World Portuguese Language Day (May 5th) History, Activities, and Fun Facts


Learn about the history and significance of World Portuguese Language Day, explore the activities and events that take place to celebrate the Portuguese language, and discover some interesting and fun facts about this widely spoken language.

World Portuguese Language Day is an annual observance that celebrates the Portuguese language, which is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It was established by the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) in 2009, and is celebrated on May 5th every year. The day is aimed at promoting the use and dissemination of the Portuguese language, as well as celebrating its cultural diversity and richness. It is also an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by the language to world culture, science, and literature. The day is marked with various events, such as lectures, conferences, cultural performances, and exhibitions, that highlight the importance and beauty of the Portuguese language.

World Portuguese Language Day


History of World Portuguese Language Day

World Portuguese Language Day was established by the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) in 2009. CPLP is an international organization that aims to strengthen cooperation among the countries that share Portuguese as a common language. The organization was created in 1996 and currently has nine member states: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, and Equatorial Guinea (as an observer).

The idea of creating a day to celebrate the Portuguese language was first proposed by Portugal, and the CPLP members agreed to designate May 5th as World Portuguese Language Day. May 5th was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the birth of the famous Portuguese writer, Luís de Camões, who is considered one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language.

Since its establishment, World Portuguese Language Day has been celebrated with various events and activities that promote the use and dissemination of the Portuguese language. These activities include lectures, seminars, cultural performances, and exhibitions, among others. The day has become an important occasion to celebrate the cultural diversity and richness of the Portuguese language and its contributions to world culture, science, and literature.


Portuguese Language Timeline

Here is a timeline of some important events in the history of the Portuguese language:

  • 218 BC: The Roman Empire establishes control over what is now Portugal and introduces Latin, which becomes the dominant language in the region.
  • 5th-6th century AD: The Germanic tribes of the Suebi and the Visigoths invade the Iberian Peninsula and bring their own languages. However, Latin remains the language of administration and culture.
  • 711 AD: The Muslim Moors invade Portugal and bring Arabic, which influences the Portuguese language.
  • 1139: Portugal becomes an independent kingdom with the establishment of the Portuguese monarchy, and Portuguese starts to develop as a distinct language.
  • 1290: King Dinis I establishes the first university in Portugal, the University of Coimbra, where Portuguese becomes the language of instruction.
  • 15th century: Portuguese explorers and traders establish contact with various peoples around the world, leading to the adoption of many loanwords from other languages, especially from Arabic, African languages, and native American languages.
  • 1536: The first grammar of Portuguese, “Gramática da Língua Portuguesa,” is published by Fernão de Oliveira.
  • 19th century: The spelling and grammar of the Portuguese language are standardized, leading to greater consistency in the language.
  • 1911: The spelling reform of 1911 simplifies the spelling of Portuguese words and makes them more phonetic.
  • 1990: The spelling reform of 1990 introduces further changes to Portuguese spelling and grammar, such as the elimination of certain consonant clusters and the adoption of a new set of diacritical marks.

Today, Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world, with over 260 million speakers across the globe.

portugal flag


World Portuguese Language Day Activities

World Portuguese Language Day is celebrated on May 5th every year and is marked by various activities and events that promote the Portuguese language and its culture. Here are some common activities that take place on World Portuguese Language Day:

  1. Conferences and Seminars: Many academic institutions, embassies, and cultural centers organize conferences and seminars on the Portuguese language and its cultural importance. These events bring together scholars, linguists, and writers to discuss various aspects of the Portuguese language, including its history, grammar, and vocabulary.
  2. Workshops: Workshops are held to teach the Portuguese language to beginners and to improve the skills of those who are already proficient in the language. These workshops may focus on grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, or conversation skills.
  3. Cultural Exhibitions: Many cultural centers and museums organize exhibitions that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Portuguese-speaking countries. These exhibitions may feature art, literature, music, and historical artifacts from these countries.
  4. Competitions: Several competitions are organized on World Portuguese Language Day to encourage creativity and innovation in the use of the language. These may include poetry writing, short story writing, or speech competitions.
  5. Film Screenings: Many film festivals and cultural centers organize screenings of Portuguese language films, both classic and contemporary. These screenings offer an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and diversity of Portuguese language cinema.
  6. Concerts and Performances: Many musical performances and concerts are organized on World Portuguese Language Day to celebrate the music and dance of the Portuguese-speaking countries. These performances may feature traditional folk music or contemporary pop and rock music.
  7. Social Media Campaigns: Social media campaigns are often launched on World Portuguese Language Day to promote the language and its cultural significance. These campaigns may include hashtags, quizzes, and challenges that encourage people to share their love of the language and culture on social media platforms.

Interesting Fun Facts About Portuguese Language

Here are some interesting and fun facts about the Portuguese language:

  1. Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world, with over 260 million speakers worldwide.
  2. Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, and East Timor.
  3. The Portuguese language is closely related to other Romance languages such as Spanish, Italian, and French.
  4. Portuguese is the only language spoken in South America that is not of indigenous origin.
  5. Portuguese is the only official language of Brazil and the most spoken language in South America.
  6. The Portuguese alphabet has 26 letters, the same as the English alphabet.
  7. Portuguese is the only language that has two verbs for “to be”: “ser” and “estar.” “Ser” is used to describe permanent states and characteristics, while “estar” is used to describe temporary states and locations.
  8. The longest word in the Portuguese language is “pneumoultramicroscopicossilicovulcanoconiótico,” which has 46 letters and refers to a lung disease caused by the inhalation of volcanic dust.
  9. The word “saudade” is a uniquely Portuguese word that describes a feeling of longing, nostalgia, or melancholy.
  10. Portuguese is the second most spoken language in the world as a second language, after English.
  11. The first book ever printed in Portuguese was a collection of poems by Francisco de Sá de Miranda in 1527.
  12. Portuguese is the language of one of the most widely read books in the world, “The Lusiads” by Luís Vaz de Camões, which is considered a masterpiece of Portuguese literature.
  13. Portuguese has borrowed words from many different languages, including Arabic, French, English, and African languages.
  14. Portuguese has many regional dialects and variations, particularly in Brazil, where there are several different accents and slang expressions.
  15. The Portuguese language has been spoken for over 800 years, and its evolution and influence can be seen in the history and culture of many countries around the world.

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