Alphabet & Sounds of European Portuguese

For the inaugural video of the new “Basics of European Portuguese” Series, we tackle the very basic sounds, or phonemes, of European Portuguese. We plan to make a follow-up video that will expand on this soon.

Obrigada, Carla

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    1. I am only on the podcast 3 about the car rental and my mother is still on podcast 1 at a cafe. I listen to you both everyday along with radio Marginal. We visit Portugal 3 times a year and I am looking to get an apartment in Lisbon this summer. I am horrible with languages but want to conquer Portuguese. You both have been so very helpful. muito obrigada!

    2. Hi Morgan, that’s really nice to hear. Keep it up. You’ve got a lot of podcasts to go through 😉

  1. Very interesting!! The European Portuguese pronunciation is so different from brazilian’s one. Thank you very much.

  2. Hi.I am banksy and I am from hongkong.It is really hard to find a good Portuguese textbook here. I found that it is very easy to learn from you.Hopefully you could make more videos to teach European Portuguese!

  3. Thanks for that great video!! I was struggling with a lot of the sounds before. But what I’m still asking myself, when to use the different “s” (and also “x”) sounds.

    1. FallingStar110 Olá! Let me help you with the different sounds of the ‘s’: it will sound like a ‘z’ in between vowels; ‘sh’ sound before some consonants and at end of words; ‘ss’ as in “sock” if double ‘s’ or at the start of a word. And finally ‘j’ sound as in the word “measure”, before some consonants like ‘d’ ‘r’ ‘m’ and ‘b’.
      Hope this helps 🙂

  4. This was extremely helpful, especially with the pronunciation! Could you by any chance make a video that compares both Brazilian and European Portuguese? Obrigado!!

  5. I was watching a video yesterday, they were interviewing portuguese people and I noticed that most of them pronounced the r like the Spanish r in words like “moRRer, Religião, Respeito e Realmente”. All of them were older people, in their 50’s and 60’s. Is it a coloquial thing? Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Yisus Craist olá 👋 I’d say it’s a regional thing and also the pronunciation of a harder “r” may not as come as natural to a few natives.

  6. Carla…penso que passou esquecido mas o “E” pode ser lido como i…compr”I”ender… “I”quivalente 🙂

    1. Pedro Antunes Sim, tens razão 👌🏽 Felizmente estamos a planear fazer outro vídeo em relação a vogais e poderei mencionar isso 😁

  7. Obrigada.. You’re such a great teacher and I’m going to Portugal soon and hope to live there this time, so I’ve subscribed. I have to guess you were born in Portugal as you’re such lovely humble people. I’ll check out your website now, cheers.

  8. You’re so amazing THANK YOU I’ve been searching for days up on European Portuguese and there’s like No books on European Portuguese learning and it’s frustrating but I’m glad I found your channel and I can’t wait to be learning 🇵🇹 Portuguese via your YouTube channel thank you so very much!!!

  9. I remember in Portuguese school I always had such an easy time with the alphabet bcs most of the letters sound like French, and in French class I had an easy time because most of the letters sound like Portuguese!

  10. Muito obrigado Carla! I’m from Australia but my parents come from Mozambique so I understand the language but have trouble speaking well. I have moved to Lisboa now and hope that it improves quickly. I’ll be watching your videos every morning!

    1. Игорь Ковалев olá 👋🏽

      “Z” at the end of word or before consonante = sh in English. But before a vowel it’s a proper “z” like in “zebra” 👍🏽

  11. I’m done with all the sounds that are all exciting but I’m facing problem in pronouncing R sound. please help me doing this.obrigado!

  12. Thank you so much…best video so far each latter with how it can be pronounced… excellent English and lovely smile

    1. Z Kindy Olá! the ‘s’ will sound like a ‘z’ in between vowels; ‘sh’ sound before some consonants and at end of words; ‘ss’ as in “sock” if double ‘s’ or at the start of a word. And finally ‘j’ sound as in the word “measure”, before some consonants like ‘d’ ‘r’ ‘m’ and ‘b’.
      Hope this helps 🙂

  13. Wtf?! 100% thought this whole time you were from Manchester/ Cheshire/ Liverpool, your accent in English is just like a native!

  14. Muito bem ! For all the Americans following the Lisbon trend ! After Barcelona, Costa Rica, now …. Portugal ! What is next ?

  15. Great video Carla. I learnt some Portuguese with your podcast for 2 months before I visited Portugal in Dec. People were impressed with my Portuguese! I love the way you teach and also you and Marlon both have beautiful voices. Keep it up!

