9 differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese

Brazilian and European Portuguese have distinct accents and vocabulary, as well as many grammatical differences. In Brazil, for example, Americanisms such as “low-carb” are common, whereas in Portugal, such loanwords are avoided. To learn more, check out these 9 differences.

9 Differences Between Brazilian and European Portuguese
9 Differences Between Brazilian and European Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese (BP) BP's distinct lilting, cadence, and open vowels render it pleasant to listen to. It has a wide variety of distinctive regional accents.

European Portuguese (EP) Some people find EP mumbled. Regional differences in pronunciation are subtle.

(BP) Brazilians express verbs in progress with the ending -ndo, similar to the English -ing. For example, a Brazilian who is running may say, "Estou correndo."

(EP) European Portuguese people would just say, "Estou a correr."

(BP) Brazilians took "mídia" (media, as in mass media) from American English; Americanisms such as "flyer," "happy hour," and "low-carb" are common.

(EP) EP borrowed "media" from Latin. Americanisms are frowned upon.

(BP) For example, in Brazil, you'll tour São Paulo​ using an "ônibus" (bus).

(EP) In Portugal, you can hop on an "autocarro" (bus) to Lisbon.

(BP) Brazilians tend to speak with their mouths more open.

(EP) EP speakers talk with their mouths more closed.

(BP) Slight spelling differences abound. In the Brazilian "recepção" (reception), the "p" is pronounced.

(EP) But the European "receção" has no "p."

(BP) Brazilians often pronounce "t" like "ch"—not always, though, so be careful!

(EP) In European Portuguese, "t" is pronounced like it is in English.

(BP) In Brazil, just stick with "você" (semi-formal) or "o/a senhor/a" (formal).

(EP) Trying to be polite in Portugal? If you want to offer Nina more food, ask her, "Nina quer mais comida?" (Does Nina want more food?)

(BP) In Brazil, "você" is used in most situations. Use "a senhora" or "o senhor" in highly formal situations, though. In the far south of Brazil, "tu" is used more frequently.

(EP) In Portugal, call your friends "tu," but use "você" with strangers and people with authority.