New spelling in Brazil

Could you imagine what would happen if you had to adopt a new set of spelling and grammar rules? Well that’s exactly what has just happened in Brazil.

I’m sure you know that Portuguese is different in Brazil and Portugal. It all stems from 1911 when Portugal (and its territories) commissioned a standardisation of the writing system (orthography) for Portuguese; this was known as the orthographic reform of Gonçalves Viana.

Due to various disagreements and logistic issues Brazil set up an orthography of its own in 1934, with the same general principles as the Portuguese orthography, but not entirely identical to it, which lead to differences between the two languages.

Over the remaining 20th Century various moves were made to reform the languages and bring them closer together, many positive steps were taken. The main change was the signing of the Orthographic Agreement in 1990 by seven Portuguese speaking nations.

Orthographic Agreement of 1990

The agreement sets out new spelling rules for the language in an attempt to standardise its use across its 250 million users. This means that as from this week some Brazilian Portuguese spelling and grammar rules will be different.

The changes include,

  • Ruling out of letters c and p from the European/African spelling when silent
  • The removal of the diaeresis mark from Brazilian spelling
  • The elimination of the acute accent from the diphthongs éi and ói in paroxytone words
  • Spellings such as anónimo and anônimo, facto and fato, both will be considered legitimate, according to the dialect of the author or person being transcribed.
  • Common guidelines for the use of hyphens and capitalization.

What will it mean to you?

International websites such as BBC Brazil will be adopting the new way of spelling as soon as possible. If you sell/operate in this market make sure that you have your copy reviewed by a translator.

1 reply
  1. Jose
    Jose says:

    This spelling reform will empower the Portuguese language by leaps and bounds. Different Portuguese accents don’t matter, but an almost uniform written Portuguese standard does.

    Reply

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