Vowels in Portuguese

12 de July de 2013

Hi friends, how are you? In our Dica today we’re talking about the vowels in Portuguese, the Portuguese vowel pronunciation and all about the nasal vowels in Portuguese too.

Sounds of the Vowels in Portuguese

There are 5 vowels in the Portuguese language: A, E, I, O, U and we have multiple sounds for each of them in Portuguese. Let’s see how it works. How many vowels do you have in your language? And how many sounds?

Learning the vowels in Portuguese: Sound of the letter A

So, check out this table.. We organized everything so it’ll be easier for you. First we have the vowel and the sound of the vowel alone. Then we have some examples and the sound of the vowel inside the words and then the translation of every word. The vowel聽a can have two different sounds, take a look:

Examples with 谩聽

Pay attention to the letters in bold, these are the ones that we are talking about in each example.

Casa House
Mapa Map
Cadeira Chair
Ch Tea
Caneta Pen

Examples with 茫

Pay attention to the pronunciation because nasal vowels in Portuguese can be difficult.

Ma莽 Apple
Cama Bed
Me Mother
Lama Mud
Fama Fame

Sound of the letter E

The vowel聽e also has two different sounds, let’s learn them:

Examples with 茅

P Foot
F Faith
Mulher Woman
Colher Spoon
Ideia Ideia

Examples with 锚

Escada Stairs
Estrela Star
Cadeira Chair
Caneta Pen
Voc You

Sound of the letter I

With the vowel聽i it’s easier, we only have one sound. Listen:


Examples with i

Ilha Island
Amigo Friend
Javali Boar
Rio River
Brasil Brazil

Sound of the letter O

The vowel聽o also has two sounds, depending on the word. Let’s learn them:

Examples with 贸

culos Glasses
Jil Scarlet eggplant
Prximo Next
Txico Toxic
Av Grandmother

Examples with 么

Cor Color
Humor Mood
Morro Hill
Povo People
Av Grandfather

Sound of the letter U

With the vowel聽u it’s also quite simple, we only have one sound.


Examples with u

Uva Grape
Urubu Vulture
Aluno Student
Curso Course
Portugu锚s Portuguese

So, we have heard the eight different sounds of the vowels in Portuguese and I hope that you could realize the differences between each of these sounds.

Sound variation of vowels in Portuguese

In Portuguese, when the words end in E and O they聽actually change their sound, for example, the sound E becomes I; and the sound O, becomes U. Let鈥檚 take a look at some words in which the final vowel sound changes.

About the sound E turning into聽I. Example: Cidade (city). We, Brazilians, we don鈥檛 say in general cidadE, we say cidadI; dente (tooth), idade (age), ponte聽(bridge), cabine (cabin), arte (art), pane (breakdown), Aline (person鈥檚 name), esse (this), aquele (that), then, the sound E, became I, in the end of each one of these words.

Well, let鈥檚 take a look at another situation when the sound O, becomes U. We have the words: menino (boy), carro (car), moto (motorcycle), ponto聽(point), moro (from the verb 鈥榤orar鈥 = to live), campo (field), gato (cat), cachorro (dog), momento (moment), equil铆brio (balance). In all of these cases the vowel聽o turns into an聽u.聽

Check out Mois茅s’ video to hear all these Portuguese vowels pronunciation:

Would you like to listen to more sounds of vowels in Portuguese? Look at our video by our friend Mois茅s and see the vowels at work! Don’t forget to turn the subtitles on and check out more Video Dicas in our Youtube channel.

Let’s practice!

Exercise about vowels in Portuguese

Listen and complete the words with the correct vowels:

  1. C_s_
  2. L_m_
  3. _rc_
  4. C_paca_an_
  5. _p_nem_

    Fill the words with the correct vowels to complete the sentences:

  6. H_j_ 脿 n_it_ v_m_s t_d_s para L_p_ b_b_r c_ipirinh_
  7. G_st_ de t_d_s as pr_i_s do R_o de J_neir_
  8. _sto_ com m_it_ ress_c__s

That’s is! And that’s it now you know everything about the Portuguese vowel pronunciation! Keep talking and see you in the next Dica!
A big hug to you all from聽Rio & Learn, our Portuguese school.

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Exercise about vowels in Portuguese: answers

  1. Casa
  2. Leme
  3. Urca
  4. Copacabana
  5. Ipanema
  6. Hoje 脿 noite vamos todos para a Lapa beber caipirinha.
  7. Gosto de todas as praias do Rio de Janeiro.
  8. Estou com muita ressaca.