The Future of Portuguese: Is it dying out?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Bienvenidos, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. Kaxgufen

    Kaxgufen Senior Member

    La Plata, Argentina
    Castellano de Argentina
    Quisiera poder tomarles el TOEFL a esos "second language speakers" y ver cuantos quedan.
  2. rur1920 Senior Member

    A matter of definitions, I believe… Unless you establish common definitions for the two people engaged in discussion, there is no way to make such claims. The word "EU" has a common definition, but the word "Europe" does not, it is a vague figure of speech, which, by the way, is pronounced easier than "EU+Switzerland" or even just "EU", so no wonder it tends to be used exactly in this meaning.
    Dunno for native English (and for Russian: there is native Russian not just in Russia), but the figure for native Mandarin is suspiciously high. As far as I know, for most Chinese Mandarin (Putonghua) is a second language. I am not even sure that it can be "native", rather it is a kind of abstract standard, applicable in certain situations of life, if I am not mistaken.
  3. Hector9

    Hector9 Senior Member

    ¿Por qué? ¿Acaso si no tienen un nivel lo suficientemente bueno no calificarían como "second language speakers"? Podés estar seguro que los europeos en general lo hablan muy fluido* excepto nosotros en Latino América que en general tenemos un mal nivel.

    *Excepto los españoles, italianos y portugueses que -para mí- también tienen un mal nivel.
  4. rur1920 Senior Member

    Only if they really speak it. (I, for one, never speak English anywhere save some forums in the Internet, and even there there is no speaking in the proper sense of the word). The qualification "the most spoken", utilised by Pedro y La Torre, also includes this condition of being used in speech, preferably spoken speech. You know, people often "learn" languages just because languages are present in curricula, and languages are present in curricula just because it makes a good tone to have them in curricula, so people never speak them afterwards.
  5. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    Lorraine in France
    English (US Northeast)
    Kaxgufen tiene razón. Mucha gente ha estudiado algo de inglés en Europa pero pocos lo hablan con fluidez y a buen seguro no tendrían buenos resultados en el TOEFL, y no solo los hablantes del sur de Europa. Incluso los del norte cometen errores y tienen acentos fuertes.

    En cambio, los que aprenden portugués suelen hablarlo muy bien con mucha soltura.
  6. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    You are right,Merquiades. In my several Europe trips I've found natives (French, Italians, Spaniards, German, Czech and some others) speaking as bad English as any other non native English speaker (with a few exception), and for the very few of them who speak Portuguese, they are quite good.
  7. qwill

    qwill Senior Member

    "A civilização consiste em dar a qualquer coisa um nome que lhe não compete, e depois sonhar sobre o resultado. E realmente o nome falso e o sonho verdadeiro criam uma nova realidade. O objecto torna-se realmente outro, porque o tornámos outro. Manufacturamos realidades." (Fernando Pessoa, O Livro do Desassossego)

    "Civilization consists in giving something an unfitting name, then dream about the result. And indeed the false name and the real dream create a new reality. The object really becomes another, because we turned it into another one. We manufacture realities." (Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet)

    A language which can take pride of being spoken by one of the greatest writer in the world is a grand and precious language.
  8. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    Lorraine in France
    English (US Northeast)
    Genial. É verdade. Que citação mais sabia. Da-me vontade de ler mais deste autor.
  9. qwill

    qwill Senior Member

    Não hesita! O Livro do Desassossego é uma obra-prima e, mais geralmente, toda a obra de Pessoa... A sua vida própria é fascinante…
  10. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    Com certeza, Merquiades. Besides, he is my favorite poet!
  11. Hector9

    Hector9 Senior Member

    I think everyone supports his own language. In my case, it's Spanish and I'm very proud of it as it's the second most spoken language in the world (source). I'm also glad brazilian speakers learn Spanish from a very young age :D (which is not our case, in fact we don't learn it at all, not sure if I should be proud of that though but that's how it is).

    In addition, I've never really had the need to learn it because when I talked to them they had a very and admirable good knowledge of Spanish or otherwise they replied me in Portuguese and I in Spanish since they are very close languages.

