Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world. Officially there are eight Portuguese-speaking countries in the world today, a legacy from the old colonial empire. They are Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and East Timor. Altogether, there are over 240 million Portuguese-speaking people throughout the world today, although approximately 200 million of the total live in Brazil. Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country with an area of 8.5 million square kilometers (3.3. million square miles). It is a nation with a growing economy and some of the world’s richest ecosystems.
Portuguese is a Romance language, like Spanish, French, and Italian. This means that these languages share grammatical features and many words that derive from Latin. For instance, Spanish and Portuguese have a strong lexical similarity and share about 90% of their vocabulary. However, Portuguese features nasal vowels, which gives it a larger phonetic inventory than Spanish.
The Portuguese Language Program at Rice offers a two-year academic program of studies. The courses offered through CLIC cover first- and second-year courses guiding students to understand the Portuguese-speaking culture and society through our focus on language awareness and critical language analysis. The Portuguese courses at CLIC focus primarily on the language spoken in Brazil.
300 and 400 level courses in Portuguese are offered in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies.
Portuguese is one of the options that fulfills the language requirements for the Linguistics major offered by the Rice Linguistics Department.