People and Society, Languages
Tupi, Arawak, Indian words, Jesuit missionaries, indigenous languages
Portuguese is the official and prevailing language of Brazil, although there are some regional variations in pronunciation and slang words. Since 1938 Portuguese has been the compulsory language for teaching in schools, but German and Italian are still spoken in homes in the South by some descendants of immigrants. English and French are the main second languages of educated Brazilians.
There are also more than 100 indigenous languages, of which the most important are Tupi, Ge, Arawak, and Carib. The Portuguese borrowed some Indian words, particularly from Tupi, which was the common language used in interactions among the Native Americans of the coastal regions, Jesuit missionaries, and early settlers. Many settlements and physical features still have Indian place-names. The settlers also borrowed some words from the vocabulary of African slaves.
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