UNESCO considering funding the Portuguese language and some other Portuguese news

Friday, August 01, 2008

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Just in case you missed it, here's the article.

UNESCO is studying the possibility of setting up a fund to promote the use of the Portuguese language, especially for the translation of the UN organisation’s archives, a senior official told the Lusa News Agency...“We can affirm that the Portuguese language lies at the heart of the future”, Barbosa told the summit’s opening session, underlining the language’s “multicultural richness”, its use by some 240 million people worldwide, its growing presence in cyber space, and the “economic potential” of the Portuguese-speaking world.
This "growing presence in cyberspace" he's talking about can be seen in the stats here:

According to that site, Portuguese has almost 60 million users online, and has grown at a rate of almost 700% over the past eight years. Other languages like Japanese (94 million) and German (63 million) have more people online but they have a much larger penetration per capita so there isn't as much room to grow, giving them only 100% and 66% growth respectively over the past eight years. The only language with more growth than Portuguese is Arabic with 2200% over the past eight years, though note that this only includes the number of people in Arabic-speaking countries, not necessarily the exact amount of Arabic content.

Korea, by the way, has a really high internet penetration per capita but North Korea has pretty much nothing which really offsets the numbers. If the situation changes and North Korea opens up you'll see a large increase in the number of Korean internet users all of a sudden.

And in other news (not meriting its own post so I'm just including it here at the end), two East Timorese have graduated from the University of Macau (澳門大學; ào mén dà xué; Universidade de Macau). That looks like a good thing, but the article also mentions that another eight students had given up, leaving only two that remained until graduation:

Francisco Gusmão and Zulmira da Silva were two of the East Timorese students having decided to study in Macau because of the political unrest in their country. East Timor at that time had not attained its independence, and its political situation was highly “unstable” forcing a large number of refugees to flee from their country.

During that period, UM accepted 10 East Timorese students who aspired to study in Macau but had learning and financial difficulties. In order to help them to get out of the straits, UM not only remitted their tuition fees, but also arranged suitable English and Portuguese language courses for them. Subsequently, the Consulate General of Finland also provided them with financial supports, enabling them to continue their studies in Macao.

Language is the largest learning barrier for East Timorese students, because of which, eight of the ten students have already given up their studies.

Only Francisco and Zulmira continued their studies. “It is their endeavours and insistence that enabled them to achieve what they have today,” the statement said.
Also, why was the Consulate General of Finland involved?


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