Most Recent Changes to the Portuguese Language   | Grammar Index |

Numerous orthographic changes to the Portuguese language were agreed upon in 1994 to take effect in 2009. While the majority of these changes alter the spelling used in Portugal and the Portuguese speaking parts of Africa (to make them coincide more with Brazilian norms), many of the changes are directly relevant to Brazilian Portuguese. Even through implemented in 1994, few (if any) of these changes have been fully adopted by most Brazilians including the Brazilian print media. Full adoption of these changes will most likely require a generation or more.

The most significant of these changes are:

1. Addition of the letters k, w and y to the Portuguese alphabet even though, in Portuguese, they are still only used in words or names of foreign origin.

2. Elimination of the use of the trema (umlaut) where it was formerly used in such words as freqüência and freqüentar. They are now spelled without the umlauted u (ü), for example, frequência and frequentar.

3. Use of a hyphen (-) between compound words where the ending letter of the first word and the starting letter of the second word are the same, for example, contra-almirante, hiper-resistente and anti-imperialismo.

4. Use of a hyphen (-) in compound words where the second word begins with an h, for example, anti-higiênico and circum-hospitalar.

5. Elimination of the h and use of a hyphen (-) in compound words starting in des and in that were formerly coupled with a word starting with the letter h, for example, des-humano is now spelled desumano and in-hábil is spelled inábil.

6. Elimination of the circumflex (^) on the first o of words ending with a double o (oo), for example, vôo should now spelled voo, enjôo should now spelled enjoo and abençôo should now spelled abençoo.

For those interested in reading more about all of these changes:

A Nova Ortografia da Língua Portuguesa
Antônio Houaiss
Editoria Ática, 1993
ISBN 85 08 039743

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