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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Portuguese Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn about accentuation in Portuguese.
But what exactly are accents?
When we refer to accents, we're really talking about the diacritics which appear above or below a letter. These markers are used to indicate a slight change to the original pronunciation of the letter.
There are five primary accents used in Portuguese. Four of which, are for vowels, and one for the letter C.
Keep in mind however, that certain accent markers can only appear over certain vowels. This accent for example, known as the grave accent, can only appear over the vowel A. That means that you'll never have to worry about this accent appearing over any other vowel.
Portuguese Accents
Okay. Now that you know what accents are. Let's take an in-depth look at all the accents and their specific functions in Portuguese.
"First, we have the Acute accent.
It's represented by an upward stroke from left to right.
This accent can appear over any vowel and indicates that you must stress the syllable."
"Secretária - secretary
Único - unique
Ambíguo - ambiguous"
When it appears over the vowels O or E however, it indicates that the syllable must be stressed, *and* that the vowel requires an open pronunciation.
An open pronunciation simply means the variation of the O or E sound which requires the mouth to be wider and more 'open'. If you've been studying all the sounds properly until this point, you should be able to recognize and reproduce them easily. If you can't, then you should go back and review lesson 3 of this series.
"Ótimo - great
miséria - misery"
"Next, we have the Circumflex accent.
It's represented by a 'rooftop' or 'hat' symbol.
The circumflex accent appears over the vowels A, E, and O. This accent indicates that you must stress the syllable, *and* that the vowel requires a closed pronunciation."
A closed pronunciation is the opposite of an open pronunciation. This means that you want to produce the variation of the O or E sound, whereby the mouth is more narrow and 'closed'.
"urânio - uranium
pêlo - hair
pôr - to put"
"Next, we have the Tilde.
It's represented by a squiggly line.
The tilde appears over the vowels A and O, and indicates that the syllable must be pronounced with nasality."
questões - questions
milhões - millions"
"Next is the Grave accent.
It's represented by a downward stroke from left to right.
The grave accent only appears over the vowel A, and is merely used for grammatical purposes like differentiating words that would otherwise look and sound the same. It does not affect the pronunciation at all."
"Glória, a rainha (Glória the queen)
Glória à rainha (Glory to the queen)"
"Lastly, we have the Cedilla.
It attaches to the letter C and indicates that the letter is pronounced like an S."
"poço - well
moço - young man
açúcar - sugar"
Now that you're familiar with all the accents, let's practice with a short quiz!
How would you pronounce this word?
coração - heart
Did you recognize the accent in this example?
It's the tilde accent, indicating that the vowel is meant to be pronounced with nasality.
What about this next one?
carroça - cart, cart load
The accent used here is the cedilla. It indicates that you should read the C as an S.
Okay. Last one.
bebê - baby
Did you pronounce it correctly? Remember, the circumflex accent requires you to stress the syllable and to use a closed pronunciation.
In this lesson, you learned about accentuation in Portuguese.
In the next lesson, we'll review everything that we've learnt in this series and test you on the material.
Are there similar accents in your language? Share it in the comments.
See you in the next Ultimate Portuguese Pronunciation Guide lesson!