Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brazilian, the language

How about this, folks.

      Portugal may have to recognise the inevitable by bowing to the economic and cultural predominance of Brazil, its former colony. The once proud imperial power is considering reforming its language to accommodate recent linguistic developments in the South American economic powerhouse, with which it shares a language.

There are some languages that are much more formalized and standardized than others.  The French for instance have a standardizing body for all the Francophone nations of the world. 

English, of course, doesn’t have that.  You even get differences within countries like the US, much less the vast differences between countries that cause things like the spelling of “recognize” above (article is from the UK).

      The proposal to be put before parliament on 15 May would standardise Portuguese around the world and change the spellings of hundreds of words in favour of the Brazilian versions. The measure is largely a response to commercial interests. But for the once proud imperial power, whose language is spoken by 230 million people worldwide, it is a blow to national pride comparable to Britons adopting American spellings and writing, say, "traveler" instead of "traveller".

There are several advantages for Portugal (or rather for Portuguese speaking people).  One is that communication and marketing will be easier, as industries like publishing will be able to market more broadly.  Internet searches will be easier, and Portugal hopes that the measure will “advance an old ambition of getting Portuguese adopted as an official language at the UN.”

Hat tip to Catholicgauze.

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