In 1990, an orthographic agreement was reached between the Portuguese-language countries which main purpose was the creation of a single common orthography for Portuguese.
Brazilian and Portuguese Scenario
On January 1st, 2009, Brazil started adopting the new spelling rules, defined in the Spelling Agreement signed in 1990 by seven Portuguese-speaking countries. Grammarians estimate that the spelling reform affects 0.5% of the Portuguese (Brazil) lexicon. In Brazil, there will be a 4-year transition period in which both spellings will be accepted.
As the purpose of the Portuguese spelling reform is to set up a single common orthography for all Portuguese-speaking countries, you may be wondering what is going on in Portugal. Despite that the spelling reform has met strong resistance in Portugal, the Portuguese president ratified the Spelling Agreement in July 2008, but the date when the new spelling rules will take effect is still undefined. Once the spelling reform is effective, there will be a 6-year transition period in which both spelling rules will be accepted. It is estimated that the unified spelling will affect 1.6% of the words used in Portugal.
What will be Changed
The adoption of the new orthography will cause changes in the spelling of about 1.6% of the words in the European norm (official also in Africa, Asia and Oceania) and about 0.5% in the Brazilian norm. The 1990 orthographic agreement proposes the elimination of the letters c and p from the European/African spelling when they are silent, the elimination of the diaeresis mark (ü) from the Brazilian spelling, and the elimination of the acute accent from the diphthongs éi and ói in paroxytone words.Example idéia, jibóia are now written as ideia,jiboia. As for divergent spellings such as anónimo and anônimo, facto and fato, both will be considered legitimate, according to the dialect of the author or person being transcribed. The agreement also establishes some common guidelines for the use of hyphens and capitalization, the former still to be developed and fixed in a common vocabulary.
It will also add three letters, K, W, Y, to the Portuguese alphabet , making it equal to the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
Brazilian government announced in December 2012, that the orthographic agreement will become mandatory in 2016.
Last Updated in December 2012.
Resources used in this article:
Ciberdúvidas (In Portuguese)