Academics: Majors and Programs

Why Should You Study Portuguese?

Portuguese is the fifth most spoken language in the world and the third most spoken language in the Western world. There are over 260 million speakers.

Portuguese is an important language for the African Diaspora. It is spoken in countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Brazil. Learning Portuguese will give you access to a wealth of cultural and academic materials about these countries’ history, literature, religions, and society. 

There are many Brazilian communities in the United States, including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Miami, Atlanta, and other areas (see the Language Map of the Modern Language Association www.mla.org/map_main). Learning Portuguese would allow you to serve these communities in your future profession, whether you will be a lawyer, a doctor, a psychologist, a business owner, or an educator.

Interesting Facts:

  • In recent years, Brazil became China's largest trading partner
  • Brazil will be hosting both the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016
  • Brazil’s economy is the 7th largest in the world and it encompasses services, manufacturing, mining, and agricultural sectors
  • Brazil is the 9th largest producer of oil and a leading producer of ethanol. It is also a leader in agricultural research
  • The U.S. Department of State has declared Portuguese a strategic language

For more information, please, contact:

Professor Ligia Bezerra
Assistant Professor of Portuguese
Department of World Languages and Literature
Office Location: The Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center 454
Tel: 404 270 5545
Email: lbezerra@spelman.edu

Courses

Portuguese 101-102

These courses introduce students to the Portuguese language. They encourage meaningful and contextualized use of the language through reading, listening, writing and speaking tasks based on pedagogical and authentic materials. Through a very hands-on approach to language learning, students use the language in simulations of everyday interactions, manipulating grammar and vocabulary in order to communicate. Topics covered in this class include university life, friends and family, leisure activities, clothing, and sports. All topics are connected with the everyday culture of the Portuguese-speaking world.

Portuguese 201-202

These courses are designed to develop students’ fundamental linguistic skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing with emphasis on oral proficiency. It reinforces and builds upon skills acquired at the 100 level, introducing students to new grammatical structures and vocabulary related to seasons and celebrations, work, food, health, travelling, the environment, society, and technology. These courses also aim to expand students' knowledge of everyday culture, as expressed through language, in Portuguese-speaking countries.

How do you say… in Portuguese?

  • Hi/Hello = Oi/Olá!
  • Good morning = Bom dia!
  • Good afternoon = Boa tarde!
  • Good evening/night = Boa noite!
  • How are you? = Tudo bem?
  • What’s your name? = Como você se chama?/Qual é o seu nome?
  • My name is… = Eu me chamo…/Meu nome é…

Music in Portuguese

  • Brazil: Vanessa da Mata, Seu Jorge
  • Portugal: Mariza
  • Cape Verde: Cesária Évora

Singers from other nationalities that have recorded in or with Portuguese-speaking artists Portuguese: The Black Eyed Peas, Ben Harper, Frank Sinatra, Nelly Furtado, Laura Pausini, Diana Krall, Diego Torres, Alejandro Sanz, Shakira.

Cinema in Portuguese

  • Antonia (2007)
  • Elite Squad (2007, 2010)
  • Blindness (in English, based on Portuguese writer José Saramago’s novel Ensaio sobre a cegueira 2008)

Photo Credit: Ligia Bezerra; place: Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil