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Portuguese (Português)

Portuguese is a Romance language spoken by about 220 million people mainly in Portugal and Brazil (Brasil), and also in Angola, Mozambique (Moçambique), Cape Verde (Cabo Verde), Guinea-Bissau (Guiné-Bissau), São Tomé e Principe, East Timor (Timor-Leste), Equatorial Guinea and Macau. There are also communities of Portuguese speakers in Goa, Daman and Diu in India, and in Malacca in Malaysia.

Portuguese at a glance

  • Native name: Português
  • Linguistic affliation: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Western Romance, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Galician-Portuguese
  • Number of speakers: c. 220 million
  • Spoken in: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé e Principe, East Timor and Macau
  • First written: 9th century
  • Writing system: Latin script
  • Status: sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe; co-official status in Macau, Equatorial Guinea and East Timor

Portuguese is a descendent of Latin, which was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by Roman soldiers, settlers and merchants from 218 BC. The earliest records of a distinctly Portuguese language appear in administrative documents dating from the 9th century AD. In 1290 King Denis decreed that Portuguese, then simply called the "Vulgar language" should be known as the Portuguese language and should be officially used.

A reformed Portuguese orthography (nova ortografia), in which words were spelled more in accordance with their pronunciation, was adopted is Portugal in 1916. A slightly modified form was adopted in Brazil in 1943 and revised in 1970. A new orthography which aims to unify the written Portuguese of all the lusophone countries was adopted in Brazil in 2009. Dates have yet to be set for its adoption in the other Portuguese-speaking countries

A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i
á é efe agá i
J j K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r
jota cá/capa ele eme ene ó quê erre
S s T t U u V v W w X x Y y Z z  
esse u dábliu,
dáblio,
duplo-vê
xis ípsilon,
ipsilão,
i grego
 

The letters K, W and Y are used only in foreign loanwords.

Listen to the Portuguese alphabet read by Heitor de Moraes from Brazil

Pronunciation of the Portuguese of Portugal

Pronunciation of the Portuguese of Portugal

Pronunciation of the Portuguese of Brazil

Pronunciation of the Portuguese of Brazil

Listen to the consonants of Brazilian Portuguese read by Heitor de Moraes from Brazil

