Portuguese, a romance language, is a widely spoken language in the world. According to estimates, the total number of Portuguese speakers stands at 260 million. In terms of native speakers, Portuguese occupies sixth place in the world. Portuguese is spoken mostly in parts of the world where the Portuguese rule prevailed. Speakers of the language can be found in the state of Goa and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu in India; Batticaloa in Sri Lanka, Flores in Indonesia, and Malacca in Malaysia. However, Portuguese is also the official and the co-official language of quite a few nations around the world.
Portuguese is naturally the official language of Portugal; however, the honor of being the world’s largest Portuguese speaking nation goes to Brazil, where it is the official language. Brazil is the only country in South America where Portuguese is the official language. Portuguese is the official language of African nations of Mozambique, Angola, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe. All of these nations were under Portuguese rule and upon gaining independence made Portuguese an official language of their respective nations.
Portuguese has co-official language status in, Equatorial Guinea, and Macau. In the African nation of Equatorial Guinea, which was a Portuguese colony from 1474 to 1778 and a Spanish colony between 1778 and 1968, Portuguese is a co-official language along with Spanish and French. However, Spanish is the administrative language of the nation and education is also in Spanish. In Timor-Leste, Portuguese is the co-official language along with Tetum. In Macau, which is a special administrative region of China, Portuguese is a co-official language along with Cantonese.
Meanwhile, there are four nations where Portuguese is the secondary language. These are located in Africa and include Senegal, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia.
Following table represents the countries where Portuguese is the official, co-official, and secondary language.
|Cabo Verde||Timor-Leste||South Africa|
|São Tomé and Príncipe|