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Why Learn Portuguese?

Interesting Facts

  • In recent years, Brazil became China's largest trading partner
  • Brazil is a leader in the aircraft industry
  • Brazil hosted both the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016
  • Brazil’s economy is the 6th 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
  • There are approximately 220 million native speakers of Portuguese in the world, more than German and French combined.
  • More than a third of Latin America’s population speaks Portuguese and lives in Brazil, a member of the BRICS (an association of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.)
  • The US Department of State has declared Portuguese a strategic language.
  • It is an important language for the African diaspora, spoken in Mozambique, Cape Verde, Brazil, Angola, Guinea Bissau, East Timor and Sao Tome and Principe. Learning the language will give you access to a wealth of cultural and academic materials about these countries.
  • Portuguese is one of the working languages of the African Union.
  • If you know Spanish, you already have a huge vocabulary of cognates and knowledge of the basic grammar, as both languages are very similar.

Portugese at Spelman College

Proficient Portuguese speakers are in high demand in the following areas:

  • Entrepreneurs and business executives for global companies
  • Pioneers to develop health, education and national policies
  • Political and intelligence government analysts
  • International traders and lawyers
  • Future diplomats and leaders
  • The next generation of Portuguese language teachers and professors
  • Engineers designing the future to meet our changing energy needs
Crucero Cristo
Rio (photo taken by Dr. Javier Escudero)


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
  • Crioulo (BR)
  • Emicida (BR)
  • Karol Conká (BR)
  • Daniela Mercury (BR)
  • Caetano Veloso (BR)
  • Novos Baianos (BR)
  • Elis Regina (BR)
  • Cassia Eller (BR)
  • Timbalada  (BR)
  • Buraka Som Sistema (AO / PT)
  • Da Weasel (PT)
  • General D (MZ)
  • Twenty Fingers (MZ)
  • Iveth Mafundza (MZ)
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

(available on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime)

  • Central Station (1998)
  • Look at this (2007)
  • The man from the future (2011)
  • Father’s chair (2012)
  • The way he looks (2014)
  • The second mother (2015)
  • Neon bull (2015)
  • Chatô – The King of Brazil (2015)
  • 3% (2016)
  • Aquarius (2016)


Departmental Certificate of Proficiency in Portuguese

Students who complete Portuguese 301 and one other 300 or 400-level course with a grade of B or above are eligible to receive a departmental Certificate of Proficiency in Portuguese.


Portuguese 101 - 102
These courses introduce learners to the language. Students use Portuguese in simulation of everyday interactions in order to communicate. All topics connected with the everyday culture of the Portuguese-speaking world.

Portuguese 201 - 202
These classes are designed to further develop students’ fundamental linguistic skills, as well as their knowledge of everyday culture in Portuguese-speaking countries.

Portuguese 301: Conversation, Composition and Culture
This course develops students’ linguistic skills in Portuguese bridging the intermediate and advanced levels, with an emphasis on speaking and writing. Each class focuses on topics of personal and general interest, including current events in the Portuguese-speaking world, with a focus on Brazil.

Contact Us

World Languages and Literature
The Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby,
Ed.D. Academic Center, 454

Elis Soares
Fulbright Foreign Language
Teaching Assistant


Salvador, Brazil
Salvador (photo taken by Dr. Javier Escudero)