Reason 1: The language is gorgeous!
Is there a better reason to learn a language than for pure pleasure? The Portuguese language, especially as it’s spoken in Brazil, is possibly the most mellifluous, honey-smooth mode of communication on Earth. It simply sounds like music and is a joy to listen to, but it’s an even greater pleasure when you can also understand and take part in the sonorous, lilting song that is the Portuguese language. No wonder Portugal and Brazil have such rich musical traditions. Fado, Bossa Nova, Choro, Tropicália, Samba… the music is a great entry point into the language, and singing along is a very good way to improve your listening and pronunciation skills.
The beauty of the language is also evidenced in Portuguese and Brazilian literature: notably José Saramago and Fernando Pessoa in Portugal; Jorge Amado, Clarice Lispector, Hilda Hilst and João Guimarães Rosa in Brazil.
Reason 2: 215 million people can’t be wrong!
Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language worldwide, with 215 million native speakers — mostly in Portugal and Brazil, but also in several African countries. There are also almost a million native-Portuguese speakers in the USA.
Reason 3: To have a “secret” language advantage
Despite the high number of native speakers, few people choose to learn Portuguese as a second language (compared to other global languages like Spanish and English) — only 35 million people worldwide. But this lack of interest in Portuguese is a lucrative opportunity for the clever few who choose to learn it. By learning the language, you will be setting yourself apart from everyone else wanting to bolster their CVs and improve their job prospects with more popular languages.
And there couldn’t be a better time to capitalize on this shortage of non-native Portuguese speakers. In the past decade, the Brazilian economy has skyrocketed to become the seventh largest economy in the world. The country is finally being recognized as an economic powerhouse to contend with, and it’s predicted to become one of the five largest economies in the next twenty years. Now is great time to do business in Brazil, and speaking Portuguese will give you a big advantage over competitors.
Reason 4: To visit Brazil (and maybe even stay)
But all work and no play would be a waste of your newly-acquired language skills. You know that picture you have in your mind when you close your eyes and think of a tropical paradise? Yeah, that picture was probably taken in Brazil.
Anyone can go to Brazil and sit on one of its world-class beaches for a week (there are 7,000 km of beaches, so you certainly won’t get bored), but would you rather hang in a boteco, drinking cervejas estupidamente geladas with your new Brazilian friends until the sun comes up? Speaking at least some basic Portuguese will allow you to access the real culture that is out of reach to monolingual tourists. And as we pointed out in reason #3, plenty of visitors to Brazil aren’t satisfied by a short stay. The opportunities to live and work in Brazil grow along with its booming economy.
Reason 5: It’s your gateway to all the other Romance languages
Understanding Portuguese has a knock-on effect when starting to learn any other Romance language like Spanish, Italian, French and Romanian. Knowledge of one makes it much easier to pick up any of the others, since they all evolved from Latin and still share grammar and syntax, and have lots of similar vocabulary.
To put it another way, can you think of one good reason not to learn Portuguese?