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The Portuguese Language Landscape
Population of Brazil: 191,908,598
Population of Portugal: 10,676,910 (July 2008 est.)
Internet country code (Brazil): .br
Internet users (Brazil): 42.6 million (2006)
Internet country code (Portugal): .pt
Internet users (Portugal): 3.213 million (2006)
• Rosetta Stone Version 3: PORTUGUESE Level 1 with Audio Companion
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Portuguese is a Romance language that originated in what is now Galicia (Spain) and northern Portugal from the Latin spoken by romanized Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula (namely the Gallaeci, the Lusitanians, the Celtici and the Conii) about 2000 years ago. It spread worldwide in the 15th and 16th centuries as Portugal established a colonial and commercial empire (1415–1999) which spanned from Brazil in the Americas to Goa in India and Macau in China, in fact it was used exclusively on the island of Sri Lanka as the lingua franca for almost 350 years. During that time, many creole languages based on Portuguese also appeared around the world, especially in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
Today it is one of the world's major languages, ranked 6th according to number of native speakers (approximately 177 million). It is the language with the largest number of speakers in South America, spoken by nearly all of Brazil's population, which amounts to over 51% of the continent's population even though it is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas. It is also a major lingua franca in Portugal's former colonial possessions in Africa. It is the official language of ten countries, also being co-official with Spanish and French in Equatorial Guinea, with Cantonese Chinese in the Chinese special administrative region of Macau, and with Tetum in East Timor. There are sizable communities of Portuguese-speakers in various regions of North America, notably in the United States (New Jersey, New England and south Florida) and in Ontario, Canada.
Sources: CIA World Factbook re Brazil, CIA World Factbook re Portugal, and Wikipedia – Content available under GNU Free Documentation License Related Article: The Global Language Landscape – Languages in Use on the Internet
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