Portuguese American Journal

May 5th: ‘World Portuguese Language Day’ celebrated in 50 countries – Portugal

The World Portuguese Language Day is being celebrated in 50 countries with more than 159 cultural activities worldwide.

Portuguese is one of the few languages in the world with the status of a “global language” since it has more than 10 million speakers among the more than 7,000 living languages.

This year, the Portuguese city of Guimarães has the honor to host the festivities with several themed cultural events taking place in the City Hall. Other events, in person and in virtual format, were organized by the University of Minho and are taking place at the Centro Cultural Vila Flor.

According to estimates, by the United Nations (UN), the Portuguese language is currently spoken by more than 260 million people on five continents, and is projected to be spoken in 2050 by about 400 million, and in 2100 by more than 500 million people.

The UN projections also estimate that, by the end of the century, Portuguese will be one of the most spoken languages in the African continent, when the population of Angola will increase to more than 170 million and Mozambique to more than 130 million people.

Portuguese is the official language of the 9 member countries of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) created in 1996, representing the community of nations where Portuguese if the official language (260 million), including Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor. It is also one of the official languages of Macau in China.

Presently, according to the Portuguese Language Observatory, Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in the southern hemisphere, with 3.7% of the world population speaking Portuguese, and the fourth most spoken language in the world as a mother tongue, after Mandarin, English, and Spanish.

May 5th , as the World Portuguese Language Day, was celebrated for the first time in 2020, after being recognized in November 2019, at the 40th General Conference by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as a global language of science, culture, economics, diplomacy, and peace. The ceremony took place in Paris, France, and was acknowledged in about five dozen countries. The initiative was launched in 2009 by the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP).

The UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at contributing “to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.”

Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, said recently that Portugal maintains the goal of making Portuguese as an official language of the UN. The path to get there is still long, according to  Santos Silva, because Portuguese is already a working language in some organizations of the UN system, giving UNESCO as an example.

The Portuguese language is one of the most widespread languages in the world, spoken through all continents, as a major language for international communication and commerce. The language of the first wave of globalization, it recognized as a working language by the European Union, the Mercosul, the African Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, and the Organization of American States, among other world organizations.

Carolina Matos, Editor

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