Portuguese third language in Canada?...

Viri Amaoro   Wed May 10, 2006 5:22 pm GMT
I've just came up with this text on the Portuguese language; it surprised me that apparently Portuguese is the third most spoken language in Canada after English and French (never heard of that; I've checked some figures on languages in Canada and this claim sounds strange).
Does anyone (a canadian perhaps) has an opinion on this, or new information?

What is Portuguese?

Like English, Greek, Farsi, and Sanskrit, Portuguese belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. A language family is a collective of languages with a common ancestor. Portuguese is a part of one of the widely distributed branches of that family, the Romance languages. These form a group of Indo-European languages birthed from Latin (Roma, Romanus, so Romance).

Portuguese is most closely related to Galician, spoken in Northwestern Spain, and then more distantly to Spanish, Catalan, Occitan (including Provençal), Sardinian, Italian, French, and, finally, Romanian, with which it shares the lowest number of similarities among all its closest relatives.

But Portuguese is more than just facts on a page, be they historical or grammatical. I hope these lessons will go a long way in showing you that and helping you to become a part of the Portuguese-speaking world.

Who Speaks Portuguese?

Over 200,000,000 people around the world claim Portuguese as their native language. To give you a better idea, around 120,000,000 speak French, 120,000,000 German, 130,000,000 Japanese, and about 70,000,000 Italian. Portuguese is the seventh most spoken language in the world today, behind English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, and Russian. Regionally, it is spoken not only in Portugal, but also Brazil (Brasil) in South America; Angola, Guiné-Bissau, Mozambique (Moçambique), Cape Verde (Cabo Verde), and São Tomé e Príncipe in Africa. It claims some Atlantic islands, notably the Azores (Açores) and Madeira, and is the language of some chief ports in the Orient, such as Macau in China and East Timor (Timor do Leste). It is the third most spoken language in Canada, after English and French. In the United States, in areas where Portuguese has become one of the more spoken minority languages, many schools and education centers have added it to their standard list of languages offered.

It might comfort you to know that the Portuguese-speaking (or Lusophone) world is often exposed to a higher rate of multiculturalism from outside sources, and thus has a higher rate of non-native bilingualism (a good example is Brazil, where English is widely spoken). So don't be afraid to speak to anyone, because if you want to learn, that's the only way to do it.

Spoken and Written Portuguese
Portuguese, like English, French, and Irish Gaelic, "suffers" from an orthography (or spelling system, from Gk. "correct writing/carving") that is often said to be historical. Historical spelling refers to an older written language whose spelling system does not match trends in the current spoken language. While wonderfully beautiful for the literary language and historical linguists reconstructing the origin and relation of words, it stands as yet another challenge for the beginning student.

Although Portuguese, especially Standard Brazilian, has done a reasonably good job of curbing this trend in the last century, written Portuguese is a far cry from a phonetic (or, really, phonemic) representation of the language.

To make matters more interesting, Portuguese speakers also differentiate between levels of formality, including the spoken and written word, more than do speakers of English, especially in the United States. More than contractions (are not > aren't) separates the level of language used, including word choice, verb conjugation, pronouns, and much more.

Choosing a Dialect
The majority of people accessing these lessons want to learn Brazilian Portuguese, a general term used to cover the standard language of Brazil. Many dialects differ within Brazil, and cities as reasonably close as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo on the south coast speak distinct dialects (I can hear a difference within the first few spoken words). However, Brazilian dialects on the whole remain more consistent than those of Portugal.

The sheer size and population of Brazil, coupled with the Mercosul trade agreement in South America, make Brazilian Portuguese essential for conducting business in the continent. As Brazil is far and away the world's largest and most populous Lusophone country, this is the dialect of choice for those looking to learn the Portuguese of business, of current events, and the Portuguese moving to the forefront of a changing world.

If, however, your interests lie in Europe, Africa, or the Portuguese crioulos of India and Asia, Standard European Portuguese offers a perfect starting point. This is the Portuguese of saudade, the fado, Vasco da Gama and the Lusiads. In many ways, European Portuguese represents both a more conservative and a more radical set of dialects.

Whichever standard you choose to call your own, you will want to learn something of the other as well. This is particularly true if you speak European Portuguese, since the preeminence and popularity of Brazilian keeps that variety in the limelight.

Using These Lessons
These lessons, immediately called lições to initiate the process of immersion, are both relatively traditional and somewhat unique in the presentation of the material. They are not as formal as many language lessons, and will often refuse to present everything to you at once in small vocabulary boxes. The format and approach are based on the author's own language-learning experience, and have received welcomed praise from around the world.

You will find new vocabulary scattered throughout the lições. Nouns are given in the form noun (gender) translation. After you learn about gender, it will be marked as a parenthetic abbreviation, masculine as (m.) and feminine as (f.). Verbs are cited in the infinitive (to ____) form, e.g. fazer to make, to do. Irregular verbs are marked and discussed in the lessons. Adjectives are given in the masculine singular, e.g. muito much, many. Explanations are typically marked with an asterisk (*). All other words are given in their invariable form, e.g. quando when. The above paragraph will make more sense to you as you learn the language.

Any differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese are noted in the text, usually in a casual and understandable manner (for example, "When speaking, Brazilians stick to você, so please do the same when learning Brazilian Portuguese" - from lesson 1).

I have made every effort to use bold blue to indicate either key grammatical terms or words and phrases written in the Portuguese language. Bold should catch your attention, but it represents something secondary (ex: helpful Latin words inherited into Portuguese and borrowed into English that lessen the language gap and the burden on your memory). Italics highlight English translations, as well as some helpful afterthoughts. Finally, I underline words for emphasis both in the original Portuguese and the English translations.