    The blue plart is very smart and well written. But that is how some of us really think, and if you think about it carefully you realize it's true in a way, because apart from Brazil and Portugual I don't htink you would ever want to visit very poor and/or dangerous places like Cape verde, Angola or Africa. I mean, I don't think you'd really find interesting stuff to see in those places but too much hunger and extreme poverty everywhere.


    I have one, and it shows it's not.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  12. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Still I do wonder - Speaking of Geography, Western Europe does fine. Europe goes geographically to the Ural mountains.

    Speaking about political entities I don't see anything wrong with EU+Switzerland if that is exactly what you mean.

    But if you actually mean the whole economic cooperation between the EU and a few other European countries where we have free movement of goods, services and persons, why not call it by its real name EEA - the European Economic Area? (By which it has been known for several decades.)
  13. rur1920 Senior Member

    I do not know much about these affairs, but Nino used the word Europe in this context: "if one has to work in Europe", and Angelo answering speaking of the Russian language… But, as far as I understand, "working in Europe" and "working in Russia" is not the same activity, so the meaning (if approximate) that Nino implied is readily understood, and it is not the geografical meaning (geografically, indeed, most Russians live in the European part of the country). Excessive precision is not expected in speech, 'Europe' is a word that is simply easier to pronounce and think of.
  14. Stoggler

    Stoggler Senior Member

    Sussex, GBR
    UK English

    Cape Verde, Angola AND Africa? Damn it, and there was me thinking that those two countries were already part of Africa! ;)
  15. Hector9

    Hector9 Senior Member

    No need to be sarcastic. Indeed, they are. I was just trying to generalize, I should have said "Africa" as a whole. Good on you.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
  16. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Sure, one cannot always be exact in the choice of words - and in that context "working in Europe" probably means something like working inside the EU and the EEA where - at least till the Swiss changed the rules again - meant, as a citizen of any of these countries you could go to any of these countries. (Which ought to be common knowledge if you live in one of these countries - like knowing all other imortant rights you have as a citizen.) But Switzerland wanting to make an exception again (unlike Lichtenstein, Norway, Iceland) is what makes me oppose to "EU+Switzerland" as the alternative.
  17. Mishe Senior Member

    Sometimes, I ask myself if people really know the true meaning of the phrasal verb "to die out". For some strange reason, many people tend to overly dramatize and exaggerate things when it comes to langauges. A simple answer: surely, there is a 99% chance Portuguese is not going to die out anytime soon in the future. It will most probably remain one of the largest languages in the world.
  18. LanguageUser1234 Banned

    English U.S.
    I think the notion that Portuguese is going to die anytime soon is ridiculous.

    I do wonder sometimes, though, whether the Brazilian version and the Portuguese version are going to be two separate languages in another few generations.
  19. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    Lorraine in France
    English (US Northeast)
    Good point. the pronunciation has diverged so much.
  20. Nino83 Senior Member

    No, they'll be like Chicago English and Cockney or Geordie, i.e the same language with two different pronunciations
  21. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    Lorraine in France
    English (US Northeast)
    It's already like that. Jeff means what it is to become
  22. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Anyway, it is enigmatic to me how anybody could come up with such a theory anyway - that only because a language is "only" spoken in two highly populated countries on two different continents, it were "dying out" or useless or no longer needed.

    How can anyone be taken seriously as a scientist or as a teacher with such theories? How can he take his own nonsese seriously?

    First, there are lots of languages only used by less than a Million persons, an only in one tiny region or country - does that mean they are dying out?

    Let's take an extreme example, Greenlandic Inuit. I don't know how much it differs from other variantions of Inuit - at least they have a good number of loanwords that Inuit from Alaska or Sibiria probably would not understand although they basically speak the same language. So let's limit it to the Greenland version. It is spoken by approx. 55.000 persons. Not much, right? Dying out? No way, it is expanding 55.000 speakers is more than ever before.
  23. Nino83 Senior Member

    The phonetic differences between Chicago English and Northern English are greater than those between Brazilian and European Portuguese.

    For example, if a Mancunian says "but, bot, bat" a Chicagoen would understand "bet, but, bot".

