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Are you familiar with the word bueno? What about buenos, buena, and buenas? Many… Brazil is the largest country in South America, both by area and population. Not only is Brazil home to the Amazon’s diverse wildlife and ecology, but it’s also home to a diverse group of languages. From European to Asian to indigenous languages, you’ll find it all.  Because of Brazil’s size and diversity, not all languages are spoken equally across the country. Depending on the region you’re in, you’ll hear different languages and dialects.  But there is one language that can take you from border to border: Brazilian Portuguese. And Rosetta Stone can help you pick up Portuguese faster and easier than you would if you tried to learn on your own.  Learn more about Rosetta Stone’s lessons, or keep reading to explore the diversity of Brazil’s languages! How many languages are spoken in Brazil?  According to Ethnologue, there are 219 different languages spoken in Brazil, including 202 indigenous languages. We won’t cover all 219 languages, but you’ll still get a taste of the variety of languages Brazil has to offer.  What is the most widely spoken language in Brazil?  Portuguese is by far the most commonly spoken language in Brazil, with 98 percent of the population speaking the language. In fact, Portuguese ranks 6th on the list of most spoken native languages in the world due to Brazil’s large population of native speakers. What is the official language of Brazil?  Portuguese is Brazil’s official language and is used as the primary language in government, education, business, and media.  Of the nine countries that use Portuguese as an official language, Brazil is the only non-European country and has the highest population of speakers. Brazil is also the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas, as most Latin American countries are predominantly Spanish-speaking. Difference between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese Brazilians speak their own variant of Portuguese, known as Brazilian Portuguese, which is distinct from the language you hear in Europe.  There are significant differences in vocabulary and pronunciation, but Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese are still mutually intelligible. The relationship between the two can be likened to the difference between American English and British English (or, for the Spanish speakers in the room, the difference between Latin American Spanish and Peninsular Spanish).  Here are a few examples of the different vocabulary between Brazilian and European Portuguese:  EnglishBrazilian PortugueseEuropean Portuguese ice cream um sorveteum geladotrainum tremum comboiobathroomum banheirouma casa de banhocellphone um celularum telemóvelespressoum cafezinhouma bica Most common second languages spoken in Brazil Now that you know the most common language spoken in Brazil is Portuguese, let’s take a look at some popular second languages you might hear on the streets of Brazil.  The wave of immigrants from Europe and Asia in the early 19th century transformed Brazil into the multicultural and multilingual landscape it is today. Many residents in immigrant communities are bilingual and can speak one of the following languages along with Brazilian Portuguese.  German Village Park in Santa Catarina, Brazil German  German is the second most widely spoken language in Brazil. Around 3 million people, mostly in southern Brazil, speak both Brazilian Portuguese and German. German is recognized as a co-official language within the states of Espírito Santo, Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina.  Although Italian immigrants outnumbered German immigrants by a large margin, with 1.5 million Italians compared to 300,000 Germans, the German community has kept their language alive by actively teaching it in schools. Even today, German is required to be taught at schools in immigrant communities. Similar to how Brazilians speak their own Portuguese variant, these immigrant communities have also developed their own German dialects. Brazilian German is so deeply influenced by Portuguese and native Brazilian languages that it’s evolved into a unique language. In other words, you probably wouldn’t be able to get that far in Brazil with the German they speak in Europe. Italian  Following Portuguese and German, Italian comes in third as the most spoken language in Brazil. Italian is spoken by some 1 million Brazilians, mostly in immigrant communities of southern Brazil. And—you guessed it!—Brazilians also have their unique Italian dialect, based on the Venetian language. Brazilian Italian even has its own name: Talian. The Talian dialect has co-official status in many cities within Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.  Although the Italian immigration wave was more substantial compared to the German influx, the number of Italian speakers significantly declined as they assimilated relatively quickly. While many German children went to German schools, Italian immigrant children went to public schools and learned Portuguese. The 1940 census revealed there were only about 458,000 Italian speakers compared to 645,000 German speakers in Brazil.  Spanish  Despite what most people assume, Brazil is not a Spanish-speaking country like many of its neighboring countries. Though Portuguese and Spanish share many similarities, they are not the same language. Although over 700,000 Spaniards settled in Brazil during the 19th-century European immigration wave, they quickly assimilated into the Portuguese-speaking majority.  Today, about 460,000 Brazilians speak Spanish, with the majority residing alongside the borders near Spanish-speaking countries. In recent years, Spanish has also been a popular foreign language to learn and has even become a mandatory subject in some schools in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Japanese Due to Japanese immigration that started in the early 1900s, there is a significant community of Japanese speakers in Brazil, mostly in Paraná and São Paulo. To this day, Brazil is home to the largest community of Japanese descendants outside of Japan.  Indigenous languages  Before European colonization, more than 1,200 indigenous languages existed in Brazil. Approximately 202 indigenous languages are still spoken today, and most native speakers reside in northern Brazil.  Nheengatu, one of the most common native languages, was spoken by the majority of the population until the late 1800s. There have been more efforts to preserve the language in recent years, and it is now an official language in the city of São Gabriel da Cachoeira. Is English spoken in Brazil?  Compared to German, Italian, and Spanish, English is not a widely spoken language in Brazil. While most Brazilians don’t speak English fluently, it is the most frequently learned foreign language in Brazil.  Learn Portuguese you can use in Brazil  Brazil is undoubtedly home to a colorful set of languages, but none come close to Brazilian Portuguese in terms of popularity. That’s why learning Brazilian Portuguese is the golden ticket to getting around Brazil and talking to natives with ease.  Rosetta Stone’s Brazilian Portuguese lessons can help you successfully learn everything you need to know—in 10 minutes or less. Plus, Rosetta Stone immerses you in the language and helps you pick up new words and phrases you’ll actually use in conversations.  Get a sneak peek of all the conversational Brazilian Portuguese phrases you can learn with Rosetta Stone, and visit rosettastone.com to start your first lesson today! 

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