[Originally published on 20 November 2013]
Pretty much all countries (especially in Europe) were invaded and controlled by other people. And that meant these other people would imposed their own language onto the new territories. Although Portugal is one of the countries in Europe with the oldest borders it also had its share of invasions and the evolution of Portuguese language is the result of that.
First, there were the Celtics, who left us words like cais (dock), caminho (path), cerveja (beer), colmeia (beehive) and embaixada (embassy).
Then came the Romans and brought Latin with them. This was the biggest influence of all. In fact, Portuguese language is based on the Latin that was spoken by the Roman soldiers.
After that, it was the Germans turn to invade this piece of land. They had little influence on our language but enough to let us words like guerra (war) and guardar (to keep).
The Arabs expelled the Germans and Arabic became the “official” language. So, there are lots of words with Arabic origin, especially in Southern Portugal, like açúcar (sugar), laranja (orange), arroz (rice), bairro (neighbourhood), Algarve (a region in the South of Portugal), azul (blue), oxalá (let us hope), açorda (a typical food in the South of Portugal), Alfama (a neighbourhood in Lisbon), xadrez (chess) and Arrábida (a set of mountains 50km south of Lisbon).
Finally, D. Afonso Henriques kicked out the Arabs from the region and founded the Portugal Kingdom. And we lived happily (and full of wars) ever after.
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