The poet Fernando Pessoa once wrote: «A minha pátria é a língua portuguesa». In 2012, more than 236 million people throughout Europe, Africa, South America and Asia could also call the Portuguese Language their homeland.
Portuguese is currently the fifth most widely spoken language in the world and an official language of countries as varied as Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tome and Principe and East Timor. It is also used in Macau, a territory under Portuguese administration until December 1999, and in Goa. It is also the basis of around twenty Creole languages, an important minority language in Andorra, Luxemburg, Namibia, Switzerland and South Africa, and is spoken in numerous existing migrant communities.
It is this universality of the Portuguese language that unites Portuguese, Brazilians, many Africans and some Asians. The recognition of a common cultural heritage, present in large regions spread out through different continents is felt equally in distant communities, with a great internal diversity.
Portuguese is a language of culture, with a long history. It is the raw material and the product of a variety of literatures and it serves as an instrument of global empowerment of various societies. It is a language that lives in history, in society and in the world.
Its existence is shaped and conditioned by great human movements and, at present, through the existence of the communities that use it.
The Portuguese spoken around the world, now incresasingly harmonized by an important Orthographic Agreement, continues to be felt as a single language, a global vehicle of communication and possibly the most powerful of the ties uniting the countries that use it.