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European vs Brazilian Portuguese

What are the differences between European Portuguese vs Brazilian Portuguese?

Portuguese is spoken in several countries around the world, and non-linguists often assume it is spoken exactly the same. But just like U.S. English and British English there are many differences. For native Portuguese speakers, the national differences are significant. Let’s consider some of the differences between European vs Brazilian Portuguese.

Be aware that the spelling is evolving

All the Portuguese speaking countries (Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, East Timor, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Principe) have recently decided to standardise their spelling, based on the Brazilian standard. The main impact will be to remove silent letters from the standard spelling in Portugal.

For example, this will turn óptimo (great) into ótimo and acção (action) into ação. The new rules on hyphens and accents change autoestrada (highway) to autoestrada. Ideia and sinónimo will become idéia and sinônimo too, since the accent rules are different in Portugal too.

The grammar differs

Brazilians are also a little more free/creative with their use of Portuguese, turning some nouns into verbs. To congratulate requires the Portuguese phrase — “dar os parabéns” — but Brazilians sometimes also condense the expression into one verb – “parabenizar”.

Use of loanwords

Interestingly, the way the regions assimilate foreign words into the language differs. For example, media (as in mass media) is “mídia” in Brazilian and “media” in European Portuguese. Brazil has borrowed the word from American English and, as a result, ignores its Latin roots. Whereas European Portuguese has adopted it from Latin, and keeps the original spelling. Generally speaking, European Portuguese is more resistant to change and less keen on assimilating foreign words into the language.

To ensure your documents are translated by a native-speaker of the region, and not just the language — contact us!

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