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Lesson Transcript

Braden: Hello everyone and welcome back to All About lesson 2 - the Portuguese writing system. Thássia and I are going to explain a little bit more about the Portuguese writing.
Thássia: That's right. We are going to cover many things in this lesson.
Braden: Let's start with the alphabet.
Thássia: Sure. The Portuguese alphabet is very easy to learn because it's the same alphabet as English.
Braden: And knowing the basics of the Portuguese alphabet is a huge step in learning Portuguese because it's known as a phonetic language.
Thássia: That means the letters almost always make the same. So if you know the letters and the sounds, then not only can you speak it, but also read it.
Braden: In fact, the writing system is so exact that when you ask someone to spell a word, they usually just say it slower. So in Portuguese, the spelling and the pronunciation follow the same rules.
Thássia: I wish English were that simple.
Braden: So do I. It's irritating to remember rules like I before E except after C, but it always makes the sound E no matter how you spell it. Those are just difficult things that English has.
Thássia: Portuguese is much easier than that, but we'll go over the pronunciation of each letter and the rules for spelling it in our Pronunciation series.
Braden: That's right. For now, we'll just give you the big picture.
Thássia: Sounds great!.
Braden: So the Portuguese alphabet consists of 5 vowels and 21 consonants, just like English.
Thássia: You form words the same way you do in English by putting letters together in certain orders.
Braden: Portuguese is a Latin-based language, so it shares many words with English. Similar looking words with similar meanings are called cognates.
Thássia: For example,
Braden: electricity,
Thássia: eletricidade;
Braden: and traditional,
Thássia: tradicional, are english Portuguese cognate.
Braden: Portuguese also has three accent marks: the agudo (´), the grave (`), and the circunflexo (^). Don't you like that pronunciation?
Thássia: Good?
Braden: Yeah, it's very native. She speaks very well.
Thássia: Accent marks indicate strong sailable and help in determining the meaning of wood.
Braden: Strong syllables determine the unique rhythm of each word. The rhythm of the word helps in identifying the meaning of the word.
Thássia: Accent marks can also change the pronunciation of the syllable.
Braden: That's for sure.
Thássia: Portuguese also has two special marks, the til (~) and the cedilha (ç).
Braden: These marks change the pronunciation of the syllable they're in.
Thássia: For example, the til always makes the syllable nasal?
Braden: Nasal?
Thássia: Like n and m in English, or like in the word “sound.” That kind of funny vibration in your nose. Can you feel that?
Braden: I can, “sound.”
Thássia: Don't worry. We'll talk about it more in the Pronunciation series.
Braden: Okay then. So another benefit to learning the Portuguese writing system is that if you know Portuguese, then Spanish, French, and Italian will be easier to read and listen to because they share common roots.
Thássia: That's right. Spanish is very easy to understand because to a Brazilian, Spanish sounds like simplified Portuguese.
Braden: It's a little harder to read, but after about two weeks of listening to SpanishPod101.com, I was able to read a Spanish novel and only needed to take out the dictionary about five times through the whole book.
Thássia: If you're fluent speaker of Portuguese, very little if any training is needed to listen to and understand Spanish. Be careful though, Spanish speaker can't usually understand Portuguese speaker unless you speak slowly.
Braden: Yeah. Despite the common roots, Portuguese pronunciation is many times more complicated than Spanish pronunciation.
Thássia: Italian is also easy to read and understand after studying Portuguese.
Braden: That's right. I remember standing in a line at a party and two of my Italian speaking friends were speaking Italian behind me. I understood everything, and I don't even speak Italian.
Thássia: also helped with learning French.
Braden: Yeah, I once watched Ice Age in French. It took about 30 minutes of focused attention just to catch one word. Once my ear got used to the differences though, it was actually kind of fun to watch movies in French, Portuguese also helped me read the subtitles.
Thássia: Well, there you have it, the big picture.
Braden: Portuguese has a very unique relationship with other Latin- based languages and is an excellent launchpad to learning Spanish, Italian, or French.
Thássia: Yes, it is.
Braden: So please join us next time while we explore more about Portuguese and Brazil on PortuguesePod101.com.