Changes to the Portuguese Language

Changes to the Portuguese language to standardize the Portuguese language

Change is coming. In 2009 the long-discussed reform of the Portuguese Language will be implemented and there will be several changes to the Portuguese language. The goal is to standardize the spelling and bring uniformity of language among the different Portuguese speaking countries.

Of course there is resistance to such changes, especially from Portugal because the changes bring the language closer to Brazilian Portuguese. I guess this is like trying to get England to adopt American spelling.

There will also be  changes to Brazilian Portuguese spelling, as many accents are not necessary anymore. I’d say this is good news to my clients: No more fighting with your keyboard to find the Brazilian accents :)

Here are a few examples of the changes to come:

  • no more trema: conseqüência now will be spelled consequência;
  • many changes in the use of hifens;
  • no more acute accent in words ended in “eia” and “oia” (so now we will write heroica, jiboia, ideia, joia);
  • no more circumflex accent in verbal conjugations when you have double “e” and double “o” (so now we will write eu voo, eles leem, vocês veem).

You can read more about the changes to the Portuguese language in this BBC News article.

This is not the first time that there are orthographic changes to the Portuguese language. In 1911, Portugal tried to define a standard Portuguese spelling. Brazil, however, did not adopt it. Several agreements and changes to the language followed, but the Brazilian and Portuguese spellings continued to differ.

Now we shall see if the new changes will accomplish the uniformity that is sought.

On a personal note, I think that not using the graphic accents that will no longer exist will be a hard habit to break. I’ve always enjoyed my ability to write perfect Portuguese with all its intricacies :)

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