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LANGUAGE

INTRODUCTION

 

 

How could language constitute as a challenge when reading records created in Portugal, Brazil, and other Portuguese native speaking countries? Most researchers might assume that fluency in speaking or reading Portuguese would be enough to interpret records of genealogical value. However, as people start reading older records, they quickly find out that the records are not written in a pure standard form of Portuguese, but in a variety of Portuguese influenced by local dialects and other languages, particularly by Latin, which was the main literary language used by Catholic priests.

Because rules regulating the spelling and grammar of Portuguese did not become more available and widespread until approximately the 19th century and because most people write the way they speak, spelling will prove a real challenge when reading old Portuguese documents. Adding to this challenge are factors such as the influence of Latin on the spelling of Portuguese words, and the several variations of Portuguese and the differences among them, such as differences in pronunciation resulting in different spellings. For example the interchangeable use of "i" and "y", and "s" and "z":​


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PORTUGUESE AROUND THE WORLD

 

Portuguese is the official language of at least seven different countries worldwide. It is the national language of Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau, while sharing a co-official title in many other countries. Because of the distance between each region, variations of the language occured and occur still today.

Portuguese Language Countries.svg  

 

THE EFFECT OF LANGUAGE DIVERSITY ON RECORDS

 

This language diversity affected the spelling and grammar of records all throughout the Portuguese world in various degrees. Below is an example of an 1873 Brazilian marriage record (top) compared with an 1874 Cape Verdian marriage record (bottom). Although many differences exist within the Portuguese language, we can see from reading both records that understanding the written word of different regions is still manageable.  
 
1 Brazil document.PNG
 

Ventura e Sabina Aos seis de

Novembro de mil oitocentos setenta e cinco, na

Cathedral ante mim, as cinco horas e meia da

tarde se receberam em matrimonio por pala-

vras de presente Ventura Ferreira dos Santos, e

Sabina Maria da Roza, elle viuvo por falleci-

mento de Antonia Maria da Conceição; e ella

filha natural de Josepha Maria da Concei-

ção E logo receberam as bençaos nupciaes na

forma do Ritual Romano, sendo de tudo testemu-

nhas Raymundo Ferreira Chaves, e Manuel Ri-

beiro da Roza. Onubente é natural d’este Cura-

to, e a nubente de Russas, d’onde veio de terna

idade para este, onde são moradores. Para cons-

tar se fez este assento, em que m assigno

Lomrenço da Costa Igniar
 
 
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Cape Verde document.PNG
 
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Aos dezoito de Abril de mil oito cento settenta

e quatro na Capella da Misericordia que

ao presente esta servindo de Egreja Parochial

perante mim comparecendo Donato josé

de Pina e Marcellina da Veija amaceba-

dos, e por ordem de sua Excellencia Reverendissi-

ma o Senhor Bispo desta diocese sem

mais formalidades, depois de os ouvir de con-

fição receberem a sagrada comunhão, as recibi

em matrimonio em facie ecclesiae, confirma

determina o sagrado Concilio de Orento(?) Elle

filho legitimo de Manoel Socorro e Maria

de Pina naturaes desta ilha, ella filha

natural de Maria da Boa Vista, natural

da ilha da Boa Vista, Epara constar

mandei foi este termo que assyno com

as testemunhas presentes Higgeiro josé Barbados

e José Joaquim Vieira Nas concellos

 
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