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The Trickiest Accent Posted by on May 8, 2009 in Learning

Today’s interactive feature has to do with accents. The question is: which is the most difficult accent to understand in Portuguese? This includes the different regions of Brazil, as well as Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa like Angola and Mozambique.

After learning Brazilian Portuguese, I find Portuguese accents (from Portugal) exceedingly difficult to understand. In fact, Brazilian TV shows sometimes use subtitles when a Portuguese person speaks. In Brazil, Northeastern accents can sometimes be tricky for me, like from Pernambuco, where they don’t use the chee and gee sounds they use in the South (i.e. leite = ley-chee in Rio, ley-tee in Recife).

What about you?

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  1. Abigail:

    My Portuguese teacher is from Rio so that’s the accent that I’m used to. I chat with some girls from Mozambique too and I can understand them. However, one of my friends is from Lisbon and the times I’ve heard her speaking to her partner in Portugese I can only make out a few words.

  2. Janiska:

    I went to Angola 4 years ago and found that, even though I had never learned Portuguese, I could understand quite a bit. I grew up in the Netherlands and learned French, then moved to California and learned Spanish. Between the 2 languages I could understand quite a bit of the Angolan Portuguese. I have much more trouble with Brazilian Portuguese. Portuguese is a beautiful language and I hope to go back to Angola and learn more. It is hard to stay motivated when no one around you speaks Portuguese.

  3. Larry:

    Living in Paranagua, I find the accents from other parts of the country very different-even more than what you encounter in the U.S. Our relatives are from Santa Catarina and their accents totally throw me off. Of course, having a Gringo accent does not help much either since a lot of Brasilians think I am speaking German.

  4. jaka:

    im slovenian, and i learned some brazilian portuguese from audio tapes. i have problems with carioca accent, too much chee shee sounds for me.

    I like bahiano, they speak soooooo slowly and easy to understand. 🙂

  5. Samuel:

    So, Im brazilian-Somali- American,
    My mother is from Rio and I find it a little more difficult to understand people from Floripa, they seem to sound muted and sometimes like they arent opening the mouth, those from portugal are a lost cause to me I understand very little and often time end up speaking english cause its just easier, Ive yet to encounter any africans other than cape verdeans, hopefully I get a chance to hear them, has anyone heard an accent from Macau?

  6. Lily:

    I’m learning European Portuguese so I find the Brazilian accent very difficult to understand. Every now and then I find a Brazilian accent that seems ‘softer’ such as Paolo Coelho for example but generally like you said the gee sounds are really confusing!

  7. Elaine Petrossante:

    I use Aol. and do not have the accents built in
    how do I get them in? Please help.
    Do I need to download a version in Portuguese in my computer?

  8. Kalani:

    It was the same thing for me w/ people from Recife. I heard someone from Natal and other areas near there including Mossoró with little difficulty. Not sure if it’s because by that time I got accustomed to that type of accent?

    Portugal’s accent can be difficult but nothing compared to the Azorean accents. I think they’re the worse because of their different vowel sounds.