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  • Writer's pictureSpeaking Brazilian

Brazilian Accent: How to reduce words to sound like a native speaker

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Oi, pessoal!

Would you like to speak Portuguese like a native speaker?

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to reduce words to improve your Brazilian accent.

Since this is a pronunciation lesson, we recommend watching the video and repeating the words and sentences aloud in order to practice.

The phonetic reduction of words

What does that mean?

What we call reduction is the natural process of suppressing the pronunciation of certain letters or syllables in spoken language.

Reducing words in Portuguese isn’t mandatory, but every Brazilian does it. For this reason, it’s hard to understand what Brazilians are saying sometimes.

We reduce words and connect one word to another all the time in spoken language, usually without noticing we are even doing it.

Now I’m going to teach you three of the most common word reductions that you’re going to hear in Brazil.

1. The verb “estar” (to be) is commonly reduced in every conjugation:

For example:

Ele está – ele tá (He is)

Eu estou – eu tô (I am)

Nós estamos – nós tamos – nós tamo (We are)

Eles estão – eles tão (They are)

Eu estava – eu tava (I was)

Eles estavam – eles tavam (They were)

And so on.

For example:

Standard Form: - Eu estou em casa (I am at home)

Reduced form: - Eu tô em casa (I am at home)

Standard Form: - Ele está atrasado (He is late)

Reduced Form: - Ele tá atrasado (He is late)

Standard Form: - Eles estavam estudando (They were studying)

Reduced Form: - Eles tavam estudando (They were studying)

2. The word “você” (you) is commonly reduced to “cê.”

For example:

Standard Form: - Onde você está? (Where are you?)

Reduced Form: - Ond-cê-tá? (Where are you?)

Standard Form: - O que vocês estão fazendo? (What are you all doing?)

Reduced Form: - Que-cês-tão-fazendo? (What are you all doing?)

3. The letters R and S at the end of verbs are also commonly suppressed when we’re speaking quickly.

For example:

Standard Form: - Vamos lá! (Let’s go!)

Reduced Form: - Vamo-lá! (Let’s go!)

Standard Form: - Aonde você quer ir? (Where do you want to go?)

Reduced Form: - Aond-cê-qué-í? (Where do you want to go?)

Standard Form: - Você quer falar comigo? (Do you want to talk to me?)

Reduced Form: - Cê-qué-falá-comigo? (Do you want to talk to me?)

That’s it, everyone! Now you know how to reduce words in Portuguese.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson!

Até logo!

Speaking Brazilian School Team


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