European versus Brazilian Portuguese

European versus Brazilian Portuguese

Phonetics

The differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese are not just in how words are written, but also how they are pronounced. There are even different accents within each country, although some standards are upheld. Here are some of the differences:

 

Pronouns

In European Portuguese, pronouns come after the verb:

  Dá-me um beijo. (“Give me a kiss.”) 

In Brazil, they come before the verb:

  Me dá um beijo. (“Give me a kiss.”)

 

Gerund

In European Portuguese, the gerund is not commonly used, regardless of the verb tense:

Portuguese (PT)Portuguese (BR)English (US)
Estou a comer sopa.

Estou comendo sopa.
I am eating soup.
Estava a comer sopa.Estava comendo sopa.I was eating soup.
Estarei a comer sopa.Estarei comendo sopa.I will be eating soup.

Accents

There are differences in how some words are written. The circumflex is not used as frequently in European Portuguese, while the acute accent is more common.

Portuguese (PT)
Portuguese (BR)English (US)
TénisTênisTennis
AcadémicoAcadêmicoAcademic
GémeoGêmeo
Twin
BónusBônusBonus

Vocabulary

In addition to differences in writing and phonetics, some words have different meanings. Some Brazilian vocabulary is also influenced by American English. Below are some examples:

Portuguese (PT)
Portuguese (BR)English (US)
TelemóvelCelularCellphone
Casa de banhoBanheiroBathroom
AutocarroÔnibusAutobus
Comboio
TremTrain
EquipaTimeTeam
Carro descapotávelCarro conversívelConvertible car
ConduzirDirigir
Drive

False cognates

It’s true… not only do different languages have the well-known “false friends”; the same holds true between different varieties of the same language! Here are some examples:

Portugal
MeaningBrazil
Meaning
DurexBrand of condomsDurexTape
TaxaPercentageTaxaKickback
ApelidoLast nameApelido
Nickname
BalaBulletBalaCandy
EsmalteEnamelEsmalteNail polish

Terminology

The terminology of any given field of expertise will also have considerable differences in both Portuguese variants. So, readers/users/operators of one variant may do not understand or be misled if provided with documentation in the other variant.

“International Portuguese”

Furthermore, unlike Spanish, there is no “International Portuguese”. So if your documents are intended for Brazilian reader, have them translate into Brazilian Portuguese; if your audience is based in Portugal or in an African Portuguese speaking countries, then request European Portuguese.