Located in southwestern Europe, Portugal has a population of over 10 million. Most of the population in the country comes of Portuguese descent, and others make up the minority communities. 

There are also certain ethnic groups in Portugal such as Iberians, Spaniards, and Italians. 

Let’s now find out details about the languages spoken in Portugal. 

The Official Language of Portugal: Portuguese

You may wonder: What language do they speak in Portugal? Well, Portugal official language is Portuguese and the most commonly-used language spoken in country. The English language follows Portuguese as the second most common language in the country. 

Today, around 240 million people speak Portuguese in the world. It’s the sixth most common language spoken in the world as well. Furthermore, UNESCO indicates that Portuguese can become an international communications language in the future. 

So, what about the features of this official language of Portuguese? Well, it’s an Indo-European language, first of all. Portuguese has ten different dialects in Portugal. They use the language in different areas from bureaucracy to daily communication. 

Portuguese Alphabet

There are 23 letters in the “Alfabeto” in Portuguese alphabet. It shares a Latin ancestor with the English alphabet. The Portuguese alphabet is lacking the consonants K, W, and Y.

Difference Between Portuguese and Spanish

Can Spanish speakers understand Portuguese? This is is a very common question people ask when they want to learn Spanish. These two languages share a high percentage of their vocabulary. They also have origins in Latin. This is the simplest explanation for Portuguese vs Spanish. Let’s dig into the details.

The written Portuguese language is also similar between Portuguese and Spanish. In spoken language, however, there are certain differences. Usually, people spell Spanish words just as they are written. In Portuguese, however, they usually swallow vowels. Also, while there are 24 phonemes in Spanish, there are 37 in Portuguese. So, speakers of Portuguese are more likely to understand Spanish when they hear it for the first time. Still, each speaker of these two languages can understand around 50 percent of what they say to each other.

What are the Other Popular Languages in Portugal?

English, Spanish, French, and Mirandese are the other popular languages spoken in Portugal.

English as the Second Most Common Language in Portugal

Among the Portugal languages, English is the second most commonly spoken. Especially in tourist areas like Lisbon, there are more English speakers.  

English is also being taught in schools as a second language. So, young people are also familiar with English. Business people and professionals make up the majority percentage of English speakers in Portugal. 

Portuguese people are exposed to English through American movies and music as well. Most TV programs in Portugal also originate from the US. 

You can find signs in English on public transport, in the airport, and menus in English in cafes and restaurants as well.

Portugal’s close relationship with England also makes English a popular language in Portugal. 

Spanish and French Follow English

One of the languages spoken in Portugal is Spanish. Around 10 percent of the population speaks Spanish in Portugal. As noted above, it has similarities with the Portuguese language. The Portuguese and Spanish languages share 89% of their vocabulary. So, this enables the Portuguese speakers to understand Spanish more easily.

In the past, the French language was quite popular for a long time in Portugal. In time, it gave its way to English. Today, mostly the elder people speak French in Portugal. 


This is an Indo-European and Astur-Leonese language. Mirandese is spoken by around 15,000 people both as a first and second language. People speak Mirandese in the municipalities of Vimioso, Miranda do Douro and Mogaduro. It has three dialects, namely border, central, and Sendinesse Mirandese. 

Portuguese Sign Language

In Portugal, around 60,000 people are deaf and communicate in Portuguese sign language. This sign language is also a member of the Swedish Sign Language family.

In this article, we hope that you can find the answers to the “What language does Portugal speak?” question. If you like this, you can also like our Origins of Portuguese People article.

Dialects of Portuguese

There are four major groupings of generally understandable Portuguese dialects Central, or Beira;  Southern (Estremenho), which includes Lisbon, Alentejo, and Algarve;  Insular, which includes the dialects of Madeira and the Azores; and  Brazilian.

Common Words and Phrases of Portuguese Language

Since English is taught in all schools beginning in the first grade, the majority of Portuguese individuals you encounter will know some basic phrases in the language.

Greetingss:Ola (Hello), Bom dia (Good Day), or Boa tarde (Good Evening),Estou a aprender o Portugues (I am learning Portuguese).

Starting with: Com licença (Excuse Me) or Peço desculpa, mas (I’m sorry, but).

Useful ones: Por favor (please), Sim (yes), Nao (no).

Finish: Obrigado/Obrigada (Thank you very much), Boa sorte (Good luck), Tchau or Adeus (goodbye)


What language is spoken in Portugal?

Portugal’s spoken language is Portuguese.

What is the main language in Portugal?

Portugal main language is Portuguese. Portugal official language is Portuguese as well.

How many languages are spoken in Portugal?

English, Spanish, French, and Mirandese are the most popular languages spoken in Portugal.

How many countries speak Portuguese?

In eleven nations and territories, Portuguese is a recognized official language.

What’s the difference between Spanish and Portuguese?

The difference between Spanish and Portuguese is the pronunciation and the number of phonemes. Generally, people spell Spanish words exactly as they are written. But, in Portuguese, vowels are generally swallowed. In addition, whereas Spanish has 24 phonemes, Portuguese has 37.

Can Spanish speakers understand Portuguese?

Each speaker of the Spanish and Portuguese languages can understand around half of what the other says.

What are the countries that speak Portuguese?

Portuguese speaking countries are Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal, and So Tomé and Principe. They are independent nations and territories that have made Portuguese their official language in recent years.

What is the origin of Portuguese language?

Western Iberia is where the Portuguese language had its start.

How is Portugal grammar?

The word order in Portuguese is often not as rigorous as it is in English, and although SOV structure can appear with a few object pronouns.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here