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Pronunciation Guide for European Portuguese Vowels

August 17, 2020

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.

European vs Brazilian Portuguese

August 13, 2020

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.

Dining Out In Portugal

October 27, 2018

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 fora going out to eat

Breakfast & Coffee

There are cafés cafés, coffee shops and pastelarias bakeries, which are often part of the same establishment, for snacks and light meals. This is where you’ll go for um pequeno-almoço a breakfast or um lanche a snack

Perhaps you’ll ask for um café a coffee and the world-famous pastel de nata custard 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 bacalhau codfish 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 ovos eggs 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 café a coffee you will receive an espresso, unless you specify otherwise. Some of the other most common options are:

Present Continuous in Portuguese

June 1, 2018

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 not Brazilian Portuguese, but it can be helpful and interesting to explore these differences sometimes. Plus, this gives you an easy way to spot if

00:10:33

Animated: Pizza Na Hora Está a Contratar!

Animated: Pizza on Time is Now Hiring!

August 11, 2017

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!

13:42

Supermix Interview (with Tatiana, Rui & Joel)

August 11, 2017

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!)

How to Address People Formally vs. Informally

May 31, 2017

Tu vs. Você in European Portuguese

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 estrangeiros foreigners, 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.

First person

There is no distinction between formal and informal for the first person pronouns.

When talking about yourself, you’ll use Eu I. Piece of cake!

When talking about yourself along with others, you’ll use:

21:17

Um Café em Lisboa

A Coffee in Lisbon

May 8, 2017

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”.

We’re excited to hear what you think!

Update, August 11, 2017: Shortly after launching this episode, we were invited on Tatiana’s radio show for an interview. We’ve released an edited version of this interview with transcript if you’d like to have a listen!

00:05:38

Pizza na Hora, Márcio o Brasileiro (Animated!!)

Pizza on Time, Márcio the Brazilian

January 29, 2015

Previously released as audio-only, one of our all-time favourite episodes has been brought to life as a fully animated feature, by Wayne Wilson!

Watch European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese face off head-to-head in this very special animated episode.

Original audio version, released Nov 5 2013.

A BIG thanks to Wayne for his countless hours of work in reimagining this Practice Portuguese episode. Find more of his work at https://www.youtube.com/user/Toyuki1

A special Obrigado also goes out to the voice actors, Márcio (Brasileiro) and Luis (Português) for their talent contribution.

Be sure to leave a comment on YouTube to share your appreciate with Wayne!

05:39

Pizza na Hora, Márcio o Brasileiro

Pizza on Time, Márcio the Brazilian

November 5, 2013

Pizza na Hora receives another order, but this time the problem is communication. Is it possible that a Portuguese can’t understand a Brazilian?

Updated January 29, 2015 – As a gift to us and all of the other Practice Portuguese fans, fellow member Wayne Wilson has turned this episode into a fully-animated cartoon. Watch it here.