Regardless of whether you’re focusing on Brazilian or European Portuguese, it’s a beautiful and romantic language to learn. But what are the differences between the two, or are they just two sides of the same coin?
Although many people aren’t aware of them, native Portuguese speakers are aware of the acute national differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese. Here at Day Translations, we did a little digging and are happy to share our findings with you!
The History of Portuguese in Brazil and Europe
Portuguese wasn’t Brazil’s official language until 1758, and even though colonization began in the 16th century, changes in the language occurred due to increased contact with European and Asian immigrants.
Unlike Brazil, most other countries colonized by Portugal speak Portuguese which is more akin to the mother language. Most of these countries are African, and they didn’t have contact with other cultures that could impact their dialect. Compared to Brazil, these Portuguese colonized countries gained independence much later and had much more contact with Portugal during their early development.
Main Differences Between Brazilian and European Portuguese
One of the most significant differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese is pronunciation. Brazilian Portuguese vowels are longer and wider, whereas European Portuguese pronounces words without placing too much focus on the vowels.
Some consonants are also pronounced differently in Brazil than they are in Europe. Brazilian Portuguese sees the S at the end of a word pronounced as SS, while European Portuguese pronounces it as SH.
Here’s a look at the other significant differences:
It is believed that Brazilian Portuguese is more phonetically appealing due to its open vowels. Brazilian Portuguese accents also have a strong cadence and lift, which can make this dialect easier to understand and learn.
Grammar and Spelling
Brazilian Portuguese sees some nouns being converted into verbs. Instead of the European Portuguese phrase “dar os parabens” to congratulate, Brazilian Portuguese condenses the expression into a single verb: “parabenizar.”
Some Brazilian Portuguese words are also derived from American English, unlike European Portuguese that adopts words from Latin roots and keeps the original spelling.
Informal and Formal Speech
European Portuguese is the more formal of the two versions of Portuguese since it’s also the origin of the language. Brazilian Portuguese, for example, uses the word “você” for the term “you” in informal settings. European Portuguese uses “tu” for “you,” but in Portugal, the word “você” is viewed and crude, so they use the verb in the third-person singular version.
Which Kind of Portuguese is Best to Learn?
The choice is entirely up to you. Whether you opt for Brazilian or European Portuguese ultimately depends on why you want to learn the language, the kind of resources you have, and what your goals are for learning the language. If you’re a classic literature lover, for example, European Portuguese might be better for you, but if you’re into Carnival, the Brazilian variant might be the best way to go.
Consider European Portuguese If:
- You want to travel, live in, or work in Portugal.
- You want to access more Portuguese-speaking countries.
- You want to learn a more formal and traditional language.
Consider Brazilian Portuguese If:
- You want to travel, live in, and work in Brazil.
- You want to learn an easier and more informal version of Portuguese.
- You want to delve deeper into South American cultures and traditions.
Although there are quite a lot of differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese, in essence, it’s still the same language. If you learn one of them, you should be able to communicate with people speaking the other!