Portuguese has two major written forms:
- European and African Portuguese
- Brazilian Portuguese.
In Brazil most first 'c's in 'cc', 'cç' or 'ct'; and 'p's in 'pc',
'pç' or 'pt' were eliminated from the language, since they are not
pronounced in the cultivated spoken language, but are remnants from the
language's Latin origin and sometimes take place in Europe
Also, there are differences in accent
marks, due to:
- Different pronunciation.
- Easier reading.
Portuguese is written using the Latin alphabet with 26 letters. Three of
them (K, W and Y) are only used for non-Portuguese origin words. It uses
ç and acute, grave, circumflex and tilde accents over vowels, as well
as, in some forms and only in Brazil,
diaeresis on a U.
The Portuguese language has a complex phonetic structure.
Pronunciation of the Portuguese of Brazil
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 ]
- c = [ s ]
before i or e, [ k ] elsewhere
- d = [ ʤ ] before i or a final unstressed
e, [ d ] elsewhere
- g = [ ʒ ] before i or e, [ g ] elsewhere
- gu = [ g
] before i or e, [ gw ] elsewhere
- m is nasalized
when at the end of a syllable and preceded by a vowel.
- n is
nasalized when at the end of a syllable, preceded by a vowel and followed
by a consonant.
- l = [ w ]
after vowels, [ l ] elsewhere
- qu = [ k
] before I or e, [ kw ] before a, o or u
- r = [ r ]
after consonants (except n) and before a vowel or at the end of a word if
the next word begins with a vowel, [ x ] elsewhere. When at the end of a
word and followed by a word beginning with a vowel = [ r ], otherwise = [
x ]. In São Paulo,
r sometimes = [ ɽ ].
- s = [ s ]
at the beginning of words, [ z ] between vowels. In Rio de Janeiro, s = [ ʒ ] before d, g, l, m, n, r and v,
[ ʃ ]
before c, f, p, qu and t.
- t = [ ʧ ] before i or a final unstressed
e, [ t ] elsewhere
- x = [ ʃ ] at the beginning of a
word and before a consonant (except c), pronounced [ s ] before ce or ci,
ex + vowel = [ z ], elsewhere x = [ ʃ ], [ ks ] or [ s ].
- z = [ ʒ ] at the ends of words and [ z ]
Pronunciation of the Portuguese of Portugal
As in Brazil, except:
a = [ ə ] when unstressed or at
the ends of words, [ a ] or [ ɐ ] elsewhere.
- e = [ ə
] when unstressed or at the ends of words, [ e ] or [ ɛ ] elsewhere. Often barely
pronounced at the ends of words.
- b = [
β ] between vowels, [ b ] elsewhere
- d = [
ð ] between vowels, [ d ] elsewhere
- g = [ ɣ ] between vowels, [ g ]
- gu = [ ɣw ] in some words
- r = [ ʀ ] or [ rr ] when at the
beginning of words, [ r ] elsewhere
- rr = [ ʀ ] or [ rr ]
- s = [ s ]
at the beginning of words, [ z ] between vowels and at the end of a word
when preceded by a vowel and followed by a word beginning with a vowel, [ ʃ ] after a vowel and before and
consonant and at the end of words.
- t = [ t ]
Verbs are divided into
three conjugations, which can be
identified by looking at the infinitive ending, one of "-ar",
"-er", "-ir" (and "-or", which is present in a
small number of verbs). Most verbs end with "-ar". All verbs with the
same ending follow the same pattern.
In Portuguese, verbs are divided into
- Imperative. Used to
express a wish, command or advice
- Indicative. Used to express a fact
- Subjunctive. Used to express a wish or a possibility
All Portuguese nouns have
one of two genders: masculine or inclusive and feminine or exclusive. Most
adjectives and pronouns, and all articles indicate the gender of the noun they
reference. The noun and the adjective must always be in agreement.
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