How to Pronounce the Letter X in Portuguese

Compared to some other languages, Portuguese pronunciation is relatively consistent, once you learn the rules. A huge exception to this idea lies the letter X, which is one of the most challenging sounds – even for more intermediate learners.

That’s because this letter can be pronounced in several different ways. To get started, let’s see what Sherlock has to say on the topic:

(A special thanks to our friend Wayne Wilson for not only writing and animating this video, but for also providing the voice of Sherlock! Please help us thank him below or in the YouTube comments!)

As you saw in the video, there are 5 different ways to pronounce X in European Portuguese. But when you see a new word that contains this letter, how will you know which of the 5 pronunciations to use?

The only way to be fully sure is to memorize the individual words, but there are some common patterns that can help, which we’ll explore in this Learning Note: Pronunciation of The Letter X in Portuguese


  • Wonderful detail! I have blundered with X and must tackle finally! Love the Sherlock! Perhaps, a lesson on the subject! Thank you for your enthusiasm and excellent work!

  • Thanks – I hadn’t realised the humble “x” could be so versatile! I love the Sherlock voice.

  • Thank you so much. I’ve been banging my head against brick walls trying to figure out if there were any rules. I was beginning to think I had to learn each word with an x individually. Now, I just have to try to remembe the rules 🙂

  • Wonderful explanation of extremely complicated X-rules! Sounds easy but I wonder how long it will take until I will be able to read all the words containing an X aloud fluently. But since I fell in love with Mr Sherlock, I will certainly listen to his voice over and over again until I know it all by heart.

  • Excellent. Very helpful! I LOVE your website, the answer for learning European Portuguese that I was looking for!

  • It’s very similiar to š and ž sounds in Czech language, when I learned it. Pronunciation however in Portuguese has a lot more consonants than Spanish has.