Portuguese and Spanish

The Iberian Peninsula has enormous linguistic power through its languages, which together constitute the 2nd most spoken language in the globe.

21 countries officially speak Spanish. (2020) by Observatory of the Portuguese LanguageObservatory of the Portuguese Language

21 countries speak Spanish
Spanish is the official language of 20 countries in America:

El Salvador,
Costa Rica,
Dominican Republic,

1 in Europe

and 1 in Africa
Equatorial Guinea,

Portuguese Speaking Countries and Macau Special Administrative Region (Macao SAR) (2020) by Observatory of the Portuguese LanguageObservatory of the Portuguese Language


The territories that have Portuguese as their official language are:

-Countries of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP)

Cabo Verde,
Equatorial Guinea,
East Timor,
Sao Tome and Principe,

- the Macau Special Administrative Region (Macao SAR).

Spanish and Portuguese taken together (2020) by Ethnologue and OLPObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Spanish and Portuguese, if considered together (since they have a high degree of intercomprehension), constitute the most spoken languages after Mandarin, but with a significantly higher global dispersion (entropy).

There is a high degree of intercomprehension among speakers of both languages, regarding:

(1) text comprehension (since these speakers can use lexical inference strategies to help them understand the text globally);

(2) translation (since there is a high index of identical and non-identical cognate words);

(3) inference of lexical items (with the help of vocabulary and grammar strategies).

The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is a process of regional integration, initially formed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, to which Venezuela * and Bolivia recently joined, the latter in the process of accession.

The official languages of Mercosur are Spanish and Portuguese.

MERCOSUR has three recognized languages: Spanish, Portuguese and Guarani. However, the official working languages established by the Ouro Preto Protocol are Spanish and Portuguese. In this sense, all documentation and standards approved by MERCOSUR bodies are available in Spanish and Portuguese.

Portuguese and Spanish in internet (2019) by Internet World StatsObservatory of the Portuguese Language

Internet users in the world.

It should be noted that, considering the linguistic intercomprehension between Portuguese and Spanish, together, these languages occupy the 3rd place.

Portuguese and Spanish together constitute a language community. There is therefore no doubt about the potential of each of the languages and of the two together.

For this reason, the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI), to which Portugal belongs, has focused on strengthening synergies for the management of both languages and encouraging intercomprehension between Portuguese speakers. and Spanish, based on its common origin, Latin, and its close proximity in grammatical and lexical terms.

Photo of Nélida Piñon (2014) by LUSA - Portuguese News Agency (EPA/António Lacerda)Observatory of the Portuguese Language

Portuguese and Spanish

Nélida Piñon reveres Portuguese and Spanish

Portuguese and Spanish are universal languages that are at the service of humanity and both the powers and the experts are realizing the importance of both intertwined languages, ready to reinforce their positions in the world.

EL PAÍS, a Spanish newspaper founded on May 4, 1976, began to speak Portuguese on November 26, 2013.

That day, the digital edition of EL PAÍS Brasil was born, with reports and analysis on the main subjects of the country and the world

Ibero-American General Secretariat

An international organization that supports the 22 countries that make up the Ibero-American community:

- 19 from Spanish and Portuguese speaking Latin America and

- Spain, Portugal and Andorra, in the Iberian Peninsula.

It supports the organization of the Ibero-American Summits of Heads of State and Government, fulfilling their mandates and promotes Ibero-American Cooperation in the fields of education, social cohesion and culture.

Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI) (2018) by Manuel de Almeida / LUSA, Portuguese News AgencyObservatory of the Portuguese Language


Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI), the largest multilateral cooperation organization between Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking Ibero-American countries.

The OEI member states are: Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal , Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The OEI observer countries are: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Luxembourg, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste.

"Portunhol" (2006) by Muñata (Miguel Chaves)Observatory of the Portuguese Language


On the Brazilian – Uruguayan border, there are several varieties of contact along with Portuguese and standard and popular Spanish.

"Portunhol", also called Portuguese dialects from Uruguay, is one of them.

This situation represents a case of bilingualism with diglossia.

Credits: Story

- Prof. Dr. Margarita Correia, University of Lisbon.
- Prof. Dr. Eunice R. HENRIQUES, State University of Campinas.
- LUSA, Portuguese News Agency
- Prof. Dr. Isabella Mozzillo, Aspects of Portunhol on the Brazil-Uruguay border.
- Accenture, Triângulo Estratégico América Latina – Europa – África / Realidade e potencial de expansão.

Author: Francisco Nuno Ramos, Observatory of the Portuguese Language

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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