Rules for pronunciation of final 'S' in European Portuguese

Discussion in 'Português (Portuguese)' started by pcolag, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. pcolag New Member

    English - Canada
    Hello All,

    I have been eagerly learning Portuguese for the past few months (both the European and Brazilian varieties), and have some confusion with regards to the pronunciation of the letter 'S' when it occurs at the end of a Word.

    From several sources that I have checked on Internet, I have found that the general rule is as follows:

    s sounds like "s" in sing
    - unless it's between two vowels where it sounds like "z" in zebra
    - unless it comes before a voiced consonant, where it sounds like the "s" in pleasure
    - unless it comes before a voiceless consonant, or at the end of a word, where it sounds like the "sh" in she




    The above rule is taken specifically from the internet site 'Portuguese Online: Pronouncing European Portuguese'. However, there are many other sites on Internet stating the same rules. The Portuguese course guide I am using «Take Off In Portuguese» (Oxford), also indicates the same rules.

    The confusion I am having, is that I seem to have run into a number of exceptions for the above rules (via audio recordings I have of native Portuguese speakers, within the Oxford course mentioned above as well as within the Assimil Portuguese course).

    Are there really exceptions to the above rules, or is it just that I don't understand the rules correctly? Here are a few examples I have come across where there seems to be an exception to the rule (unless I have misunderstood the rule) :

    1. In the word «bancos», the final 'S' sounds to me like an 's' and not like a 'sh' ( IPA: Sounds like /s/, and not like /ʃ/ )
    This seems to contradict the rule above, since the final 's' is at the end of a word.

    2. In the phrase «Duas garrafas de cerveja», the final 's' in the word 'garrafas' sounds to me like a 'sh' and not like an 's' ( ( IPA: Sounds like /ʃ/, and not like /s/ )
    This seems to contradict the rule above, since the final 's' in 'garrafas' comes before a 'd', which is a voiced consonant


    Could someone please help me clarify, are the above really exceptions? If so, is there a pattern to these exceptions or do they just have to be learned one by one?


     
  2. englishmania

    englishmania Senior Member

    Portugal
    European Portuguese
    The rules are OK.


    Perhaps you listened to Brazilian Portuguese... ? The final "s" is pronounced /s/ in Brazilian PT.


    In Portugal:

    1. bancos /ʃ/
    2. Duas garrafas de should sound like a /ʒ/ (or /ʃ/ , but never /s/)
     
  3. LuizLeitao

    LuizLeitao Senior Member

    São Paulo, Brazil
    Portuguese
    The final S is pronounced "S" in Brazilian PT, but not in some regions, especially in Rio de Janeiro (city and State), where its sounds like "sh".
     
  4. pcolag New Member

    English - Canada
    Thanks englishmania and LuizLeitao for your replies.

    The audio examples I am referring to are definitely in European Portuguese. I am including in attachment an mp3 file which is a recording of the phrase 'Desculpe, a que horas abrem os bancos'.

    To me, the final S really sounds like an 'S' and not a 'sh' (/ʃ/). I would really like to hear back from you native speakers of European Portuguese to confirm whether or not I am hearing things correctly.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. englishmania

    englishmania Senior Member

    Portugal
    European Portuguese
    I've listened to it. The man pronounces os /ʒ/* bancos /ʃ/. It's clear, in my opinion.;)


    * Because b is a voiced consonant.
     
  6. Alandria Senior Member

    Brasil - São Paulo
    Português
    In North and parts of Northeast Brazil is the same...

    /ʒ/, /ʃ/
     
  7. pcolag New Member

    English - Canada
    Thanks so much for the replies and feedback. I guess I will need to train my ears better for Portuguese!
     
  8. englishmania

    englishmania Senior Member

    Portugal
    European Portuguese
    You're welcome. Keep practising! ;)
     
  9. xiskxisk Senior Member

    Lisbon - Portugal
    Portuguese - Portugal
    The IPA transcription of that sentence (as pronounced in that clip is):

    dʃ'kulpɨ, ɐ kj 'ɔɾɐz 'abɾɐ̃j uʒ 'bɐ̃kuʃ
     

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