I can't resist posting the article I ran in O Progresso back in December 1995 under the headline "Are We Hispanic, or What?":
The Portuguese scholar/writer Eduardo Mayone Dias of UCLA gives an amusing twist to the "Are we Hispanic" question in a September issue of the newspaper "Brazil Today." We excerpt and paraphrase: On filing a police complaint he was asked by the clerk if he were Hispanic. Define the term Hispanic, Dias said. "Are you Mexican?" No, he responded. "Then you're not Hispanic," he was told. He wondered: were he a Guatemalan or a Nicaraguan, then he wasn't Hispanic? His identity crisis commenced when he first applied for a visa to enter the U.S. To the question as to hs color, he wrote "white." The clerk crossed it out and wrote Caucasian. He wasn't familiar with that classification in Portugal, and was always assured that he was born in Campo do Ourique and never saw any mountains in the Caucasus. His indignation increased, but mindful that he wanted a visa and not a debate on geography, he kept quiet and let the clerk classify him as he wished. Once here he considered himself Caucasian, but doubt persisted. Having been born in the Iberian Peninsula, or what his 4th grade school book also called the Hispanic Peninsula, wasn't he legally and etymologically Hispanic? He wasn't "Spanish surnamed" because he wrote Dias with an S and not a Z, but isn't ethnicity more important than orthography? When time came to fill out the census document, his anxiety returned. He telephoned the Census Bureau and no one could tell him what he was. Perhaps they didn't know where Portugal was, a geographic indifference he often encountered. To avoid such problems, he once told a lady who asked where he was born, he replied, "In a small place east of New York." "Hoboken?" she asked. How is it in fact possible to arrange on a questionnaire all the ancestral baggage, complicated by administrative or spelling accident? What are two persons with Portuguese passports, one born in Angola with the surname Chissano, and the other from Macau who gives the name Li? Is one Afro-Latino-European and the other Asiatic-Latino-Europen? Actually, the more pertinent question is: to North American eyes what are we, Brazilian and Portuguese, coming from countries of a variety of pigmentations and with surnames truly ecumenical? It is clear that we could always declare ourselves "other" but isn't that anonymity somewhat humiliating? Perhaps, Dias wrote, since his mother was Spanish, the next time he has to respond he'll write with great assurance "Caucasian-Latin-European-Semi Hispanic-Other." Lionel Holmes, California.
According to the «Ministerio dos Negocios Estrangeiros» (foreign office) web page:
«Portuguese is the official language. Derived from Latin, the Portuguese language spread along the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula with the Roman invasion of 218 BC. Since then the Portuguese language has been variously influenced and altered, adopting new words used by the Germanic invaders and later, in 711, numerous Arab words after the Moorish invasion of the Peninsula. Finally words from the peoples and lands discovered and/or colonized were also adapted together with more recent French and English additions. The result is a language which is spoken in seven countries: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Cape Verde, spread over five continents, as well as the territories of Macau and East-Timor.
The Portuguese language is one of the most-widely spoken languages in the world and it is estimated that by the year 2000 it will be spoken by 200 million people.»
Nothing to do with «Spanish»!!! Parabens aos 200,000,000 que falam Português! --Luis K W * * *
Hi, I've seen where Portuguese were classified as Latino, and we are from the same Iberian bloodline as Spaniards. Anyway, I am working for the Census at the moment and I read something that describes what a Hispanic is (according to the Census). It specifically states that the Portuguese are not to be counted as Hispanics for census purposes. I say that we share the same origins, though, and Portuguese was once a Spanish dialect as far as I know. I'm interested in all of your comments --Sincerely, Gio
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Thanks, Gio for your participation in this discussion. For your information Portuguese is not and never has been a Spanish dialect. Remember, the language in Spain is really Castillian, not Spanish. Also Portugal is the only country in Europe where only one language is spoken.
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What about the following comment? «I want to kill that Gio!!!!» :-)) Luis K.W.
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Dear Mr. Mira - I noticed that the Library of Congress web site has former Congressman Tony Coelho listed under "Hispanic Americans in Congress". My great grandparents emigrated from the Azores to southeastern Massachusetts around the turn of the century. We have never identified ourselves as Hispanic. Is there something I should know? G.C. - Worcester, Mass.
- Dear Mr. G.C. - This is a battle we have been fighting for many years. My immediate suggestion is to write to the Library of Congress to the attention of: Dr. Iêda Siqueira Wiarda, Ph. D. Hispanic Division, 101 Independence Ave. SE , Washington, DC 20540-4850. If we all write, eventually they'll correct it. Dr. Iêda is sympathetic to our plea, and she understands. It is unfortunate that most Americans do not know the difference between being Hispanic and Portuguese. The word Hispanic derives from the Roman province of Hispania. The Roman Emperor Augustus (27 BC-14AD) divided it into two provinces and named them Hispania and Lusitania. Lusitania is today most of modern Portugal, therefore we're Lusitanos not Hispanics, this is a term used mostly only in America. Spain and Portugal share the Iberian Peninsula. We and more than 200 millions throughout the world who share our culture, language and ancestry descend from the Lusitanos.The proud people of Azores and their rich history, have played a prominent part in helping to keep our culture and language in many parts of the world since the 16th century. You and your friends can help. Write Today Good Luck, MM
(We kindly request our visitors to translate the following from Portuguese to English)
Caro Francisco, O português é espanholado, e ao mesmo tempo o espanhol é aportuguesado.
O que verdadeiramente interessa é que nós não falamos castelhano ( e palavras como nom (não), pero (mas), ou cura (padre) eram comuns nos dois reinos, pelo que não se pode afirmar serem castelhanas). Nem falámos nunca. A maior proximidade de línguas é entre Portugal e Galiza (ainda hoje o Galego se esforça para se aproximar do português), que têm palavras comuns (os galegos muitas vezes não escrevem "y" mas "e", nem "hablar" mas "falar"). Um abraço, Jacinto Bettencourt
E há outra língua esquecida que se falava na corte de Afonso X de Leão e Castela: o leonês, que foi sendo progressivamente absorvido pelo castelhano, mas de que restam alguns dialectos como o mirandês. João F. Simas