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Home› Languages› Portuguese Language› Written Language

Overview of Written Portuguese-English Variations

Literate Portuguese-speaking students, at the beginning stages of learning English as a new language, will often use what they already know from written Portuguese when writing in English. The following is a general overview of the variations between the two languages:

Portuguese English
Letter/sound correspondence is simple and highly consistent Letter /sound correspondence is complex and morphophonemic
Portuguese common words are generally long with (2,3 syllables) Common words are generally short (1, 2 syllables)

Verb conjugations are very elaborate and highly inflected:

Eu andei
Tu andaste
Ele/ela andou
Nós andámos
Vós andastes
Eles/elas andaram

Verbs conjugations are not very elaborate or distinctive:

I walked
You walked
S/he walked
We walked
You walked
They walked

Portuguese is very predictable at the phonics level but less predictable at the syntactic level English is very predictable at the syntactic level but less predictable at the phonics level.
Spelling in Portuguese is very predictable due to its high degree of consistency between letters and sounds. Spelling in English is complex due to its low degree of consistency between letters and sounds. One sound may represented by a number of spellings (long a: a-e, ai, ay, eigh)

Portuguese is a syllabic language.
Any word is composed of syllables that are auditorily easy to identify by anyone Sa/be/do/ri/a (wisdom)
Portuguese dictionaries do not carry syllable division markers, because it not necessary.

English is a morphophonemic language
Words are composed of syllables that are morphemes with a pronunciation that is not easily divided into syllables. English dictionaries carry syllable division markers due to the nature of its morphophonemic structure & complexity.
The stressed syllable in a Portuguese word is consistently predictable. There are only three positions for syllable stress: last syllable (acute words), the one before last (palavras graves), and the third before last (palavras exdrúxulas) The stressed syllable in an English word is not consistently predictable. English Dictionaries carry markers to indicate which syllable is stressed.
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