Over 17,000 in Senegal learn Portuguese

Monday, August 25, 2008

No big surprise here if you know your African geography and demographics - Senegal (in red) borders Guinea-Bissau (in green) where the official language is Portuguese, so a lot of people in the south of Senegal end up learning Portuguese. Here's part of what this article says:

Around 17,000 Senegalese are learning Portuguese in primary and secondary schools and another 700 students are enrolled in Portuguese courses at one of Dakar’s main state universities, officials said.

José Horta, head of the Senegal section at the Portuguese Language Centre of the Camões Institute, told the Lusa News Agency Portuguese is taught in ten of Senegal’s 11 regions.

The Francophone West African state has even more students learning Portuguese than France, traditionally with a big Portuguese immigrant community, he noted.

It has been compulsory since Senegal’s independence to study another language besides French and English, and Portuguese is a popular choice for many Senegalese pupils from the eighth grade onwards, said Horta.
It would be interesting to see how easy or hard the students found the language to learn considering their related mother tongue. Here's an example of the two side by side:

Eu gosto - J'aime
de nadar - nager
de ler - lire
de falar - parler
de dormir - dormir
de ir ao cinema com um amigo - aller au cinéma avec un ami

If you look even closer in on the region you can see another place on a micro scale that might be willing to give the idea of an international language a listen:

That area in the middle from The Gambia to Senegal to Guinea-Bissau has three official languages that are generally used as sources for vocabulary in European-based auxlangs: English, French, and Portuguese, respectively. The total area is around the same as West Virginia (if you're American), New Brunswick (if you're Canadian), or Latvia (if the previous two places mean nothing to you).


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