phonetically none. (but á never comes by itself, so in a word this is the stressed syllable). a+a = à. the first a is a preposition (to, in, etc), the second is the definite article (the)(for instance: i go TO THE school = vou A A escola = vou À escola). a = the. à, as quoted, is to show the stressed syllable in a word.
Oooh, that could be confusing.
So much depends on context. How have we ever survived without context?
One thing I am discovering is that those who learn another language also become quite intimate with their own language so as to understand all the concepts.
Again, appreciate all your prompt replies to my many questions.
Okay, a few weeks later in my learning and it turns out there is a difference in pronunciation to mark the crasis in Portugal, and in the Rio region of Brazil (perhaps elsewhere as well).
Wikipedia explains it like this:
...the crasis à is pronounced lower as /a/ than the article or preposition a, as /ɐ/, in the examples in standard European Portuguese., but the qualitative distinction is not made by most speakers in Brazilian Portuguese (some dialects, as Rio de Janeiro's fluminense, are exceptions and make the distinction).
And so it is that we learn something pretty much everyday. :)
I was not aware of it... =/
No problem. I was not accusing you of anything such as being ignorant. We cannot possibly know everything. :)
I only wanted to share what I had learned with you.
I had come across several claims that there is a pronunciation difference in Portugal but have yet to ask the locals about it so I can fully hear the difference.
Aimae (from Portugal) seems to be the best one at Forvo to hear the difference:
But my observances have been that Rio has the accent closest to that in Portugal, and that makes sense as it has historically been the main landing place for future Luso-Brazilians:
A significant immigration of very rich Portuguese to Brazil occurred in 1808, when Queen Maria I of Portugal and her son and regent, the future João VI of Portugal, fleeing from Napoleon's invading armies, relocated to the Portuguese Colony of Brazil with 15,000 members of the royal family, nobles and government, and established themselves in Rio de Janeiro.
A few years after independence from Portugal in 1822, Portuguese people would start arriving in Brazil as immigrants, and the Portuguese population in Brazil actually increased. Most of them were peasants from the rural areas of Portugal. The majority settled in urban centers, mainly in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, working mainly as small traders, shopkeepers, porters, cobblers, and drivers.
Though São Paulo had many arrivals from Portugal, it had more from Italy, while the south of Brazil had an influx from Germany (if I am remembering correctly) and these no doubt influenced the accents of those regions (also the south had Portuguese from the Açores which is quite a different accent).
(and I don't like them haha!).
Oh my, we will never get along as I really prefer the Portugal accent (ahahah!)
I mean, really... there is "g" and "j", do you really need "d" to make those sounds too?!
Though I do have a preference in mods. :D
As for the Portugal "r" I am not so sure it is a "French" one. Maybe the French stole it from the Portuguese much as the Brits stole things.
I mean, there was a lot of intermarriage going on, especially between the French and the Portuguese, even before there was a Portugal and a France.
Really fascinating reading about the pre-history of Brazil as it came about via Europe:
Of course there was a lot going on in what would become Brazil before the Europeans arrived, but that is not why Portuguese is spoken there now (regardless of accent).
You're right =) Italian language has a great incluence on our accent here in São Paulo =)
And I do agree accent in Rio is closer to what you have in Portugal (and I don't like them haha!). One of the examples is the French "r", which Portuguese people copied from French people since it was an indication of status. You also find it in Rio.
Actually, you are mixing two concepts into one, coincidentally enough.
The mark over the "a" that goes to the left like this, "à" is called a "grave" accent (as opposed to the "acute" that is more often seen in Portuguese) which in this case is used to show a contraction of two vowels or diphthongs merged into one word or another diphthong:
This is also called a "grave" (acento grave) in Portuguese which google translates into "serious"! :D
While crasis is the merging of the two words which is marked by the grave accent:
It gets pretty interesting:
And this act of merging is what is called "crase" in Portuguese: