pronounciation: "João"


Senior Member
USA, English
Hello, everyone.
Can someone please give me some idea of how to pronounce the name "Joao"?
Thanks very much.
  • Macunaíma

    Senior Member
    português, Brasil
    The J is pronounced like the French J in jour, bijou, jeunesse. The first syllable is unstressed and therefore the first o sounds pretty much like a w in English (i.e., a semi-vowel). The stressed syllable is the final ão which is a nasal diphthong. You could try pronouncing the ow in cow with a nasal sound. It's tricky to get it if you can't hear it - actually it's tricky even if you can hear it. Try saying Jwaong quickly remembering what I said about the J sound in Portuguese and with the stress on the nasal a.

    Dom Casmurro

    Senior Member
    Brazil Portuguese
    As Macunaíma put it, this is a very tricky one indeed, and I would go as far as saying that non-native speakers should be proud of themselves if they manage to pronounce "João" exactly like a native one. I have nothing to add to what Macunaíma has said, save for a slight remark on the fact that the ão syllable is a diphthong. It is a diphthong all right, but the three vowels uttered together (o+ã+o) may make them sound like a triphthong most of the time.
    Good luck,


    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In this forum's Resources sticky, there are links to some websites where you can type a word, and listen to how it's pronounced in Portuguese. Look them up here.

    If you are familiar with phonetic notation, "João" is pronounced [ʒwɐ̃u̯] (the [ɐ̃] should have a tilde on it, which stands for nasalization). As the other posters have noted, the "j" is pronounced the French way. The "ã" is a nasal vowel similar to the way you pronounce the interjection "Huh?" in English. Each "o" is short, with a sound similar to the vowel in the English word "do".

    I hope this helps.


    Senior Member
    Brazil, Portuguese
    Just another bit of info: the ʒ Outsider was talking about, or the French j, is also the sound of "s" in "vision": /ˈvɪʒən/.


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Thanks, everybody. I went to one of the "voice demo" websites, and found the most amazing thing: I've been saying it right!:D I know some French and a little Spanish, and between the two, I got lucky!
    Thanks again.


    Senior Member
    Portugal, portuguese
    Since I live in Montreal, Canada, and my name is João, some people have shown interest in knowing how to pronounce it. I tell them "relax, say 'juin' (June, in French), then place your mouth as if to pronounce 'ou'(F), or 'w'(E), without actually pronouncing it, or hardly.
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