tenses that are disappearing in other romance languages ( future subjunctive, for example ), and the personal infinitive, which only exists in Portuguese, and that makes it particularly complicated to learn. The teacher who said Portuguese is not worth learning must have had a bad experience trying to learn it, and due to frustration he/ she must have chosen to give up and say it's something not worth anybody else doing.

    There are economic reasons why Portuguese will survive, but, anyway, even if Brazil were not a fast developing economy (well, okay, it could be faster...), Latin America's largest economy and an important global player, there are demographic reasons why Portuguese is definitely not a threatened language, so the teacher mentioned was just talking nonsense.
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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Whilst I agree with all the quantitative arguments above, I'd like to add a qualitative one. IMHO Portuguese is the most beautiful spoken (and especially sung) language in the world.

    And before, my dear fellow foreros, you hasten to disagree, please listen to at least two of the soundclips here.

    guitar.gif

    Then rush to disagree...!

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Quote Originally Posted by winklepicker View Post
    Whilst I agree with all the quantitative arguments above, I'd like to add a qualitative one. IMHO Portuguese is the most beautiful spoken (and especially sung) language in the world.

    And before, my dear fellow foreros, you hasten to disagree, please listen to at least two of the soundclips here.

    guitar.gif

    Then rush to disagree...!
    Maria Bethânia, Cesaria Evora and Milton Nascimento, among others, help explain Winklepicker's irrational, but totally justified, enthusiasm.
    That mod mods best that mods least...with apologies to Th. Jefferson.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Yes, it would be a pity to see the language in which THIS was sung disappear, but the language that expresses the history, culture and feelings of approximately 230 million people is surely not bound to vanish.

    This link might interest you: the Portuguese language on Wikipedia.

    .
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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    This is a link to an Indian site in Portuguese / English based in Goa:

    http://www.supergoa.com/pt/

    Also, we should not forget the 4-5 million speakers of Galician, which for some is an independent language, but for others is "Português de Galiza". For more details, see the Portuguese language forum.

    Adeus
    Last edited by Lombard Beige; 18th February 2007 at 6:03 PM.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Bienvenidos,

    In the spirit of fair play, why don't you invite the profe to participate in this thread. It doesn't seem fair for
    us to castigate her so strongly without hearing the other side of the argument.
    That mod mods best that mods least...with apologies to Th. Jefferson.

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    Re: The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bienvenidos View Post
    I was talking to a language professor who told me that Portuguese no longer serves any purpose, that it is an "archaic" language, and it is destined to serve no purpose in the future. She also said that it is not in a person's best interest to learn it since it is hardly used, except in Brazil and Portugal. Realistically, she mentioned that Portuguese has no distinct advantage that will make it a language that will survive for years to come.
    I would very much disagree. Portugese is the most spoken language in South America and with Brazil having a population of approaching 200 million it will be a major language in years to come (if it isn't already). It also has a rich literary tradition, and to me is a very nice language, definitely worth learning.

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