The Sound of X (part 2) Posted by Transparent Language on Sep 25, 2007 in Pronunciation
In a previous post, I discussed the sound of the letter ‘X’ in Portuguese. This polyphonic letter can trip up many non-native Portuguese speakers, and there are no hard and fast rules regarding its pronunciation.
In this post I’d like to show some more common uses of the letter X as well as some words that include the letter that you might see frequently.
The first example always makes me smile. In Brazil it is very common to see a X-Burguer on the menu of a restaurant or bar. When I first saw this I imagined that the particular establishment I was in was featuring some sort of ‘extreme’ sandwich, perhaps with some daredevilish combination of pimenta and mayo! Alas it turns out the the X-Burguer, unlike the X-Games and the X-Prize, is quite tame; the X is short for ‘cheese!’ The letter X in Portuguese is pronounced by itself as ‘shis,’ and so ‘X-Burguer’ literally is pronounced something like ‘cheeseburger‘ in English!
Here are some words that start with X that are pretty common.
- Xô (Sho) Shoo. Quite common are t-shirts with the phrase ‘Xô Stress!’ that Brazilians buy on vacation
- Xerox (Share-ocks) Generic word for paper copier, or for a copy store, particularly at a university
- Xangô (Shango) Afro-Brazilian deity
- Xixi (shee-shee) ‘wee-wee’ dimunitive for bodily function numero 1
Finally, allow me to through in one more word that I hear a lot, and is just a fantastic word aesthetically, in my opinion: Frouxo which means loose and is pronounced frow-shoo.
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