It’s time to take a deep dive into the pronunciation of vowels in European Portuguese! First we’ll invite you to play around with this interactive guide and then we’ll cover all the factors that go into creating the variety of subtle variations between each vowel sound.
Pronunciation of Vowels in European Portuguese
Explore the guide below to get to know Portuguese vowels a little bit better. You can mouseover Rui’s lovely face in the interactive diagram to listen to and practice all these vowel sounds! For the best possible experience, use a computer running the Chrome browser.
What’s the difference between European Portuguese vs Brazilian Portuguese? For starters, European Portuguese is the variant spoken in Portugal and is more similar to the dialects spoken in Africa and Asia. (It is sometimes called Continental Portuguese, or even Portuguese Portuguese! 😄 ) Given the size and population of Brazil, however, the Brazilian Portuguese set of dialects are the most famous across the world, including online and in the entertainment industry.
Some compare the distinction between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese to that between American and British English, or between Latin American and European/Castilian Spanish. Practice Portuguese only teaches European Portuguese, but if you are arriving here with a background in Brazilian Portuguese, it can be helpful to understand the differences.
For native Portuguese speakers, the various dialects are mutually intelligible. As a non-native, hearing multiple versions can sometimes add extra confusion and complexity to the learning process, particularly when it comes to the pronunciation differences. If you’re planning to spend time in Portugal, or you just want to learn more about the Portuguese language as a whole, it’s important to understand the many unique characteristics of European Portuguese. We’ll take a look at some of the primary differences in spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
Whether you’re just visiting or planning to live in Portugal, learning some food vocabulary is going to be pretty important! 😆 As part of our Cooking and Eating unit, this guide should give you a good introduction to dining out in Portugal, or, in other words: comer foragoing out to eat
Breakfast & Coffee
There are caféscafés, coffee shops and pastelariasbakeries, which are often part of the same establishment, for snacks and light meals. This is where you’ll go for um pequeno-almoçoa breakfast or um lanchea snack
Perhaps you’ll ask for um caféa coffee and the world-famous pastel de natacustard tart. A pastel is usually a small tart or cake, which can be sweet, like the pastel de nata, or savoury, like the pastel de bacalhaucodfish cake. You’ll find a wide variety of delicious options to order at the pastelaria.
Unfortunately for those who like protein-rich breakfasts, it’s less common to find ovoseggs on the traditional Portuguese breakfast menu, though they do appear in a number of dishes served later in the day.
There are many different typical coffee beverages in Portugal. If you just order um caféa coffee you will receive an espresso, unless you specify otherwise. Some of the other most common options are:
This Learning Note will cover the present continuous in Portuguese. When we talk about actions that are happening right at the time of speaking, we use the present continuous, also known as the present progressive. Let’s start by taking a look at how this works in English.
Present continuous in the first person:
I am + verb ending in -ing
Example: I am driving
“I am” comes from the verb “to be” and is followed by the gerund form of the main verb (ending with -ing).
The Brazilian form is actually the most similar to English, so hopefully you’ll forgive us for mentioning it first! (We know you’re trying to focus on European and notBrazilian Portuguese, but it can be helpful and interesting to explore these differences sometimes. Plus, this gives you an easy way to spot if
Animator Wayne Wilson is back at it again, in this third episode of our Pizza Na Hora series (previously audio-only).
Márcio o Brasileiro calls in once again to everyone’s favourite Portuguese pizzeria, but this time to ask the owner for a job. Will they be able to overcome their cultural differences and work together? Watch to find out!
When we launched Diálogo 24 Um Café Em Lisboa (with our special guest, Tatiana from Brazil), it understandably created some controversy with our audience, who normally looks to us for European Portuguese content!
While most members loved exploring the differences between the two dialects, a few members were worried that we were losing our European Portuguese focus. (We’re not!)
To discuss why we occasionally expose our audience to Brazilian content and much more, Tatiana invited Rui & Joel to her radio program, Supermix (based in Italy), for a special interview. We also talk about other aspects of Practice Portuguese that you might have been curious about too! (Note: Some of Tatiana’s audio had to be re-recorded because of technical issues, so some editing was necessary. However, we’ve tried to retain the authenticity of the live interview as much as possible!)
This guide will cover the grammar and usage of addressing people formally vs. informally in Portugal, with a special focus on the difference between using the pronouns tu and você in European Portuguese. Grammatically, it doesn’t take too long to learn the basics. The most challenging aspects for estrangeirosforeigners, however, tend to be those that have to be made on a social level. For example, you must determine not only when it’s best to speak to someone formally, but also choose between the subtle variations of how formal language is used.
Even the natives (like Rui! 🇵🇹) have a hard time dissecting some of these unspoken social rules, but our aim is to make this the definitive resource of how to speak formally vs. informally in European Portuguese, and all the grey areas in between.
The Easy Stuff
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we’ll start with the easy pronouns first: those which don’t have formal or informal variations.
There is no distinction between formal and informal for the first person pronouns.
When talking about yourself, you’ll use EuI. Piece of cake!
When talking about yourself along with others, you’ll use:
This episode is a collaboration featuring Tatiana Ribeiro, a Portuguese teacher (and fan of the project) from Brazil, currently living Italy! She recorded with us and also wrote the dialogue, which takes place in a café in Portugal.
Since we all know jokes are funnier after they’re explained in exhaustive detail, Rui and Joel discuss the key vocabulary and expressions used throughout. But rather than making it easy on you by switching to English, we decided to keep the entire conversation in Portuguese!
But don’t worry – For the first time ever, members using the podcast player on our website can now enable English translations at any point in this episode, to make sure you don’t miss a single “palavra”.
Márcio o Brasileiro calls in once again to everyone’s favourite Portuguese pizzeria, but this time to ask the owner for a job. Will they be able to overcome their cultural differences and work together? Have a listen and find out in this 3rd episode of Pizza Na Hora!