Brazilian Portuguese (Portuguese: português brasileiro, português do Brasil) is a set of dialects of the Portuguese language used mostly in Brazil. It is spoken by virtually all of the 200 million inhabitants of Brazil and by a few million Brazilian emigrants, mainly in the United States, Paraguay, Japan, Portugal, and Argentina. Brazilian Portuguese has had its own development. As a result, this variant of the Portuguese language is somewhat different, mostly in phonology, from the variant spoken in Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries (the dialects of the other countries, partly because of the more recent end of Portuguese colonialism in these regions, have a closer connection to contemporary European Portuguese). The degree of difference between the two variants of the Portuguese language is a controversial topic. In formal writing, the written Brazilian standard differs from the European one to about the same extent that written American English differs from written British English. The differences extend to spelling, lexicon, and grammar. However, Brazilian and European Portuguese differ much more from each other in phonology and prosody, which can make communication between a Brazilian and a Portuguese confusing at first, especially for Brazilians trying to understand a European, while a speaker of British English and an American have little initial difficulty in mutual understanding. Due to the extensive influence of Brazilian soap operas and songs, a Portuguese has little difficulty in understanding a Brazilian.
In 1990, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), which included representatives from all countries with Portuguese as the official language, reached an agreement on the reform of the Portuguese orthography to unify the two standards then in use by Brazil on one side and the remaining lusophone countries on the other. This spelling reform went into effect in Brazil on 1 January 2009. In Portugal, the reform was signed into law by the President on 21 July 2008 allowing for a 6-year adaptation period, during which both orthographies will co-exist. The remaining CPLP countries are free to establish their own transition timetables.
In spite of the use of Brazilian Portuguese by people of various linguistic backgrounds, a number of other factors—especially its comparatively recent development and the cultural prestige and strong government support accorded to the written standard—have helped to maintain the unity of the language over the whole of Brazil and to ensure that all regional varieties remain mutually intelligible. Starting in the 1960s, the nationwide dominance of television networks based in the southeast (Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo) has made the accents of that region into a common spoken standard for the mass media, as well. (Wikipedia)