European Portuguese tends to terrify newbies. We, the Portuguese, are often accused of speaking fast, swallowing beginnings and endings of words and even speaking inwards (guilty as charged on this one) – but has anyone explained why?

I’ve spilled some of the beans as concerns the details; now it’s time to give you the whole picture.

Let’s use the words of the YouTuber, João Azoio (from “Que Tipo De Investidor És? Importante Saber ANTES De Investir”) as an example:

“Começar a alocar dinheiro em activos financeiros, [comma=brief pause] sem saber que tipo de investidor somos, [comma=brief pause, followed by a very clear /EH/] é o equivalente a fazer um bolo sem termos a certeza se temos todos os ingredientes [all glued together in hurry to finish the sentence, uff]. Até pode correr bem, [notice that beautiful nasal sound in “bem”; always a comma/pause before “mas”] mas o mais provável é que falte alguma coisa pelo meio e [“e”=more info coming + brief moment to take a breath] acabe por não ter um sabor fantástico. Pesquisar de forma aprofundada para fundamentar as nossas decisões sobre determinado assunto [what a mouthful; luckily the “é” gives it a nice break] é um passo crucial [notice the queen hidding behind “al”!] para sermos bem sucedidos no longo prazo, [obrigada, querida vírgula] qualquer que seja o tema em questão.”

In short, amidst all phenomena concerning phonetics, we combine chunks of information in between commas and full stops. That’s where the queen makes an appearance. What seems inaudible to your ears is the discrete and irrelevant pop up of one or two of the king’s mistresses.

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 -