Wiktionary:About Old Portuguese

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Old Portuguese or Galician-Portuguese (language code roa-opt, previously roa-ptg) was a mediaeval Romance language spoken natively in the northwest of the Iberian peninsula, later expanding southwards to Algarve. It was also the preferred language of troubadourism in Iberia, alongside Old Occitan; as such, it is very well attested in the form of songbooks. Its direct descendant languages, as recognised by Wiktionary, are Portuguese, Galician and Fala.

What to includeEdit

Distinguishing between Latin and Old PortugueseEdit

There is no consensus on how to classify texts, such as the Notícia de Fiadores and the Notícia de Torto, which feature characteristics of both Classical Latin and Old Portuguese.

Cutoff date between Old Portuguese and its descendantsEdit

There is no consensus on whether a word should be classified as Galician/Portuguese/Fala or Old Portuguese.



Elided formsEdit

Elided forms are to be included[1]. The layout and page title of entries for elided forms is undecided.


Abbreviations should be included.

Verbs with clitic pronounsEdit

Undiscussed. A discussion on the includibility of Portuguese terms containing clitics did not reach consensus[2].

Spelling normalisationEdit

As a general guideline, page titles of Old Portuguese terms should be normalised for typography, but not for orthography nor phonology. This does not apply to quotations, which should make use of typographical variants present in Unicode to represent the original text as closely as possible.

ſ vs s and vs rEdit

ſ should be normalised into s and into r.

u vs vEdit

In the past, u and v were merely different ways of drawing the same letter, with v usually being used word-initially and u word-internally and word-finally. In modern times they were reanalysed as different letters, with u being used for vocalic and semivocalic phonemes and v for consonantal phonemes. Consequently, the us and vs present in Old Portuguese texts should be normalised into u when used for [u] and [w], and into v when used for [β].

s- vs ss- and r- vs rr-Edit

A few texts use ss and rr for word initial /s/ and /r/. Words following this practice should not be normalised, but added as alternative forms.

i vs yEdit

i and y should not be normalised. In some texts, y or is used for /i/ where /j/ would be expected (following a vowel). In some later texts, it is used for coda /j/, a practice which remained common in Portugal for a long time.

, ĩ vs innEdit

Some sources normalise followed by a vowel into inn (such as farỹa into farinna). This reflects the development in standard Portuguese (farinha) and Galician (fariña) where it became [iɲ]. However, up to some point, words containing it were indeed pronounced with [ĩ], as is proven by its reflex in the Galician dialect spoken in the Asturias (faría)[3]. Thus, they should not be normalised.

n vs ˜Edit

Tildes being used to represent nasal vowels followed by another vowel should not be normalised. Spellings whose tilde is used as an abbreviation of n (such as for con and lĩnage for linnage) should be included as abbreviations, with the unabbreviated form lemmatised (even if not attested).

Appearance and placement of the tildeEdit

In some manuscripts the tilde may resemble a macron (¯), or is placed to the right of the accented letter, appearing as though it were between the letters. These cases should be normalised, in compliance with the Unicode principle that “The Unicode Standard encodes characters, not glyphs.”[4].


Only the accents present in the text should be used in page titles. Possible usage of ^ and ´ in alternative displays (similar to how macrons are used in Latin[5]), is so far undiscussed.


Mediaeval texts often used upper case somewhat randomly, following no orthographic convention. Old Portuguese words should be normalised so that only proper nouns begin with an upper case letter.



Freely available online resourcesEdit


  1. ^ Talk:amig'#RFD discussion
  2. ^ Wiktionary Talk:About Portuguese#Enclitics and mesoclitics
  3. ^ Xavier Frías Conde, O relativo do continuum entre galego e asturiano en Asturias
  4. ^ The Unicode Consortium, The Unicode Standard: Version 6.1 – Core Specification
  5. ^ WT:ALA