Is there a difference between European and Brazilian Portuguese? Yes, there are a lot of differences, namely spelling (although this will probably be less obvious in the future with the recent Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement), grammar (e.g. placement of pronouns, verbal forms, use of gerund vs. infinitive), and specific terminology (e.g. tela vs. ecrã, usuário vs. utilizador, senha vs. palavra-passe). Also, the form of addressing someone is quite different: in Portugal it is common to use “tu” (2nd person singular) for the informal form of addressing, whereas in Brazil they use “você” (3rd person singular).
The most important differences are:
- Legal texts are totally different, i.e., while Portuguese law is predominantly Napoleonic and German, Brazilian law is a mixture of these, too, but has more resemblance with U.S. disciplines.
- Marketing and normal language texts are totally different and have to be done by natives. If not, you risk serious confusion.
- Medical and pharmaceutical texts are quite the same – the incredible thing is that Brazilians normally use state-of-the art terminology earlier than the Portuguese. Internet sites for Brazil also tend to be much richer and use a larger range of terms than Portuguese sites.
- The Brazilian language is highly dynamic – they are more inclined to use whatever they want and adapt it to their language, while the Portuguese are much more conservative about the words they use. So, Brazilian speakers use more terms that the Portuguese would not: “crashar” for when your PC crashes; “zerar” is used to zero a counter; and to click a computer mouse you can use “clicar” while Portuguese would say “fazer um clique.” And yes – “mouse” in Brazil the computer mouse you are using now, but the Portuguese use a literal translation for mouse the animal (“rato”), just the same as the famous cartoon character: “Rato Mickey.”