Notes

  • e = [e] when unstressed and non-final, [e] or [ɛ] when stressed, [i] when final
  • o = [o] when unstressed and non-final, [ɔ] or [o] when stressed, [u] when final
  • oa = ['oa/'oṷṷa] when stressed, oa & ua = [ṷa] when unstressed
  • the diphthongs ea, eo, ia, ie, io, oa, ua, ue and uo appear at the ends of words and are always unstressed. ua and uo can also appear after g and q, and in other positions.
  • c = [s] before i or e, [k] elsewhere
  • d = [ʤ] before i or a final unstressed e, [d] elsewhere. However in parts of Santa Catarina and Paraná and the north and north east of Brazil, d in the final -de is pronounced [d]. In those same regions (except Paraná) di is pronounced [di] or [dji].
  • g = [ʒ] before i or e, [g] elsewhere
  • gu = [g] before i or e, [gṷ] elsewhere
  • Triphthongs are made up of combinations of gu, gü, qu, qü + a diphthong, e.g. saguão, agüei, sequóia.
  • l = [ṷ] after vowels (final e before consonants).
  • m is nasalized when at the end of a syllable and preceded by a vowel, e.g. cantam [´kãtãṷ], homem ['omẽi ̭], sim [sĩi ̭].
  • n is nasalized when at the end of a syllable, preceded by a vowel and followed by a consonant, e.g. cansar [kã'sa], alento [a'lẽtu].
  • nh = [~ii, ɲ], i.e. nasalizes preceeding vowels, e.g. banha ['bãiia]. In some north eastern parts of Brazil, inha = [ĩa] and -inho = [ĩu]. In some parts of Brazil, nh = [ɲ]
  • qu = [k] before i or e, [kṷ] before a or o
  • r = [x~ʀ] (or [r~ɾ] in some areas) at the beginning of words and after n
    r = [Ø~x~ʀ~r~ɾ] at the ends of words and before consonants. If the following word begins with a vowel, r = [r~Ø]
    r = [r] after consonants (except n)
    rr = [x~ʀ] (or [r~ɾ] in some areas)
    r = [ɽ] before consonants and at the end of words in São Paulo, south of Brasil, Minas Gerais and Goiás
  • s = [s] at the beginning of words, [z] between vowels and between voiced consonants. However in parts of Santa Catarina, Rio de Janeiro and the north east and north of Brazil, s = [ʒ] before d, g, l, m, n, r and v, [ʃ] before c, f, p, qu and t, and when in final position.
  • sc (before e and i) and sç (before a and o) = [s]. In Rio de Janeiro, sc/sç = [is], e.g. nascimento [naisi'mẽtu]
  • t = [ʧ] before i or a final unstressed e, [t] elsewhere. However in parts of Santa Catarina and Paraná and the north and north east of Brazil, the final t in the final -te is pronounced [t]. In those same regions (apart from Paraná) ti = [ti] or [tji]. The [ʧ] sound is also written tch (e.g. tchau), or tx in indigenous names (e.g. txukahamãe).
  • x = [ʃ] at the beginning of a word and, in parts of Santa Catarina, Rio de Janeiro and northeast and north of Brazil, before c, p and t
    ex + vowel = [z], e.g. exame [e'zãmi], or [ʃ], e.g. vexame [ve'ʃami]
    x = [ʃ], [ks] or [s] elsewhere, e.g. relaxar [xela'ʃa], fixo ['fiksu], auxiliar [aṷsi'li ̭a(x/r)]
    x = [ks] when in final position
    x is silent in exce..., exci..., exs..., e.g. exceto [e'sɛtu], excitar [esi'ta], exsudar [esu'da]
  • z = [s] in final position and before unvoiced consonants. In parts of Santa Catarina, Rio de Janeiro and the north east and north of Brazil, z = [ʒ] before voiced consonants, [ʃ] before unvoiced consonants and when in final position.
  • In the north east of Brazil some of the letters have different names: F (fê), J (ji), L (lê), M (mê), N (nê), R (rê), S (si) and Y (ipsilone).

Sample text in Portuguese

Todos os seres humanos nascem livres e iguais em dignidade e em direitos. Dotados de razão e de consciência, devem agir uns para com os outros em espírito de fraternidade.

A recording of this text

Sample text in Brazilian Portuguese

Todos os seres humanos nascem livres e iguais em dignidade e direitos. São dotados de razão e consciência e devem agir em relação uns aos outros com espírito de fraternidade.

A recording of this text

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Portuguese | European Portuguese phrases | Brazilian Portuguese phrases | Kinship terms | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Links | My Portguese learning experiences | Learning materials

Contributors to this page: Marcelo Manschein, Mário André Coelho da Silva and Heitor de Moraes from Brazil, and Renato Serôdio from Portugal

Links

Information about Portuguese
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_language
http://www.portugueselanguage.net
http://www.golisbon.com/practical-lisbon/language.html
http://www.linguaportuguesa.ufrn.br/
http://www.portugueselanguageguide.com

A Língua Portuguesa (a history of the Portuguese language in Portuguese, English and French): http://www.linguaportuguesa.ufrn.br/

Information about Portuguese pronunciation (in Portuguese)
http://www.rudhar.com/foneport/en/foneport.htm
http://www.fonologia.org

Online Portuguese lessons
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/portuguese/
http://www.sci.fi/~huuhilo/portuguese/
http://www.easyportuguese.com
http://www.learningportuguese.co.uk
http://www.learn-to-speak-portuguese.com/free-online-lessons.html
http://learnportuguese.elanguageschool.net
http://www.learn-portuguese-now.com
http://www.oneness.vu.lt/pt/
http://www.languagetutorial.org/portuguese-language/
http://www.carioca-languages.com/blog/category/portuguese-lessons/
http://www.sonia-portuguese.com
http://www.semantica-portuguese.com
https://www.glovico.org/en/portuguese

More links to Portuguese language resources

Rocket Portuguese | Learn Portuguese online | Portuguese electronic dictionaries and translators | Portuguese learning software | Language tutors anytime, anywhere at Lingo-Live.com | Learn Portuguese with Glossika Mass Sentences

Learn Portuguese with Free Podcasts

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