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Porto, Portugal

Capela de Santa Catarina


Capela de Santa Catarina

Porto is Portugal’s second largest city. Frequently overlooked by tourists in the past, Porto is finally showing up on travelers’ radars. The seaside town’s beautiful architecture is drawing the eyes of those interested in the city’s historical past and interesting design, which is a blend of traditional and contemporary. Porto is also gaining recognition from foodies, who flock to the city for its food scene and wine.

If architecture and design are your forte, there are an array of amazing buildings to see in Porto. Many of the buildings have the traditional azulejo tiles seen throughout the region. The blue and white tiled exterior of two churches, Igreja dos Carmelitas and Capela de Santa Catarina, is a spectacular site. Casa da Música became an iconic building in Porto as soon as it was completed in 2005. It is the only concert hall in the world with two entirely glass walls. Also a must see is Casa Fez, which took local architect Alvaro Leite Vieira twelve years to complete. The project was especially important to Vieira since he was building it to live in himself. It is definitely a different look from the tiled facades of many of Porto’s buildings.

Porto is also a hot spot for good food and wine. Shellfish cooked in a copper cataplana cooker is a specialty of the area. Some restaurants on the ‘do not miss’ list include Cafe Majestic and the restaurant Book, known for its savory polenta. For after dinner drinks head over to the beach bar Praia da Luz.

Porto has everything from hostels to luxury hotels. Some luxury accommodations include the InterContinental Porto Palacio Das Cardosas and the Pestana Palacio do Freixo. There are also some magnificent boutique hotels like Hotel Teatro Porto, and just outside Porto in Lamego, the 19th century manor house turned hotel, Six Senses Douro Valley.

Happy Holidays

WTCholidaycardPhoto by Monica Garcia-Salamon

Portuguese – The Sweet and Gracious Language

heart shape flag of Portugal on brick wall

heart shape flag of Portugal on brick wall

Portuguese is often considered the language of Portugal. Portugal is one country where the language is used, but it is spoken in many other countries throughout Europe, South America, Africa, and even Asia. The language has around 220 million native speakers, and 260 million speakers in total world-wide. This makes it the fifth-most spoken language on the planet. It is also the third-most spoken language in all of Europe.

Considering the population of Brazil, another country where the language is the official tongue, Portuguese is the most spoken language in all of South America. It is second behind Spanish on the list of most spoken languages in Latin America. Portuguese is an official language of the European Union, the African Union, and Mercosul.

Portuguese is a Romance language. Its official classification puts it in the Ibero-Romance group. These languages derived from Vulgar Latin. Portuguese was established during the Kingdom of Galicia in medieval days. Another name for Old Portuguese is, in fact, Galacian-Portuguese. And like Spanish, the other tongue of the Iberian Peninsula, many vocabulary and grammar rules can be rooted to Arabic. Arabic was the official language of this Peninsula after the year 711. The Latin-speaking natives would use both languages interchangeably, thus many common associations developed over time.

Like the other Romance languages, Portuguese uses the Latin alphabet. This denotes 26 letters, with 5 diacritics that may indicate vowel pronunciation. These marks can also denote stress, contraction, or nasalization. Variations in the writing system do exist, in relation to different dialects.

Portugal and Brazil were noted as two countries that use Portuguese as their official language. This may be true, but it is difficult to link these two variants together. Although standard Portuguese is taught at a fairly universal level throughout Portuguese-speaking countries, what is spoken on the streets of Brazil would hardly be comprehensible to Portugal natives. As for any dialect, the effects of the localization can be washed away through formal education. However, in some parts of Brazil, using this educated speech may get you adverse glances, or worse. Variations exist all the way down to the writing and even dictionary spelling of words. Of course, dialects exist in other parts of the world.

Portuguese is the official language of nine countries. These are Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Sao Tome and Principe. The remaining two are co-official status in Macau and East Timor. Speakers of a creole form of Portuguese can be found in Goa, India, and Sri Lanka.

Spoken in four of the world’s continents by over a quarter of a billion people, Portuguese has grown legs larger than the small country that bears its name. In the words of Miguel de Cervantes, Portuguese is “the sweet and gracious language.”

Festa dos Tabuleiros

Convent of Christ in Tomar, Portugal

Convent of Christ in Tomar, Portugal

If you’re planning on visiting Portugal in July this summer you won’t want to miss the Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival of the Trays). This event takes place every four years and happens again starting July 4th 2015 and running through July 13th in Tomar, Portugal. This ancient tradition features the local population in a parade with the women carrying tabuleiros on their heads. The tabuleiro is made of 30 stacked pieces of bread decorated with flowers. At the top of the tabuleiro there’s a crown that features either a white dove, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit or the esfera armilar,or a celestial sphere, which symbolizes the historical Portuguese maritime expansion.

The city of Tomar is located in one of the most fertile regions on the entire Iberian Peninsula. There is an abundance of olive and fig trees in the area. If you enjoy seeing examples of ancient architecture, the city of Tomar will not disappoint. The Castle and Convent of the Order of Christ and the Aqueduct of Pegoes are a must see.

Lisbon´s Underground Roman Galleries

Besides having one of the mildest climates, Lisbon is also one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is older than Rome, London or Paris. It is believed that around 1200 BC, the Phoenicians discovered the area around the Tagus river, the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula. They settled there as the river provided excellent transport possibilities and the entrance to the Atlantic and was considered to be a safe harbor. One theory about the name ‘Lisbon’ comes from the term ‘Allis Ubbo’ which means ‘Safe harbor’ in Phoenician, ‘Lisboa’ in the Portuguese language. (more…)

Difference Between Portuguese Spoken in Portugal and Brazil

According to both countries’ Constitutions, there is only one Portuguese. However, using a translator not from the target country is definitely a mistake.

There are several differences between the Portuguese spoken in Portugal and the Portuguese spoken in Brazil. (The former Portuguese colonies are not taken into consideration here, but the language spoken in those is quite close to that spoken in Portugal.) (more…)

World Translation Center Announces Launch of this Site

World Translation Center announced today the launch of its eighth and final language-specific website, PortugueseLanguageTranslation.org, which, as the name suggests, focuses on English to Portuguese translation. In addition to a general discussion of the translation services available, the new site displays voice demos from voice over artists, with speakers from Portugal and Brazil. The Company believes these language-specific sites will enable it to test different marketing strategies while increasing its Internet presence.

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