    A similar situation can't happen between a Portuguese and a Brazilian.
  24. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    Lorraine in France
    English (US Northeast)
    If you say it just like that maybe, but every word is said in a context. But I bet you bought a bat would never be confused anywhere into nonsense like Bet I bat you boat a but.
    What is a bot? It reminds me of some interview I heard of people in Wisconsin speaking to people in another state, can't remember which one, maybe Virginia. They said boss, the others thought manager, but when they said I can't find a seat on the boss people understood immediately they pronounced bus as boss. Then they said gnat and the second group thought mosquito, but they understood and laughed immediately when they said the bass is gnat in the affice t'day. It's all about context

    The Brazilian pronunciation of r as h, d as j, t as ch, e as i, l as u is daunting for novices
    Also the Portuguese truncation of words into one syllable if you are not used to that.
    I remember seeing something on internet with people from two different places confusing o gato and o rato.
  25. Nino83 Senior Member

    bot = "a computer program that performs a particular task many times"

    r pronounced like h: think about a British speaker saying card, which sounds pretty close to AmE cod. In Portuguese there isn't any phoneme /h/ so there are no problems or misunderstandings
    d and t pronounced like j and ch: think about the Southern British (standard?) pronunciation of tune, deuce, assume, resume like ʧune, ʤuce, aʃume, reʒume. In Portuguese /ʧ/ and /ʤ/ don't exist, so no misunderstandings, while in English we have minimal pairs like deuce/juice, two/chew, suit/shoot and so on
    l pronounced like u: what about Cockney and, in general, l-vocalization in England? little is not pronounced /lɪɾɫ/ but /lɪʔo/, and there are minimal pairs like fault-fought-fort, pause-Paul's

    and we're not speaking about intervocalic /t/ in English, so the sentence a little bit of butter sounds, respectively, like /ə lɪɾɫ bɪɾ əv bʌɾɹ̩/ and /ə lɪʔo bɪʔ əv bɐʔɐ/

    Actually BE and AmE have an higher number of phonetic differences than EP and BP, and they are still considered the same language.
  26. Darth Nihilus

    Darth Nihilus Senior Member

    Santa Catarina
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Forgive me if I misunderstood your post (sometimes it happens! ;)) but....what???
  27. Nino83 Senior Member

    I mean that in Portuguese /ʧ/ and /ʤ/ are not phonemes, i.e you can't find words like /ʤɔko/ and /ʧɛnto/ (in Portuguese these words are /ʒogu/ and /sẽⁿtu/), they are allophones of /t, d/ before [i], so the Brazilian pronunciation doesn't make confusion or misunderstandings because there are not minimal pairs, while the Southern British (now almost standard) pronunciation of /t, d/ + yod creates confusion between two and chew [ʧuː] do you, dew and Jew [ʤuː], deuce and juice [ʤuːs], duel and jewel [ʤuːəɫ], dude and Jude [ʤuːd], dune and june [ʤuːn] and so on.
  28. Darth Nihilus

    Darth Nihilus Senior Member

    Santa Catarina
    Brazilian Portuguese
    I see. Looks like I had indeed misunderstood your post. You're right, of course. Thanks for clarifying it.
  29. mexerica feliz

    mexerica feliz Senior Member

    português nordestino
    you can find words like
    tcheco, tchau or tchan

    the ''minimal pair'' thing is very relative in Brazil:
    compare pais e paz (in Rio, Brasília, Vitória, Northeast and North) they completely rhyme.
    Many people merge senhora and sem hora, Júnio and junho and Júlio and julho.
    you can also argue there's no phonemes NH, LH in Brazil since ni~nhi, li-lhi merger is widespread.
  30. Nino83 Senior Member

    What does tchan mean? I've not found it.

    The main point of discussion is if EP and BP should be considered different language because of the different pronunciation of /r, di, ti, l/.
    I'm saying that there are more differences between AmE and BrE, so if we consider EP and BP two different languages, also AmE and BrE should be considered different.

    I've found "Aparição repentina. O momento em que uma pessoa aparece de repente na frente de outras" but in one thread some Portuguese speakers said that tchan doesn't mean anything.

    Tchau comes from Italian while tcheco from the language of the noun.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  31. mexerica feliz

    mexerica feliz Senior Member

    português nordestino
    Tchan/tchã is a special kind of charm.
    There's even a band with this name: É o tchan one of the most popular axémusic groups.

