Portuguese Vocabulary tips for Spanish speakers

Source:Google images

Source:Google images

Portuguese and Spanish, although have a similar look and feel, are quite different from each other, when it comes to the spoken competency. The Portuguese,Italian, and the Spanish, although cannot speak each other’s languages, can understand the context and meaning of whatever each nationality says in their respective languages, because of one main factor- the vocabulary is similar. (not same)
In this article we would be seeing how fluent Spanish speakers can look for quick vocabulary tips, in order to learn Portuguese effectively.

As a Spanish speaker, your challenge is first to focus on the very different pronunciation of Portuguese, where words are rarely pronounced the way you might expect. Then you can begin to learn the major differences in grammar. For example, personal pronouns are used differently in Brazil than in Portugal, Spain, or the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America. Verb tenses in Portuguese don’t quite map onto their Spanish equivalents as simply as you might expect, and object pronouns have their own set of rules, when they’re used at all.

You already have a vast knowledge of vocabulary and will recognize the many cognates easily, so reading will be a piece of cake.

Many, many words are almost identical once you learn how to translate the different endings:

Spanish -dad -> Portuguese -dade [da-dji]
ciudad -> cidade
habilidad -> habilidade
Spanish -ción -> Portuguese -ção
nación -> nação
Spanish -zon -> Portuguese -ção
corazon -> coração
Spanish -ble -> Portuguese -vel
invisible -> invisível
comparable -> comparável


Note that the letter l at the end of a word is not pronounced like a normal Spanish or English L. Instead, it acts like a w glide, so -vel is pronounced like a dipthong, somewhere between “veu” and “vew”, which means you then have to add an acute accent to the preceding vowel to keep the stress on that syllable.

invisibles -> invisíveis
comparables -> comparáveis
Spanish -an -> Portuguese -am
ellos compran -> eles compram
Spanish -b (in btw. two vowels) -> Portuguese -v
ella nadaba -> ela nadava
haber -> haver
Spanish j -> Portuguese lh or x
mujer -> mulher
hoja -> folha
hijo -> filho
debajo -> debaixo
Spanish h (at the beginning of a word) -> Portuguese f
hablar -> falar
hacer -> fazer
hijo -> filho

Spanish often uses dipthongs where Portuguese doesn’t:

cuenta -> conta
fuego -> fogo
asiento -> assento
ciudad -> cidade

Then again, sometimes Portuguese uses dipthongs where Spanish doesn’t:

debajo -> debaixo

The vast majority of Spanish words are either identical or recognizably similar in Portuguese, once you learn the substitutions above. But occasionally, you’ll run across a common word that is substantially or completely different, having branched off the Latin vernacular at a different point in time:

la ventana -> a janela

And occasionally, you’ll find a word that just doesn’t exist in Spanish. The extremely useful verb ficar (to be, to be located, to become, to remain, to stay) has no direct equivalent in Spanish, yet it’s used in so many different situations, from describing where a place is located to signalling changes in emotional states, it’s almost like having a third copula to go along with ser and estar.

Brazilians also love using idiomatic expressions, especially with verbs like dar, fazer, estar com, etc. and many of these don’t translate into Spanish.

And sometimes, it’s just a matter of word choice, where Portuguese has the Spanish word but Brazilians prefer to use a different word:

creer -> crer, but Brazilians prefer achar [to think] instead
necesitar -> necessitar, but Brazilians prefer precisar [to need] instead

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