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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Portuguese Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn about Portuguese diphthongs.
Diphthong' means 'two sounds'. It's the term used to describe two vowel sounds that are pronounced closely together in the same syllable.
"Take the English word 'pain' for example.
It's not pronounced 'pa-in', but 'pain'.
Or the word 'foul'. It's not 'fo-ul', but 'foul'."
Notice the difference? You can think of it like gliding from one vowel to the next very quickly. Diphthongs therefore, begin one way and end in another.
There are two types of diphthongs in Portuguese: Oral diphthongs, and Nasal dipthongs.
Let's focus on Oral diphthongs first.
Oral diphthongs involves two oral vowels, meaning vowels that are pronounced through the oral cavity. Portuguese has a great number of oral diphthongs, so we'll just cover the most common ones and have you practice them.
ai, ai
"raiva - anger
cai - (he/she/you) fall
pai - father"
It sounds like 'eye'. Try it!
au/ao, au/ao
"aula - class
mau - bad
caule - stalk"
It sounds like the diphthong in 'cow'. Now *you* try!
ei, ei
"feito - done
eleito - elected
falei - (I) spoke"
It sounds like the diphthong in 'hay'. Try it yourself!
Next is
ou, ou
"chegou - arrived
louco - crazy
ouro - gold"
It sounds a bit like the diphthong in 'goal' except more drawn out. Try it!
Great, I think you got the hang of Oral diphthongs. Let's move on to Nasal diphthongs.
Nasal diphthongs involve a nasal vowel and usually occurs at the end of a word.
-ão, -ão
"pão (bread)
cão (dog)
vão (they go)"
It sounds a bit like the diphthong in 'pound', but remember, you need to emphasize the nasality of the vowel, so make sure you're pronouncing it through the nose. This is a closed O sound, so don't open your mouth *too* widely. When practicing with the word 'pound', you may find it easier to remove the final D sound altogether. Try it!
ãe, ãe
"mãe - mother
alemães - Germans
pães - breads"
This is similar to the YIN in the word 'flying'. Since it's a nasalised diphthong, you need to pronounce it through the nose. And as with the previous sound, the A is "closed". Try it!
-õe, -õe
"põe - (he/she/you) put
opõe - (he/she/you) oppose
compõe - (he/she/you) compose"
For English speakers, it's like the sound that a spring makes: "boing!". Another similar sound is in the word 'ointment'. This is a closed O sound, so don't open your mouth *too* widely. Try it!
Okay, last one.
-ui, -ui
"pinguim - penguin
ruim - bad
muito - a lot, very"
This is similar to the diphthong in the word "quit". But remember, since it's a nasal dipthong, you want to pronounce it through the nose as much as possible.
Well done! In this lesson, you learned about Portuguese diphthongs.
In the next lesson, you'll learn about accentuation in Portuguese.
Do you have any other tips or tricks on how to pronounce nasal diphthongs? Share it in the comments.
See you in the next Ultimate Portuguese Pronunciation Guide lesson!