Brazilian Portuguese: The Basics

Written by: Daniel

Hi, everyone! My name is Daniel, I am originally from Brazil. When I was 16, I moved to China for four and a half years. I have an AA in Economics from the US and a B.A. in Accounting from a university in Brazil. I love to teach, especially kids because I love to see how they develop. I’ve taught Mathematics, Physics, Portuguese and English for the past 10 years and I love a new challenge. I am great at playing video games and use games in my lessons to help students enjoy learning even more! I love to see my students applying their knowledge outside the classroom in real-life situations. I can’t wait to meet you and to share my culture and language, Portuguese, with you!



Your mother tongue is something you never stop and think about- why do you speak the way you speak? Why have a different word for the same object or even the nuances of it?

Portuguese is no different. Just like American and British English, Brazilian Portuguese is very different than Portugal’s Portuguese.

But even within Brazil, there are so many differences with the Portuguese spoken among us, mainly because of our colonization and the ramifications it had over the years. So, let’s take a deep dive into some of the most notorious differences between our accents and some intricacies of the language.


Brazil was officially discovered in 1500 by the Portuguese, who landed in the Northeast of Brazil and started going south over the years. However, along our colonization, there were many other European countries that settled in different parts of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, for instance, had a major influence by the French since 1565, you can notice that not only by its architecture, but also by how they speak. ‘Cariocas’ (natives from Rio) pronounce their ‘s’s like ‘x’s and their ‘r’s have a different sound. If you follow soccer or MMA, you can check this out by listening to their English interviews 😉

In the South of Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy had a huge influence on their colonization. Some Brazilians, to this day, still speak these languages, some of them barely speak Portuguese because they live in small villages. However, in terms of Brazil, the south is the most ‘European’,  in terms of style, posture, culture and specially in how they speak Portuguese. In Sao Paulo, people say they speak like they are singing, but their slang and the way they pronounce words are the most notorious differences.

Here in Sao Paulo we have two types of Portuguese, the one from Sao Paulo city, which is very clear and very precise and the one from the countryside. The one from Sao Paulo doesn’t have many interesting facts, since it is very close to the norm, but the countryside one is very interesting, because it wasn’t influenced by colonization, but rather, from the indigenous tribes that lived here years ago. One of the biggest tribes, the ‘Tupis’, didn’t have an ‘r’ sound in their language, so when they learned Portuguese, they didn’t pronounce it (most verbs in Portuguese in the infinitive form end with ‘r’, such as pular, correr, comer, andar, subir, etc) and because of that, nowadays we pronounce those verbs without the ‘r’ (pula, corre, anda, subi).

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