Differences in the accents of Portugal and Brazil...

Discussion in 'Português (Portuguese)' started by Redline2200, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Redline2200

    Redline2200 Senior Member

    Illinois, United States
    English - United States
    I know very little about Portuguese, but it has always been a language that interested me alot:) . The question I have (sorry for asking it in English!) is, is there a large difference between the Portuguese spoken in Portugal and the Portuguese spoken in Brazil? I have heard that there is a quite a large difference, bigger than any of the English or Spanish language differences. Is it easy to understand a person from the opposite country in Portuguese? If so, what are some of the differences?
  2. mrcoelho Member

    São Paulo
    Brazil / Portuguese
    I don't know how to describe the differences, but they're not little. I could say it's a little stronger than the difference between american and british english. I was exposed to the accent since I was a kid because I have portuguese relatives, so I find it easy to understand, but I've worked in Brazil with portuguese colleagues and sometimes I had to "translate" them to the brazilian colleagues.

    Let's wait for someone with ability to describe the differences in details.
  3. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    There´s another thread where we have already discussed about it... .we´ll find it later. :)
    as mrcoelho said , for us Brazilians, the biggest difference rests in accent... sometimes we need someone to " translate" it for us, unless, like mrcoelho, our ears are accostummed to it. But, after that it´s ok! I have a Portuguese friend I have no problem understanding... but whenever I watch the Pt TV I have to think twice before understanding some people, not all of them.
  4. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Welcome to the forum, Redline. :)

    I do not dare answer this question, since I don't know of any linguistic methods to measure the difference between two accents, or to compare two differences between accents.

    I think there's a lot of subjectivity involved. When you're not used to an accent, it's always difficult to follow, but with time you can get used to it.
    In my opinion, exposure is a very important factor, and here there is an asymmetry between Portugal and Brazil. In Portugal, we regularly watch Brazilian TV programmes (well, sopa operas, mostly) and listen to Brazilian music on the radio. The opposite is not common at all.
    So, I don't find it surprising that, as you've probably heard already, Brazilians have more trouble understanding the Portuguese than vice-versa. On the other hand, Brazilians are one of the largest groups of immigrants in Portugal, and when they get here they don't seem to have much trouble learning to understand our accent. I often see Brazilian immigrants here talking to Portuguese people, each with their own accent, and they understand each other perfectly.

    Let's see... You're asking about accents, so that's pronunciation. I think the most striking differences have to do with the way we pronounce certain vowels, or perhaps more precisely, the time duration of stressed syllables compared to the time duration of unstressed syllables. There are also a few consonants which we pronounce differently, for example the r, but they don't make as much of a difference.

    So what about vowels and syllables? Brazilian Portuguese is kind of like Italian and Spanish, where each vowel and each syllable is pronounced very clearly and with roughly the same length. It has that staccato rhythm that people usually associate with Romance languages. Some people say that, in this, it's a more conservative dialect than European Portuguese.

    European Portuguese is more like French or English, in that stressed vowels are pronounced more or less the same way as their Brazilian counterparts, but unstressed vowels tend to be pronounced faster and more weakly. I think the technical terms for this are syllable-timed and stress-timed. BP is syllable-timed, EP is stress-timed. We also pronounce some unstressed vowels differently from Brazilians (especially a and e), and will even elide a few vowels altogether, particularly in word boundaries and in fast speech. So, for instance, we may pronounce copo de água as copo d'água instead of copo di água, and, in fast speech, shorten it further to cop'd'água.
  5. lampiao Senior Member

    Indeed having one's ear used to the way things are said helps a lot.
    Actually, mostly because of the brazilian TV programmes, etc, it is easier (for me, who live in Lisbon) to understand BP than that of the Azores!
  6. Redline2200

    Redline2200 Senior Member

    Illinois, United States
    English - United States
    Very Interesting! Thank you for all the information, I feel much more enlightened now :)
  7. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    :thumbsup: Out, b r i l l a n t!
  8. grumpus Senior Member

    San Diego, CA
    English U.S.
    Hi Redline and group,

    As a non-native, English/"Spanish" speaker I will offer my 2 cents worth. I have been exposed to both and I would say there is definitely a greater difference between Pt/Brazil than between any versions of Spanish or English. This is true for both accent and grammar.
    However, with a little bit of time you can understand both fine.
    Follow what Outsider said on pronunciation.
    Grammar-wise Brazilians tend to eliminate object pronouns, while Portuguese use them more or less as in Spanish (difference in placement, though).
    Brazil Eu vi or Eu vi ele (I saw him)
    Pt Eu vi-o

    Brazil Eu lembro "I remember"
    Pt Eu lembro-me

    Brazil Eu dei para ele or Eu o dei para ele (I gave it to him)
    Pt Eu dei-lho

    also on verb conjugation, some differences.
    Brazil tends not to use the "tu form" although some regions do (e.g ., Rio Grande do Sul)

    In Portugal they use a different form of the continuous

    Pt Eu estava a fazer --I was doing/making
    Brazil Eu estava fazendo

    Native speakers, are all of these observations correct???

    o Grumpus
  9. mrcoelho Member

    São Paulo
    Brazil / Portuguese
    Hi Grumpus,

    Your observations are quite correct.

    About the use of "tu" form, you are right too. I can add some information on that topic:

    - In São Paulo we use the form "você", and we conjugate the verbs in the 3rd person (the thread 45195 has more information on this topic, but unfortunately I'm not allowed to include a link to it)
    - In Rio de Janeiro they use the form "tu", but they conjugate incorrectly the verbs in the 3rd person instead of the 2nd
    - In Rio Grande do Sul they use the form "tu" and they conjugate the verbs in the 2nd person, although due to the exposition to people speaking incorrectly on TV some of them are now using the 3rd person too.

  10. lampiao Senior Member

    In southern Portugal (Alentejo and Algarve) the 'classical' continuous is still used. (i.e. 'fazendo')
    I don't know if that is changing or not. Fact is that TV is a definite way of setting standards, and on TV the typical form is, for eg, 'a fazer'

Share This Page