portuguese alphabet

The European Portuguese Alphabet

This Learning Note will teach you how to spell using the letters of the European Portuguese alphabet, which will likely come in handy if you ever travel or move to Portugal. Receiving packages, making phone calls, and setting up services often require you to spell your name or other personal information, such as the name of the street you live on.
While the Portuguese alfabeto alphabet contains practically the same letters as the English one, and the original Latin alphabet for that matter, the names for each letter and the sounds (also called fonemas phonemes) associated with each letter are quite different.

The Letters of the Portuguese Alphabet

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

There weren’t always 26 letters in the Portuguese alphabet. Only recently were Kk, Ww, and Yy officially integrated into it, as they’re only present in certain words, such as foreign people’s names, foreign places, units of measurement, symbols, and acronyms. They are also present in estrangeirismos foreign loanwords, foreignerisms like “software”, “whiskey”, “yoga”, “baby”, “megawatt”, and many others, which have found their way into daily conversations.
As with any other alphabet, the Portuguese letters also have names and are divided into vogais vowels and consoantes consonants. We’ll take a look at each group below.

Vowels

Aa  Ee  Ii Oo Uu
As you may have noticed, some vowels appear with accents in order to denote stress or to indicate a specific pronunciation. Here are the ones that exist in Portuguese:

  • ` (grave accent) – Àà;
  • ´ (acute accent) – Áá, Éé, Íí, Óó and Úú;
  • ^ (circumflex accent) – Ââ, Êê and Ôô;
  • ~ (tilde) – Ãã and Õõ;

You can read more here about how to pronounce the sounds associated with each vowel of the European Portuguese alphabet.

Consonants

Bb Cc *Dd Ff Gg Hh
Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Vv Ww
Xx Yy Zz
*There’s also Çç, which is C with a cedilla (Spanish word) and appropriately called C-cedilha or C-cedilhado .

Let’s Practice!

Now we can practice how to spell in Portuguese letters. See if you can answer the following questions (you can make up the answers!), with some help from the Portuguese alphabet audio above. Here are a couple other words that may come in handy: maiúsculo uppercase, capital minúscula lowercase

  • Como se soletra o seu nome? How do you spell your name? / Como se soletra? How is it spelled?
    • O meu nome soletra-se... My name is spelled...: ________
  • Em que rua mora? What street do you live on?
    • Eu soletro-a... I'll spell it... : ________
  • Qual é o código de reserva? What is the reservation code?
    • O código é... The code is...: ________
  • Qual é a palavra-passe? What is the password?
    • A minha palavra-passe é... My password is...: ________

Comments:

    • Olá, Sabine. Não consegui confirmar se existe algum alfabeto oficial deste género! Talvez exista um padrão oficial em áreas como a aviação, por exemplo, mas no dia a dia, penso que a maioria das pessoas usa qualquer palavra que sirva. Por isso, na prática, usar o alfabeto sugerido na Wikipédia ou qualquer outro não fará diferença 🙂

  • Olá Joseph!
    obrigada pelo empenho fazer um “inquérito”
    Vou-me orientar no futuro no alfabeto que encontrei na Wikipédia.

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