  16. There’s also the sound jeh for Z… For example in Giz
    Eu sou Portuguesa. Nem sei porque vi o vídeo mas achei interessante… Apenas achei que, por exemplo, na letra S tivesse explicado melhor quando se pronuncia de cada forma… Isto nos casos que não são específicos… Como quando o S está entre vogais se ler Z…
    Tirando pequenos detalhes muito informativo ♡♡♡

  17. In Scotland we have the RR sound. It’s the CH in some words.


    Part of the reason I decided to take up Portuguese because I thought I might have an ever so slight head start! Ha

    1. Dado = die and dados = dice, one is singular and the other is the plural form of it 🙂

  18. Very interesting and useful lesson. Thank you. Now i wish to study Portuguese seriously.
    Muito obrigado.

  19. I was searching good channel to learn Portuguese but I didn’t know that there is different words Brazilian and European Portuguese but I should listen and watch properly your video then I can understand better

  20. How about b- bay, c- say, d- day, g-gay, p- pay, k- Kay, ….super video by the way..really helpful..thank you ..

  21. Are there rules to explain why would the “X” or “S” be pronounced differently in various words or that is just the way they are

    1. Olá! the ‘s’ will sound like a ‘z’ in between vowels; ‘sh’ sound before some consonants and at end of words; ‘ss’ as in “sock” if double ‘s’ or at the start of a word. And finally ‘j’ sound as in the word “measure”, before some consonants like ‘d’ ‘r’ ‘m’ and ‘b’.

  22. Hello, very helpfull video, i have 2 questions : 1) the letter R is pronounced like the french r ,or it is different sound?
    2) at the beginnning when you explain the pronunciation of the letter and yoy write how each letter soundw you almost always put the letter h for example a-ah , c-ceh, does this h give something to the sound??because to me , the sound is the same with it or without it.
    thank you!

    1. Olá e obrigada Cristina 😊

      1) To learn the different ways the Portuguese “r” can be pronounced, please watch this video:

      2) As mentioned in the beginning of the video I was writing the sound of the letters as perhaps a person whose mother tongue is English would. For a native English speaker the “h” at the end can alter the sound. But for many others and as it seems to be your case as well, it doesn’t make any difference whether the “h” is there or not. For that reason the sound of the letter is repeated so you each person can spell it the way it makes sense to them ☺️
      Obrigada por assistir ao vídeo!

  23. Thank you for this video. I have a question retarded to pronunciation and spelling. I’d have written “dado” with a final “u”. Same for “comer”: I’d have written “cumer”. How can I spell correctly words that have this sound? Or read them the way a native speaker would when I find them in a text?

    1. Olá! Obrigada 🙂
      Those kind of spelling mistakes are common, but you can improve by simply paying closer attention to the spelling of words and by not being afraid of making those mistakes, because evidently we learn from them – I’m sure you will not forget how to spell “comer” and “dado” the correct way, right 😀
      When you are not sure about the spelling of a word see if you can find it in the dictionary.

      In regards to how to read correctly, a basic rule is that the “o” will sound like a “u” when it’s in a syllable that’s not being emphasised, but of course there’ll be exceptions and you’ll just have to learn from exposure to the language. Also this video may help: 👌🏽

  24. You are SO good I know you have a program as well, but these youtube videos are great for beginners like me (just moved to Portugal 2 weeks ago).

    1. Olá, Tomcat! Hope you settle in ok 😊 thank you – I’m glad you’re enjoying and benefiting from our YouTube content!

  25. thank you very much for this video. i was so confused. still i am asking myself for what reason the letters are not bound to a unique sound. i mean, seriously, not just in portugese. WHY?! 😀

  26. Obrigada! My mom is Portuguese and trying to learn her language, and want to travel to Terceira Portugal in the next 2 years. Your videos are so helpful

    1. De nada ☺️ I think that’s fantastic you want to learn Portuguese and are doing so already in preparation to your visit to Terceira! Keep it up 🤗

    1. Spanish can both help you with your Portuguese and it can also make it a challenge as it is so similar yet different 😅 thanks for subscribing and we hope we’re able to help you achieve your goal 🤗

  27. You have given four pronunciations for the letters “S” and “X”, but you have not explained the rules (which hopefully there are) for knowing when to pronounce these letters in each of these ways. I am fluent in two languages, one of which has absolutely no fixed rules (English), and another with very simple and consistent rules for pronunciation (Spanish). For this reason, I love Spanish. I am expecting Portuguese to be much more similar to Spanish than to English in this regard. I hope so, at least.

  28. Very helpful video but maybe you couls explain when and why the letter “s” is pronoinced differently with different words – what are the general rules for this – same for “x”.

    1. Obrigada ☺️ let me challenge you to a little game 😜: look at the examples I’ve mentioned for those 2 letters and pay attention to where they are in the word and what type of letter surround them then see if you can work it out – if you do figure it out you’ll remember it better 😊

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