A reader tweeted and asked me to write a post (with audio) about the endings “oo” and “ee”. But before that let me tell you a little story.
After several attempts to unify the Portuguese language spelling, on January 9th 2009 the Novo Acordo Ortográfico (New Ortographic Agreement) was signed and Portuguese-speaking countries like Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, Brasil and Portugal will have to adapt its spelling rules by 2015.
One of these rules remove the acento circunflexo (^) from words like veem, leem, creem, deem, voo, enjoo, perdoo, and abençoo (formerly vêem, lêem, crêem, dêem, vôo, enjôo, perdôo, abençôo).
The pronunciations of these words has a little trick that foreign students don’t grasp at first.
If the vowel is e, the first one is closed and the second vowel is nasalised. If the vowel is o, the first one is closed and the second one sounds like a u.
Here are some example in sentences:
Eles não veem a diferença entre os dois projetos. [They don’t see the difference between the two projects.]
Elas leem vários livros durante o ano. [They read several books during the year.]
Meus irmãos creem em Deus. [My brothers believe in God.]
Quero que eles deem valor no que eu faço. [I want them to appreciate what I do.]
Que horas é seu voo? [What time is your flight?]
Não se preocupe – eu te perdoo. [Don’t worry – I forgive you.]
E o padre disse, “Eu vos abençoo…” [And the priest said, “I bless thee…”]
Now listen and repeat the words:
The key to mastering pronunciation is to listen analytically and to repeat only after you’ve mastered the sounds. So go for it!
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