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portuguese vowels in phonetics

Discussion in 'Português (Portuguese)' started by johankka, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. johankka New Member

    in montpellier
    France and french
    I m a french student and I m at the moment working on portuguese phonetics, and on how to correct portuguese pronounciation while a native speaker is talking french. but it s very difficult to find informations about this topic.
    I would be glad to get some about the number of portuguese vowels (normal+ nasal) and also about the [r], because I read there were several, among which something like the french [R], which surprised me.
    Otherwise I would be thankfull if someone knew a website address, because I couln't find none, or better said, nothing which had really to do with phonetics.
    thank you.
  2. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)

    This website is about the phonetics of standard European Portuguese, and this page deals with the main vowels of Brazilian Portuguese (it doesn't include the nasal vowels, but they are identical to the nasal vowels of EP).

    Standard EP has 9 simple vowels (á, â, é, ê, ?, i, ó, ô, u) + 5 nasal vowels (nasal â, nasal ê, nasal i, nasal ô and nasal u); here, I wrote ? for a schwa-like vowel similar to the French e muet, but actually closer to the i in the English words bit and static, for lack of a better symbol. BP, as far as I know, has 7 simple vowels (á, é, ê, i, ó, ô, u) + 5 nasal vowels (basically the same as in EP).

    The pronunciation of the letter r is quite variable across dialects. In each dialect, it usually has two, or even three, possible sounds, according to its position in the word. One of those sounds is indeed very similar to that of the French [R]; it's common in Portugal and, from what I understand, can be found in Brazil in the carioca dialect.

    :arrow: I'm sending you a private message with a link to another site where you may ask for useful links.
  3. johankka New Member

    in montpellier
    France and french
    thank you very much for all these informations...
    I'm done now with the vowels but I didn't get very well the difference between the 3 [r] that exist in portuguese?
    could someone explain to me, please?
    bye, bye!
  4. Jose Carlos New Member

    Brazil Portuguese
    HI Johanka,

    1- We have a sound of R, pronounced with the tongue vibrating and slightly touching the top of the mouth which is represented both by a single R or double RR. The single R (with the same sound of the double one) appears in the beginning of the words, ex: rato, rua. The double RR appears between vowels, ex: carro, cachorro. This kind of R is very similar to the Spanish R as in REY.
    2- These two Rs can also be pronounced as the sound of the H in English like the words HOUSE and HORSE.
    Both the first and second cases vary from region to region here in Brazil even within the same state or city.
    3- The third phoneme represented by a single R is similar to the sound produced in English to the T or D (when not pronounced as a clear T or D) in the words BETTER, LADDER, BUT IT IS, a sound that it is not a T nor a D. Some examples are CARO, BARATO, CARETA.
    This R also appears connected to consonants in words like TRABALHO, BRASIL, PRIMEIRO ...
  5. Leandro

    Leandro Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Brazil - Portuguese
    I agree with Carlos!

    "R" when in the beginning of the words sounds like the "H" in english.
    "RR" is only used in the middle of the words and has also the sound of the english "H".
    "R" when in the middle of the word AND before a vowel, it's like the italian "R", or as Carlos also said the sound of the american english "TT" like in "beTTer".
    "R" when in the end of the words OR before a consonant can be pronounced 3 different ways:
    - like the american "R" as in "aRt"
    - like the italian "R" as in "perche"
    - like the french "R" as in "sur" but less stressed.
    (This last one only here in the city of Rio de Janeiro)
  6. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    There are more than 3 sounds for the r, because different dialects may pronounce the r differently in the same circumstances.

    In Portugal, there are two cases to consider:

    Case 1) The r is at the end of the word, or between vowels, or between a vowel and a consonant, or between a consonant other than l, n, s and a vowel (mar, caro, carta, prato).

    Case 2) The r is at the beginning of the word, or after one of the consonants l, n, s and before a vowel, or is double, rr (rato, melro, tenro, Israel, carro).

    In case 1, almost everybody pronounces the r as it would be pronounced in Spanish and Italian, that is, as an alveolar tap/flap.

    In case 2, some people pronounce the r(r) as it would be pronounced in Spanish, that is, as an alveolar trill. However, many people pronounce the r(r) as a uvular trill, which is similar to the r of French and German.

    In Brazil, as far as I know, case 1 splits into two in some dialects:

    Case 1a) Between vowels, or between a consonant other than l, n, s and a vowel (caro, prato).

    Case 1b) At the end of the word, or between a vowel and a consonant (mar, carta).

    In case 1a, the r is pronounced as in Portugal. In case 1b, it's pronounced differently.

    Have you looked at the books of Professor Paul Teyssier? He briefly discusses this topic in his Manual de língua portuguesa (second ediction, 1984).

    P.S. The Wikipedia has a detailed paragraph on the r in Portuguese, though I don't know if it's entirely accurate.
  7. Andrej New Member

    In Brazilian Portuguese there are different pronounciation of R letter when it is in the coda position, that is, when it is in the cvC position (Consonant, vowel, CONSONANT). In other position, it doesn't change. Between vowels, R in portuguese has the sound of "r", the "tap" sound of r, the one of Spanish pero, or similar to American English little. If the R is not between vowels (after consonant or in the beginning of the sentence or there is a double r - "rr" you must pronounce it like "h" of English or "r" of French.
    Arara , Caro, roupa, tenro, arreio, carruagem, carroça, etc

    Getting back to the coda position, here are some example:
    Corda, carga, governo, caderno (rope, load, government, notebook)
    In this position the phoneme can be pronounced in different way - many allophones of the same phomene. That is, phomenes distinguish words, allophones don't. Phonemes make minimal pairs such as "paca" and "pata" (different animals), as c and t are different phonemes. But the sound of R in coda position in Portuguese doesn't change meaning as well as the sound of T before i sound, such as Tia (tia or tchia), sound of t or ch (of English or Spanish).
    What are those R's?
    * R as "h", soft sound. Here in Minas Gerais, especially center and north, we pronounce this kind of R. However, as we speak, the final R tend to disapear Senhor (lord).
    * In Rio de Janeiro this R tends to be harder, just like German "Doch" - Carga (load).
    * In São Paulo State (esp. North), Goias State, Mato Grosso State and Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana State there is a retroflex r, similar to English "r" sound "garden" (in American English).
    * In some regions of São Paulo State and to the South this R becomes a "tap", just like Spanish - Governo.
    I think that's all, I would just emphasize that these differences are not crucial to understanding, so they just show regional different and sometimes what is said "more standard dialects". Obviously there's not at all a dialect better than another, pure prejudice.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  8. Benvindo Senior Member

    Brazil, Portuguese
    Hi Johankka. This site offers some 38000 Portuguese words with their pronounciations, together with dozens of other languages as well. Pay attention for instance in the pronunciation of the word "hérnia" by user Famadas, most likely a carioca. That's a good example of how the pre-consonantal "r" is pronounced in Rio de Janeiro.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009

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