160,000 people, or double that, study Portuguese worldwide

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

From here in Portuguese. Unfortunately there is nothing on previous numbers by the IC on how many people studied Portuguese worldwide, so the 160,000 to 320,000 number cannot be compared with anything.

"The growth of interest in Portuguese outside of Europe is on the ride, particularly in southern Africa, South America, and China" said Ana Paula Laborinho. "Unfortunately, Europe is the region that does not understand that Portuguese is a global language...often when the major European languages are listed we find that Portuguese is not included."

Ana Paula Laborinho was speaking at the University of Foreign Studies in Beijing (Beiwai), where she participated in a conference on multilingualism organized under the auspices of the European Union. Beiwai was the first university in PR China to create a degree in Portuguese, in 1961, and by the end of the 1990s there was only another such course in Shanghai. Today there are more than 15 such programs in a dozen cities, which together have more than a thousand students.

Two Portuguese language teachers send by the Instituto Camões currently teach in China and another will arrive in February.

According to records by the IC, there are 160,000 outside of Portuguese-speaking countries that are learning Portuguese, but Laborinho says that "the real number might be twice that...In South Africa and Namibia Portuguese has been introduced in secondary education as an optional language and there are other countries in southern Africa that want to do the same."

For the introduction of Portuguese in schools in Namibia, see here.


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