BBC Portuguese on increasing demand for Portuguese, largely thanks to Brazil

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's rare that one comes across an article of this type with too many numbers to reference in a single weekday post, though the second debate tonight (Joe Biden + Paul Ryan) may have something to do with that as well. The article begins with a comment about how (in Brazil) people wanting to learn Portuguese generally fell into one of two categories: either they had a friend/spouse/etc. who was Brazilian, or they simply loved Brazil as a country. However:

In recent years, universities and language schools in different countries have reported not just an increase in demand for courses for the language but also a chance in the profile of students.

"Knowing Portuguese today is good for one's CV", says the Brazilian Roberta Mallows, who set up a recently-launched course of Portuguese language and Brazilian culture at King's College London, and before that taught Portuguese courses in Switzerland. "There are many people trying to learn the language for pragmatic reasons, and especially to increase their opportunities in the workplace and carry out negotiations with Brazil."

Since 2008 Portuguese has been listed as one of the priority languages in the survey made by the Confederation of British Industry, Britain's largest business lobby.

And for the rest of it, Google Translate seems to have done a good enough job, albeit awkward (title: "Brazil boosts high in teaching Portuguese in the world"). The only part that didn't make that much sense is:

Among the schools that were enthusiastic about the new demand in Britain, are the United International College London, where Claudia works. The school opened a Portuguese course a year ago and has already enrolled 86 students, according to Javier Zamudio area director of foreign languages. "Among them, there are many European countries and some Latin Americans," Zamudio says, estimating that "about 95% of the students" are interested in Portuguese "Brazil."

What it means to say: about 95% of the students are interested in Brazilian Portuguese. Sounds about right.

Near the end there is also some ruminating about creating a Brazilian version of the Instituto Camões, since Brazil is large enough to do so and yet does not have such a worldwide institution. Possible names suggested: 'Instituto Jorge Amado', 'Instituto Machado de Assis'.


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