Brazilian Portuguese, Commonly Known as “<i>Bura Poru</i>” in Japan

Tidbits on Brazilian Portuguese

January 12, 2016

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Brazilian Portuguese, Why Portuguese is spoken in Brazil, Bura Poru

In Brazil, the FIFA World Cup took place in June, 2014 and the next Summer Olympics will be held in August, 2016. When these kinds of international sporting events are held in Brazil, people around the world travel to enjoy them. For the next summer Olympics, Japanese supporters will also go to Brazil to cheer for their national teams. However, when you go abroad, you may be worried that you will not understand the local language. In Brazil, people speak "Brazilian Portuguese" which is different from the Portuguese language that is spoken in Portugal. Now, let's focus on "Brazilian Portuguese" (which, incidentally, is commonly referred to as "Bura Poru" in Japan).

Why is Portuguese Spoken in Brazil?

In Brazil, the official language is Portuguese. People speak Spanish in other Latin American countries and only Brazilians speak Portuguese. Why are only Brazilians Portuguese speakers? To find the reason, we must go all the way back to the age when Spain and Portugal, two once-powerful countries, were fighting over the lands in Latin America.

In 1494, Spain and Portugal entered into The Treaty of Tordesillas for domination of the lands in the New World. The treaty divided the world at 46 degrees 37 minutes west longitude, granting Portugal the eastern part of the world and granting Spain the western part of it. For this reason, in Latin America, only Brazil, on the eastern side of the continent, belonged to Portugal. As a result, Portuguese has become the official language of Brazil.

Difference between Portuguese and Bura Poru

There are huge differences between "European Portuguese" spoken in Portugal and "Brazilian Portuguese "spoken in Brazil, even if they are called by the same name "Portuguese." You should know that, in these two languages, there are countless numbers of nouns that have the same meanings but completely different spellings. For example:

restroom (restroom)-> Portuguese: casa de banho Brazilian Portuguese: banheiro

socks (socks)-> Portuguese: peúgas Brazilian Portuguese: meias

When you learn Portuguese, you should be careful of not getting these two types of Portuguese confused. If you do, you may end up not being able to communicate with the local people at all even if you study Portuguese very hard. Similarly, when you translate Portuguese, it is important that you make sure where the translation will be used before you start translating.

Growing Need for "Bura Poru" Language Competence Even in Japan

In Japan, the need for "Bura Poru" language competence has been growing. There are many Brazilians living in Japan, as there are Chinese, South Koreans and Filipinos. In particular, the numbers of Brazilians who live in Aichi or Shizuoka Prefecture are increasing rapidly, since major automobile companies are based in these areas. In some of the areas, signs in shopping malls are written in Bura Poru, not English, along with Japanese. That is, there is the need for learning Bura Poru as well as there are the places where people can learn the language even as they are in Japan. Most of the Portuguese teaching materials sold in Japan are available in "Bura Poru." Considering not only the fact that Japanese people will visit Brazil for the next Summer Olympics, but the fact that there is the growing need for Bura Poru language competence in Japan, it is likely that Japanese will find more of interest in "Bura Poru" in the future.

People are Focusing on Brazil and "Bura Poru"

The Japanese say "Brazil is a country located at the opposite side of the earth from Japan." Brazil is such a far country to Japanese that they have to travel halfway around the globe to get there. However, a lot of people visit Brazil from all over the world, when it hosts international sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Games. In addition, during those events, the country gains global attention. Brazil is excited about the upcoming Olympic Games, so take this opportunity to have an interest in Bura Poru!

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