Pronunciation Guide

Below is a short pronunciation guide. The comparison with English words should help you pronounce the words correctly in Portuguese. Please note that not every sound can be reproduced in written form. 


Remark: My CD-ROM course includes a complete and very detailed pronunciation guide, which can help you improve your pronunciation. Check it out!


A aluno student sounds like [a] as in father
alemã German nasal sound
B bala candy sounds like [b] as in bay
C casa house ca/co/cu sounds like [k] as in key
cedo early ce/ci sounds like [s] as in city
Ç moça young woman ça/ço/çu sounds like [s] as in city
CH cheque check sounds like [sh] as in she
D data date sounds like [d] as in day
E letra, você letter, you sounds like [e] as in them
leite milk sounds like [ee] as in cheese at the end, if unstressed
festa, café party, coffee sounds like [e] as in bed
F faca knife sounds like [f] as in for
G gato cat ga/go/gu sounds like [g] as in get
gelo ice ge/gi sounds like [g] as in beige
GU água water gua/guo sounds like [gw] as in Nicaragua
português Portuguese gue/gui sounds like [g] as in get
linguiça sausage gue/gui sounds like [gw] as in Nicaragua
H hotel hotel h is always silent, except for borrowed words such as hall, hobby, etc.
I camisa shirt sounds like [ea] as in meat
J jornal newspaper sounds like [g] as in beige
L laranja orange la/le/li/lo/lu sounds like [l] as in like
Brasil Brazil al/el/il/ol/ul sounds like [w] as in few
LH trabalho work sounds like [ll] as in million
M mapa map sounds like [m] as in more
bom good sounds between m and n, similar to the French word bon
N nada nothing sounds like [n] as in no
conta bill sounds like [n] as in contract
NH amanhã tomorrow sounds like [ng], similar to the French words Avignon and champagne 
O bonito, avô pretty, grandfather sounds like [o] as in know
livro book sounds like [w or o] as in boo/knoat the end, if unstressed
moda, avó fashion, grandmother sounds like [aw] as in law
P pato duck sounds like [p] as in pie
Q quase almost qua/quo sounds like [kw] as in quick
aqui here que/qui sounds like [k] as in key
cinquenta fifty que/qui sounds like [kw] as in quick
R recibo receipt similar to [h] sound as in holiday
honra honor similar to [h] sound as in holiday, if preceded by n
carta letter sounds like [r] as in morning or jour, similar to the English or French r
caro expensive similar to [r] sound as in Mary
RR carro car similar to [h] sound as in holiday
S sopa soup at the beginning sounds like [s] as in sea
cansado tired if preceded by l/n/r sounds like [s] as in sea
inglês English after vowels sounds like [s] as in must
casa house between vowels sounds like [z] as in zero
SC piscina swimming pool sce/sci sounds like [s] as in sea
dea go down sça/sço sounds like [s] as in sea
SS assado roasted sounds like [s] as in sea
T tomate tomato sounds like [t] as in top
U uva grape sounds like [w] as in boo
V você you sounds like [v] as in verb
X xico Mexico sounds like [sh] as in she
caixa box/cashier after ai/ei sounds like [sh] as in she
xi taxi sounds like [ks] as in taxi
próximo next sounds like [s] as in city
excelente excellent exce/exci sounds like [s] as in city
texto text excl/exp/ext sounds like [s] as in must
exame exam exa/exe/exi/exo/exu sounds like [z] as in zero
Z zero zero before a vowel sounds like [z] as in zero
feliz happy after a vowel sounds like [s] as in must

Remark: The letter x has several different pronunciations.


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