Portuguese parliament officially adopts officially adopt Brazilian dialect of Portuguese as the formally-correct version of their language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Jun 20 13:20:11 UTC 2008


And now from Brian Kane we learn from the Times of London that the
Portuguese parliament has bowed to pressure and has officially adopt
the Brazilian dialect of Portuguese as the formally-correct version of
their language:

Google, it could be said, conquered its first Romance language last week.

The Portuguese parliament voted last week to change its national
language to reflect the more popular Brazilian Portuguese, the
language used by about 80 percent of the world's 230 million
Portuguese speakers. In the next six years, European Portuguese will
be phasing in three new consonants – k, w and y – and dropping
confusing hyphens and silent consonants. So from now on, when you are
IM-ing a Portuguese beauty, the correct style is otimo, not optimo,
when she suggests meeting for a drink.

Why such a radical change for a language that had been doing fine for
the past 2,000 years? The impact of globalisation, an ascendant former
colony and the influence of the internet made the decision to go
Brazilian unavoidable

More here and here. But it's not Google driving the Portuguese
language standardization, it those Brazilian Soap Operas. From the
blog Romanika:

Recently, I read some news reports regarding the effect of Portuguese
soap operas in Brazil. Brazil has always been a great producer of soap
operas, exporting them to various countries around the world. Portugal
has now begun to get into the business of soap opera exportation as
well. Brazilian soap operas are seen all over, just like the Mexican
ones, all of them dubbed into the target country's language. When
those from Brazil are shown in Spanish-speaking America, they're
dubbed into Spanish; when one from Mexico gets to Brazil, it is dubbed
into Portuguese, or, if it gets to Japan, into Japanese, and so forth.
The Spanish-speaking market is quite big. A soap opera made in any of
the three major Spanish soap exporters, Mexico, Venezuela or Colombia,
can be and is shown in any of the Hispanic countries without the need
for dubbing because of the common language, including Spain. Brazil
has been doing the same thing with Portugal, exporting its soap operas
to Lusitanian lands since the 1970's. Portugal is now beginning to
export its own creations to Brazil, with one difference: the soaps are

What's that, you say? I said the same thing as I found out. Indeed,
the soaps from Portugal that have started to be broadcast in Brazil
are dubbed. Dubbed into what if both of these countries share the same
language? Into Portuguese, of course. So, they are dubbed from
Portuguese into Portuguese? Confusing? Let's attempt to clear things

The Portuguese have been exposed for three decades to the Brazilians
soaps, which are broadcast with its original soundtrack, without any
dubbing. The Portuguese are quite accustomed to the Brazilians' way of
speaking, being familiar with the pronunciation and expressions from
the South American country. Unfortunately, this is not the case in
Brazil when it comes to Portugal's way of speaking. The Brazilians
have not been exposed to any kind of media from Portugal. They find
themselves not being able to understand the speech from the Lusitanian
Peninsula because they are not familiar with it. Changes in the
language have taken place in Portugal of which the average Brazilian
is not aware. Thanks to Brazilian soaps and music in Portugal, the
Portuguese are rather familiarized with the speech from its ex-colony
and have virtually no trouble understanding its people. The
Brazilians, on the other hand, find it very difficult, sometimes
impossible, to comprehend the Portuguese. Hence the television
network's decision to dub the soap operas coming from its overseas
brother, sharing the 'same' language.

In my day job I handle the translations of our product manuals, and
our translation company verifies that yes, indeed, it's the Brazilian
soap operas driving the Portuguese Language Standardization. And like
we saw earlier, they're also driving down fertility in Brazil. So once
again I ask: Brazilian Soap Operas: Is There Anything They Can't Do?


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