Portuguese language: what will change and what will remain
Thread poster: Carla Guerreiro

Carla Guerreiro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:44
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 9, 2008

Hello everybody!

Many people talk about recent changes in Portuguese language.
As many people are not aware of what changes, I wrote an article (in French) in my blog.

This article may be very useful for translators and translation agencies.

Here's my blog:

http://mapetiteentreprise1971.spaces.live.com


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 04:44
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
A very discussed topic indeed Jun 9, 2008

Hi Carla

Thanks for bringing this forward at this Diversity forum. I believe this is how we should treat the Portuguese question.

Look at other threads running right now:
http://www.proz.com/topic/106915
http://www.proz.com/topic/3159

CheerZ,
Fabio


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Carla Guerreiro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:44
French to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reply Jun 9, 2008

Ciao Fabio,

Thanks for your reply.
In fact, I posted the same message in both treads, so that my portuguese speaking colleagues may be aware of these differences.

With best regards,
Carla


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Evangelia Mouma  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 07:44
English to Greek
+ ...
I do not speak Portuguese... Jun 9, 2008

I am so sorry, and I cannot follow what is said in the forums Fabio suggested. It is an interesting subject but I cannot really understand why European Portuguese will change its orthography to make it similar to that of Brazilian Portuguese since the two languages already have differences. I understand that the identity won't be lost etc, but I fail to see the reason behind this decision. Is it as if Americans changed theater to theatre? Why would they want to do it? Could you enlighten me, please?

We too changed Greek and did away with some aspects of the orthography that came down to us from ancient times because they were useless and reflected no longer existing pronunciation. Is it the same with Portuguese? Do you change the orthography because it is obsolete and needs changing?

[Do not misunderstand me, I am not criticizing the decision, I am only asking why]

Lilia


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Similar situation Jun 9, 2008

Evangelia Mouma wrote:
We too changed Greek and did away with some aspects of the orthography that came down to us from ancient times because they were useless and reflected no longer existing pronunciation. Is it the same with Portuguese?


Yes, it's similar to that. A big part of the change will be the elimination of consonants that are not generally pronounced, but which reflect the words' Latin etymology. For instance, the "c" in "actuar" ("to act") will be dropped from European Portuguese spelling. (I believe the silent consonants vanished 97 years ago in other Portuguese-speaking countries, but I'm not sure.)


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:44
Portuguese to English
problems and efficacy Jun 9, 2008

There are a number of problems with this development that several commentators have noted. One example is "facto / fato". In European Portuguese, a fact is "facto", while in Brazilian Portuguese it's "fato". Modifying the orthography of this word to "fato" in both modes of Portuguese will result in confusion with the European Portuguese word "fato" which means a suit (which, if my memory serves, is 'terno' in Brazilian). Apart from any contextual help, how are we to distinguish between facts and suits? There will be other examples of this kind, although I can't put my finger on them at the moment.

The other issue is the efficacy of the new law or protocol. I don't imagine people will be slung in jail or fined for using the wrong orthography, except perhaps in official circles. After all - and I don't mean to be chauvinistic here - there are lots of Portuguese people who can't spell or write grammatically in either mode. So one does wonder how effective this is going to be. I will probably continue to write to my Portuguese friends in the style I was taught, and I suspect many others will too.

Yes, the language does evolve - we no longer write 'hum' for 'um' (one) or 'pharmácia' for 'farmácia' (pharmacy). But I have (Anglo-Saxon) doubts about the efficacy of legislating such change.


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magic magic
China
Local time: 15:44
English to Chinese
+ ...
I do not speak Portuguese Jun 10, 2008

I do not speak Portuguese

but I like what you did for Portuguese


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Evangelia Mouma  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 07:44
English to Greek
+ ...
Thanks Steven Jun 10, 2008

I understand now. Every change in language brings about the usual turmoil. But it is a Portuguese-internal matter.

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Carla Guerreiro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:44
French to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"Facto" and "fato" Jun 10, 2008

lexical wrote:

There are a number of problems with this development that several commentators have noted. One example is "facto / fato". In European Portuguese, a fact is "facto", while in Brazilian Portuguese it's "fato". Modifying the orthography of this word to "fato" in both modes of Portuguese will result in confusion with the European Portuguese word "fato" which means a suit (which, if my memory serves, is 'terno' in Brazilian). Apart from any contextual help, how are we to distinguish between facts and suits? There will be other examples of this kind, although I can't put my finger on them at the moment.

