Fernando Pessoa

The poet Fernando Pessoa once wrote: «My Country is my language». And for more than 200 million people spread out throughout Europe, Africa, South America and Asia this country is called the Portuguese Language.

Portuguese is currently the fifth most spoken language in the world and an official language of countries as varied as Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tome and Principe and East Timor. It is also used in Macau, territory under Portuguese administration until December 1999, and in Goa. It is also the base of around twenty Creole languages and an important minority language in Andorra, Luxemburg, Namibia, Switzerland and South Africa, as well as spoken in numerous existing migrant communities.

It is this universality of the Portuguese language that unites Portuguese, Brazilians, many Africans and some Asians, through the recognition of a common cultural heritage, and despite not forming a continuous country, but present in large regions separated and spread out through different continents, and the fact that it is not exclusive to one community, but is felt as its own, equally, in distant communities, showing a great internal diversity, according to the regions and groups which use it.

A language of culture such as Portuguese, the carrier of a long history, which serves as raw material and a product of a variety of literatures, an instrument of global affirmation of various societies, is not fully encapsulated within the description of its linguistic system. A language such as this lives in history, in society and in the world.

It has an existence shaped and conditioned by great human movements and, at present, through the existence of those groups that speak it.

This means that the Portuguese spoken all around the world, in the meantime harmonized by an important Orthographic Agreement, continues to be felt as a single language, vehicle of communication by excellency and, possibly, the most powerful of the ties uniting the countries that use it.

In webpage of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union 2007


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