Error: Tu/Voce

Why does the Brazilian Portuguese course have 'Tu' sentences when they only use 'Voce' in Brazil? This seems like an error.

April 20, 2018


Some parts of Brazil do use "tu", either with (e.g. "Tu vais") or without (e.g. "Tu vai") the correct conjugations (concordância com o sujeito). This map shows the distribution of "tu" use throughout Brazil:


The map is taken from Wikipedia and the image link was provided by standelf.

Edit: A very conservative estimate of the number of "tu" users in Brazil is 5% of the total population - that exceeds the number in Portugal!

April 20, 2018

Here is another relevant map:

Brazil is a big place. So big even those who live there do not know what is going on in other places in Brazil. :D

April 21, 2018

It's unfortunate that the two maps contradict each other!

For example, the second map shows most of northern Brazil as not using "tu". In another Wikipedia article the dialect of this area is described as having a strong Portuguese influence meaning "tu" is conjugated correctly and "você" is considered more formal and hardly used. The difference in classification of Bahia is striking too.

April 22, 2018

O segundo é o mais correto.

April 23, 2018

Tu tax tolo tax, esse segundo condiz melhor com a realidade.

April 26, 2018

Discordo um tanto dos meus compatriotas aqui, esse segundo mapa é horrível. Há sim chiado em quase toda a região norte (tirando Roraima), na Bahia, em partes de Minas e até do Mato Grosso. No Brasil só paulistas e sulistas não têm chiado em palavras como esticar, em todo o resto é pronunciado ixtchicá, ixticá, ixxicá, extchicá, exticá ou exxicá, por assimilação ou porque no Nordeste toda consoante coronal (n, t, d, l, em alguns casos f e v) é precedida de |S| palatalizado. Também há tuteio na Baixada Santista e no DF (brasiliense é um mestiço de carioca com nordestino)! Paulistanormatividade total.

May 25, 2018

Here, you can take it up with the originator of the map (though hopefully you will read the comments first to get an idea of what the thought process was in making it):

If anything, the conversation there further supports my main contention in posting the second map which is:

Brazil is a big place. So big even those who live there do not know what is going on in other places in Brazil. :D

May 25, 2018

Oh, I didn't mean to insult you, I just really think the first map is more accurate while this is full of problematic generalizations (for one, people don't speak caipira in coastal or metropolitan São Paulo...). I don't have a reddit account but there are many mistakes here that... are not worth the trouble.

Debating about Brazilian Portuguese phonology with other Brazilians is often annoying because either they have no formation in linguistics and phonology and thus do not get my gripes with it, or they DO have one but never bothered to realize how what is on our books does not quite line up with the same content in American and European books.

Particularly when it comes to alveolo-palatal consonants, which are x/ch/sh, j/g, patalized |S| (coda s), tch/ti, dj/di, lh and /n/+[j] assimilation (e.g. Sônia), as well as the true nature of our nasal vowels (not as uniform as people think) and nh, which might be either a nasalized [j] as the y in yet, or a pre-velar/post-palatal stop (in-between of ng and Spanish ñ; a real Spanish ñ sounds like ni to our ears), I know I wasted weeks of my life trying to get myself heard in English Wikipedia over this.

May 25, 2018

You do not need a reddit account to read the comments.

This is what was said about metropolitan São Paulo:

Metropolitan São Paulo does not pronounce the caipira "r" sound. Areas very close to it do.

[–]Dehast[S] 5 points 1 year ago
Too small to fit it into the map. In the Inconfidentes area surrounding Belo Horizonte there's a huge influx of students and people from the countryside who move for school and work so that area could also be marked down for the caipira accent, but the data isn't comprehensive enough and the map would have to be bigger to account for the exceptions. But true, São Paulo's capital has a very specific pronunciation for the 'r'!

May 25, 2018

[deactivated user]

    To give you a bit of European Portuguese so that you will be able to speak both variants of the language.

    April 20, 2018

    While I did find the "Tu" confusing at first, it all made sense pretty quickly. I'm glad they included it as I feel it helps expand our knowledge of the language as a whole.

    April 20, 2018

    "Tu" is grammatically right and I think it should be used more often, but you are right: most Brazilians do not use "tu" in regular conversations. Better saying: we actually use it but in a very informal (and wrong) way.

    Example: "Tu não gosta de bolo?" (Don't you like cake?).

    Notice: GRAMMATICALLY, the verb should be written/spoken as "gostas". Like: "Tu não gostas de bolo?". However, you DO NOT speak this way in REGULAR/INFORMAL conversations because it sounds very unnatural (unless in some specific parts of Brazil like Rio Grande do Sul).

    Simplifying: Tu/Você are both acceptable. "Você" is more frequently used, but you are also going to see people saying "tu" (usually using the verb in a wrong but in a more natural way).

    I hope you didn't get even more confused after that! hahahaha

    April 20, 2018

    Yes, about Tu ... I hear this in Recife "Tu vai onde?"

    April 21, 2018

    Perfectly! As I said, grammatically it should be written/spoken as "Tu vais aonde?" but it would sound extremely formal and unnatural and most people just say: "Tu vai onde?" (which is wrong but we are more used to it).

    April 21, 2018

    Thanks for your insight everyone! This has been very helpful. My Portuguese textbook said Brazil didn’t use ‘Tu’, but real world feedback always trumps the textbook!

    April 24, 2018

    Even if all the people who actively use the pronoun "tu" magically disappeared from Brazil there would still be remnants of the "tu" system in use. You'd see it in at least three ways:

    • The widespread use of "te" (and possibly "ti" and "contigo"). (Who wants to say "Eu amo você" when the "tu" version, "(Eu) te amo", is more intimate and sounds so much better.)
    • The possessives "teu(s)" and "tua(s)" (yours) are useful when "seu(s)" and "sua(s)" (his/her/hers/yours/theirs) could lead to a misunderstanding.
    • Many Brazilians say things like "Fala!" instead of "Fale!" but by doing so they are using the "tu" imperative.
    April 24, 2018

    where do I buy a Portuguese textbook? I am learning Portuguese but there seem to be differences between Brasil Portuguese and European Portuguese.

    April 27, 2018

    Depending on the region in Brazil, "tu" may or may not be used. I can say that in the south (Rio Grande do Sul at least), "tu" is quite prevalent, although it is used with the "você" conjugation (c.f. tu come VS tu comes). It would be best for you to use "você" for all cases of "you" but I believe DuoLingo introduces "tu" so that you are aware of the dialectal differences within the lusophone world.

    April 21, 2018

    I use "você," my wife is Brazilian so she can get away with it.

    April 21, 2018

    From what I seen while going through the training, some areas of Brazil use "Tu" but most areas use "Voce". I think the system just tries to prepare a person learning Portuguese both terms as a "just in case".

    April 24, 2018
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