Why Learn Portuguese? Because of These 10 Important Reasons!
Solange Knowles is talented, but her sister Beyoncé gets all the attention.
In spite of there being three Hemsworth brothers, we all know the favorite, and let’s be real—he wields an ax.
When one sibling gets all the attention, it is easy for the other sibling to fade into the shadows, despite being amazing in their own way.
And for far too long, language learners have let Portuguese play second fiddle to its more popular sibling, Spanish.
But there are plenty of good reasons to want to learn Portuguese.
From enjoying Portuguese music to having a terrific study abroad experience, learning Portuguese can expand your horizons and job prospects while enriching your life.
If you need any more motivation to start studying today, here are 10 great reasons to learn Portuguese!
Why Learn Portuguese? 10 Reasons to Study the Underappreciated Romance Language
1. A large number of people speak Portuguese.
Portuguese is very widely spoken, so it is not some old, unnecessary language you will never use (we’re looking at you, Latin).
World language resource Ethnologue estimates that there are over 236 million Portuguese speakers in the world, including a whopping 222 million native speakers.
To be fair, Spanish does have more native speakers—a total of 442 million speakers, in fact.
However, French and German, other popular languages with students, have significantly fewer speakers. French has around 76 million native speakers, while German has nearly 79 million native speakers (in fact, French has over twice as many learners as native speakers!).
That means Portuguese has significantly more native speakers than some of the most widely studied foreign languages!
2. Portuguese is spoken in a lot more places than you may think.
When you think about Portuguese, chances are you immediately think of Brazil and Portugal.
While the language is most well-known for being spoken in these countries, you can find it in some other, more unexpected places.
The “Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa” (“Community of Portuguese Language Countries”), an organization of countries where Portuguese is widely spoken, has nine member countries: Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe.
Because of historic ties, Portuguese is also widely spoken in Sri Lanka, Goa, India and Macau, China. So you might find yourself needing your Portuguese skills in Europe, South America, Africa or even Asia!
3. It is not particularly widely studied.
Despite being the seventh most widely spoken language in the world as of 2016, it did not crack the top ten most studied languages in United States universities.
So while a lot of people speak the language, not many are studying it in the US. This means that studying Portuguese can help set you apart from the masses studying more popular languages and allow you to interact with a huge population that other language students cannot communicate with.
Plus, speaking a less commonly studied language looks super cool on any résumé.
Perhaps because it is overshadowed by its super-popular sibling, it can be difficult to find in-person Portuguese courses. But thankfully, there are lots of websites to learn Portuguese and online Portuguese courses that can help hook eager learners up with the finest information.
4. If you speak another Romance language, you already have a leg up on learning Portuguese.
Other Romance languages, like Spanish, French and Italian, have a lot in common with Portuguese. Since these languages have similar origins, you will notice some overlap in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.
Therefore, if you have studied another Romance language, you are likely to find learning Portuguese much easier than learning a language from a different family.
It is always nice to have a head start!
5. Conversely, knowing Portuguese could help you learn other Romance languages.
Because Portuguese is similar to other Romance languages, learning it can also help set you up for success should you choose to study another Romance language down the road.
Since this is one of the most popular language families among students, any advantage you can gain is a huge bonus!
6. Learning Portuguese opens up worlds of travel opportunities.
Portuguese is spoken in some very popular tourist destinations.
If you enjoy beautiful beaches or enchanting rain-forests, learning Portuguese can help you on your next trip to Brazil.
Prefer European destinations? Portugal is popular with tourists for its beauty and affordability.
7. It is a way to gain even more enjoyment from soccer.
Sports fans rejoice! Soccer is huge in both Portugal and Brazil. So if you love soccer, Portuguese is a great language to learn.
Not only will learning it help you enjoy tons of soccer coverage, you will finally be able to follow your favorite soccer stars on social media and actually understand what they are saying!
8. It is a beautiful language.
French. Italian. Spanish. These languages are considered some of the most beautiful and romantic languages in the world.
Now, let’s get real: They are called Romance languages because they descend from the language Roman people spoke and not because they are romantic, but the fact remains that we have come to associate them with love.
But French, Italian and Spanish are not alone in the Romance language family! Other Romance languages include Catalan, Romanian and, you guessed it, Portuguese!
And indeed, the Portuguese language is just as beautiful as other Romance languages. Need proof? Check out this YouTube playlist of Portuguese poetry readings. You cannot tell us your ears do not feel happy now.
9. Learning Portuguese could increase your job prospects.
While Brazil’s economy has had its ups and downs, the fact remains that it is the eighth largest economy in the world and has enjoyed recent growth.
Because of this, Brazil is a big player in international business, so learning Portuguese might give you an edge in the business world.
10. It will help you connect with rich cultures.
Portugal’s history of exploration brought together food, culture and products from around the world, so Portuguese-speaking regions tend to have intriguing cultures enriched by this diversity.
For instance, Brazil is shaped by the various groups that have inhabited the region. There are notable Portuguese, African and Indigenous influences. Waves of immigrants from Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Poland and more have further added to the dynamic nature of Brazilian culture.
This creates an intriguing and lively culture that is completely unique from every other culture in the world.
Similarly, Portugal’s culture is marked by diverse influences. An array of different groups passed through the area, so Portugal has been influenced by Roman, Germanic, Moorish, Viking and countless other cultures. This unique mix contributes to delicious Portuguese food, unique architecture and a rich musical heritage.
And Brazil and Portugal are just the tip of the iceberg! Each Portuguese-speaking region has its own history and culture, so you will never be at a loss for new cultures to explore by using your Portuguese skills.
Learning Portuguese can help you enjoy these unique cultures on a deeper level.
These 10 reasons to learn Portuguese are just the beginning. Everyone has their own reasons for studying particular languages. What are your reasons for learning Portuguese?