Portuguese is a romance language, originating in Portugal, and one of the first to spread outside europe. It is spoken by approximately 250 million speakers, the majority in Brazil. There are two main dialects Brazilian (as spoken in the phrases on the right) and European (as spoken in Portugal).
Portuguese holiday phrases ordered by topic.
Translated by Ana Clara
Portuguese is grammatically similar to the other romance languages.
One of the big differences is in the use of 'you'. Brazilian Portuguese like other romance languages uses different words for "you", depending on the degree of formality expressed.
In broad terms, tu and você (both meaning singular "you") are used in informal situations, while in more formal situations o senhor and a senhora (masculine singular, feminine singular) are preferred. In parts of Brazil, você represents an intermediate degree of formality between tu (familiar) and o senhor (formal), although tu has been replaced by você in some areas.
So, in general terms, tu is used in informal situations, o senhor is very formal and voce is somewhere in the middle.
However, unlike the other Romance languages, tu uses the same verb endings as você, meaning there are no second person verbs. This is similar in the plural and in contast to other Romance languages. Tu, você and o senhor all use the 3rd person of the relevant verb.
Portuguese nouns have gender and may be either masculine of feminine. Gender is important as words have to agree with nouns.
Portuguese has a definite article 'the' and an indefinite one 'a', with different forms according to the gender and number of the noun referred to.
Most adjectives and demonstratives, and all articles must be inflected according to the gender and number of the noun referred to. This can be seen in these examples, where the o in branco changes to a, as and os.
este lindo carro branco 'this nice white car' esta linda casa branca 'this nice white house' estas lindas aves brancas 'these nice white birds' estes lindos gatos brancos 'these nice white cats'.
Portuguese verbs, similarly to the other Romance languages (with the exception above). conjugate to agree with the subject's grammatical person, and to express various attributes of the action.
Brazilian Portuguese phrases ordered by topic.
Brazilian Portuguese language course. Grammatical explanations with examples and audio.
http://www.learningportuguese.co.uk contains explanations of Portuguese grammar (and more).
http://wikitravel.org lists further Brazilian Portuguese phrases, and also contains some (basic) grammatical explanations.
There is also a very much more detailed Wiki entry describing Portuguese grammar.