This week we are celebrating World Portuguese Language Day on May 5th. To make this day special, we have some interesting facts about this beautiful language. Read further to discover common differences between Portuguese in Brazil vs Portugal (also known as European Portuguese)!

Some History and Numbers To Get Started

Over 2,000 years ago, the Roman language Portuguese was developed when the Romans arrived on the Iberian Peninsula, a peninsula that primarily consists of modern-day Spain and Portugal. Today, more than 265 million people in the world speak Portuguese, and there are 9 countries where Portuguese is the native language. With these numbers, the Portuguese language can be seen as one of the most widespread languages in the world. However, only 5 percent of Portuguese speakers live in Portugal.

Image by Vita Marija Murenaite on Unsplash

Portuguese in Brazil vs Portugal

The Portuguese language knows two regulators: one is Portugal and the other is Brazil. The largest population of Portuguese speakers, namely 211.2 million people, live in Brazil. If we look at Europe, I think I won’t surprise you if I say that most Portuguese speakers live in Portugal (about 10 million of them). Although you may think that the Portuguese language that’s spoken in Portugal and the Portuguese language that is spoken in Brazil is the same language, there are a lot of differences between both “Portugueses”.

Is The Portuguese Spoken In Brazil and Portugal Really Different?

The biggest differences between Portuguese from Brazil and Europe are in accents, consonants, pronunciation, and a few grammar rules. Throughout history, both countries attempted many agreements to unify the Portuguese language between countries that have Portuguese as an official language – also known as Lusophone. In theory, we should formally speak the same language, both spoken and written. But, in reality, we still have many differences.

Image by Raphael Nogueira on Unsplash

Three Common Differences

1. Pronunciation

The first difference between the two “Portugueses” is the pronunciation. People say that Brazilians speak vowels wide and long, and European Portuguese speakers don’t pronounce the vowels that much, because they speak with a more closed mouth. Also, some consonants are pronounced differently. It’s mostly about the ‘s’ at the end of a word. Brazilians pronounce an “s” at the end of a word as “ss”, while European Portuguese pronounce it as “sh”.

2. Accents

Another main difference, related to the pronunciation, is the accent. Most people would say that, because of the open vowels, Brazilian Portuguese is more phonetically pleasing to the ear compared with European Portuguese. Because European Portuguese can sound a bit mumbled, some say that Brazilian is easier to learn and understand as well.

3. Vocabulary

The last, and probably the most obvious difference between Portuguese in Brazil vs Portugal is the vocabulary. Both languages know some words that are completely different. Here is a list with some words that are different:

EnglishBR PortugueseEU Portuguese
Ice CreamSorveteGelado
Source: Babbel Magazine, written by Nuno Marques, February 24, 2022

Can They Understand Each Other?

Yes, they can. Although, in my opinion, it’s easier for Portugueses to understand Brazilians than the opposite. Because people in Portugal consume much of Brazilian culture like soap operas, music, and TV shows for a long time. And, these days, Youtube and TikTok influencers can be added to that list.

Start Learning!

Are you planning to go on holiday to Portugal or Brazil soon and you don’t speak Portuguese? It may be easy to know some Portuguese words! Keep an eye on our website and sign up for free to learn Brazilian or European Portuguese. Not convinced yet why you should learn Portuguese? Read about 5 Reasons Why You Should Learn Portuguese, and I’m sure you will be convinced!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of SPEAK.

Author: Thurian Campos

Thurian is a software developer at SPEAK. He is Brazilian and living in Portugal since 2019, after he lived 2 years in Australia. He loves to travel around and get in touch with different cultures and languages. He is very passionate about sports, gastronomy, movies and music.

4 Replies to “Differences Between Portuguese from Brazil and Portugal

  1. Preciso falar português urgente porque estoy morando en Portugal y lo preciso para trabalhar

    1. ¡Hola! Gracias por tu interés. ¡Estás en el lugar correcto! En SPEAK puedes aprender portugués gratuitamente mientras conoces nuevas personas en tu comunidad local. Puedes ver los grupos de idiomas disponibles, tanto online como presenciales, aquí: De momento, solamente tenemos dos grupos de portugués disponibles (Básico III y Conversacional), pero te recomendamos que continúes mirando la página web porque vamos a abrir nuevos grupos próximamente.
      Si lo deseas, también puedes añadir el portugués y el nivel en que deseas comenzar a nuestra lista de deseos: De esta forma, en cuanto haya un grupo disponible con esas características, recibirás una notificación en tu correo electrónico para que te puedas registrar lo antes posible.

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