Classroom of the Month: Portuguese

| News Allgemein

Near the Portuguese capital Lisbon lies Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe. "Here, where the earth ends and the sea begins", as the Portuguese national poet Luís de Camões described the place. But the Portuguese language area by no means ends here. "Minha Pátria é a língua portuguesa", said the poet Fernando Pessoa: "My homeland is the Portuguese language." And with this language, you can feel at home in many places. Most Portuguese speakers today do not live in Portugal, but in Brazil. And Portuguese is also the official language in Angola, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Macau and East Timor.

Language and literature play an extremely important role in Portugal. While most countries celebrate independence, revolutions or kings on their national holidays, Portugal is the only country in the world to commemorate a poet, Luís de Camões, who is said to have died on 10 June 1580. As a Romance language, Portuguese is related to the other languages of the Iberian Peninsula, Spanish and Catalan. Portuguese people usually understand Spanish well. In addition, the Brazilian dialect is very well understood in Portugal, as many soap operas from Brazil are shown on Portuguese television.

Portuguese students at the ESM are part of SWALS, the Students without a language section, as the international section at the European Schools is officially called. They are enrolled in one of the larger language sections and receive additional tuition in which they learn the history of the country and its culture alongside the Portuguese language.

The curricula for Portuguese in Primary and Aecondary school are strongly oriented towards Portuguese literature and history. In Primary School the pupils read the works of children's author Luísa Ducla Soares, for example. "Tudo ao Contrário!" (Everything on the contrary!) and "Poemas da Mentira e da verdade" (Poems of Lies and Truth) are popular with children because they turn the adult world upside down and are full of humour, imagination and the joy of wordplay. The books of the author and Camões Prize winner Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, such as "A Menina do Mar" (The Sea Girl), are also part of the compulsory programme for Portuguese Primary School pupils. Finally, in Secondary School, the classics of Portuguese literature are read: the father of Portuguese theatre Gil Vicente, the epic Lusiads by Luís de Camões, novels by Camilo Castelo Branco and sophisticated contemporary literature, for example by Nobel Prize winner José Saramago.

Literature is then also often the reference with which pupils access history. From antiquity to the rule of the Moors to the time of the Reconquista, from the Portuguese seafaring empire to modern Portugal, there is much to discover. Special attention is paid to the links to the entire Iberian Peninsula, to other European countries and to other parts of the world. And of course, pupils also learn about the many other things besides literature that make Portugal and the Portuguese-speaking world special: About art and architecture, Portuguese music such as the fado, film and culinary arts, about Portugal's economy and political system as well as about sports with the many Portuguese-speaking world footballers from Portugal and Brazil. And finally, the lessons focus on Portugal as part of the European Union and as an important arena of European cooperation: the Tratado de Lisboa, the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in the Portuguese capital.

Profile Portugal

  • Capital: Lisbon
  • Population: 10.3 million (2021)
  • Bank holidays: 10 June
  • Accession to the EU: 1986
  • The European motto "United in diversity" is "Unidos na diversidade" in Portuguese.
  • Pupils with Portuguese nationality in the European Schools system: 698.35 (2020).
  • You should know this Portuguese saying: "Quem vê caras, não vê corações." Literally "He who sees faces, does not see hearts", analogous "Don't judge a book by its cover".

Further information:

In this series of articles, the European School Munich presents one or more "Classroom of the Month". The aim is to give more visibility to the lovingly and elaborately decorated rooms and to promote understanding among the different nationalities and languages. The "Classroom of the Month" is not a competition. Rather, over time, all areas of the ESM are to be featured. The current selection is made at random.