There’s probably nothing as Portuguese as nasal sounds. “Não” (no) is clear about that, because of the til. “Sim” disguises a nasal sound, since the ‘m’ is a sort of alert that ‘i’ has to be nasal. It gives a special never-ending feel to agreeing with the other person and should [possibly] contrast with your Spanish/Italian short “sí/sì”.

In case you want to diversity your “yes” in Portuguese, here’s 17 other options, varying according to personality, mood or situation:

1. impatient: sim, sim…

2. when getting married (trying to keep at least one thing simple): sim

3. indifferent: ok (+ shrug)

4. not really listening or wanting to start an argument, so better agree: pois…

5. 100% on the same page: claro! (with or without irony, your pick)

6. German-teen like: ya (not German, not quite ‘yeah’, but youngsters think it’s cool)

7. Let’s not make a big fuss about it: tudo bem

8. When in doubt: julgo que sim

9. Relaxed: na boa

10. Ok à la Portuguese (omit the first syllable): Tá bem

11. Cool: tá-se

12. If there’s no better option: pode ser

13. Chilled: tranquilo

14. With emphasis (and while opening your eyes wide): é

15. Pretending you’re following the conversation (by repeating the question verb): Ele gosta de caracóis? Gosta.

16. When a swear word becomes a “yes”: porreiro

17. The shy person who doesn’t get out much: thumbsup (not a word for the gesture in Portuguese, as far as I’m aware…).

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 -