Throughout the 20th century, numerous efforts were made to establish common spelling in all Portuguese-speaking countries. The Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement of 1990 was ratified by Brazil in 2004 and implemented in 2009.
After that, the Government allowed for a 6-year transition period where both spellings could exist within Portugal and this was finally enforced as of January 1, 2015.
Other Portuguese-speaking nations impacted by the reform (Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Macau, East Timor, Sao Tome and Principe) have ratified and implemented the Agreement at different paces, with the exception of Angola which has not done so yet.
The major changes introduced by this spelling reform are as follows:
- Addition of the letters k, w, and y to the Portuguese alphabet;
- Omission of all mute consonants;
- Standardization of the capitalization of months, seasons, and orientation which are to be lower case when written within a sentence;
- Removal of accents that indicate pronunciation:
- Removal of accents used solely to distinguish between different words that would otherwise be spelt the same;
- Removal of hyphens in compound words;
- Standardization of hyphen use in prefixes;
- A hyphen is used when the second element starts with an “h”;
- A hyphen is not used when the prefix ends with a vowel and is followed by a different vowel or a consonant other than “r” or “s”;
Even though it has been a subject of great controversy, this new spelling is now endorsed and widely implemented by major world-known brands. This has implied a huge effort to adapt and update Portuguese content on numerous platforms.
If you have your content translated into Portuguese and would like to make sure they reflect the most up-to-date spelling rules, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll be happy to advise you.