Almost every sound in Portuguese also exists in English. Therefore, if you’re a native speaker of English, then, in a sense, you may have already mastered Portuguese pronunciation! Even the Portuguese sounds that sometimes do pose a slight amount of difficulty are not nearly as difficult as some of the unique sounds in some other language. Plus, another factor that makes learning to speak this language a lot easier, at least for English speakers, is the fact that the two languages use completely identical alphabets. Therefore, we’re going to take a look at how Portuguese vowels are pronounced, and then we’ll take a look at Portuguese consonants.
Given the fact that we’ve already explained that the Portuguese alphabet is identical to the English one, it’s really no surprise that Portuguese features the same five vowels as English. Therefore, a logical first step to learning Portuguese pronunciation would be to learn to pronounce its vowel sounds. Fortunately, Portuguese actually has fewer vowel sounds than English. Whereas English has two (long and short) or more sounds for each of its five vowels, Portuguese only has one sound for each of them. Here’s the breakdown:
• “A” is pronounced as it would be in the English word “Father.”
• “E” is pronounced as it would be in the English word “Get.”
• “I” is pronounced as it would be in the English word “Ski.”
• “O” is pronounced as it would be in the English word “Soap.”
• “U” is pronounced as it would be in the English word “Flu.”
When it comes to consonants in Portuguese pronunciation, the ways in which they are combined represent the areas where you should focus your attention. In fact, some of these consonant combinations represent some of the sounds which we mentioned before, that can be among the most difficult sounds to reproduce in the entire language. That’s the bad news. The good news, of course, is that once you’ve mastered the pronunciation of these particular sounds, you’ve pretty much mastered the pronunciation of the entire language. Here’s a breakdown of those:
• “LY” is pronounced as they would be in the English phrase “Will ye?”
• “NH” is pronounced as they would be in the English word “Lasagna.”
• An “R” makes a “D” sound, and a double “R” makes an “H” sound.
These sounds may be difficult for you to reproduce at first, but you will master them in time if you keep practicing them long enough.