Beyond Vuvuzelas By guest blogger Mark Lokensgard, Ph.D. Founder of St.

Mary's Portuguese program and Associate Professor of Languages The game may have been more prosaic than poetic, but when Brazil and Portugal met last week in the first round of the World Cup in South Africa, the background suggested a growing presence for their common language. For the first time in history, Portuguese will be among the official languages of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), meaning that simultaneous translation in the language will be made available at all the soccer-governing body's official events, such as press conferences. FIFA also launched a Portuguese-language version of its website last year, adding to those already existing in English, French, Spanish, German and Arabic. Beyond Football Another historical first for the Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) world occurred when the first Brazilian firm entered as an official sponsor for the World Cup. The sponsor was Seara, a food products firm that, several years ago, considered a merger with American company Tyson Foods. The Brazilian and Portuguese teams faced off in Durban, South Africa, marking an additional commonality between the two countries. Durban was the childhood home of Fernando Pessoa, widely considered the greatest Portuguese poet, or indeed, Portugueselanguage poet, of all time.

Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters via guardian.co.uk

Beyond Language Within Africa, sustained economic growth in Angola and Mozambique, where Portuguese serves as a national language, has increased interest in Portuguese. Brazil's continued economic growth and stability have given the country growing international influence, as has its status as the next host of the World Cup in 2014 and of the Olympic Games in 2016. Sometimes language communicates more than words and ideas. And in

the case of Portuguese, it indicates that much change is in store for the economies and cultures of Lusophone countries, and speakers of the world's sixth most widely spoken language

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