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I'm portuguese and the voice isn't so clear as it should..
Be patient and you will notice this is not a hard language :)
Using "Sou um menino" only, sounds and is a more direct way of saying "I am a boy", same way you could apply it to any other noun like "Sou um desenvolvedor" (I am a developer). It's acceptable but we usually use the most common example given by Duolingo "I am....whatever....". Obs: Using only "Sou...." may sound not so friendly, depending on how you're using that"
The audio sounds like 'so menino'. Is that the correct pronunciation? The 'um' is silent.
How exactly is "Sou um" pronounced? The voice pronounces it like it's one word, "soum".
I am completely new to Portuguese myself, but as in many languages sounds are combined, that's why we hear something like "soum".
Just a question, does the "m" at the end of a word really have a kind of gulping quality to it (I'm sorry I can't describe it properly, I'm not much of a linguist at all), or is it pronounced more like the "m" in menino," which is like the English "m"?
It depends. When -em is at the end of the word the m is typically something like -ng in English. While -am is usually more nasal and the m isn't really pronounced
no it is not -ng in English! it is ing, I am brazillian, I know this language