Some "contractions" we make in connected speech (tips from a native Brazilian Portuguese speaker)

When I'm watching a video where an American is speaking (like this one), sometimes I don't understand some words because I know how to speak them singly, but in connected speech they sound different. Some phonemes disappear e.g. because of the following word. Obvioulsy, it also happens in Portuguese! And it's an important thing one has to learn to understand natives (and to speak more naturally, too). So, I'll give you some tips on it. Feel free to ask me your questions, related to connected speech or not (and to correct any mistakes in my English, too).

The verb "estar"

Maybe you already know it, but some don't. In daily talks we almost always drop the "es-" from the verb estar in all of its forms. Some examples:

  • Como estão seus filhos? = Como tão seus filhos? (How are your children doing?)
  • Eu estava te esperando ontem! = Eu tava te esperando ontem! (I was waiting for you yesterday!)
  • Eu estive pensando... = Eu tive pensando... (I've been thinking...) Notice that the verb "ter" (have) also may have this same form (I had - eu tive; he had - ele teve; we had - nós tivemos). This may be confusing at first, but the context will show which one is being used (no one would say "I had thinking" either in English or in Portuguese :) )
  • A comida vai estar pronta logo logo = A comida vai tá pronta logo logo (The meal will be ready very soon). Notice that here even the "-r" is dropped.

As far as I know, everyone in Brazil speaks this way (in other words, it's not a matter of regional accent).

P.S.: This one is the most written contraction. We normally write this way on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other informal contexts. The other contractions here are normally only pronounced, and barely written.


Often we drop the "-r" in the end of a verb in its infinitive form:

  • Vou comprar uma casa = Vou comprá uma casa (I'm going to buy a house)
  • Preciso sair agora = Preciso saí agora (I need to leave now)

"Ou" and "ei"

In maaany words we pronounce the diphthongs "ei" and "ou" like "e" and "o". The first one is not common with verbs, but the second occurs in every word:

  • Você comprou? = Você comprô? (Did you buy?)
  • Quem te contou isso? = Quem te contô isso? (Who told you that?)
  • Poucos sabem disso = Pocos sabem disso (Few [people] know that).
  • Meu pai é fazendeiro = Meu pai é fazendero (My father is a farmer)
  • O pedreiro vai chegar amanhã = O pedrero vai chegá amanhã
  • Eu sei! (I know!). Eu não comprei (I didn't buy). No one here speaks these ones like "eu sê", "eu não comprê".

Present participle (-ing in English, -ndo in Portuguese)

In many situations, the "d" in -ndo almost (or completely) disappears:

  • Correndo = Correno (running)
  • Subindo = Subino (risig up, climbing)
  • Falando = Falano (speaking, talking)
  • Sendo = Seno (being). "Seno" is also the word for "sine" (sine, cosine and tangent).

Words ending with and unstressed "o"

We sometimes drop the "o" in the end of a word if it's unstressed and there's another word after it:

  • Isso não pode ser verdade! = Iss não pode sê verdade! (This can't be true!)
  • Aquilo é tudo mentira = Aqui lé tud(o) mentira (That's all lies)
  • O menino está onde? = O menin tá onde? (Where is the boy?)

Diminutive words ending in "-inho"

If the word ends in "-inho", the "o" is often dropped even if there's no words after it:

  • Só um pouquinho = Só um poquin (Just a little bit)
  • O pássaro ficou sem ninho = O pássaro ficô sem nin (The bird ran out of a nest)

Well.. That's it! Again, feel free to ask your questions!

March 16, 2017


Some more:

  • tô (short for estou: Tô vendo!
  • cê (short for você: cê pode contar comigo!)
  • kek (short for "o que é que": kek cê tá fazendo aqui?)

At least this is how they speak in telenovelas... ;)

March 16, 2017

Oh yes, we really speak this way :D But you've written "tó" and "cé", when in fact it's "tô" and "cê". "Ó" would sound more like the "o" in "top" or in "block", and "é" sound like the "e" in "red".

Which telenovelas did you watched? From TV Globo, SBT, Record?

March 16, 2017

Ah, thanks, I've changed it.

I've been watching everything on youtube: "Rebelde", and currently I'm watching "Os mutantes" ;)

March 16, 2017

Oh, I know these ones :) Is "Rebelde" the Brazilian version, or the Mexican version translated to Portuguese?

March 17, 2017

It's the brazilian version. I like it a lot, it's well made and so funny, especially the characters of "Artur" and "Pingu" - hilarious ;) I've looked into another version which was dubbed, I don't know exactly whether it was the argentinian or mexican version. Which of the versions do you think is the best?

March 17, 2017

Well, I can't give my opinion about it because I didn't watch any of them on the whole :D I only watched a few episodes of the Mexican version. And I didn't even know there is an argentinian version :D But at least here in Brazil, people seem to prefer the Mexican version.

March 17, 2017

the "in" in "poquin" sounds like like "eeng"

March 17, 2017
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