Naturally, an Englishman speaks English differently than an American. An American couple in England would get second glances at a restaurant if they asked for napkins; they also might be a bit embarrassed once they found out that they had asked for baby diapers to wipe their mouths with.

One could say that European Portuguese is more like the English in England; they are proper by word choice and in their enunciation. However, Brazilian Portuguese is like American English; it is more liberal– meaning there is more slang and freedom in the language. Yet the differences are more complicated than just a word here and there or the accent. Here are some of the differences between the two:

Shhhhh versus Gee

European Portuguese, meaning the Portuguese one will hear in Portugal, pronounces a word that ends with an “s” or “ss” with a shhh sound. For example, the word for shoes is sapatos pronounced sapat–o–sh. The one exception to the rule is if the letter before the s and the letter that starts the next word starts with a vowel; then it would be pronounced like a z. For example the phrase “the people are tired” is “Os pessoas estao cansadas” pronounced “o–sh pa–sew–uz st–owe–can–sod–a.” The Brazilian Portuguese just pronounce it as a z sound all the time.

Brazilian Portuguese pronounces a word that ends in “de” and “ge” as “gee.” Verdade, meaning truth would be pronounced “ver–dod–gee.” The European would pronounce that same word “ver–dod.” In addition, the Brazilian Portuguese pronounces a word with a “te” at the end as “chee.” For example, excelente would be pronounced excellent–chee.

Present Participle

The present participle in English is words ending in “ing”, for example walking, jumping or hiking.

In European Portuguese, the participle phrase is formed by the subject+ the conjugation of the verb estar + a and then the infinitive form of the verb. For example, the phrase “She is walking to the store” would be “Ela esta a andar au supermarket.”

However, Brazilian Portuguese forms the participle phrase by the subject + the conjugation of estar and then takes the base word of the verb and adds an endo, indo or ando depending on if it is a verb ending in er, ir or ar. For example the verb andar ends in ar so that would change to andando. “She is walking to the store” would be “Ela esta andando au supermarket.”

Words and Phrases

Many words and phrases are different between Brazilian and European Portuguese. Here are a few of them.

How are you?
European = Como esta?
Brazilian = Tudo bem?

European = Fixe
Brazilian= Legal

European = Cao
Brazilian = Cachorro

There are many minor differences between the two dialects, yet they have the same roots and whether your speak European and Brazilian Portuguese you can travel between the two regions and get along just fine. Just like Americans are able to understand Englishmen and Australians, and vice versa, with perhaps only a few snickers exchanged here and there.

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