1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Portuguese
  4. >
  5. "Eles" and "Elas" souns exact…


"Eles" and "Elas" souns exactly alike

Even in slow motion

January 29, 2013



well... i speak spanish and it's really simple to difference that words D: maybe you only need practice


I also speak spanish and I do not think "Elas" and "Eles" sound different


I also speak spanish but I understand that issue with the vowels, it is just about practice and you will get it, at first it is difficult as everything, but you get used to


There are many ways one can pronounce a single vowel, it's natural not to understand them in the begining.

And Duolingo's voice is wrong in some cases.

I tried to show the differences in a comment below, check it out.

Ele seems like Aylee. (http://pt.forvo.com/word/ele/#pt - look for Sirasp's pronunciation, thatra's is the second best. The others are TOO european)
Ela sounds like Ellah. (http://pt.forvo.com/word/ela/#pt - look for thatra's pronunciation, Flowerchild's is the second best, the other is European)


Same here but be honest i think it's because is easier for us, i mean people that their first language is Spanish because it's kind of the same with Portuguese


I agree, at my point in Duolingo, this is probably the hardest part of the speech recognition questions


I can't tell you the embarrassment I suffered when I first went to Brazil. Pão and pau sounded exactly the same to me, and of course that made it hard to pronounce them correctly. Now when I ask for bread I tend to make it as nasal as possible :P

My girlfriend had a hard time when she was learning English to distinguish between beach and bitch.

You'll learn to hear the difference eventually, it's just that you're not used to distinguishing between those sounds yet :D


Hahahah "Pão" and "pau" are quite tricky indeed. You pointed out a very good reason to practice the pronunciation, especially stressed words. Order a pau (wood, stick; slg. dick/cock) instead of a pão (bread) can be really embarrassing!


I actually had a friend who became friends with the brazilians at our school because he couldn't say the different between pao and pau correctly.

Brazilians also can't say the difference between shit and sheet. They all shit on their beds.


I'm Brazilian and I can say the difference between shit and sheet? I have never heard of this issue.


I think he is confusing you with Frenchies.


Like in ANY other language, you'll stumble across words that sound exactly the same to you, just like a foreigner won't see the difference between "pero" (but) and "perro" (dog) in Spanish, or "bon" with "bonne" (good for masculin and femenin) in French. It's just a matter of practice.


According to native Chinese speakers, "Light" and "Right" sound exactly alike, they just have to judge from context and take an educated guess. This is a part of learning any new language. Also, props to Cabreng, real people>machine voices.


Also if you listen to the rest of the sentence you can normally figure it out


That's true on sentences like "they are girls" or "they are men" but how are you supposed to use context on "they like you"?


Ele seems like Aylee. (http://pt.forvo.com/word/ele/#pt - look for Sirasp's pronunciation, thatra's is the second best. The others are TOO european)
Ela sounds like Ellah. (http://pt.forvo.com/word/ela/#pt - look for thatra's pronunciation, Flowerchild's is the second best, the other is European)


I recently described the é sound in ELA (é-lah) as the a in mattress (American English), and the ê sound in ELE (ê-lee) as the first "e" in bend. Or something like that.

This is how Brazilian Portuguese speakers easily tell them apart--by the sound of the first "e" in ele or ela. I can't guarantee that the robot would say it correctly (especially in turtle speed), but I hope it helps! =]


I normally can tell eles and elas apart, but often have to just guess on ele and ela. I lose more hearts to those two basic words than any other.


Normally you hear the difference between "eles" and "elas" quiet well, it's just the machine speaking.. But the "a" in "elas" doesn't sound like an "e", when you hear a person talking in portuguese.


Sounds like eh-LAH for ela and EH-lee for ele to me. The ^ over the e has an ay sound like pay, bay, may. etc. but is clipped sounding like eh instead to the untrained ear.


When I learn that a word is tricky, I listen to the "normal" voice a couple of times to get used to normal speech, then listen to the "slower" version to make sure. Just think about "going to" and "gonna": This is normal in any language, you have to get used to it.


to me the first syllable of ele and ela sound different. Am I just making that up?


You are exactly right. The "e" in "ela" is open, the "e" in "ele" is closed, like the difference between "pé" (foot) and "pê" (the letter p). In Portuguese the open vowels can be designated by the acute diacritical mark (avó), and closed vowels by the circumflex mark (avô); however, the marks do not appear in all cases.

There are some rules that can help a non-native speaker to identify which vowels will be open and which will be closed. Here are some of them:

The open "é" and "ó" can only appear in the stressed syllable (sílaba tônica).

If it is followed by an "m" or an "n" then it will be nasalized, and in Brazilian Portuguese also closed (but in continental Portuguese vowels can be open and nasalized, like "também").

Many nouns are closed in the singular and open in the plural, e.g. "ovo"/"ovos", "fogo"/"fogos", "olho"/"olhos".

If a noun and a verb have the same spelling then the noun form will usually be closed and the verb form open, e.g. "o choro"/"eu choro".

The vowel in adjectives that end in "-oso" will change when gender and number changes. The masculine singular will be closed, but the masculine plural, feminine singular, and feminine plural will be open, e.g. "famoso"/"famosos","famosa","famosas". Other adjectives, like "roxo", do not follow this rule (the "o"s in "roxo", "roxos", "roxa", and "roxas" are all closed).

If a verb is regular (conjugated regularly) then in the pluperfect (pretérito mas-que-perfeito) and the subjunctive past imperfect (subjuntivo pretérito imperfeito) it will be conjugated as closed, and if it is irregular it will be conjugated as open, e.g. "comêssemos"/"fizéssemos".


You're right. The first E in Ele sounds like "wEnt", Ela is pronounced like in "wEt"


I agree they both sound alike and I speak spanish as my first language. I think it's because of the robotic voice.


I think duolingo should change the voices they speak to fast and sometimes pronounce words wrong


you just need more practice. it really dosen't sound THAT alike.

i mean, come on!


I find that the voice on here says them quite distinctly, more so than in continental Portuguese. To my ear, she seems to say (trying to approximate the spelling in an English manner of pronunciation) ELLEE and ELLA ... which I think is a more Brazilian way of pronouncing it ... Portuguese don't make such a strong distinction, they almost seem to swallow the final E and A, so there's very little difference to an English ear.


I can say the same as xCrovax it sounds diferent, it's not the same Eles and Elas... I do speak spanish, I think are very similar languges


Try to use the context of the sentence to figure it out. If it ends in homens, it obviously isn't Elas.


Elas gostam de os homens. . .xD


It's because of the absolutely horrible "voice" they gave all of the Portuguese lessons. It REALLY needs to change.


no it sounds different ..pronounce it this way E-Lee's (eles) and L-us (elas).hope that was helpful : )


Im learning portuguese and i used to have problems with Ele and Ela all the time, on here and other language learning tools. I have found, through constant practice and such, that the words do start to sound quite different, and although i can at times make a mistake between the two when i am not paying close attention, i rarely have trouble now.


That's why it's important to practice. Once you are practiced enough, you will notice the difference.


I don't know if this has already been suggested, but I tend to focus on what the noun is first and then try to figure out the robo-voice. If the sentence is referring to "mulheres", then I know the article has to be "elas", regardless of what it sounds like.


I don speak spanish so i agree with you.

Learn Portuguese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.