Pronunciation – Hear Spoken Audio Files
Here is some spoken pronunciation of the Brazilian Portuguese language. This section contains audio files spoken by a native Brazilian speaker that you can hear by clicking any bold words. After all, it is very important to be understood when learning a new language and believe me when I say … “it helps to hear audio from a native speaker”. You can take that from me or from some of my other sources
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Note: You will need windows media player or similar installed on your computer to hear audio files. If you wish to install the latest, please visit Microsoft’s website
Putting It All Together
Lets start off this section with the Portuguese alphabet. In the Portuguese alphabet, there is no k, w, or y but, instead these words are imported. There are sounds in some words that mimic these letters. Lets use as an example the word – abelha (bee). The h in abelha has the sound of the letter y, so if you wanted to speak this word with the proper Portuguese sound, then you could think of it as – abelya or as a second example trabalho (work). Here is the Portuguese alphabet in full. (click to hear):
As in the English Language, the positioning of letters in a word give it a different sound depending on where it is placed. Lets use the letter h again. If h begins a word, it is silent as in the word – homem (man). The vowel e makes a sound as in the word – bed. When used at the end of a word it sounds like e as in weed. The consonant r, when placed at the beginning of a word, makes a strong h sound as in the word – real (Brazilian currency) however; when it is used in a word then it sometimes makes a sound like a d. Also, if r ends a word, it too makes the sound like h as in – falar (to speak). The letter d, when used to begin a word, has a sound like a g, as in the word – dinheiro (money). This is because of the letter combinations of d & i. Now lets look at the letter x. This letter, in most cases, makes the sound like sh as in – sheep. For example – xícara (cup), but in the word – exercitar (to exercise), x is pronounced like z. Also, as I forgot to mention, when the letter r is used twice in a word, it takes the sound of an h as in the word – correto (correct). The letter u always sounds like oo as in boot. Then there is the letter l. When placed at the end of a word I have learned that it creates a sound like an u as in the word – animal (which is spelled exactly as the English version of animal). Some words are pronounced very slightly in a word or at the end of a word. Like in the word – minha (my). You almost don’t hear the letter at all. Also, letter combinations when placed together such as the letters – ti & di create a unique sound. Take for example the word – tia (which means aunt) and then the combinations of si as in – fantasia (fantasy). One other thing that I have learned about the pronunciation of the Portuguese language is the sounds that are made with singular vs plural for example – ovo (egg) as in the singular and ovos (eggs) in the plural. Did you notice the difference in sound?
In the Portuguese language, a lot of words are accented (like in the Spanish language) which means that you need to stress where the accent is placed. Once again, xícara (cup) notice the accent í? This is just one example of how the accents are used in a word. Let me use the letter o to help me explain in another light. When you see a word with ó, that means the o is spoken with the mouth more open and when you see a word with ô, then the mouth is more closed when pronouncing the letter.
As a general rule, in the Portuguese language, words are stressed on the last vowel / consonant combinations. Lets take for example the word – camisa(shirt). Since the last vowel / consonants are is, then the i is stressed. Or take a listen at this word – coloca (put). Did you hear the stressed letter?
So in short review, words are stressed on the last vowel & cononants unless there is an accent placed in the word and depending on the type of accent will determine how the letters are stressed.
I have learned that grouping words into certain pronunciation categories helps a lot when it comes to learning spoken words in Portuguese. Take a look at the table below to see the up-to-date list I have compiled for your pronunciation needs. I hope you find it as useful as I have.
- Group A = The underlined letter(s) are emphasized
- Group B = The underlined letter(s) are emphasized
- Group C = The underlined letter(s) are emphasized
- Group D = The letter S is pronounced like a Z
Now lets talk about one of the things that makes the Brazilian Portuguese such a challenge to learn, or at least in my opinion. In Portuguese, there are words, that when placed in a particular location of a word or use a particular accent, are nasalized (spoken through the nose). Ok, so I will use a few examples to give you an idea. Lets use the word – coração (heart). The – ã indicates that this word is nasalized. If you see a word combination like -an- in the word – grande ( big ), the vowel a plus the consonant n or m put together also indicates that this word is nasalized (gr-an-de), but here is a tip for pronunciation of words with an / am – replace the letter a with u. Example – antes ( before ) pronounce as – untes. Go ahead and try it!