Contacting the Author
Please send any questions, comments, suggestions, or musings in Portuguese or English my way. This site generates a tremendous volume of mail, so I beg you for a little patience.

In hopes that you enjoy learning the language as much as I do helping you along the way, e adiante! and onward!

J. Rudder (Portuguese Online)
Guest   Wed May 10, 2006 6:23 pm GMT
Hmmmm, are you sure that third language of Canada is not Chinese ?
British Colombia has a big Chinese comunity
Guest   Wed May 10, 2006 6:44 pm GMT
It's really difficult to say which is the real third language in Canada due the high mass of multicultiralism.
Guest   Wed May 10, 2006 7:30 pm GMT
I saw in some websites that the third langauge of Canada was Arabic.
George   Thu May 11, 2006 7:50 am GMT
Portuguese, eh? According to a wikipedia article, the language composition in Canada is as follows:

Of the 32.2 million citizens of Canada, 17.5 million are native English speakers, 7.7 million are native French-speakers and 5.2 million are native speakers of neither of Canada's two official languages.

Statistics Canada, 2001

1. English 17,352,315
2. French 7,703,325
3. Chinese 853,745
4. Italian 469,485
5. German 438,080
6. Punjabi 271,220
7. Spanish 245,500
8. Portuguese 213,815
9. Polish 208,375
10. Arabic 199,940
11. Tagalog 174,060
12. Ukrainian 148,090
13. Dutch 128,670
14. Vietnamese 122,055
15. Greek 120,365
16. Russian 94,555
17. Persian 94,095
18. Tamil 90,010
19. Korean 85,070
20. Urdu 80,895
21. Hungarian 75,555
22. Cree 72,800
23. Gujarati 57,555
24. Hindi 56,325
25. Croatian 54,880
26. Romanian 50,895
27. Serbian 41,180
28. Japanese 34,815
29. Bengali 29,505
30. Inuktitut 29,005
31. Armenian 27,350
32. Serbo-Croatian 26,690
33. Somali 26,110
34. Czech 24,790
35. Finnish 22,405
36. Ojibway 21,000
37. Yiddish 19,295
38. Turkish 18,675
39. Danish 18,230
40. Slovak 17,545
41. Macedonian 16,905
42. Khmer 15,985
43. Lao 12,945
44. Slovenian 12,800
45. Hebrew 12,435
46. Twi 11,070
Jacyra   Thu May 11, 2006 9:48 am GMT
Brazilians in Canada speak the Brazilian dialect and they don't understand the Lusitanian dialect.
knewman   Thu May 11, 2006 12:08 pm GMT
The Third language in canada is 汉语.

English (official) 59.3%, French (official) 23.2%, other 17.5%
Viri Amaoro   Thu May 11, 2006 12:21 pm GMT
I too checked Wikipedia and other sources. Portuguese is nowhere near third place, that's why I found the claim of this text very odd.
Gringo   Thu May 11, 2006 1:36 pm GMT
Jacyra Thu May 11, 2006 9:48 am GMT
««Brazilians in Canada speak the Brazilian dialect and they don't understand the Lusitanian dialect.»»

Jacyra stop talking nonsense.
Lusitanian dialect was spoken until about the 2nd or 3rd century AD.
This is an example found in Lamas de Moledo:


Serbo-Canadian in China   Sat May 13, 2006 7:55 pm GMT
Because "Serbian" and "Croatian" differ about 2% in vocabulary and not at all in grammar (there are preferences for specific usages of a tense and of a Genitive of specific non-a feminine nouns, but in both cases both are allowed and used), and the language was considered one since at the very least 13th century until 1992,

and since

25. Croatian 54,880
27. Serbian 41,180
32. Serbo-Croatian 26,690

adds up to 122,750

it puts Serbo-Croat at the 12th place.
Ooops... I mean   Sat May 13, 2006 7:57 pm GMT
the 14th.
Guest   Sun May 14, 2006 2:52 pm GMT
portuguese is castilian spanish badly spoken

knao esor pormtamg

what a crappy language. they should all learn to speak castilian and stop bitching that they have a better language.
Serbo-Canadian in China   Sun May 14, 2006 6:01 pm GMT
I think Portuguese sounds much much nicer that Castillian.

I do like Spanish spoken in Latin America ("sin zenzear") though, most forms of it.
Gringo   Sun May 14, 2006 8:46 pm GMT
Guest Sun May 14, 2006 2:52 pm GMT
««portuguese is castilian spanish badly spoken

knao esor pormtamg

what a crappy language. they should all learn to speak castilian and stop bitching that they have a better language »»

I think it is you who got a lot to learn about the Castilian language.

Castilian originated from Cantabro (a mixture of astur-leonese and euscara) a dialect of astur- leonese, and the romance spoken by the mozarab.

If there is any "badly spoken" language it can only be Castilian, that could be called badly spoken Astur- Leonese.

Oh, and try to learn some castilian yourself, no castilian speaker would say that "portuguese is castilian spanish badly spoken" and then say it is a "crappy language". You just said that castilian is a well spoken "crappy language". Too dumb!
CHINESE (&   Mon May 15, 2006 3:45 am GMT
Spanish (Castilian), more or less, sounds noisily, raspingly and annoyingly, when Spanish or Latin American speak fluent and passional Castilian in public places, but Portuguese doesn't sound like that due to its softly and nasal pronunciation, and I don't consider Portuguese as a crappy and useless language, and I don't think, either, that Castilian has so much superiorities and dignities than Portuguese, it's really a false proposition of your own. And if you ask me, I would like to tell you that both Italian and Portuguese sound much more pleasingly than Castilian.