A trip around the portuguese-speaking countries

Over a series of articles, L10N Making Translation Invisible will transport you to the Portuguese-speaking world. Find out about the customs and unique characteristics of these countries and (re)discover a universe of diversity and multiculturalism, united by one of the most powerful links imaginable – the Portuguese language!

Guess where we are going!

That’s right… Angola.

The Portuguese arrived in Angola more than 500 years ago and soon settled there. The country’s riches were so attractive to the Portuguese that the Republic of Angola only gained independence in 1975 (although not always peacefully or justly).

The relationship between Portugal and Angola has always been quite close!


The Republic of Angola is located on the west coast of Africa and is made up of:

  • 18 provinces (including the enclave of Cabinda)
  • Approximately 26 million inhabitants.

Angola’s strong cultural identity is mainly reflected in literaturemusic and dance, with styles known throughout the world, such as SembaKuduro and Kizomba.

Portuguese is the official language but the country is home to 11 different linguistic groups, which are divided into about 90 dialects. However, there are other languages: Kikongo, Chokwe, Umbundu, Kimbundu, Nganguela and Kwanyama.

Angolan Portuguese

Contrary to what has happened, for example, with Brazilian Portuguese, Angolan Portuguese has undergone few changes over time and is more similar to European Portuguese.

The policies to defend the Portuguese language in Angola were stricter than in other Portuguese-speaking countries – one of the policies adopted by colonialist governments required any “indigenous” individual who wished to be a Portuguese citizen to prove that they were “assimilated”. In other words, this meant that, as well as proving that they shared the religious, political and moral ideals of the government, they also had to have a perfect command of European Portuguese.

Did you know that the Portuguese language was a tool to unify the people and create an Angolan national identity following independence and that, today, it is the mother tongue of around 71% of the population?

However, no living language is static or stagnant: the spread of Portuguese throughout Angola coupled with the country’s strong identity has seen the development of a variant of Angolan Portuguese, which has unique characteristics.

In order for you to better understand the differences of this variant of Portuguese, here are some examples:

Português Europeu Português de Angola Diferença
Gosto muito do lugar onde estou. Gosto muito do lugar que estou. General relative pronoun que and suppression of onde.
Ele vive com os pais. Ele vive com os pai. No agreement in number.
The biggest differences in phonological terms are the monophthongisation of the diphthongs ei and ou to ê and ô, the omission of the letter r at the end of infinitive verbs and the fact that l and r are pronounced in the same way.
Aquele na foto sou eu. Aquele na foto é sou eu. Repetition of the verb before the complement.
Diz-me o que comes e eu digo-te quem és. Me diz que comes e te digo quem és. Divergent use of the pronoun.
Unique vocabulary used locally, acquired mainly by absorption and integration os native Angolan languages.

The Angolan Portuguese variant has a unique identity and a great future ahead. An entire book could be written about the history and development of the Portuguese language in Angola, but we’ll just leave you with some of the most important facts.

At L10N, we are specialists in language variants which is why we have a team of native Angolan linguists, hence the meaning of our name, L10N – Localization.

Happy chatting (in Portuguese)!

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