"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

February 22, 2013

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

July 6, 2013

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

November 4, 2013

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. ( - look for Sirasp's pronunciation, thatra's is the second best. The others are TOO european)
Ela sounds like Ellah. ( - look for thatra's pronunciation, Flowerchild's is the second best, the other is European)

December 7, 2013

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

August 17, 2013

I agree

March 14, 2013

No, I don't think so. The voice says it so fast and robotic, it sounds like "Eles" when it says "Elas". When you hit the slow down button, you can clearly tell which is which; and if I were to have a conversation with someone speaking Portuguese, I could also tell the difference. When I hear what is beyond a doubt "Eles" and the damn thing says I was wrong because it was "Elas", there's a problem. I personally have no difficulty picking up languages. It's one of the easier things for me to learn. It's the program.

May 12, 2013

As a little boy, I had this issue. My mom would call me sister and say "filha", and I would think she said "filho". I can now easily distinguish it but it was funny and frustrating for my mom.

November 5, 2014

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 ❤❤❤❤❤.

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

May 13, 2013

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!

June 24, 2013

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 ❤❤❤❤ and sheet. They all ❤❤❤❤ on their beds.

December 22, 2013

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

October 9, 2014

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

January 29, 2013

One tip of advice, though; "eles" sounds like "ey-lays" and "elas" sounds like "ey-lahs". Try to look for the "ah" sound.

January 29, 2013
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Just a correction, elas doesn't sound like ey-las. It's an open e, like the e in net.

February 4, 2013

I pronounce eles as el-ees (I'm brazilian) maybe it's where I'm from.

October 9, 2014

Thanks :) I came to the same conclusion after pressing replay about a million times.

January 29, 2013


January 30, 2013


August 19, 2013


January 10, 2014

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

June 6, 2013

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".

February 25, 2014

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

June 23, 2013

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.

December 1, 2013

No, you can differentiate "pero" and "perro" in Spanish. "Pero" sounds just 1 vibration of the letter R, while "Perro" has more vibrations.

Bon and bonne in French are different as well. In "Bon", you can hear that the letter N sounds with nasal, like /bong/, while "Bonne" you just pronounce it as /bon/.

December 2, 2013

OF COURSE they're different, my point is, as a beginner who's not familiarized with certain sounds you will find hard to differenciate between "cousin" and "coussin" because they sound so similar, but after some practice you get used to the "v" sound or the "z" which are never used in Spanish and because of that, a spanish native finds it hard to differenciate "libre" from "livre" for example. I even remember a class where my german teacher played a recording with words having "ä" and "ö" and we had a hard time telling the difference between them and a single "e", but again, it's just a matter of practice, it's normal to hear words almost the same at the beginning.

December 2, 2013

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.

April 7, 2013

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! =]

April 30, 2014

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.

February 11, 2013

exactly, ones skills are not properly judged in this step...

February 11, 2013

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.

February 27, 2013

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.

November 24, 2013

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.

March 6, 2013

I totaly agree!!!!

August 19, 2013

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

June 3, 2013

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"?

December 10, 2013

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

i mean, come on!

August 19, 2013

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.

September 2, 2013

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

September 10, 2013

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

November 8, 2013

Elas gostam de os homens. . .xD

August 29, 2014

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

November 27, 2013

Ele seems like Aylee. ( - look for Sirasp's pronunciation, thatra's is the second best. The others are TOO european)
Ela sounds like Ellah. ( - look for thatra's pronunciation, Flowerchild's is the second best, the other is European)

December 7, 2013

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

December 21, 2013

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.

December 25, 2013

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

December 27, 2013

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.

January 9, 2014

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

July 21, 2013

robot-voice makes it hard to hear some of the slight differences.

October 28, 2013

Spanish is my first language and I think they sound the same. I was having trouble ,but I just kept trying until I could tell the difference.

November 10, 2013

I completely and totally agree. I speak Spanish too and I cannot tell the difference at all.

December 10, 2013

quem quiser treinar, falar português comigo, é só adicionar no skype rildo8816

March 5, 2013

I completely agree ! you can't tell any difference

April 21, 2013

I agree even in slow motion You are correct Report a ProblemDiscuss sentence (1) ContinueCheck

August 18, 2013

true :)

October 27, 2013

I agree. For me ele/ela and eles/elas sound the same

January 11, 2014

"Eles" and "Elas" are the same effin sound. Check it.

April 17, 2013

That is true they both sound alike

July 6, 2013

I did these lessons and I am now fluent in Portuguese LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 26, 2013
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