Portuguese L

portuguese l: example of pronunciation for the word brasil

Hello friends! How are you? In today’s Dica we are going to understand the Portuguese L and its different sounds. In the Portuguese language, not always we will have a correspondence between letter (graphic representation) and phoneme (sound representation). The L can have different pronunciations depending on their placement in each word! So, for you to ace this class, pay attention and let’s learn more!

Portuguese L Sounds

When the letter L begins a word or a syllable, we pronounce it in the normal way. Let’s hear:


However, when the letter L is at the end of a syllable or a word, something very special happens. The sound of L in Portuguese changes into the same sound as the letter U. 

How to Pronunciate Final L

Each Brazilian sotaque has its particularities, but the exchange between L and U is somewhat universal (The South region is the only one where this phenomenon doesn’t occur). And that is why, when speaking, there is no difference between mal/mau and alto/auto. It is more important to mention that despite this phenomenon occurring when we speak, in writing the difference continues! When we write “alto” and pronounce this word, we will say “auto”.

Our friend Moisés will explain the differences between L pronunciation further. It’s a good opportunity for you to repeat each word and test yourself! Don’t forget to go to our Youtube channel and watch more Dicas like this one. If you want to practice your pronunciation, you can do private classes with us and we’ll teach what you want and need.

You listened to some words in our video in which the letter L comes at the end of the syllable. Here they are:


But It Was Always Like This?

The pronunciation of the final L with a L sound is still very common in some parts of southern Brazil, particularly in Rio Grande do Sul. But was it always like this? Has the south of the country always been an exception in terms of this pronunciation?
The answer is no! Originally, the final L was always marked by the phonetics of the L itself. This consonant-to-vowel exchange phenomenon even has a name: vowelization. And it usually happens in most languages: over time, speakers look for ways to simplify the pronunciation, and the truth is that the pronunciation of vowels is much easier than the pronunciation of consonants. That’s why Brazilians over the years began to change the L for the U.
Want to see an example of a time when this exchange was being made? In the famous song “Mamãe eu Quero” by Carmen Miranda, at one point she says “Eu tenho uma irmã que é fenomenal. Ela é da bossa e o marido é um boçal.” Being that fenomenal, she pronounces the final L with an original sound, and in boçal, the final L has a U sound.

How to Pronounce LH in Portuguese

There is another variation of the Portuguese L. When we put the letters LH together, the sound is a little bit different. Pay attention and try to repeat, it’s very common that some foreign students find this difficult to pronounce. Let’s listen:

CaralhoDick / Wow

Cool? Now we know the sound the Portuguese L. Can you pronounce all of them? Of course, yes!

Exercise for the Portuguese L Pronunciation

Here you have a list of 10 words with the Portuguese L, and below you have 3 examples with each type of L pronunciation. Connect the words, according to their correct pronunciation, compared to the example words underneath.

1. Lembrar
2. Filho
3. Alma
4. Colher
5. Aula
6. Caralho
7. Lagoa
8. Papel
9. Total
10. Aluno

a. Língua b. Calma c. Falha

See you next time!
A huge hug to all of you!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Plural of the words ending in L
Sounds of the vowels in Portuguese
How to pronounce the R in Portuguese
The sounds of the letter X


  1. (a)
  2. (c)
  3. (b)
  4. (c)
  5. (a)
  6. (c)
  7. (a)
  8. (b)
  9. (b)
  10. (a)

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search for Portuguese Dicas

Tell us which Portuguese lesson you would like to learn


Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Suscribe to A Dica do Dia.

Get free Portuguese lessons. Subscribe to A Dica do Dia and get short, daily lessons in Portuguese completely free.

Based on 321 reviews
I’ve just started online classes with Prof. Ana Carolina & she is the absolute best! It’s my first time learning Portuguese and I was speaking full sentences in the first class. Obrigada!
Katie Andrews
Katie Andrews
Small classes, diverse accents, and engaging professors make Rio & Learn Online a fantastic choice! I've been thrilled with my experience at Rio & Learn Online so far. The small class sizes (around 1-3 others students) allow for personalized attention and plenty of opportunities to practice speaking. What's more, having different professors throughout the program exposes you to various accents, preparing you for real-world interactions. I opted for the full-time program, which involves 2 hours of daily learning from Monday to Friday. After just over 12 weeks, I can confidently say my Portuguese has improved dramatically. The professors are incredibly engaging and encourage students to utilize real-life examples, solidifying the learning process. While I'm only halfway through the program, I'm confident in recommending Rio & Learn Online to anyone seeking to learn Portuguese in a supportive and effective environment. I've gone from being a complete beginner (only knowing hi and bye) to holding conversations - and I'm excited to see how much further I can progress! I'll be back with another review after completing the program, but for now: Rio & Learn Online - highly recommended!
Mona Hinamanu
Mona Hinamanu
I have been taking Portuguese classes with Rio and Learn for a few months. I appreciate their methodology. It is enjoyable and I am challenged and improving every day!
Bryan Beaver
Bryan Beaver
My teachers Lucas, Ana Paula and Paulo were all excellent as well as very friendly and funny. It was a really enjoyable experience and I met loads of interesting new people.
David Smith
David Smith
Rio & Learn e um novo jeito de ensinar a lingua portuguesa. Puro prazer e muito eficiente. Quanto mais alunos na aula mais vida. Eu aconselho voces escolher as aulas grupais por porque sao interativas: rir, falar, argumentar, compartir uma lingua!
Dominique Jacquin
Dominique Jacquin
Après 3 semaines que je suis dans cette école et je peux déjà parler portugais. Certe avec des erreurs mais j'ai fait des progrès fulgurant. En plus, du Lundi au Vendredi l'ecole propose des activitées qu'il appelle "Rio Live" ce qui permet de visiter en même temps Rio tout en parlant Portugais et de rencontrer des gens😃 Toute l'équipe est genial et est prêts à aider si besoin 😁
I've been taking the group online courses with Rio&Learn for 2 months. They offer a fantastic way to learn Portuguese and get speaking practice if you don't live in Brazil. The teachers are engaging and are able to adjust their level of Portuguese to whatever level you are at. Obrigado!
Jake H
Jake H
C'est vraiment fantastique...RioAndLearn. Les cours de portugais...ça vaut vraiment la peine. Les cours ont lieu du lundi au vendredi, (de 9h à 13h) et en après midi, ce sont des activités libres en groupe. (Soccer de plage, volleyball , excursions, visites des lieux touristiques, etc) Vendredi soir, on est allé à Lapa, un quartier nocturne de Rio. C'est quelque chose à voir! Des rues bondées de monde, des orchestres, des discothèques...Allô les décibels! L'apprentissage du portugais se fait en immersion, aussi bien en salle de classe que dans les activités extérieures organisées par Rio&Learn. On est plongé dans la langue portugaise et la culture Brésilienne.... Obligé de parler portugais....🫡 Je le recommande. Pierre Pedro, Montréal, Canada
M54 “M5454” 54
M54 “M5454” 54