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Curtis' Mission

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Portuguese Language in Brazil

"Cool Portuguese word--ACONTECER--the verb for "to happen...."

When Portugal first colonized Brazil, a process that began with discovery in the year 1500, Tupi, or more precisely the Tupinambá, one of the languages of the Tupi-Guarani family spoken by Indians who lived on the Brazilian seacoast, was used along with Portuguese as the general language of the colony. This was primarily because the Jesuit priests studied and taught the Tupi language. In 1757, Tupi was banned by royal decree, although the language had already been overwhelmed by Portuguese spoken by the large number of immigrants from the mother country. When the Jesuits were expelled in 1759, Portuguese became the language of the country.

In the 20th century, the split between the Portuguese and Brazilian variants of Portuguese heightened as the result of new words for technological innovations. This happened because Portuguese lacked a uniform procedure for adopting such words. Certain words took different forms in different countries. For example: in Portugal one hears comboio, and in Brazil one hears trem, both meaning train. Autocarro in Portugal is the same thing as ├┤nibus in Brazil, both meaning bus.

At the beginning of this century, the nationalism and the individualism of the Romantic movement began promoting the creation of a language norm based on the Brazilian version of the Portuguese language. In 1922, the Modernists reintroduced this argument, promoting a need to break with traditional Portuguese models and to adopt the Brazilian speech pattern. This opening by the Modernists led to the successful adoption of the Brazilian norm in literature.

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