Portuguese is one of the major languages of the world (the sixth most spoken language worldwide), spoken by about 200 million people on four continents. It belongs to a group of languages called “Romance” or “Neo-Latin” that evolved from Latin, the language of Latium in Ancient Italy, or more specifically, the city of Rome.
During the Age of Discovery, when Portugal established an overseas empire, the Portuguese language established in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Under regional influences, it absorbed many words from other languages spoken the in above mentioned continents. The Portuguese discoveries also had the opposite effect, and there are numerous Portuguese words in other languages. Today, as many as 210 million people throughout the world speak Portuguese. It is the eighth most spoken language in the world (third most spoken western European language after English and Spanish) and is the official language of seven countries: Angola (10.3 million), Brazil (192 million), Cabo Verde (346,000), Guinea-Bissau (1 million), Mozambique (15.3 million), Portugal (10.1 million), São Tomé and the Príncipe Islands (126,000).
There are about 2.5 million Portuguese speakers in North America, close to 400,000 in Asia, and close to 70,000 in Australia. In 1986, Portuguese became one of the official languages of the European Union (EU) when Portugal was admitted to the organization. As a result of the Mercosul agreements that created the Southern Latin American Common Market (which includes Brazil), Portuguese will be taught as a foreign language in the other Mercosul member countries. All this gives us the fact that learning the Portuguese language increases considerably your chances in your professional growth.
In the non-contiguous areas of the world where Portuguese is spoken, there are significant differences in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and the use of idiomatic expressions. Although these differences are often profound, they are not sufficient to challenge the fundamentally basic structure of the language. Despite its history, diffusion and diversity, Portuguese continues to maintain considerable cohesion around the world.