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Today is celebrated the World Portuguese Language Day

Commemoration encompasses a set of more than 150 activities in 44 countries

World Portuguese Language Day is celebrated for the second time. Image: UNESCO

The celebrations of World Portuguese Language Day this Wednesday are being coordinated by Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language, and cover the geographic dimensions, research, translation, connection to other arts and mobilization of populations in a group more than 150 activities in 44 countries.

With an agenda that includes conferences, talks, concerts, literary and poetry contests, and academic initiatives, the second World Portuguese Language Day is taking place in a mixed format, in person and virtual, and aims to reflect on the pandemic.

This year, the celebration of the World Portuguese Language Day seeks to constitute a means of celebrating the Language and its increasingly global dimension, reflecting, and giving voice to the multiplicity of voices that compose it and which constitutes one of its fundamental traits.

Affirming the Portuguese Language as a global language of science, culture, economics, diplomacy, and peace is also the objective of the celebration of this Day, which, as such, seeks to involve different actors and protagonists of these multiple dimensions of the Portuguese Language.

This 5th of May was proclaimed by the 40th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in November 2019.

Global relevance of the Portuguese language

screenshot (Youtube)

Throughout a video message of just over a minute and a half, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, begins by congratulating the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), which celebrates the 25th anniversary of its creation, for the initiative of commemorating the World Portuguese Language Day.

The Secretary-General, however, recalls that we celebrate this world day in the context of complex challenges. “Languages play an irreplaceable role as a link between peoples, where diversity and multiculturalism take root. However, its malleability also lends itself to the spread of disinformation”, he says. In this sense, Guterres adds: “The role of the Portuguese language, and of all languages, in the mobilization and dissemination of credible and verified knowledge and information, will be particularly important in the present and in the future”.

Guterres also left a special word for women and girls who have and perpetuate Portuguese as their mother tongue. And he concluded the message, stating that this world day is a fair recognition of the global relevance of the Portuguese language. “I am sure that its future will continue to be enriched by the diversity and solidarity of all their voices.”

Graph with data on the Portuguese language (Camões – Institute for Cooperation and Language)

This day celebrates the projection of the fourth most spoken language in the world and the fifth language with the largest number of users on the internet. With about 260 million speakers, Portuguese is the official language of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste. It is also one of the official languages of Macau. There are important Portuguese-speaking communities in North America (USA and Canada).

According to the International Portuguese Language Institute, based in Cape Verde, there are at least 7 million people who speak Portuguese in the diaspora.

The Portuguese language is also an official or working language in 32 international organizations, including the European Union, Mercosur, the African Union, United Nations agencies and bodies and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP).

The United Nations estimates that, in 2050, more than 380 million people speak Portuguese. ■

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