    S. m.
    '' 1. Toque especial; apuro, requinte: O cabeleireiro deu um tchã ao seu penteado.
    2. Charme, encanto pessoal: Ela tem muito tchã. '' (Dicionário Aurélio)

    The main difference between BP and EP lies in syntax and not in phonology or vocabulary:

    cheguei em casa (BP) ~ cheguei a casa (EP)
    vou lá em casa (BP) ~ vou lá a casa (EP)
    eu gostaria de saber (BT) ~ gostava de saber (EP)
    chocolate ao leite (BP) ~ chocolate de leite (EP)
    se você segui-la (BP) ~ se você a seguir (EP)
    vi vocês dançando/dançarem (BP) ~ vi-vos (a) dançar (EP)
    foram estudar em Londres (BP) ~ foram estudar a Londres (EP)
    vou fazer isso depois que ela voltar (BP) ~ vou fazer isso depois de ela voltar (EP)
    fiz isso depois que ela voltou (BP) ~ fiz isso depois de ela voltar (EP)
    o futuro a gente planeja, a gente faz (BP) ~ ao futuro, planeamo-lo, fazemo-lo (EP)
    comprei vários produtos de João (BP) ~ comprei vários produtos ao João (EP)

    quem você conhece ? and quem conhece você? mean two completely different things
    in Brazil, but not in Portugal

    There are many many things that are grammatical in Brazil, but agrammatical in Portugal
    (like o trem chega em dez minutos, cantava feito um passarinho etc... ) and vice versa.

    Spoken Brazilian Portuguese is:
    a) object clitic deleting, explicit pronoun favoring language [Eu amo (BR) ~ Amo-o (PT)]
    b) not allowing inversion in questions with transitive verbs
    [like in the previous example: Quem ama você? and Quem você ama mean two different things in Brazil]
    c) clitic-avoiding:
    O filho, [eles] nunca mais viram ele (BR)
    Ao filho, nunca mais o viram (PT)
    d) reflexive pronouns avoiding:
    O vaso quebrou, o pneu furou (BR)
    O vaso quebrou-se. o pneu furou-se (PT)
    e) there is only two closeness degrees in demonstratives: aquele ~ esse/este,
    the latter two being neutralized, unlike in Portugal which holds to the 3 degree system of demonstratives
    f) in popular Brazilian speech, freezing is common:
    Chegou meus pais.
    Vende-se casas.
    Entre eu e você.

    even RedeGlobo reporters doing street coverage talk like this.

    syntax, pronoun usage and prepositions are completely different,
    much more so than between UK and US English.

    This is my language:
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  32. Nino83 Senior Member

    You make a list of the (well known) differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese but, as you know, in Brazil there are a formal (written), neutral (written and spoken) and informal (spoken) style.
    The written formal language is identical to the European version, the neutral language admits some difference and the informal one is a bit different.

    Viu a Roberta?
    Sim, vi-a (formal written); sim, a vi (neutral, written); sim, vi ela (spoken)
    O vaso quebrou-se (formal); o vaso se quebrou (neutral); o vaso quebrou (spoken).

    So, the European constructions are not wrong in Brazil, they are only used in formal written situations but they are not ungrammatical. This, about object pronouns.

    The esse/este difference is not sufficient to say that there are two different languages. For example, in Italian, the difference between questo and codesto (which we all know, in every region, because it is studied at school) is used, in the spoken language, only in Tuscany but it doesn't mean that there are two different languages, Tuscan Italian and extra-Tuscan Italian.

    The difference between quem Ana ama? and quem ama Ana? is related to the pro-drop feature of the language.
    French and Brazilian Portuguese are not pro-drop, so qui Anne aime-t-elle? and qui aime Anne? have a different meaning while chi ama Anna? quién ama Ana? quem ama Ana? in Italian, Spanish and European Portuguese can have two different meanings.
    This happens only in wh-questions while in yes-no question the rules are equal.

    Prepositions are not "completely different". The difference between em/a with verbs of movements and para/a with indirect object are due to the simple fact that in Brazil the article a and the preposition a have the same pronunciation.

    So, can European and Brazilian Portuguese be considered two different languages?

