Explore Portuguese

Minor in Portuguese Language, Literatures, and Cultures

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Learning Portuguese – and aiming at a Minor in Portuguese at this University – is your key to making an acquaintance with a lively culture as practiced by the 260 million people of the Lusophone world (Portuguese- speaking regions).  As you may know, Portuguese is the 6th most widely spoken language in the world, since it is the official language of Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, the islands of Madeira and Azores, and East Timor. It is also spoken in Goa (India), in several states on the East and West Coasts of the United States, and in parts of Venezuela, Argentina and Canada. 

Portuguese is the third most widely spoken European language after English and Spanish. It is the official language in international organizations such as The Community of Portuguese Language Countries, European Union, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Ibero-American States, and it is in the process of becoming one of the official languages at the UN.

Though we teach about Portuguese and Brazilian cultures, our emphasis is on the language as used in Brazil. This country is a leader among Latin American countries due to its progress in industrial and economic areas, its large population, and its sheer size, which occupies ¾ of the South American continent. Its diversity in demography, geography, enterprises, sports, modes of transportation, agriculture, industries, political administration, language dialects, folklore, and history offers a world of opportunities for those interested in a career of studies, research, and business in any of the areas mentioned above.

Once you register for the Portuguese Program, be assured that, if you regularly attend classes and practice the language, you will be able to speak, understand, read, and write in Portuguese as you take the four-semester language sequence (Port 104, 204, 205, and 207). The first two courses will be the basis for your initiation into the minor in Portuguese; you will add 15 more credits to fulfill the requirements towards this degree. Study abroad may be counted towards this degree with approval of your advisor.  Eventually, we offer a course geared towards those who know Spanish (at least at the 300 level) called “Portuguese for Spanish Speakers.” 

You may be interested in the Portuguese Table, a gathering of native speakers and students who exchange ideas, play games, and have a good time conversing in Portuguese at the Language House once a week. Besides this weekly gathering, there is a Luso-Brazilian Club where open-air activities such as Brazilian-style barbecues are part of the fun as we practice this melodious, beautiful, and rich language.

Our faculty consist of three native Portuguese speakers from Brazil: Dr. Regina Igel, Professor, Coordinator and Advisor of the Portuguese Program; Dr. Thayse Lima, Assistant Professor; and Teaching Assistant, Mr. Adonis Borges. They give their time to help you outside the classroom by creating activities in which you can apply your progressive knowledge of the language. Besides drop-in visits during their office hours, scheduling at your convenience is available. For more information, please contact Prof. Regina Igel: email: ri@umd.edu; phone: 301-405-6457 (if on campus, start dialing on 5). 

We welcome you to the Portuguese Program!