Unemployed Galicians study Portuguese to facilitate emigration

Monday, October 22, 2012

From here in Portuguese with audio:
There are more and more unemployed Galicians studying Portuguese, a way to be prepared to emigrate to Portuguese-speaking countries.

Two days before regional elections in Galicia, unemployment and emigration are two strong themes in the election campaign. A Antena1 visited the headquarters of the Instituto Camões in Vigo, encountering various unemployed Galicians attempting to open a new door to the future.

The audio for the article has some quick interviews with students and the teacher at the Instituto Camões there, and what's interesting is that they also mention Portugal as a possible place to work along with Brazil and Angola, the two countries usually mentioned. Galicia has around a 20% unemployment rate, and since even Portugal's dismal unemployment numbers are better than those in Spain it makes sense.

That brings up a question: don't Galicians already kind of know Portuguese anyway thanks to Galician? Kind of:
Nowadays, Galician is resurgent, though in the cities it remains a "second language" for most. According to a 2001 census, 99.16 percent of the populace of Galicia understand the language, 91.04 percent speak it, 68.65 percent read it and 57.64 percent write it. The first two numbers (understanding and speaking) remain roughly the same as a decade earlier; the latter two (reading and writing) both show enormous gains: a decade earlier, only 49.3 percent of the population could read Galician, and only 34.85 percent could write it. This fact can be easily explained because of the impossibility of teaching Galician during the Francisco Franco era, so older people speak the language but have no written competence. Galician is the highest-percentage spoken language in its region among the regional languages of Spain.
In addition to that Portuguese is often seen as a more cultured version of Galician in the region. Add those two together and your average Galician probably understands just about anything said in Portuguese, but may be averse to sending an email to a company or going for an interview out of fear of coming across as uneducated or uncultured. I would expect that these courses at the Instituto Camões would have a large emphasis on orthography, punctuation etc. and paying attention to which Galician words don't have a Portuguese equivalent in order to avoid getting a blank stare in an interview and realizing for the first time that the word you always assumed was also Portuguese is actually not.


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