Portuguese Language Blog

Cutting Off Syllables in Portuguese Posted by on Jun 24, 2012 in Learning

In spoken Portuguese, there are certain words that you will often hear cut off. While it’s important to learn and understand how words are spelled, it’s also good to know how words are treated in spoken form. Let’s take a look at some of these instances.

estar (to be) – Conjugations of estar are frequently cut off in spoken Portuguese. The eu, você/ele, and sometimes nós and vocês/eles conjugations are more often than not cut off in the present tense. The first and second person present tense conjugations are the most commonly cut off.

Spoken: Tô cansada. [Eu estou cansada] I’m tired.

Spoken: Você tá com frio? [Você está com frio?] Are you cold?

Spoken: Tamos juntos! [Estamos juntos!] We’re in it together!

Spoken: Tão querendo ir embora. [Estão querendo ir embora] They want to leave.

então (so, then) – The phrase “tão tá” (Ok then) cuts off both então and está.

Temos que começar agora. We have to start now.

Tão tá. Ok then.

obrigado – You’ll sometimes hear people cut off the first ‘o’ in obrigado or obrigada, so that it sounds like ‘brigado or ‘brigada.

para – You’ll often hear people cut off the first ‘a’ in para (for). It sometimes gets reduced to prá, and other times gets combined with the next article.

Prá que? [Para que] What for?

Vou pro bar. [Vou para o bar.] I’m going to the bar.

você – Occasionally, you’ll hear people cut off the “vo” in você, which is especially common in Minas Gerais.

Cê vai hoje à noite? [Você vai hoje à noite?] Are you going tonight?

Can you think of any other examples?

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  1. clau:

    Brigada! Thank you very much for posting every day language that u dont learn in a classroom.

  2. Kelly:

    Thank you so much for this particular blog post! I was aware that native Portuguese speakers tend to cut syllables off, but wasn’t sure of exactly what words and such. So thank you, once again, very helpful!

  3. Chris R:

    Of course in European Portuguese it is easier to list the syllables that *don’t* get off…

  4. Allan:

    Tão ta. Tamos falando português do Brasil.

  5. Adir Ferreira:

    This is so useful and that’s exactly how we speak! Great post, Rachel!

  6. Robert:

    I’ve visited Belem and Braganca in Para several times and have frequently heard these “cut-offs” – “ta com fome”, “ta com frio?”, “ta com sede”, etc., as well as “pra ele” and “tou muito cansada.”

    “Brigado” for your delightful blog – please know how much it is appreciated and helpful!