Portuguese Language: A Cultural Melting Pot

Portuguese is a beautiful and complex language with a rich history that reflects the country’s diverse cultural heritage.

I am fascinated by the many influences that have shaped the language over the centuries, including Latin, Arabic, and other European languages.

One of the most interesting things about Portuguese is its extensive ARABIC vocabulary. The Portuguese language is estimated to have over 18,000 Arabic words, making it one of the most Arabic-influenced languages in the world.

The Moorish Castle in Sintra (on the left) is a stunning example of the Arabic influence on Portuguese culture. This iconic landmark is a testament to the region’s rich history and diverse heritage.

➕ Here are some Portuguese words that originate from Arabic (derived from religious expressions):

➖ Oxalá (law xá Allah or incha Allah, God willing)
➖ Olá (wa Allah, God, greeting)
➖ Olé (wa Allah, God, an interjection used as applause or encouragement)
➖ Olarilolé (la illaha ila Allah, there is no god but God, Muslim profession of faith)

➕ Other Portuguese words of Arabic origin include:

➖ Alcachofra (artichoke)
➖Álgebra (algebra)
➖Almoço (lunch)
➖Altar (altar)
➖Arroz (rice)
➖Azulejo (tile)
➖Xadrez (chess)

The rich cultural exchange that has taken place between these two cultures is reflected in the influence of Arabic on the Portuguese language. It is also a testimony to the adaptability and resilience of the Portuguese language, which has embraced novel influences while retaining its distinct identity.

P.S. I hope you liked this short explanation of how Arabic influences the Portuguese language and a photo by my husband (he is skilled in this area ).