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The FamilySearch moderator for Brazil is Giuseppe Martinengo

Description[edit | edit source]

The first wave of Portuguese speaking immigrants settled in Brazil in the 16th century, but was not widely used. Portuguese coexisted with Língua Geral—a lingua franca based on Amerindian languages that was used by the Jesuit missionaries—as well as with the slaves brought over from Africa. There was swift change with the expansion of colonization to the Brazilian interior, and the growing numbers of Portuguese settlers, who brought their language and it became the most important ethnic group in Brazil.

As time went by there were many immigrants from other countries flooding into Brazil, such languages as French, German, Italian, Spain, Japan, Slavs and American. Many of the groups settled in the South and Southeast, but they all learn Portuguese for the purpose of communication, television, and radio.

Words from various languages have became borrowed, for example from Americans came words involving Technology and science, Commerce and finance, Miscellaneous cultural concepts. French has contributed to Portuguese words for foods, furniture, and luxurious fabrics, as well as for various abstract concepts, From German, besides strudel, pretzel, bratwurst, from marshal Friedrich Hermann Von Schönberg, and xote (musical style and dance) from schottisch, From Italian loan words and expressions, in addition to those that are related to food or music. For a more complete list of Loanwords click here. Words of influence in Brazil (about half way down)

Brazilian Portuguese is a set of dialects of the Portuguese language used in Brazil. But Brazilian Portuguese differs, particularly in the sound patterns and their meanings in speech, as well as in the use of tone, stress or rhythms, from dialects spoken in Portugal and Portuguese speaking African countries. In these latter countries, the language has a closer connection to contemporary European Portuguese because the Portuguese rule ended much earlier in Brazil. Despite the differences between spoken varieties, they differ very little in formal writing.

Most materials used in Brazilian research are written in Portuguese, because of the importance of the Roman Catholic Church to Brazil’s history, you may find several other languages in Brazilian records. These include Latin, German, Italian, Polish, and other languages of European ethnic immigrants, such as Japanese.

Portuguese grammar may affect the way names appear in genealogical records. For help in understanding name variations, see Brazil Personal Names. You do not need to speak or read Portuguese to do research in Brazilian records. However, you will need to know some key words and phrases to understand the records.

In 1990 the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP, included representatives from all countries with Portuguese as the official Language, to reach an agreement on a reform to the Portuguese spelling of the langurage,in all Portuguese speaking countries. The reform went into effect in Brazil th 1st of January, 2009.[1]

Word List[edit | edit source]

For a complete word list and help researching in Brazilian records, see:

But for a quick list:

English Portuguese
January janeiro
February fevereiro
March março
April abril
May maio
June junho
July julho
August agosto
September setembro
October outubro
November novembro
December dezembro
English Portuguese
Given name and surname Nome e sobrenome
Date of birth (approximate) Data de nascimento (aproximada)
Place of birth Lugar de nascimento
Date of baptism Data de batismo
Place of baptism Lugar de batismo
Full name of father Nome completo do pai
Full maiden name of mother Nome de solteira da mãe
Full name of husband Nome completo do esposo
Full maiden name of wife: Nome de solteira da esposa
Date of marriage Data de casamento
Place of marriage Lugar de casamento
Date of death Data de morte
Place of death Lugar de morte
Date of emigration Data de emigração
Date of immigration Data de imigração

In some genealogical records, numbers are written out, especially true with dates. The following list gives the cardinal (1, 2, 3) and the ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd) versions of each number. In Portuguese, days of the month are written in ordinal form. [2]

Cardinal # Cardinal (word) Ordinal # Ordinal (word)
0 zero

1 um 1st primeiro
2 dois 2nd segundo
3 três 3rd terceiro
4 quatro 4th quarto
5 cinco 5th quinto
6 seis 6th sexto
7 sete 7th sétimo
8 oito 8th oitavo
9 nove 9th nono
10 dez 10th décimo
11 onze 11th décimo primeiro
12 doze 12th décimo segundo
13 treze 13th décimo terceiro
14 catorze 14th décimo quarto
15 quinze 15th décimo quinto
16 dezesseis 16th décimo sexto
17 dezessete 17th décimo sétimo
18 dezoit 18th décimo oitavo
19 dezenove 19th décimo nono
20 vinte 20th vigésimo
21 vinte e um 21st vigésimo primeiro
22 vinte e dois 22nd vigésimo segundo
23 vinte e três 23rd vigésimo terceiro
24 vinte e quatro 24th vigésimo quarto
25 vinte e cinco 25th vigésimo quinto
26 vinte e seis 26th vigésimo sexto
27 vinte e sete 27th vigésimo sétimo
28 vinte e oito 28th vigésimo oitavo
29 vinte e nove 29th vigésimo nono
30 trinta 30th trigésimo
31 trinta e um 31st trigésimo primero

Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Portuguese uses the same 26 letters, but he K and W are used only in words that are not of Portuguese origin. However, some letters in Portuguese can carry accent marks that indicate how to pronounce the letter, or which syllable in a word is stressed. The accent marks include: (agudo á, é, í, ó, ú); (cedilha ç); (circunflexo ê, ô); (grave à, è); (til ã, ẽ, õ, ũ); (trema ü)

Language Aids and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]

The FamilySearch Wiki has genealogical word lists for Portuguese, German, Latin, Polish), and Spanish. There is also a Portuguese Letter-writing Guide to help write to Brazil.

Brazilian Dictionary

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

See the FamilySearch tutorials on "Reading Portuguese Handwritten Records"

The following books and English-Portuguese dictionaries can also aid you in your research. You can find these and similar material at many research libraries.

Ferreira, Júlio Albino. Dicionário Inglês- português, Português-inglês. Porto, Portugal: Edit. Domingos Barreira, 1979. FHL 469.321 F413d; film FHL 1181702 item 1

Vieyra, Anthony. Dictionary of Portuguese and English languages. London: 1827. FHL 1181694 item 5 The Family History Library has only part two, English- Portuguese.