Many people believe that Spanish and Portuguese are the same language with a different accent. Is it true? Of course not. There are similarities, but in reality, we are talking about two different languages.
The Portuguese language is DEFINITELY RELATED to the Spanish language, it is a fact. Even those who do not speak either of these languages can easily understand the similarities between them.
Both languages evolved from Latin
Languages can be divided into families. In Europe, the largest families are Romance, Germanic and Slavic languages. Portuguese and Spanish belong to the same family. Both share many similarities with the French and Italian languages.
All these languages have their origin in Latin and have retained their essential characteristics: the order / sequence of the words in the sentence and the noun genres. Despite the similarities between the Romance languages, Portuguese and Spanish are the most alike.
Here are some examples of words that are the same in both languages: lua (moon), água (water), beber (drinking), sol (sun), lindo (beautiful).
The conjugation of regular verbs follows the same logic and there are few differences in verb endings. Despite these similarities, sometimes the communication between Portuguese and Spanish speakers is not easy. Why? Because pronunciation is very different.
Comparison between two texts
Comparing a text in Spanish and Portuguese gives the reader a good understanding of the differences.
Check this example:
Text IN SPANISH (joUrnal El País, 15 DEC 2019)
El mundo peina canas y cumple años. Muchos años. El envejecimiente de la poblácion es uno de los grandes cambios sociales y económicos que se está produciendo hoy a escala mundial.
TEXT IN Portuguese
“O mundo penteia cabelos grisalhos e faz anos. Muitos anos. O envelhecimento da população é uma das grandes mudanças sociais e económicas que se está a produzir hoje à escala mundial.
European Portuguese has very closed sounds and often syllables are not noticeable. Spanish, on the other hand, has more open sounds and syllables are pronounced more clearly and understandably. However, the Spanish speak very fast which CAN ALSO COMPLICATE communication between Portuguese and Spanish speakers.
The differences cited above are true between Portuguese in Portugal and Spanish in Spain. But we must not forget that there are different variants of Portuguese (Portuguese from Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, etc.) and Spanish (Spanish from Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, etc.).
In the past, Iberian countries shared the same language, but over time this evolved into different languages. Nevertheless, it is not difficult for a Portuguese speaker to understand a Spanish person and vice versa. However, we have to say that often Spanish speakers cannot understand the Portuguese… There is a famous language that is well known among Iberians, called… “Portunhol”! It is a mix between these two languages. We usually use it to understand each other. This funny language is Portuguese with a Spanish accent. The question is: is it effective? The answer is yes, quite effective! It usually works great! But sometimes false friends can pose a problem …
POLVO. In Portugal this word is the name of an OCTOPUS. However, in Spain, the word has a sexual connotation. Recommendation: if you want to use this word in Spain be careful…
EMBARAÇADA / EMBARAZADA. In Portuguese, “embaraçada” means to be ashamed of something. But in Spain, “embarazada” means being pregnant.
BORRACHA. In Portugal, this word represents an object that is used to erase a pencil. But in Spain, this word is used to describe someone who is drunk.
It is very easy for the Iberian people to learn Spanish (for Portuguese) or Portuguese (for Spanish). However, speaking the new language without a strong accent is very… difficult!
Although they are similar languages, Spanish speakers who want to learn Portuguese as a foreign language need to study and practice very much (the same logic applies to Portuguese who want to learn Spanish). If the goal is to speak Portuguese fluently, these students are likely to have to work even harder than students from other nationalities…
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