English & Portuguese Pronunciation & Grammar

Here you will find a list of useful links that will help you get a better grasp of Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation and grammar points plus how to best find definitions and/or translations.

Portuguese Podclass with a Twist

While browsing the iTunes store for Brazilian talk radio, I came across a variety of Portuguese language podcasts and after giving one in particular a whirl, I came away quite impressed.

What sets Brazilian Podclass apart from regular run-of-the-mill podcasts is the way it uses Portuguese in an unabashed manner, allowing the learner to actually hear what a sentence or two sounds like instead of just offering up one word (and its translation) here, another over there. The second half of each podclass is dedicated to reviewing what was said and what it means.

Teacher and owner Marina Gomes has been in the education and translation business since 1978. She does a great job of giving listeners a different (and in my opinion, more efficient) view on language learning. In addition to the free podcast, she offers (for a minimal fee) language learning guides to accompany her classes.

Here’s her site!

Portuguese Audio Lessons – MyVox

Several sites have been popping up with audio lessons in various línguas* (languages) including Portuguese. However, the best that’s out there would have to be My Vox. They offer not only a variety of phrases for various situations, but also a slow-mo version of most of these phrases which they specifically gear towards beginners. To top it off, the phrases are spoken by a Brazilian actor and radio personality. Don’t be scared! Have a go!

* – The word língua also means tongue. There is a joke based on it’s double meaning, which a Brazilian once told me. It goes something like this…

“What is your favorite language?”

“My neighbors, of course!”

Native Pronunciation Guide

I found a start-up attempting to catalog the world’s words in a way that allows for the user to hear a native’s pronunciation. Below is the CEO’s sales pitch…

“We have created a database for word pronunciations. We have +45000 pronunciations in 75 languages in only 6 months. We hope Forvo becomes a useful tool to learn languages. All words in all languages is our goal. The recordings are 100% real, not text-to-voice applications.”

The only issue I can foresee is differentiating between PT and BR variants.

Forvo

How Brazilians Speak English

On the link below are 20 examples of Portuguese speakers (16 of them Brazilians) and their varying sotaques (spoken accents*) while repeating the same paragraph in English. On the left, one can view the details on the speakers such as where they are from and when they began learning English. The paragraph was created in order to showcase all the different sounds of the English language.

Check out the Speech Accent Archive here!

* – Acento in Portuguese almost always refers to written accent marks, not to the pronunciation of the speaker.

Slang Dictionaries

As some of you know, there’s a site called Urban Dictionary which allows its users to enter and vote on their favorite gíria (slang) and definitions. Now the Portuguese language has a similar site called Dicionario Informal.

On a side note, if you can read Portuguese, you may find Dicionario de Giria interesting for its journaling of Brazilian slang from various times and regions.

Conjugating Portuguese Verbs

If you are looking for an easy to use online verb conjugator, I recommend using Verbix. There are quite a few sites out there that conjugate but I have found Verbix to be the most well-layed out as far as user interfaces go. If you are only wanting to conjugate basic verbs, look to the right for the top 10 list.

Give it a try!

Translations & Definitions

There are quite a few different maneiras (ways) to find the translation or definition you are searching for. Below, is a list of various sites to help you do just that. If you know some Portuguese, I recommend the sites in Portuguese.

English

Yahoo Answers – Type your question then choose the category ‘Society & Culture’ then the sub-category ‘Languages’ and hopefully someone will answer it. (Registration required to post)

Answers – Type the word you want to know in English then scroll down to the Translations section on the results page. Find Portuguese and you should see the word in question described in a few different ways.

Google Translate – There’s always trying a computer-generated translation such as this one. At least you can get the gist.

Word Reference Forums – If looking for a language-centric site to find the answer to your question, this site is a great place to learn new words and ask for translations. (Registration required to post)

Portuguese

Yahoo Answers Brazil – (Portuguese) Type in your question then choose the category ‘Sociedade & Cultura’ then sub-category ‘Idiomas & Línguas’. You have a better chance of getting answered if you ask your Portuguese question here (in your best Portuguese) versus using the English version of Yahoo Answers. (Registration required to post)

Workpedia – (Portuguese) Again, if you know some Portuguese, a Portuguese dictionary always helps. This is one of the best ones I’ve found online. Enter the word in Portuguese and scroll to the bottom.

Ciberdúvidas – (Portuguese) For grammar-related definitions, you can search around this site and ask your own questions too. Quite useful, although more centered around formal Portuguese.


Where to Put the Comma in Portuguese

Here’s a video (in Portuguese) about where to put a comma, which can be a bit confusing when writing in Portuguese, even for some Brazilians. Assuming you know enough Portuguese to understand the speaker/teacher, this is a great tool.

Diego explains it as an electric circuit and the current won’t run through it unless the commas (vírgulas) are in the right place. He goes on to say that most Brazilians don’t get it wrong, so to speak, as they do put commas in the right places…but they sometimes place too many commas.

In English, here’s a quick run-down of the rules (taken from Translation Dictionary which has quite a bit more quick grammar rules).

“Commas are not normally used before conjunctions such as ‘e’ (and) and ‘ou’ (or). Commas are used on enumeration and repetition ofwords from the same nature, or with the same function, when they are not connected by conjunctions ‘e’ (and), “nem” (nor) and “ou” (or).

They are also used in the following instances:

-To separate the vocative and the appositive.
-On attributive complements and on subordinate clauses.
-To separate clauses or parts of clauses when intercalated.
-To separate expressions equivalent to clauses.
-To separate certain words or expressions with interpolated or explicative meaning like “isto é” (this/that is), “ou seja” (that is), “com efeito” (in effect), “a meu ver” (to my reckoning), “enfim” (at last), “em boa verdade” (in all truth), “é verdade” (it is true), “sem dúvida” (I am sure of it/without a doubt), etc.
-To separate adversative conjunctions, using it before “mas” (but/yet/even), and before and after “porém” (even so/still), “todavia” (though) and “contudo” (nevertheless).

Connection Words

It always seemed important to know how to effectively communicate ideas and how to bridge one thought to the next. Além do mais (Moreover), transition devices and logical connectors are not just for writing essays in school but are a useful tool for everyday life.

Em resumo (In summary), there is a site of conectivos that has helped me in times of need when my mind went blank, so I’d like to share it with you. Also, if you would like to learn English, the link above has a great forum and Q&A section.

Teaching Portuguese…in Portuguese?

There’s a site that seems to be fairly interesting (I’ve only skimmed it) about teaching the Portuguese language…the only problem? The site is in Portuguese (bit of a Catch 22, eh?). I suppose at a certain level, it would be beneficial to those that are intermediate. See for yourself.

Falemos Português

Brazilian Portuguese and Culture Test

If you are looking to get a feel of where your Portuguese stands, try either one of these sites.

Test I

Test II

It’s only fitting that the language quiz is supplemented by a test of Brazilian culture, right? First take a look at the Questions

write down your answers, then check the offical Answers

This culture test is quite hard, be warned.

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3 thoughts on “English & Portuguese Pronunciation & Grammar

  1. Dennis

    I’m glad you’re back and that you featured this podcast. It’s the best! Although I already speak pretty well, the words presented and the regular practice helped me a LOT during my trip to Brazil this past summer.

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