WelcomeThe Portuguese language is a member of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages . It is the mother tongue of about 170 million people, chiefly in Portugal and the Portuguese islands in the Atlantic (11 million speakers); in Brazil (154 million speakers); and in Portugal's former overseas provinces in Africa and Asia (about 5 million speakers). Although the Portuguese spoken in Portugal differs to some extent from the Portuguese spoken in Brazil–with reference to pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary–the differences are not major.
A distinctive phonetic feature of Portuguese is the nasalization of certain vowels and diphthongs, which can be indicated by a tilde (~) placed above the appropriate vowel. The acute (´) and circumflex (ˆ) accents serve to make clear both stress and pronunciation, and also to distinguish homonyms (for example, e “and,” but é “is” ). The grave accent (`) is a guide to pronunciation. It can also indicate a contraction, as in às, which is a combination of a “to” and as “the” (feminine plural). A c with a cedilla ( ç) is pronounced like c in English place when used before the vowels a, o, and u.*
*Information from Encyclopedia.com