"A capital"

Translation:The capital

April 16, 2013

This discussion is locked.


I received this in the "Translate what you hear". I heard "A capitão." Like "the female captain." How close are "capital" and "capitão" when spoken for real? The computerized Portuguese voice is really, really bad, so it's tough to say.


If you're not used to Portuguese pronunciation, it can be hard to hear the difference between "al" and "ão" at the ends of words, especially when people speak quickly. We don't have these sounds in English although we have some things vaguely close to them. The robotic voice here (which I agree is quite poor) doesn't help, but...I find that once I was able to hear the distinction between the sounds, I could hear it clearly even with the crappy robot voice.

I found several tools helpful for this. One, Google Voice (which you can access on Google translate) pronounces them more clearly than DuoLingo's robotic voice.


The ã in ão is closer to the short "e" sound in English than the "a" in "al". I find the "ão" dipthong is more distant from English sounds because we generally don't have a "u/oo" sound follow the short "e", whereas the "al" is closer to common sounds in English.

I also like Forvo, it's great for listening to actual humans:



I hope you find this helpful. For me, the sounds initially sounded confusing but then they suddenly "clicked" and now I don't think I could confuse them, even with the shoddy robot voice.


I'd say they're quite different, especially given the presence of a nasal vowel in "capitão/capitã" (the second being the feminine noun you were looking for). Try writing and listening to "capital" and "capitão" back-to-back in IVONA (BP voice, "Vitória").


Agreed. The pronunciation needs improvement.


For English:

Capital = the city where the goverment is seated (at least usually)

Capitol = the building where the legislature meets

Capital also has the finance/economic aspect, as well as the BIG letters in writing... and then there is capital punishment...

For Portuguese:

A capital = governing city

O capital = finance/money, stock, fund

Capital = adjective meaning principle, main, central, basic, crucial

acesso ao capital = access to the capital [finance]

longe da capital = far from the capital [city]

uma preocupação capital = a key concern


I thought it was from English to Portuguese...


The same sentence can appear in both directions


Does this word mean capital as an ,,amount of money" or as a ,,capital city"? I'm asking about it because the lesson is about places and google translator says that it's the ,,amount of money" version :P


It depends on the article: A capital = capital city / O capital = amount of money


I could not hear it clearly either. I thought he said capitão, especially as it was "a capit....."


Given that this phrase has no context, I think the capitol (ol) spelling in English should be acceptable.

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