Portuguese vs Spanish
Languages that belong to the same family or the same group can have a lot of similarities. But that does not make them mutually intelligible. Having the same roots does not mean that two languages are the same. Foreign influences can change the vocabulary of a language. This is why a language is always evolving. So, when linguists make a Portuguese vs Spanish comparison, they compare the different varieties of the two.
The Portuguese Language:
Portuguese is a Romance language that originated from Vulgar Latin in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of countries like Portugal and Brazil. It has 250 million native speakers in the world. Portuguese speakers can understand each other easily even though the language is spoken in multiple countries. However, the dialects spoken in Brazil and Portugal are different from each other. There are differences in pronunciation and vocabulary. The regional differences in Brazil can make it impossible for a person from Portugal to communicate with a Brazilian fluently.
The Spanish Language:
Spanish is also a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula from Vulgar Latin. It is spoken all over Latin America. There are 500 million native Spanish speakers in the world. The majority of Spanish speakers reside in the Americas and not in Spain. Spanish is the world’s second most spoken native language. Spanish also has multiple dialects, even within Spain. So what about Portuguese vs Spanish.
Is Portuguese Similar to Spanish?
Portuguese vs Spanish; All Romance languages originated from Vulgar Latin, which is why they share a lot of features. But are they mutually intelligible? The short answer is no. A person from Portugal cannot communicate with a person from Mexico without the help of an interpreter. Both languages have more differences than similarities.
Here are the biggest differences and similarities between Spanish and Portuguese:
- Both Spanish and Portuguese have had Arabic influence. This is one of the reasons why the vocabularies of both languages have similar words. However, the Portuguese and Spanish dialects spoken in the Americas have been influenced by indigenous languages. They have fewer of the Arabic words that European Spanish and Portuguese have.
- Spanish has three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Whereas Portuguese only has two. There are also three third-person pronouns in Spanish and two in Portuguese. These are the obvious differences that won’t cause too much confusion for language learners.
- The modern Spanish alphabet has 27 letters, while the Portuguese alphabet has 26 letters. However, Spanish has five digraphs, while Portuguese has seven.
- Vowels in the two languages differ greatly. The stressed vowels underwent a change in Spanish. But in Portuguese, the stressed vowels underwent a qualitative change and became lower.
- Portuguese and Spanish share a lot of false friends. These are words that look and sound the same but have different meanings. So, it is important not to focus on how a word sounds in a language you are not familiar with. The degree of difference must not be ignored unless you want to embarrass yourself.
- In Spanish, you can’t use adjectives and adverbs without adding ‘muy’ before them. When it comes to nouns, you will have to use ‘mucho’ before them. ‘Mucho’ should also be used after verbs in Spanish. In Portuguese, only the word ‘muito’ is used before adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs.
- Verb conjugations in Portuguese and Spanish can also cause confusion for non-native speakers. The past tense n Portuguese will sound like the present tense to a Spanish person. Verb conjugations with the vosotros sounds will be too difficult for Portuguese speakers, whether they are from Brazil or Portugal, to pronounce.
- The pronunciations of the two languages make them very different from each other. Spanish and Portuguese pronunciation means that the speakers of the two languages cannot communicate with each other easily. Vowel sounds are the biggest reason behind the different pronunciations of the two languages. However, in their written forms, Spanish and Portuguese are very similar.
- Spanish languages are known for using two objects in the same sentence. But in Portuguese, that cannot be accomplished.
- The region where a language is spoken plays an important role in its development. The Portuguese spoken in Brazil and the Spanish spoken in Mexico are more similar to each other than they are different. European languages also influence each other because they are spoken in the same region. Major differences between common languages develop when there is a physical distance between them.
- The sentence structure is the same in both languages. Although there are a few exceptions in both Spanish and Portuguese when it comes to the subject-verb-object sentences, the basic rules are the same.
- Since culture affects language, the native tongue of Argentina is not the same as that of Spain. In the same way, the Brazilian dialects will have different slang words than the dialects of Portuguese that are spoken in Europe.
Portuguese Vs. Spanish, which is Easier to Learn?
Students have to focus on a lot of things when learning a language. They have to learn grammar, the position of subject and object, writing skills, syllables, spelling, pronunciation of consonants and vowels, prepositions, syntax, and verb forms. It is easier for a person to learn a language similar to their native tongue. But it is important to consider other factors too. If you want to learn a foreign language, you must make sure it will be beneficial for you. When it is needed in your country, then you should learn it. IfDo you live in Europe then learning Afrikaans will not do you any good.
If you want to target a language family, then Romance languages can be a good place to start. They are not only spoken in Europe but also in South America and Africa. As sister languages, they are easy to learn once you have mastered one of them. For English speakers, Spanish is easier to learn due to the similarities in their vocabulary. But it is Portuguese that has simpler rules. If you want to live in Brazil, learning Spanish won’t do you any good even though it is spoken by millions of people.
As native languages, both Spanish and Portuguese are very close. The educated speakers of the two can understand each other if they speak very slowly. But they have distinct differences in their spoken form. Both took different directions in the Americas, which increased the differences between them. Whether you want to take Spanish lessons or Portuguese classes, it all depends on your preferences. But if you hire a good language tutor, learning either will be easy.
How to Study a Language?
When you start learning a language, you will have a lot of questions. And you won’t be able to make any progress if you get the answers to your questions first. Whether you are studying from a book or taking regular classes, keep on working towards your goals. Keep in mind that there are different versions of each language, and you won’t become fluent in a week or even in months. Make sure of your smart devices if you want to improve your knowledge of a language. Study a language; Portuguese vs Spanish.
Your language learning journey won’t be easy. You will face a lot of issues in the beginning. And you will feel like your performance isn’t improving. But learning words with different meanings, phonemes, diphthongs, prepositions, verbs, vowel reduction rules, and useful expressions will not be easy. It is important to give your mind some rest when learning a new language.
You can use music, social media posts, and newspaper articles to improve your language skills. You can also watch news channels to improve your listening skills. From nature documentaries to action movies, there are all types of content available online for viewers. You can take whichever road you want to improve your language skills. Making visits to the country where a language is spoken can also help you. For instance, you won’t hear a better pronunciation of French than in Paris. You will be able to learn Portuguese diphthongs accurately in Portugal and Spanish vowels in Spain.
So, whether you want to learn the regional languages of Europe or the official language of Italy, stay focused on your goals. This way, you will be able to become fluent in the language of your choice.