    I've some doubt about it.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
  33. Copperknickers Senior Member

    Scotland - Scots and English
    People say this a lot, but actually it's about 45% Spanish, 40% Portuguese, and 5% other. Brazil has a larger population than all other Latin American countries put together if you exclude Mexico.
  34. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    Lorraine in France
    English (US Northeast)
    In Spanish there is a required preposition to avoid this type of ambiguity.
    ¿Quién ama a Ana? ¿A quién ama Ana?

    In spoken French it is also clarified by adding words: Qui est-ce qui aime Anne? Elle aime qui, Anne? This is not mandatory though.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
  35. Nino83 Senior Member

    Thank you.
    Anyway it's not the word order (SVO, OVS) that changes the meaning, like it is in French and in Brazilian Portuguese.

    Yes, in French only word order changes the meaning of the sentence.
  36. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    Lorraine in France
    English (US Northeast)
    Some possibilities would not sound so natural though.

    Ama a quién Ana, a Ana ama quién
  37. Nino83 Senior Member

    Nobody said that there are other possibilities.
    In these sentences (wh-questions) the subject is at the end of the sentence in Spanish, Italian and European Portuguese.
    The order is chi/quem + verb + subject for both "who does Anne love?" and "who loves Anne?"
    This doesn't happen in French and Brazilian Portuguese.
  38. Deslandes Senior Member

    Portuguese - Portugal
    Your so-called "professor" is an utter ignorant. Portuguese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and the official language of several countries (Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cabo Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe, etc.). Moreover, several companies are searching more and more for employees fluent in Portuguese, especially in the air travel industry as Brazilians and other Portuguese-speaking peoples are traveling abroad more than ever before. Your excuse of a professor should retire and get lost. She's the one who is archaic. But if you are willing to listen to her gibberish go ahead and learn Dutch or Danish instead... Disgusting!
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  39. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    English English
    It's still pretty official in Portugal too, apparently;)
  40. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    Lorraine in France
    English (US Northeast)
    Totally in agreement, but there is nothing wrong with learning Dutch and Danish....
  41. Doraemon- Senior Member

    "Spanish - Spain" "Catalan - Valencia"
    This is really stupid from your teacher.
    Of course Portuguese is not one of the leading languages in the world, as English and Spanish can be, but it is the sixth most spoken language anyway. If that's "dead" what would be the 2000 languages that are spoken less than portuguese...
  42. Red Arrow

    Red Arrow Senior Member

    Dutch - Belgium
    Dutch has more speakers than European Portuguese, that's for sure. I don't know why you're calling my mother tongue disgusting.
  43. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    I wonder if Deslandes was not referring to the position of the language professor as disgusting actually.

    Bienvenidos, in the OP should have asked his prof. their position on Pashto (13 million speakers) and Dari (9 million speakers). Would the prof. have dared be dismissive about Hazaragi (2 and a half million) and Aymaq (less than 1 million speakers)? If so I suggest that person either change careers or perhaps try to learn at least one language other than their mother tongue.
  44. Pedro y La Torre Senior Member

    Paris, France
    English (Ireland)
    Well Dari is a dialect of Persian, I'm not sure you can refer to it as a language on its own.
  45. L'irlandais

    L'irlandais Senior Member

    Dreyeckland/Alsace region
    Ireland: English-speaking ♂
    Sure, my point being it is easy to be dismissive about a "third-party" language. Since the OP came from Afghanistan, I imagine the prof would have had a debate on his hands if trying to be dismissive about one of that countries main languages. (Even if some are dialects of Persian.)

    Okay the OP was a native Farsi-speaker. (110 million speakers worldwide)
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  46. uchi.m

    uchi.m Banned

    Redeeming limbo
    Brazil, Portuguese
    É a mesma coisa que dizer que todos os que odeiam chocolate vão morrer, porque não são importantes, abjetos e de mau gosto simplesmente porque não gostam de chocolate.

    Claro que vão morrer, mas enquanto existir chocolate, os que não gostam de chocolate terão a sua própria opção e a sua vida digna.

    It is such as telling someone that everyone who dislikes chocolate is going to die because they are unimportant, detrimental and of bad taste, simply because they don't fancy chocolate.

    Of course they will all die, but as long as there will be chocolate, the ones who dislike it will have their own choice, and their life will be dignified.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017

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