Imagine if …

A lot has been written and a lot has been said about the New Orthographic Agreement of the Portuguese Language. For those who speak the language or live in a Portuguese speaking country, this is no news and they understand what is the problem with this Agreement. But, for those who don’t speak the language and have never been in contact with it, this might cause some confusion.

I will give you a simple view of what this Agreement is about and why me, and most of my colleagues and other Portuguese citizens, are against it.  This Agreement was signed by the Governments of all Portuguese speaking countries. The aim of the Agreement, they say, is to simplify and unify the Portuguese language, so it would be easier to use around the world.

Well, now, I will give you my views … Imagine if, you are a British citizen, you speak British English since you were born and, suddenly, your Prime Minister signed an Agreement to unify the English language with Presidents or Prime Ministers of other English speaking countries, so, your British English will change to American English, or Australian English or South African English. You wouldn’t be happy, would you? Neither are we …

This is what they are doing in Portugal. And the Portuguese only have their own Government to blame!

The Portuguese language is spoken in 7 countries, they form the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP – Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa). Each of these countries has a very different culture, and that culture influenced their language along the years, it is the natural evolution of a language. Even though these 7 countries are linked by a common language, each one of them have differences and, sometimes, those differences can be hard to understand by the other members. Generally speaking, they obviously can understand one another, only some terms can be different, just like British and American English …

This document the Portuguese Government signed with the other CPLP members sets that the Portuguese Language changes to be written and spoken as its Brazilian variant. It wouldn’t be a problem, if that was the natural evolution of the language in all these countries, the problem is, this goes against that natural evolution and is hard for people to accept it.

We all accept languages evolve. They are living beings, they are used every day and they are influenced by external factors, like migration, media and many more. A language is a major part of a country’s identity, its culture, its costumes, its gastronomy is passed from generation to generation through its language. But each country has its own evolution, and therefore the language evolves according to that evolution. It happens to the English Language, that is also spoken around the world, but the Governments of all English speaking countries accept those differences, and respect each other’s identities. Apparently, the Portuguese Government doesn’t want to defend its own identity …

This change has nothing to do with the Portuguese culture, or the way the language is spoken in Portugal. So, it absurd to force the Portuguese to adopt something they don’t understand or that has nothing to do with their culture. A group of linguists and other Portuguese professionals have gathered and organised a Citizen’s Legislative Initiative, to revoke this agreement, which we all call a “linguistic assassination”. If you are reading this post and you are a Portuguese Citizen, please join us, sign the Citizen’s Legislative Initiative and help us revoke an Agreement that goes against our language … ORTHOGRAPHIC AGREEMENT, I SAY NO!

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