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Letters L, NH, LH and QU in Português Brasileiro Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Spelling, Vocabulary

Olá mais uma vez, gente!

(Hello again, guys)

 

For the past two weeks, we have been busy getting to know some letters and their sounds in Portuguese. We have covered the letters S and R, and X and CH. This week we will finish up with some relatively easier ones: the letters L, NH, LH and QU.

 

  • The letter L in Portuguese can have two sounds:
  1. L sounds the same as it does in English when it is the beginning of the sentence or syllable:

Lápis (pencil)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/lapis.mp3″]

Calado (silent)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/calado.mp3″]

Laço (lace)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/laço.mp3″]

Balão (balloon)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/balão.mp3″]

Delícia (delicious)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/delicia.mp3″]
  1. At the end of the word or syllable, the letter L sounds like a oo in English:

Brasil (Brazil)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/brasil1.mp3″]

Papel (paper)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/papel.mp3″]

Calça (pants)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/calça.mp3″]

Calmo (calm)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/calmo.mp3″]

Legal (legal; cool – slang)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/legal.mp3″]

 

  • The combination NH:
  1. The combination of letters NH in Portuguese have a very nasal sound and it is almost non-existent in English. There are some words that are borrowed from other languages (mostly Italian or French) which will sound very similar to the NH in Portuguese (similar, but not quite the same). For example lasagne and champagne.

Amanhã (tomorrow)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/amanha.mp3″]

Lasanha (lasagna)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/lasanha.mp3″]

Banheiro (bathroom)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/banheiro.mp3″]

Ganhar (to win)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/ganhar.mp3″]

Unha (finger/toe nail)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/unha.mp3″]

Vinho (wine)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/vinho.mp3″]

 

  • The combination LH:
  1. LH is also non-existent in English, so it is not possible to compare it to any of the sounds an English speaker is used to. Listen carefully to the words below:

Alho (garlic)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/alho.mp3″]

Escolher (to choose)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/escolher.mp3″]

Maravilhoso (wonderful)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/maravilhoso.mp3″]

Palhaço (clown)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/palhaço.mp3″]

Mulher (woman)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/mulher.mp3″]

Olho (eye)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/olho.mp3″]

Vermelho (red)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/vermelho.mp3″]

 

  • The combination QU: the letter Q in Portuguese will always follow the letter U and there are two sounds for this phoneme.
  1. The QU will have the same sound as a K does in English and it is usually QU + E or I.

Esquerda (left – opposite of right)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/esquerda.mp3″]

Máquina (machine)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/maquina.mp3″]

Queijo (cheese)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/queijo.mp3″]

Quem (who)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/quem.mp3″]

Aqui (here)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/aqui.mp3″]

Quinhentos (five hundred)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/quinhentos.mp3″]

Quilo (kilo)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/quilo.mp3″]

Arquiteto (architect)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/arquiteto.mp3″]

 

  1. When it is followed by an A or O (QU + A or O) it will sound like a KW.

Quando (when)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/quando.mp3″]

Aquário (fish bow; aquarium)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/aquário.mp3″]

Quadro (painting)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/quadro.mp3″]

Oblíquo (oblique)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/obliquo.mp3″]

 

  • Observation about QU:
  1. There are some exceptions to the QU + E or I since they are supposed to sound like a K, but in some cases they do not, they will sound like a KW instead:

Cinquenta (fifty)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/cinquenta.mp3″]

Consequência (consequence)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/consequencia.mp3″]

Eloquente (eloquent)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/eloquente.mp3″]

Sequência (sequence)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/sequencia.mp3″]

Tranquilo (tranquil)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/tranquilo.mp3″]

Liquidificador (blender)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/liquidificador.mp3″]

 

 

  1. For some words it is acceptable to use either QU or C to write the same word when they sound the same. Remember these are exceptions and it cannot be done for most words:

Cotidiano/Quotidiano (day-to-day)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/cotidiano.mp3″]

Cotidiano is more common in Brazilian Portuguese and Quotidiano is more common in Portuguese from Portugal.

 

Catorze (fourteen)

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/catorze.mp3″]

Quatorze

[audio:https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/files/2015/09/quatorze.mp3″]

Regardless or the way it is written, some people will pronounce this sound like a K whereas some other people will use the KW pronunciation.

 

This is it for pronunciation for now, everyone. I hope you enjoyed it and please let me know if there are any other letters or sounds you wish to know more about.

 

Tenham uma boa semana, pessoal! (Have a nice week, everyone)

 

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