A Guide to Portuguese - The Portuguese alphabet

What's the Portuguese alphabet like?

  • Portuguese has a Latin-based alphabet consisting of 26 letters, the same as English
  • You may well have to spell out your name and perhaps your address in Portuguese. Here is the alphabet and how to pronounce it


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What's significant about the Portuguese alphabet?

  • Vowels and accents

    Portuguese has 14 vowel sounds. Accents are used to show their pronunciation: á, â, ã à, ç, é, ê, í, ó, ô, õ, and ú

    These accents also indicate the stressed syllable, eg:
      café, coffee
      você, you (formal)
      mãe, mother

    Nasal vowels are very common and they are represented by the tilde over the vowels a and o:
      canção, song   canções, songs

    The cedila (ç) before -a, - o, and - u sounds the same as ‘s’

     
  • Consonants:

    The letter h is silent in Portuguese

    The letters r, s, z and the combinations nh, lh, ch, rr may prove more challenging, for example:
      rádio, rádios, radio(s)
      sozinho, sozinha, alone
      chamar, to call
      trabalho, work
      correio, mail

    From 1943 k, y and w were considered foreign letters and not included in the official alphabet. They were reintroduced as part of the spelling reform of 2009, but are still mainly found in foreign names and words imported from other languages

    These three letters also have different names in Portugal and Brazil. Respectively:
      k: kapa, ka
      y: i grego, ípsilon
      w: duplo ve, dábliu

     
  • Email and website conventions

      @ arroba
      . ponto, dot
      / barra, forward slash
      - hífen, hyphen

     
Facts about Portuguese. Carnival headdress © Yannik LABBE, fotolia.com

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