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Portuguese Studies

Academic Departments and Programs


Portuguese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with approximately 215 million people speaking the language. It is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It is also spoken in Macau (China), East Timor, Goa (India) and in many immigrant communities in Europe, the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Australia. Portuguese is one of the official languages of the European Union and is also the fifth most common language on the Web, with approximately 83 million Internet users.

Portuguese-speaking countries boast vibrant cultural activity that includes music (fado, corridinho, samba), folklore, literature, art and sport (soccer in particular) and also festivals such as Carnival and Capoeira. It is the mother tongue of several internationally known authors and poets, such as Luís de Camões, the most famous writer in the Portuguese language, Fernando Pessoa, Jorge Amado, and Jose Saramago, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998.

Portuguese immigrants to Canada of the 1960s and 1970s worked in factories, railroads, mines or construction, often with people who spoke the same language. Today, in many Luso-Canadian families, the younger generation feels the need to learn Portuguese in order to communicate with grandparents and older relatives, and to keep their culture and traditions alive.

Learning another language can enrich your life and open up career opportunities. Speaking Portuguese is an asset in the tourism industry and also in international trade as Brazilian exports to the rest of the world continue to increase.