The other issue is the efficacy of the new law or protocol. I don't imagine people will be slung in jail or fined for using the wrong orthography, except perhaps in official circles. After all - and I don't mean to be chauvinistic here - there are lots of Portuguese people who can't spell or write grammatically in either mode. So one does wonder how effective this is going to be. I will probably continue to write to my Portuguese friends in the style I was taught, and I suspect many others will too.

Yes, the language does evolve - we no longer write 'hum' for 'um' (one) or 'pharmácia' for 'farmácia' (pharmacy). But I have (Anglo-Saxon) doubts about the efficacy of legislating such change.


Hola, Lexical!

There's something I have to explain: the words "facto" and "fato" will not change, because "facto" is an event in Portugal, while the Brazilians write "fato". However, "fato" in European Portuguese is a man's suit. so, this won't change.

As for the other changes, it will take a lot of time to get the full uniformization of orthography. My generation will find it hard to make this changes, but my niece's generation (she's two years old) will accept theses changes without any problem.


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Carla Guerreiro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:44
French to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Economic and political reasons Jun 10, 2008

Evangelia Mouma wrote:

I am so sorry, and I cannot follow what is said in the forums Fabio suggested. It is an interesting subject but I cannot really understand why European Portuguese will change its orthography to make it similar to that of Brazilian Portuguese since the two languages already have differences. I understand that the identity won't be lost etc, but I fail to see the reason behind this decision. Is it as if Americans changed theater to theatre? Why would they want to do it? Could you enlighten me, please?

We too changed Greek and did away with some aspects of the orthography that came down to us from ancient times because they were useless and reflected no longer existing pronunciation. Is it the same with Portuguese? Do you change the orthography because it is obsolete and needs changing?

[Do not misunderstand me, I am not criticizing the decision, I am only asking why]

Lilia


The reasons are simple: the Portuguese and Brazilian governments want to get a better international visibility for Portuguese language (we're about 200 million portuguese speakers in the world).

However, there are so many differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese...


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Carla Guerreiro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:44
French to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Portuguese internal matter Jun 10, 2008

Evangelia Mouma wrote:

I understand now. Every change in language brings about the usual turmoil. But it is a Portuguese-internal matter.


Yes, it's a Portuguese internal matter. But the problem is that there are some translation agencies that ask for translators who can translate into "International Portuguese". There 's such a big lack of information... and it frightens me a lot!


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 04:44
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Diversity and localization Jun 10, 2008

Carla Guerreiro wrote:
Yes, it's a Portuguese internal matter. But the problem is that there are some translation agencies that ask for translators who can translate into "International Portuguese". There 's such a big lack of information... and it frightens me a lot!


Hi Carla

May I suggest two issues?

1) Localization: English and Spanish, to name two world languages (and so far, more widespread and visible than Portuguese) have faced similar challenges: "I want my webpage in neutral Spanish" or "I want my webpage in English for everybody in the world to understand" is a very common demand from many clients... who are absolutely ignorant about localization.

2) Diversity: English and Spanish once again. Spanish has the Real Academia on top; and as a consequence, in general, we use 99% the same orthography and grammar everywhere (except for the "voseo" used in part of South America and some other features); diversity in Spanish is mainly a question of vocabulary. English on the contrary doesn't have such a governing body; and typically you find at least two coexisting orthographical forms: British English and US English. See this interesting article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_spelling_differences

As you see, English and Spanish are very diverse languages on their own right; and each has developed different ways of dealing with its diversity.

So, PT-speakers from all over the world: be prepared to look at others' developments - and to develop them yourselves too. After all (and forgive me if my words sound daring): I believe that all PT-speakers will be proud to see their language EVERYWHERE on webpages, together with English, Spanish, French, Chinese and Arabic... A much-deserved world language rank.

Wish you best luck in this process... and let's hope that one day, people all over the world start wanting to read José Saramago and Jorge Amado, both in their original versions!


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