Portuguese is the official or co-official language of over 258 million speakers living in Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Macau, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe. It is the sixth or seventh most spoken language in the world, the third most spoken European language, the most spoken language in South America and the Southern Hemisphere, and the second most spoken language in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. According to UNESCO, Portuguese and Spanish are the fastest-growing European languages after English and Portuguese has the highest potential for growth as an international language in southern Africa and South America. It is also an official language of several international organizations, including Mercosur, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union of South American Nations, the Organization of American States, the African Union, and the European Union.
The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures offers the opportunity to study a full year of Brazilian Portuguese in an accelerated format for students who have a strong working knowledge of Spanish or another Romance language (the equivalent of SPAN, FREN or ITAL 112). Completion of both semesters is required for study abroad in Brazil.