Portuguese One Pager

Group: Romance.

Structure: SVO.

Pronunciation:

  • Not a phonetic language.
  • Nasal vowels. When air needs to come out of your mouth AND your nose.
  • Guttural r. If you’re having trouble with this sound, learn how to spit. It has to come from your throat. As if you wanted to get something nasty out! And exaggerate the whole process. Really really force it at the beginning. Practice with simple words. It can sound like a French r, or just a forced American h, depending on the dialects.
  • The flap, where your tongue makes a very brief contact with your palate above your teeth. It feels as if your were whipping your tongue. This sound is similar to the one found in the American better, with tt.
  • The combination nh, which can be seen as a n followed by the sound (as in you). Practice by saying something like n-you.
  • The combination lh, which can be seen as a l followed by the sound (as in you). Practice by saying something like l-you.
  • No simple stress pattern.
  • The language varies greatly between the countries and regions.

Gender: Two genders: Masculine, and feminine. Most words ending in -a are feminine, and in -o are masculine. But beware of exceptions…

Cases: No declensions.

Negation: Just add não before the verb.

Question: As a beginner, the simplest way is to rise your pitch at the end of a sentence. For more complex questions (involving how, why, what, …), you only need to add a word at the beginning of the sentence, and to rise your pitch at the end of the sentence.

Plural: Add the letter s at the end of a word. Its pronunciation depends on the dialect.

Miscellaneous: You don’t need to use pronouns (I, you, he, …) in most cases. Again, it varies between the different dialects.

Links:

  • Brazilian singers: Daniela Araújo, Emicida.
  • Damon and Jo, two travel YouTubers. Jo is Brazilian American, and Damon learned (and is still learning) Brazilian Portuguese.
  • More Brazilian YouTubers.