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Lessons in Portuguese Commercial Correspondence (Classic Reprint)

Lessons in Portuguese Commercial Correspondence (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Lessons in Portuguese Commercial Correspondence

The constantly increasing importance of the Portuguese language, as a commercial medium between this country and Portugal and Brazil, is sufficient excuse for the publication of this small volume of commercial correspondence.

This work is intended primarily for students who are practically at the beginning of their studies in the language; the Lessons have, therefore, been rendered as simple as possible; firstly, by the selection of models which do not contain involved or intricate phraseology, and, secondly, by the copious foot-notes and explanations of difficult points of idiom or grammar.

The orthography of the Portuguese language is at present hardly so definitely fixed as that of Spanish or French, and it is not easy to lay down hard-and-fast rules regarding spelling. The use of the letters "s" and "z" is sometimes arbitrary, and one meets with "praso" and "prazo," "fasenda" and "fazenda," etc., etc. Also in the case of the letters "ph," the Portuguese have not yet adopted the Spanish reform of substituting "f" for "ph." Nevertheless, there is a tendency nowadays to write "fantasia" or "fantazia" rather than "phantasia."

There are many other little variations in spelling, such as the doubling of the "c" in certain words, e.g., "aceitar" (or "acceitar"), "aceite" (or "acceite"), etc.

The plan followed in the present work has been to adopt the spelling which is most current among educated Portuguese or Brazilians.

One of the peculiarities of the Portuguese language is that which concerns the pronoun "you," which may be rendered in quite a number of ways, e.g., Vossa Senhoria, Vossa Merce, Vossa Excellencia; Vosse (more familiar); also o Senhor, or o Amigo. The general rule seems to be, in commercial correspondence, that Vossa Senhoria (abbreviated thus: V.S.) is best used for Portugal, and Vossa Merce (abbreviated to V.M.) for Brazil, but this rule is not strictly observed. Particularly in Rio de Janeiro the form of Vossa Senhoria is in current use.

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