The Alphabet: Brazilian Portuguese

 

The Portuguese alphabet consists of the following 26 letters – 20 consonants and 6 vowels:

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

As you can see on the chart below, each letter has at least one word as an example, that word meaning, the sound in Portuguese and an equivalent word in English for that sound. Enjoy it!

I adapted this material from: http://www.sonia-portuguese.com/text/pronunciation.htm

Pronunciation Guide

The comparison with English words should help you pronounce the words correctly in Portuguese. Please note that not every sound can be reproduced in written form.

LETTER

PORTUGUESE MEANING SOUND ENGLISH

A

aluno student sounds like [a] father
alemã, alemão, mãe German (female)German (male)mother nasal sound   /an/nasal sound   /aun/nasal sound   /ain/ banner, lounge, trying

B

bala candy sounds like [b] bay

C

casa house ca/co/cu sounds like [k] key
cedo early ce/ci sounds like [s] city

Ç

moça young woman ça/ço/çu sounds like [s] city

CH

cheque check sounds like [sh] she

D

data date sounds like [d] day

E

letra, você letter, you sounds like [e] them
leite milk sounds like [ee] at the end, if unstressed cheese
festa, café party, coffee sounds like [e] bed

F

faca knife sounds like [f] for

G

gato cat ga/go/gu sounds like [g] get
gelo ice ge/gi sounds like [g] beige

GU

água water gua/guo sounds like [gw] Nicaragua
português Portuguese gue/gui sounds like [g] get
linguiça sausage güe/güi sounds like [gw] Uruguai

H

hotel hotel h is always silent, except for borrowed words such as hall, hob hour

I

camisa shirt sounds like [ea] meat

J

jornal newspaper sounds like [g] beige

L

laranja orange la/le/li/lo/lu sounds like [l] like
Brasil Brazil al/el/il/ol/ul sounds like [w] few

LH

trabalho work sounds like [ll] or [lee] million

M

mapa map sounds like [m] more
bom good sounds between m and n, similar to the French word bon

N

nada nothing sounds like [n] no
conta bill sounds like [n] contract

NH

amanhã tomorrow sounds like [ng], similar to the French words Avignon and champagne  canyon

O

bonito, avô pretty, grandfather sounds like [o] know
livro book sounds like [w or o] at the end, if unstressed boo/know
moda, avó fashion, grandmother sounds like [aw] law

P

pato duck sounds like [p] pie

Q

quase almost qua/quo sounds like [kw] quick
aqui here que/qui sounds like [k] key
cinquenta fifty qüe/qüi sounds like [kw] quick

R

recibo Receipt similar to [h] sound holiday
honra Honor similar to [h] sound, before ‘n holiday
carta Letter sounds like [r], similar to the English or French r morning or jour
caro expensive similar to [r] sound Mary

RR

carro Car similar to [h] sound holiday

S

sopa Soup at the beginning sounds like [s] sea
cansado Tired if preceded by l/n/r sounds like [s] sea
inglês English after vowels sounds like [s] must
casa house between vowels sounds like [z] zero

SC

piscina swimming pool sce/sci sounds like [s] sea

dea go down sça/sço sounds like [s] sea

SS

assado roasted sounds like [s] sea

T

tomate tomato sounds like [t] top

U

uva grape sounds like [w] boo

V

você you sounds like [v] verb

X

xico Mexico sounds like [sh] she
caixa box/cashier after ai/ei sounds like [sh] she
xi taxi sounds like [ks] taxi
próximo next sounds like [s] city
excelente excellent exce/exci sounds like [s] city
texto text excl/exp/ext sounds like [s] must
exame exam exa/exe/exi/exo/exu sounds like [z] zero

Z

zero zero before a vowel sounds like [z] zero
feliz happy after a vowel sounds like [s] mus

You can listen to the alphabet here:

Portuguese Alphabet

(from http://www.omniglot.com/writing/portuguese.htm)

And watch this video, it has the pronunciation plus some other good information:

You should also check my post showing how different this alphabet sounds in the Northeast of Brazil!

See you soon!

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