Since 2006, Portuguese has officially gained a space among the Romance languages taught at Washington University. This is good news for all students interested in Latin America and Brazil, because 51% of South American population speaks Portuguese and like China and India, Brazil is an emergent nation of political economic power. According to a survey by Modern Languages Association, Portuguese increased its enrollments in 22.4% between 2002 and 2006.
It is estimated that more than 200 million people speak Portuguese around the world. Besides Brazil and Portugal (including Madeira and Azores islands), Portuguese is the official language in Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe and East Timor. Similar to the other Romance languages (French, Italian, Romanian, Catalan, and Spanish), Portuguese comes from Latin and it is particularly close to Spanish. Such closeness facilitates Spanish speakers to learn Portuguese.
Currently, Romance Languages and Literatures department offers Portuguese 101 and Portuguese 102 for beginners with no previous experience in Romance languages. We also offer Portuguese 103 and 104 for Spanish speakers. These are fast-paced classes that take advantage of the knowledge of the structure and vocabulary of Spanish. We offer two intermediate level courses: Port 215: Reading and Conversation I and Port 220: Reading and Conversation II. In an effort to strengthen Portuguese presence at the campus, we have a weekly informal conversational table (Holmes Lounge, Wednesdays at noon), at which all levels of proficiency are welcome.