Differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese

Portuguese is the fifth primary language in the world, but it isn´t only Portugal that uses it as its official language.

There are multiple differences between the Portuguese spoken by a native Portuguese and the Portuguese spoken by a Brazilian. They speak the same language and they will certainly understand each other, but the differences between the two variants are greater than you would initially imagine.

Even though colonization of modern-day Brazil started in the 16th century, Portuguese was established as the official language only in 1758. And by that time, contact with indigenous inhabitants and slaves had already changed spoken Portuguese in Brazil.

One of the most obvious differences between both language variants is in pronunciation, While Brazilians use more extended, broader vowels, vowels in Portugal are more closed. This is hard for Brazilians to get used to, because they do not have much contact with the Portuguese from Portugal.

Also in addition to the mouth and pronunciation of the vowels, there are also differences in the pronunciation of certain consonants, especially the final “S” (at the end of a word). In Brazilian Portuguese, an “S” at the end of a word is pronounced “SS”, but in Portugal it’s pronounced “SH”.

Let’s use the phrase dois (two) as an example.

This world would be pronounced ‘doiss‘ in Brazil while in Portugal, it would be pronounced ‘doish.’ Furthermore, as Brazil is such a big country, the accent can change between the North and the South of the country. More specifically, the pronunciation in Rio de Janeiro and cities in the northeast is similar to that of Portugal.

Also, the difference lies in the pronunciation of vowels or more specifically, how Portuguese people eliminate the unstressed vowel between consonants of a word when they speak.

Take this example, the word padaria (bakery). In Brazil, it would be pronounced just how it is written, but in Portugal, this word sounds more like “pad ‘ria“.

Another essential difference worthy of note is in the pronunciation of T’s and D’s. In Portugal, both consonants are pronounced in the same way. In Brazil, however, when followed by i or an e, the sound changes to G and Chi respectively. For example, the word dia (day) and tapete (rug), when pronounced by Brazilians, sound like gia and tapeche.

The difference in their use of pronouns takes, for example, tu and você. Verbs to be used with você must be conjugated in the 3rd person singular, and it is the most common word that Brazilians use to address someone. In Portugal, você is a formal way to talk to someone that you do not have much contact with. Here is an example, Portugal: Tu gostas de viajar? / Você gosta de viajar? (do you like traveling), in Brazil: Tu gosta de viajar? / Você gosta de viajar? (Do you like traveling?)

Tu is the pronoun used in Portugal in an informal context, exclusively for friends, family, and casual situations.