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Where do people speak Portuguese? Posted by on Jul 25, 2007 in Geography

There are about 10 million speakers of Portuguese in Portugual itself, and the large majority of speakers in Brazil (about 150 million), but where else in the world can one hear this wonderful language spoken?

The short answer: former Portuguese colonies. The Lusophonic (Portuguese-speaking) world, also known as the Lusosphere really wraps around the globe, with representative countries in Europe, South America, Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and a smattering of islands in the Atlantic.

Here’s a Big Map of the Lusophonic world.

Transparent Language’s own overview of the Portuguese language is very informative, and if you’ve ever been curious about the history of the language, you should check out that page.

More information…

Here’s a list of countries/geographic regions where Portuguese is spoken:

Brazil [Brasil]
Mozambique [Moçambique]
Azores [os Açores]
Cape Verde [Cabo Verde]
São Tomé and Principe
East Timor

I would be remiss not to make mention of the significant immigrant populations in any attempt to enumerate lusophonic regions. Japan has large pockets of Brazilian immigrants, many of whom are of purely Japanese descent but speak no Japanese, as they were raised in Brazil.

The Northeast region of the United States certainly makes the cut; there is a critical mass of Brazilian immigrants, legal and illegal, in and around Boston in particular. Fall River, MA has a long history of Portuguese-descended fishermen making their residence their, and more recently waves of immigrants from Brazil, Cape Verde and other lusophonic nations have arrived and created quite a community.

Framingham, Massachusetts, is perhaps the most well-known and affluent concentration of Brazilians in the Greater Boston area and will certainly warrant a longer dedicated post!

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  1. Tino:

    OOPS!You must add two more

    Brazil [Brasil]
    Mozambique [Moçambique]
    Azores [os Açores]
    Cape Verde [Cabo Verde]
    São Tomé and Principe
    East Timor

  2. Registered User:

    Thanks Tino! Missed those before…. thanks for the tip!


  3. Dave:

    What about Madeira they speak portuguese

  4. Bryan Heath:

    I think Madeira is cover by the Azores….see comments 3.

  5. Ann de Rozario:

    Hey you beautiful people out there – just to let you know some form of Portuguese is spoken in Malacca – a small ex Portuguese colony situated in Asia. It is not pure portuguese as it has been mixed with the local dialect of Malay. Please look up in youtube and key in “Portuguese descendants of Malacca”. I am from that colony and I am very proud of my Portuguese heritage!

  6. Billi:

    Don’t forget that there is also a large community of Portuguese and Brazilians in New Jersey, in particular in Newark and Elizabeth.

  7. Thomas:

    In the last 5 years, 2-3,000 Portugese people have come to work in Northern Ireland, mostly in Dungannon and Portadown, in meat processing plants. Most of them originate from East Timor with a substantial number of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, a few Angolans and 1 or 2 Mozambiquans. Oh, and a fit looking girl from Goa!

  8. donal:

    See 3.

    The beautiful island of Madeira is a self governing Region within Portugal.

    Perhaps the Channel Islands might be considered as many many Madeirans work there and are very important to the economy.

    At this time of year they flood back home to enjoy Christmas at home.

  9. KEYOKA:


  10. Oliveira:

    Response to KEYOKA: Portuguese (from Portugal) and Brazilians are NOT latino that is the wrong information. You are not considered latino when it comes to race.

  11. adam:

    actually oliveira portuguese, french and spanish people are considered latino. the reason being that they have latin roots. they can also be called white or european.

  12. Rogerio:

    Just to amend 2 tremendous errors written over here:

    Madeira has nothing to do with Azores.

    Portuguese are not latinos ?!?!?!?!?!?

    The truly latinos people are:

    Portuguese, spanish, italians, french and romenians.

    The ones commonly called (in USA and other American countries) as latinos are not truly latinos ..they are just mixed with latinos.

  13. Manoel Juaquim:

    Oh my God, how much of poor, vainglorious and wrong information (or simply WISH?) do we see here in these comments! If you want to include a COUNTRY as part of Portuguese heritage just because there´s a couple living there yet having children, then there would be Portuguese folks almost in the WORLD world (as Spaniards, English, Danes, Pakistanians, Japanese, Chinese, Arabs, Dutch, Germans, Turks, Serbs and many, many others)!!!
    In the truth however, think:
    – in Goa, Damao and Diu (parts of inner India!), just LESS than 1% of local population still just USE a few words in Portuguese, not speaking the language properly, not knowing almost anything about Portugal indeed;
    – Madeira Island lies in central Atlantic (not so far from African continent), having NOTHING to do with AZORES (far northwards!), except that folks there are of Portuguese origin and DO SPEAK Portuguese;
    – only in Portugal and Brazil, the official AND MORE USED language (ALMOST by the whole population) is Portuguese (but even in Portugal there exist some kinds of dialects, including one spoken in Miranda (so small county) which became OFFICIALLY ACCEPTED as a distinct one (being ALMOST equal to Porguese or Galician!); in Brazil, there are many, several, distinct tribes of indigenous folks who speak their own languages and/or several dialects; just their number, in terms of population, is not so much, nowadays;
    – all the rest is so confused, that one should NOT say that they simply speak Portuguese; in some countries, it is official, but not used currently (fluently) by more than 50% of people; in others it is more historical, just symbolic, there existing SEVERAL or some much more important languages and/or dialects (this is for any “ancient Portuguese” colony [now, country] in Africa or Asia or Oceania)!!!;
    – As for LATINO, this is a term used for ANY GROUP OF FOLKS who suffered some influence of ancient Romans, who spoke Latin (from the now-called “Italian” region named LAZIO [Rome being its capital city]); thus… Italians, Romanians, Sardinians, Corseans, Spaniards, French, Portuguese and others (officially said, 12 languages derived from Latin, but in fact so many more if dialects are included, so… over 12 groups of folks [several of these being divided into several different groups!].
    So, if Portuguese and Brazilians are NOT “Latin” (we don´t WANT TO BE; we ARE considered as…), why would Italians and Spanish be?!???).

  14. tatty:

    wow you make long comments thanks for the help i really needed it for homework

  15. Neil:

    There is a fairly large contingent of Portuguese in the Central Valley in California, where there is lots of dairy farming. A lot of Swedes in that neighborhood too. Go figure.

  16. Alex:

    The islands of Madeira and Açores its also Portugal!!!

  17. Alexandre R. Ferreira:

    Good evening!

    I am brazilian and speak portuguese! I am learning english in Brazil. The portuguese is a wonderful language. The brazilian Music is bealtiful.

  18. Marty:

    The confusion is that all the Portuguese speaking world are not Hispanic but all the Portuguese are Latinos…

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