Absolutely! It’s true that there are some differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese. However, they do not hinder the communication between the people of those two nations. The level of differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese are comparable to the level of differences between American and British English. And as we all know, the American and the English people have been conversing without any trouble for years, haven’t they? And, so have we!
Those differences are mostly in vocabulary usage, phonetics, and some sentence structure. For example, Portuguese people have the habit of eliminating the unstressed vowels between consonants when they speak, such as the /e/ in the word menina (girl). They pronounce it ~ m’nina instead of ~ menina as Brazilians do.
With that explained, I would submit to you that most educated Brazilians and those who
sometime in their lives have had some kind of contact with European Portuguese speakers do not have any trouble understanding them. And if a Brazilian happens to have a hard time understanding a Portuguese speaker at first, in no time they catch up with it. It’s just a question of getting used to listening to their accent.
I had the opportunity to meet several European Portuguese people while living in Rio de Janeiro during my childhood, and didn’t have any trouble understanding or communicating with them, and neither had they with me. Later, I moved to California and worked as a tele-Portuguese Interpreter for five years. I actually interpreted phone calls from Portuguese speakers to Banks, Hospitals, Insurances, Schools…, and was able to help both Brazilians and European Portuguese people.
However, I did notice that the older generation of European Portuguese people who had moved to the US a long time ago and had created a totally new Portuguese dialect for themselves –Portenglish, had trouble understanding me. They used to think that I was speaking Spanish. So, whenever that happened I would just offer to transfer their call to a European Portuguese interpreter.
In recent years, my husband and I spent a week traveling in Portugal, and I had no problems communicating with anyone. From the tour guide to a restaurant servant to a sales assistant and even to a beggar in the street, my Portuguese was perfectly sufficient to communicate with each one of them without any problems. And we had a wonderful time enjoying the sites, the food, and our beloved Portuguese brothers and sisters.
Make your learning Portuguese an enjoyable experience. Please, check out our All About Portuguese page for more information about this beautiful Romance language.