I'm learning European Portuguese because I'm half Portuguese and because I think it sounds ten times more beautiful. Also, European Portuguese grammar is more difficult which I like.
I'm gonna quote from a previous thread
, since sergiolopes wrote a very nice post on this subject.
As someone told me yesterday, asking this is also asking for trouble - especially if you want biased opinions! I'll try to remain unbiased as this type of discussions, when done by natives, can quickly go youtube-like and absurd.
In short, I agree with those that said that the differences are somewhat similar to those between American and British English, although with some nuances.
The first thing you'll notice is a difference in pronunciation. As far as I know, Brazilians have a more difficult time understanding Portuguese people speaking than we understanding them. Our vowels are more closed, and that's why you'll sometimes (many times, actually) hear a Brazilian say that we don't pronounce the vowels - a quite uneducated statement. We're also more exposed to Brazilian TV, so we're more used to hearing them. As a non-native, you can judge for yourself which sounds more beautiful to you.
There are also differences in spelling (minute), in vocabulary and grammar. This is where the American/British English comparison fails. To the best of my knowledge, British English is considered posh and educated by American natives. That is not the case with Brazilians. European Portuguese would sound archaic to their ears, whereas the style of Brazilian Portuguese will sound a bit uneducated and broken to us.
As for written Portuguese, regardless of the dialect you choose, you'll be able to understand the other without any problem. You'll probably feel like an American when reading words like "shan't", "needn't", "learnt" or "cheque", but you'll quickly get used to it.
Thanks! I guess I'll have to look around a little and compare audio clips of people speaking BP/EP, then, to figure out what I like best.
Also, when it comes to difficulty, I too generally prefer the hardest variants/dialects. However, I'm up to the roof in difficult stuff already (Arabic, Chinese, Russian...), so I figured I'd go easy on the Portuguese and do the easier variant. Then just go for people understanding me rather than complete fluency.
Reinder wrote:I'd go for Brazilian Portuguese because it simply got more speakers.
Well, that is one of the reasons that I've been leaning towards BP ever since I started looking into Portuguese again. Speaker amount is not what I care about the most, though; hence why the little Spanish I know is European, not Mexican or Latin American; not that I know the difference.
(It's obviously also because I learned it through going to Spain for two weeks, buying a Collins Complete Spanish book, and then studying it like crazy when on the train or bus or whatever.)