estás, estar, especial - pronounciation of the 'e' and 's'

Discussion in 'Português (Portuguese)' started by Luisa2579, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. Luisa2579 New Member

    English - London
    How do you pronounce the words estás, estar, especial in European Portuguese?

    According to the 'Learn Portuguese Online' website, the 's' sounds like s in sing unless it is between two vowels, in which case it sounds like z in zebra. Also :

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]unless it comes before a voiceless consonant, or at the end of a word, where it sounds like the "sh" in she - for example estar, mais, dois

    The unstressed "es" in esp- and est- is pronounced like the "ish" in fish. for example estar, especial

    HERE are the 2 questions:

    I have listened to European and Brazilian Portuguese recordings and nobody pronounces the 'es' as -ish. Is this rule wrong? they seem to pronounce 'e' as in 'the'
    Also the 's' is not pronounced as a -sh, but as 's' in sing..

    Can you please advise?

    Thank you.
  2. AlexSantos

    AlexSantos Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Well, I'm from Brazil, but here where I live we tend to pronounce our sibilants as postalveolar /ʃ/ (shoot) or /ʒ/ (vision) sounds in coda position in much the same way as the Europeans do. Rio de Janeiro is one of the few places in Brazil that retains the European pronunciation, which is very different from most regions across the country where coda 's' is pronounced as the 's' in sing.

    In words such as estar, especial, escola, etc, I just skip the first vowel sound altogether and go straight for the sibilant. In which case, the 's' stands as a syllable on its own.
    estar /ʃ'ta(h)/, escola /ʃ'kɔla/, especial /ʃpesi'aw/

    I bet the initial vowel is not dropped in European Portuguese, though. It's probably an unstressed/short 'i' sound which, depending on the speaker's accent may sound like the vowel in 'the'.
  3. Luisa2579 New Member

    English - London
    Thanks Alex thats very nice and clear. I went through the dictionary and listened to the esc- words pronounced mostly by Brazilians on the Forvo website, and in almost all words the 's' was as in 'sing'. The esp - was more uniformly pronounced -sh. In european portuguese they too seem to drop the 'e'. Ill keep looking.

  4. skizzo Senior Member

    porto, portugal
    In EP we drop the initial vowel.
  5. Luisa2579 New Member

    English - London
    Thanks guys
  6. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    While the "ish-" pronunciation does exist in some parts of Portugal, it is dialectal. The most common around here is to simply drop the inicial "e", that is to pronounce initial "es" + voiceless consonant as "sh" (and initial "es" + voiced consonant as "zh").

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