language in Portugal

Sep 2nd, 2002, 07:01 AM
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language in Portugal

Hello - Can somone please tell which languages (besides portuguese) are spoken in Portugal? Are French and English widely spoken? Is the portuguese language a lot like Spanish?
Sep 2nd, 2002, 07:15 AM
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English is now the first foreign language. It used to be French. The Portuguese schools switched from French to English in 1975 or thereabout.
Sep 2nd, 2002, 07:23 AM
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We did not find that the Portuguese language was anything like Spanish. French and English were widely spoken.
Sep 2nd, 2002, 07:53 AM
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I speak Spanish and find the Portuguese language to be very similar to Spanish. It was my experience with the Portuguese people I encountered while visiting Northern Portugal that they will preferred to talk in English. This was particularly true in the coastal cities in/around Porto, where the wine trade with England promoted the use of the English language to the extent that you still find a number of people who understand English better than Spanish.
Sep 2nd, 2002, 09:04 AM
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Hello. Younger people speaks English, while older do speak French. The similarity between Spanish and Portuguese it's more "understandable" for Portuguese born speakers. We understand what Spanish say (only not if they speak catalan)but sometimes Spanish don't understand us if we speak fast (and we normally do)
Sep 2nd, 2002, 09:53 AM
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According to european studies, Portugal would be the EU country with the less people speaking a second language (UK excluded, of course). But it doesn't fit with my personnal experience. A lot of people speak english of french, and in last resort spanish can prove useful (some people seem to resent it when you speak to them in spanish). I extremely rarely had to rely on a portuguese phrasebook.
Sep 2nd, 2002, 10:22 AM
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Portuguese looks a lot like Spanish when you see it written down, but it sounds very different. I agree with the person who said it's easier for Portuguese speakers to understand Spanish than it is for Spanish speakers to understand Portuguese. I think maybe it's because Spanish sounds more like it's spelled than Portuguese does. As someone who already spoke Spanish, I remember when I first started studying Portuguese I had an idea of how I thought it would sound, and it TOTALLY didn't sound like that. It sounded more like Russian or something!
Sep 2nd, 2002, 10:28 AM
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TV, movies and video are subtitled in Portugal. The Portuguese will hear English more often than Europeans from countries where they dub (Spain, Italy, France, Germany).
Sep 2nd, 2002, 11:08 AM
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I agree with Rich- the Portuguese spoken in Portugal seems to have a harsher, Slavic kind of sound (yes, a bit like Russian) than Brazilian Portuguese. I have no problem reading it-reads much like Spanish-but understanding is more difficult, harder than grasping a conversation among Brazilians, for me. Like the other posters, I've discovered that many Portuguese speak very good English. I think viewing movies in English, rather than dubbed, has something to do with this, along with it being the primary foreign lang taught in schools. Also, as Maira says, Porto's (and Madeira's) centuries-old wine trade with Britain makes English widely understood and spoken in those areas.
Sep 2nd, 2002, 11:17 AM
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I'm Brazilian and speak Portuguese, Spanish and English. What I can say is Spanish and Portuguese are very alike, but at the same time, very tricky.. So be careful...
Just one example: 'embarazada' means 'pregnant' in Spanish and 'shy' in portuguese (different spell, but same sound..)
Good luck!!
Sep 2nd, 2002, 12:06 PM
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I used to run seminars in Europe.

The general (Portuguese) opinion was that most Portuguese understand Spanish, but Spaniards do not understand Portuguese.

So Portuguese came to Spain for the seminars, not vice versa.

My experience was that younger Portuguese speak reasonable English, especially in tourist areas

Sep 3rd, 2002, 03:21 AM
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Don't believe in those statistics. They are based on the queries asked to the natives of various countries, and depend of each people attitudes.

If you ask a Spaniard for example if he/she speaks English/French/... he or she would reply "yes", even if he/she has only a very limited knowledge of the language.

If you ask the same question to a Portuguese, if he/she feels his/her domain of the language is not perfect he/she would answer "no", because he/she doesn't want to give wrong expectations to the other part.

For all:
5 years of English are mandatory in basic education along with 3 years of French. Before the 80's it was the other way round.

Movies are always broadcast with its original language (except movies for small children, ex: the Lion King, Shrek, ...).
Sep 3rd, 2002, 09:57 AM
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Hello!! I’m Portuguese and I speak English, French and Spanish! Well, Portuguese and Spanish are the most similar of all Latin languages. But even French and Italian have their similarities with the Portuguese!! Portuguese people usually speak other languages easily!! In 7Th, 8th and 9TH year students usually have English and French classes; in the end of the secondary school, usually they had at least 7 years of English (or French ) and 3 years of French(or English ), depending of the first language chosen!! I hope you like Portugal, you should visit the old part of Lisbon like Alfama, Castelo, etc. they all have beautiful sight views(it's my favourite), please try our gastronomy and listen to our Fado and academicals tunes(Tunas académicas), and the traditional festivals all over the country (specially in summer).
Sep 22nd, 2002, 05:53 PM
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We fondly remember a summer spent in Cascais. Our hotel was filled with French, English, Germans, Dutch, Norwegians, Austrians and us two Americans. Our knowledge of Portuguese was limited to a few polite phrases.

English was the language in which all the guests communicated with the staff and with each other. A Dutch couple with whom we became friendly explained that in addition to learning English in school, most Europeans are exposed to a great deal of English language television -- which keeps them from completely forgetting their classroom work.

The Portuguese were extremely hospitable and helpful. All you needed to do was stand on a corner with map in hand and someone would stop with directions. In the supermarket, other customers took time to explain kilos and litres and how eggs were dated.

We'd go back in a minute.

Sep 22nd, 2002, 11:37 PM
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I am also Portuguese and agree with all it's been said here. In fact, we understand the spanish very well while they have difficulty understanding our language. And yes, having english spoken movies legended in Portuguese helps a lot. Thank God we don't have to hear Brad Pitt or Sharon Stone speaking in Portuguese. That's one thing I can't stand is language doubled movies

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