Languages of Brazil

The National Language

Brazil has the distinction of being the only country in South America that does not have Spanish as its dominant language. When the Portuguese settlers arrived in the early sixteenth century, they bought with them the lingua franca of the homeland. Today, the Portuguese language is the strongest unifier of the people in this medical tourism destination. The religious diversity extends all the way from pagan African rituals to candlelit Church ceremonies, and the population includes a mix of peoples of African, European, and indigenous descent. In a land so diverse, close to 100% of the population speaks fluent Portuguese, which is no mean achievement. Portuguese is the only national language of Brazil. Barring a few Amerindian tribes in the Amazon and a few pockets of Koreans and Chinese settled in Sao Paulo, the rest of the country speaks flawless Portuguese.

Obviously, the Portuguese spoken in Brazil is different from the one in Portugal, although the differences are about as pronounced as the variations in UK English and US English. There are no delineated Portuguese dialects as such, but there are slight inflections in accent and vocabulary as you move though the various regions of this vast medical tourism hub.

Limited English

In the past, English’s place in Brazil was fairly limited. This phenomenon is changing, however, as more people continue to embrace globalization, MTV culture, and greater international commerce. None of this diminishes Portuguese’ dominance in the region, but increasingly, you’ll find Brazilians eager to practice their English whenever possible. English is taught in private schools and is becoming the second language of choice for the educated classes. You’re likely to find the staff at your medical tourism hospital more than able to communicate efficiently in English.

Foreign languages

Spanish, the language of the rest of the continent, is spoken widely in those regions that lie close to the borders. The proximity to Spanish speaking peoples here, and the necessity for learning the language for trade activities demands that Spanish be taught in schools. Some of the immigrant communities that have settled in Brazil, including the Germans and the Italians, speak dialects that fuse their native tongues with Portuguese. For instance, there is a Brazilian-German and Brazilian-Italian, which is based on a Venetian dialect.

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