Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world. Around 280 million people speak Portuguese worldwide. It is the official language of Angola, Brasil, Cabo Verde, Guiné-Bissau, Guiné-Equatorial, Moçambique, Portugal, São Tomé e Príncipe, and Timor-Leste. Part of the population in other territories also speaks Portuguese, such as in Macau, China. So, in a matter of European Portuguese vs Brazilian Portuguese, what are the main differences between them?
In 1990, an international treaty between Portuguese-speaking countries was signed aiming to unify the Portuguese spelling in all countries. Since then, a few adjustments were made in the agreement and new rules were adopted. The objective of the agreement was to unify the spelling of the Portuguese language, making it stronger.
The changes mainly affected the accentuation of words, hyphenation, elimination of silent c and p from European/African words, and the addition of letters K, W, and Y to the Portuguese alphabet.
However, there are still many differences between the Portuguese spoken around the globe.
With this in mind, let’s cut to the chase and compare European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese:
For one thing, many words used in Brazilian Portuguese are not the same as those found in European Portuguese.
Check a few examples:
|English||BR Portuguese||EU Portuguese|
|Bathroom||Banheiro||Casa de Banho|
|Crosswalk||Faixa de pedestres||Passadeira|
Accent and Pronunciation
Brazilians usually have a slower speech rate, in which both unstressed and stressed vowels are more clearly pronounced. In Portugal, on the other hand, speakers usually eliminate unstressed vowels, pronouncing only the stressed vowels.
Another example is that Brazilian Portuguese speakers tend to replace the sound of the “L” at the end of a word with the sound of Brazilian “U”. For example, the word papel (paper) is spoken in Brazil like “papeu”. Meanwhile, in Portugal, the letter “L” would stand out, emphasizing it.
In order to better understand the differences, watch the video below and pay attention to the accents and pronunciation of Brazilian Portuguese, Europen Portuguese, and African Portuguese.
It is common in the informal speech in Brazil to use the pronoun at the beginning of a sentence.
Example: “Me dá um pedaço do seu lanche?”
Meanwhile, in European Portuguese, it is much more common to use the pronoun after the verb.
Example: “Dá-me um pedaço do seu lanche?”
While it is very common for people in Brazil to use the gerund in verbs to express actions that are happening in the present, in Portugal, it is much more common to use the verb in its infinitive form preceded by a preposition.
Example of a sentence in Brazilian Portuguese: “Estou comendo carne com batatas.”
Example of a sentence in European Portuguese: “Estou a comer carne com batatas.”
Should you Learn Brazilian Portuguese or European Portuguese?
Eventually, it all depends on your personal goals. Where would you spend more time traveling and visiting? Are you looking for a job in South America or Europe? Where most of your international friends live?
European Portuguese sounds much more like African Portuguese for example. Meanwhile, the Brazilian Portuguese accent is much more common in South America. And even though Portuguese is a difficult language to learn in general, the Brazilian version may be easier and more informal.
If you want to study Brazilian Portuguese, join Caminhos Language Centre. You will not only learn the language but experience a full immersion in the Brazilian culture. At Caminhos, we understand that effective Portuguese language learning doesn’t only happen in a traditional classroom-based environment.
Therefore, our native teachers incorporate several Brazilian cultural and social activities into their lessons, so you can speak Portuguese outside the classroom. Moreover, we offer daily free activities for students to socialize and practice their skills. Free activities include beach volleyball matches, capoeira and samba lessons, city tours, and a monthly Caipirinha party.