Differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese (Part 2)

Building a Sentence

Now, let us take a look at the different ways of building a sentence. For instance, the question – What are you doing? In Brazil, it would be translated as O que você está fazendo? Whereas in Portugal, it would certainly be O que tu estás a fazer?. You can see that Brazilians use the pronoun você as their favorite pronoun and the same structure of the English language: the present of verb to be + main verb in the ing form. In Portuguese, it is ando, -endo, -ondo and -indo depending on the infinitive ending of the verb (ar, er, or, and ir). As for the European Portuguese, they prefer to use tu + the present of verb to be + the infinitive form of the main verb. The meaning is absolutely the same, but it would require a skillful translator to satisfy the speakers of both countries.

Using the Command Form

Hitch-hiking by CBI

Another big difference is the way of using the command form: Brazilian people misuse the object pronouns as they tend to place them before the main verb. For example, the sentence – Help me! – is translated in Portugal as – Ajuda-me! but Me ajuda or Me ajude in Brazil, which is considered grammatically incorrect.

One Language – Diverse Vocab

An English language speaker, however, would find it easier to learn Brazilian Portuguese as there are many words used in Brazil which are either similar or directly taken from the English language. European Portuguese, on the other hand, is much more conservative in these terms. For instance, if either American or British tourists want to take a train in Brazil, they can take a trem, but in Portugal they will have to take a comboio or if they prefer to take a bus, in Brazil they can take an ônibus, but in Portugal they will have to take an autocarro. If they decide to just take a walk like good pedestrians, in Brazil they will be pedestres, but in Portugal they will be peões (plural of peão). Now, let us suppose they decide to use a computer. If the tourists have a problem with their mouse in Brazil, they can go into a store and simply say that they want to buy a mouse (yes, a mouse!), but on the other side of the Atlantic, they have to use the national version of the word: a rato. After that, if they go to a snack bar in Brazilian soil and want to have a sandwich, they can order a sanduíche, but if they are in Europe, they will have to order a sandes.

Listen to Native Speakers to Get Familiar with their Pronunciation

I could go on and on with the examples, but I am sure I would not be able to write half of them in a single post. Anyway, a good tip is to always buy a dictionary or a book with the most common vocabulary and idiomatic expressions of the respective country you intend to visit either Brazil or Portugal. And of course, you need to listen to native speakers to get familiar with the pronunciation and pace that both the Brazilian and Portuguese speakers use in their daily speech. There are plenty of Portuguese videos from people from both countries on You Tube where you can check out the differences. And you can also take online classes in specific sites in case you cannot find Portuguese classes nearby.

Communication is Possible

No matter the choice you make, all you have to do is to pay attention to the regional use of the language and the variety of its cultural aspects. But, definitely, Portuguese is the same language both in Europe and South America. If someone learns European Portuguese and decides to travel to Brazil, or the other way around, they will certainly be able to communicate. However, becoming familiar with the necessary local vocabulary may make their stay much smoother.

Therefore, feel free to choose whichever version of Portuguese you prefer and be ready to interact with local native speakers. Well then, do not miss the opportunity! Just to pack, go and enjoy yourself either in the Brazilian tropical lands and/or in the European traditional scenery of Portugal!

This is the continuation of the post  Débora Fontenelle wrote as a guest: Differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese (Part 1)

Make your learning Portuguese an enjoyable experience. Please, check out our All About Portuguese page for more information about this beautiful Romance language.



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