Translators Associations Global: New Portuguese Orthographic Agreement
The Agreement to increase the international prestige of the Portuguese
The New Orthographic Agreement (abbreviated in Portuguese for NaO) of the Portuguese language is not that new. In fact, this international treaty was signed in Lisbon on 16 December 1990, with the purpose of creating a unified spelling for the Portuguese, to be used by all Portuguese-speaking countries.
The agreement was signed by official representatives of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe - Timor-Leste joined in 2004, after regaining its independence.
The aim of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (abbreviated in Portuguese for CPLP) is to increase the international prestige of the Portuguese.
To achieve that goal, it was necessary to end the existence of two divergent official orthographic rules, one in Brazil and another in the other Portuguese-speaking countries.
The NaO, which entered into force in Portugal in the Portuguese educational system in the academic year of 2011/2012 and is applied since January 1, 2012 to the Government, agencies, entities and services that depend on it, and the Portuguese Republic's official diary, doesn't create, enot ven today, consensus among linguists, philologists, academics, journalists, writers, translators and personalities of the artistic industries, universities, political and business societies of various Portuguese-speaking countries.
In fact, its application has motivated disagreement on technical grounds, with some pointing gaps, errors and ambiguities in the text of NaO or simply challenging the appropriateness or necessity of certain spelling options.
The NaO has also been constested on political, economic and legal grounds, and there are those who have even asserted, in Portugal, the unconstitutionality of the treaty.
One of the persons who have been more critical is Vasco Graça Moura. The writer and president of the Centro Cultural de Belém Foundation argues that the Agreement must be reviewed, at least to end the malaise that exists in countries like Angola and Mozambique - the document has not yet been ratified by both governments.
Rui Estrada, a professor at the University Fernando Pessoa, is on the side of those who advocate the new agreement. He considers that the Portuguese that is spoken and writen in Portugal is at risk of becoming something exotic and, in particular, Brazil, a country with more 200 million inhabitants, can help change that perspective.
The truth is that the changes introduced by NaO reach only 1.5% of Portuguese words.
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