I hope you guys appreciate this series of posts! I hope I can post one of these each week. Tell me what you think of this idea!

Brazilians have an open pronunciation whilst European Portuguese have a closed one. Trying to explain it a little better, Brazilians pronounce every single syllable in the word while in Portugal people do not. Let’s take the word “telefone” (telephone) as an example: Brazilian Portuguese would pronounce it accentuating every single vowel in the word while a Portuguese person would cut the first “e” and pronounce it something like “tlefone”. This is one of the many examples there are as European Portuguese tend to cut a lot of vowels in the words making them harder to understand for foreigners and even Brazilians.

In addition to that, there’s also the pronunciation of some consonants such as the “s” at the end of a word. In Portugal, the “s” at the end of a word is read as “sh” while in Brazil it is read as “ss”. The word “dois” (two), for example, would be said “doish” in Portugal but “doiss” in Brazil. The “t” also has different pronunciations in both countries. While in Brazil you’d say the word “quente” (hot) as “quentchy” (adding a “ch” to the “t”), in Portugal you’d pronounce it solely “kent”.

Another significant difference in the pronunciation is the way the letter “L” is said in both countries. In European Portuguese it is said the same way as in English but in Brazil it gains a whole different pronunciation which is one of the most typical characteristics of the Brazilian accent. To say ‘Brazil’ in Brazilian Portuguese, you’d say something like “Brásiu”, replacing the “l” for an “u”. This happens with all L’s that are at the end of a word.

Boa sorte!

April 15, 2019


What about Angolan or Mozambiquan Portuguese? Are they any different?

April 17, 2019

Here is a link where you can compare the various accents including Angola, but sadly no Mozambique yet (if anyone from either of those would be willing to give a sample to that site it would be really appreciated – and I would love see/hear more from those regions and even places like Cabo Verde too).

I personally think the Angolan accent is the clearest to understand for me (I have heard it a few other places like on Youtube videos).

May 19, 2019

They have more similarities with European Portuguese than with Brazilian

April 22, 2019

Brazil has a lot of places where "quente" is pronounced "kent" and where "dois" is pronounced "doish", Recife, for example, for both cases. One cannot generalise Brazil in just one accent.

April 16, 2019

About the "s" at the end of the word, my Portuguese instructor learned the language in Rio and pronounced "dois" as "doish."

April 15, 2019

Yes! That's a special Carioca (Rio) pronunciation.

April 15, 2019

Hey it's not just for an -s in the final position. For example, to say lighter in most of Brazil, it's isqueiro ("ees-KAY-roo"), but in Rio it's "SHKAY-roo".

Also, a final -s can be like a z: os amigos ("ooze ah-MEE-goosh"). That is a rule for all of Portuguese with a final s before a word that begins with a vowel; however, I just wanted to include it for clarity so any1 reading this knows that it's the same for carioca Portuguese.

Finally, an s that is before another consonant can be like "sh" too, as in "gostosa ("gosh-TOZE-uh" or "gawsh-TOZE-uh") or Gustavo ("Goo-SHTAH-voo").

Just a few thoughts before bed. So, if I made some little mistake, please don't crucify me.........LMAOOOOOOO0o0o0o0o0o0OoOooO

April 17, 2019

People use sh in the Northeast as well, but only before certain consonants, like t and d. In even more of Brazil, sh will appear before ti and di as they palatalize.

April 17, 2019

How exactly do you pronounce the L at the beginning or in the middle of a word using Brazilian pronunciation? I have heard it several different ways.

April 16, 2019

Well, for me at the beginning and in the middle, it's the same as in English (or at least almost the same).

The difference comes up at the end of words. We pronounce as if the word ended with a letter "u" while in English the "dark L" it's used.

Example: The word "hotel", I'd pronounce something like "otéu" (the "h" is always silent in too)

I hope that makes sense.

April 17, 2019

Is it wrong that the L in Duolingo's pronunciations of ele and ela are different? According to it, the L in ela is very dark, but the L in ele is not. What accent is Duolingo's Portuguese voice based on?

April 17, 2019

JuniorRamone explained the final L perfectly, in my humble opinion.

I would just like to add that, for L- words, it's said like most Americans would say the L's at the end of Bill/will/fill/full/spill: with the back of the tongue raised. This also happens a lot in Russian. I don't know if you are American or maybe if you speak Russian. I also don't speak Alien. ;)

So, yeah, if you see what I mean, cool. If not, could you tell me which languages you speak?

Here are a couple of examples:



April 17, 2019

I am American. Your comment was very helpful, but I responded to JuniorRamone with a question about Duolingo's TTS.

April 17, 2019

Aside from the vocalization at the end of a word, you should probably notice that the l before the vowel i in Rio de Janeiro and a few other places is VERY, VERY dark, ridiculously dark, while in the Northeast and the South it is quite clear.

April 17, 2019

There are many pronunciation differences!

But, *telefone" is a good example because it is well represented on Forvo and most of the Portuguese people I encounter hardly pronounce the "e" at the end of words (including "de"), unless they are accented like "café" is.

However, there are some in the north at least from personal experience and what I have found on Forvo who add an extra "a" or "e" on the end of words, especially those ending in "r" so that I constantly think, "she just called him a lady!" =D

Anyway, I still think this is the gold standard for explaining the swallowed vowels:

May 19, 2019

Please add Portuguese from Portugal!

April 16, 2019

Duolingo has already said that they will never add a Continental Portuguese course

April 17, 2019

That would be so useful

April 17, 2019

Brazilians inherited the accent from many imigrants people and ancient culturies there so might sound quit different the accent compared with EP.

April 16, 2019

Speaking from the perspective of the Rio de Janeiro accent, but this could also apply to more than half of Brazil, just in a lesser degree. In casual, day-to-day speech, particularly if you are talking fast and/or quietly, our vowels will close. I usually pronounce Brasil with a schwa and not the á vowel.

The thing is, we do not notice we have this difference, and when spelling out a word we might even open up the vowels at the end of a word, from [u] to ô if it is an unstressed o, and from [i] to ê if it is an unstressed e.

Additionally, I often reduce the unstressed e/i at the end of a vowel to a mere palatalization of the consonant, and the unstressed o/u to a mere labialization/velarization, just like in Portugal. It is also very easy to pronounce words beginning with 'es + consonant' as just sh + consonant.

So I usually pronounce estrela as shtrêlle just like in Portugal (or even shthrêlle), with this e sounding more like the schwa e of other European languages than the Brazilian semi-open a, which I will usually have /before/ the stressed syllable.

Of course, there is very little sociolinguistic research about this, and it doesn't help that people will usually try to talk more openly and clearly while being sociable with someone they're not acquainted with, including if they just happen to be studied for some linguistic research.

April 17, 2019
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