The Future of Portuguese
The Popularity of Portuguese
Today, more than 206 million people in the world speak Portuguese. This statistic does not include Portuguese creoules, which are natural languages developed from the blending of parent languages. In Brazil alone, there are at least 182 million Portuguese speakers. In Africa there are 13.7 million Portuguese speakers. In Europe there are more than 10.1 million Portuguese speakers just in Portugal (this is not including Galicia, France, Luxembourg, among others).
The Growth of Portuguese
The Portuguese language is developing rapidly. This is most noticeable in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that in fifty years it will be the one of the most spoken languages in that region. It is also becoming an extremely important language in South America. This is because of the growth and success of the large country of Brazil. The language is being taught (and is very common) within the rest of the South American countries. Portuguese is an official language of the European Union and Mercosul, among other organizations.
Portuguese is also becoming more and more popular in Asia. The number of Portuguese speakers has grown especially in Macau, China. This is because of the region’s affluence in diplomatic and economic relations with Portugal and other Lusophone countries. In recent years, there have been reports of an increase in East Timor’s Portuguese-speaking residents.
After Macau was taken over by China in the early 21st century, the use of Portuguese was decreasing in Asia. Despite this occurrence, it is once again starting to be thought of as a language of opportunity within the Asian countries. This is mainly due to the growing number of political and economic ties China has with Portuguese-speaking countries.
The Future of Portuguese
Recent estimations done by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have shown that Portuguese and Spanish are the most rapidly growing European languages after English. The estimates also show that Portuguese has the most potential for growth as an international language in southern Africa and South America. It is guessed that African countries that speak Portuguese will have a combined population of 83 million by 2050. Overall, the Portuguese-speaking countries will have 335 million people by 2050.
Brazil became a part of the economic market of Mercosul with other South American nations (like Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) in 1991. Since this time, there has been much more interest in the study of Portuguese within those South American countries. The existence of Portuguese within South America will only increase from here on out due to the large size of Brazil