Deciding which language to learn can be a difficult choice. There are so many incredible languages to choose from! If you really have no idea, this quiz might help. But considering you clicked on this article, you’re probably at least thinking about Brazilian Portuguese. Why learn Portuguese? We’ve come up with five solid reasons you should take the plunge.
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, and Jorge Amado, Clarice Lispector, Hilda Hilst and João Guimarães Rosa in Brazil.
Reason 2: There Are 252 Million People To Talk To
Portuguese is the seventh most-spoken language worldwide, with 252 million total speakers, 227 million of whom are native speakers — mostly residing in Portugal and Brazil, but also in several African countries. There are also almost 700,000 native Portuguese speakers in the United States. So one possible answer to the question “Why learn Portuguese?” is the sheer number of people you could potentially meet and converse with.
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. 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 résumés 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 become the ninth-largest in the world (in terms of GDP). Now is a great time to do business in Brazil, and speaking Portuguese will give you an advantage over competitors.
Reason 4: To Visit Brazil (And Maybe Even Stay)
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? 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 over 4,600 miles of beaches, so you certainly won’t get bored), but wouldn’t 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 for monolingual tourists. And as we pointed out in reason three, plenty of visitors to Brazil aren’t satisfied with a short stay. The opportunities to live and work in Brazil grow along with its booming economy.
Reason 5: It’s A Gateway Language
Understanding Portuguese has a knock-on effect when starting to learn any other Romance language, including 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, as well as lots of similar vocabulary.
So why learn Portuguese? To put it another way, can you think of one good reason not to learn Portuguese?