There are patterns in the seemingly mysterious way we speak. Let me lay them out.

Once you’ve nailed what might be difficult sounds in Portuguese - ‘lh’, ‘nh’, ‘ão’, ‘am’ - it’s important to get acquainted with the concept of the stressed syllable. If you chop up a word in several parts, you will get syllables: (honestly)

There’s a queen syllable in each word. That’s the one we pronounce. The rest, I dare say, is irrelevant for comprehension.

‘’ is a long word and we have work to do, or go to the beach, or have a coffee. We don’t have time to pronounce every single syllable. So, we save our energy for other activities. That’s why you will almost only hear ‘mente’ when we say ‘sinceramente’.

This should bring some relief, but I’m not done yet. Considering the fact that we speak in sentences, it’s crucial you notice what happens to words in the context of a sentence:

Achas que ele pode mudar de ideia à última da hora?

Do you think he can change his mind at the last minute?

[AHchash kêl POHd mDAR deedEIa AH uhlteema daOHra?]

Há quanto tempo estás à minha espera?

How long have you been waiting for me?

[AH kwanttemp tAHzAH meegnashpEHra?]

You can do this by yourself if you find text and audio to follow along.

If you have enjoyed this quick lesson and would like to learn more Portuguese outside of the box, then please contact Catarina from The Language Unschool -