Portuguese Language Blog

The Carioca Accent Posted by on Mar 24, 2011 in Learning

We’ve talked about regional slang in the past, including vocabulary about how to speak like a Carioca. But after I saw this video, I thought it would be helpful to talk a little bit about regional accents as well, and in this case, the Rio de Janeiro accent.

Cariocas da gema (which literally means, people from Rio from the “yolk,” as in the yolk of an egg) often have a local accent, which is principally characterized by two aspects. The first is turning certain “s” sounds into a “sh” sound. For example, a Carioca could pronounce Vasco (a local soccer team) as vah-sh-koh, where as a Paulista could pronounce it as vah-ss-koh. Another example is with the word escola (school): a Carioca would pronounce it esh-coh-lah, whereas a Paulista would pronounce it as ess-coh-lha. With a thick accent, you might even put the sh sound on plurals, like vĂ¡rios (vah-ree-oosh).

The second component of the Carioca accent is to swallow the “r”s, giving it a gutteral sound rather than a hard sound, like Paulistas would use. For example, a Carioca would pronounce porta (door) as po-hhr-tah, giving the r an open, almost a Yiddish sound by rolling the sound to the back of the throat. Meanwhile, a Paulista might pronounce porta (door) as poR-tah, putting an emphasis on the r sound, closer to an English or Spanish pronunciation of r.

Watch the video and you’ll hear firsthand what a strong Carioca accent sounds like!

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