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Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe:

Notable Lexical Differences

Portuguese, a language with a diverse history, has given rise to distinctive variations, notably Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese.


Despite a shared linguistic ancestry, centuries of separation and cultural influences have led to the development of unique characteristics in each variant.


In this “Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe” article we will explore these variations

Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe Notable Lexical Differences featured image

Table of Contents

Historical Context Behind The Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe Debate :

Rooted in the Portuguese Age of Discovery, both Brazilian and European Portuguese have evolved independently.


Portuguese settlers brought their language to Brazil in the 16th century, where it amalgamated with indigenous and African languages, fostering the emergence of a distinct Brazilian Portuguese.

Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe. Photo from Wikipedia showing the arrival of Portuguese to Brazil mainland

The Primary Differences When Considering To Study Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe


Pronunciation differences stand out prominently in the debate of Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe.

The Brazilian accent is often softer and more melodic, while European Portuguese is characterized by a nasal quality.


Notable distinctions include variations in the pronunciation of letters like “s” and “z” and the prevalence of nasal vowels in European Portuguese.


Let us now see more concrete examples of these differences.

Differences in Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions

While the core vocabulary remains largely shared, there are significant differences in idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms.


Brazilians and Portuguese speakers may use unique slang that is not immediately understood by the other.
Cultural influences have also shaped distinct vocabularies, leading to variations in everyday terminology.


Examples of these vocabulary differences:

1. Automobile

Brazilian Portuguese: carro
European Portuguese: automóvel

2. Train

Brazilian Portuguese: trem
European Portuguese: comboio

3. Bus

Brazilian Portuguese: ônibus
European Portuguese: autocarro

4. Cell Phone

Brazilian Portuguese: celular
European Portuguese: telemóvel

5. Team

European Portuguese: equipa
Brazilian Portuguese: time

These examples showcase genuinely different words, highlighting the dynamic evolution of language.


Despite these lexical differences, mutual intelligibility remains, allowing speakers of one variant to comprehend and adapt to the other with relative ease.


Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europ-linguistic differences

Differences in Grammar

While Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese share a common grammar foundation, there are some notable differences in grammar between the two variants.


Here are a few examples:

1. Use of Second Person Singular Pronouns:

European Portuguese: The second person singular pronoun “tu” is commonly used for informal singular address.
Example: “Tu vais ao mercado.” (You go to the market.)

Brazilian Portuguese: While “tu” exists, it is often replaced with “você” for informal singular address.
Example: “Você vai ao mercado.”

2. Verb Conjugations:

European Portuguese: There are variations in the conjugation of verbs, particularly when addressing someone using “tu.”
Example: “Tu dizes” (You say) – 2nd person singular.

Brazilian Portuguese: The use of “tu” is less common, and the third person singular conjugation is often used with “você.”
Example: “Você diz” (You say) – 3rd person singular.

3. Use of Object Pronouns:

European Portuguese: Object pronouns typically come before the verb.
Example: “Eu o vejo.” (I see him.)

Brazilian Portuguese: Object pronouns can come before the verb or be attached to the end of the verb, especially in colloquial speech.
Example: “Eu o vejo.” or “Eu vejo ele.”

4. Plural Of The Word "You" (You All):

European Portuguese: The second person plural “vós” is used for addressing more than one person formally or informally.
Example: “Vós ides à festa.” (You all go to the party.)


Brazilian Portuguese: “Vós” is rarely used, and the third person plural “vocês” is the standard form for addressing more than one person.
Example: “Vocês vão à festa.”

5. Differences in Vocabulary for Everyday Items:

In european portuguese, some vocabulary words for everyday items may differ from those used in Brazil.
Example: “Chávena” (cup/mug) in European Portuguese is “Xícara” in Brazilian Portuguese.

6. Use of Future Subjunctive:

European Portuguese: The future subjunctive is more commonly used in European Portuguese.
Example: “Se eu puder, ajudarei.” (If I can, I will help.)


Brazilian Portuguese: While still used, the future subjunctive is less prevalent, and the present subjunctive is often used in its place.
Example: “Se eu puder, ajudarei.” or “Se eu puder, eu ajudo.”

It’s important to note that these differences are not absolute, and there is a considerable amount of overlap and variation within each variant.


Additionally, with increased exposure to media and communication, speakers of European and Brazilian Portuguese are becoming more accustomed to each other’s linguistic variations.


Porto Bridge bridging the gap in Brazlian portuguese vs portuguese from europe

The Uniting Factors in the Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe Debate:

Despite some differences in vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, speakers of these two variants can still effectively communicate. 


Here are several factors that facilitate mutual intelligibility and communication:

Shared Core Vocabulary:

The majority of vocabulary is shared between European and Brazilian Portuguese.


While there may be variations in certain terms, speakers can easily understand the common words and expressions used in everyday communication.

Similar Grammatical Structure:

The basic grammatical structure of sentences remains largely the same between the two variants.


Both use subject-verb-object order, and the conjugation of verbs follows similar patterns. This makes it relatively easy for speakers of one variant to comprehend the structure of sentences in the other.

Understanding Verb Conjugations:

Despite some differences in the use of second-person pronouns and verb conjugations, the overall verb conjugation system is similar.


Speakers can quickly adapt to the variations in person, number, and tense used in different regions.

Cognates and Similar Expressions:

Many words and expressions are cognates, meaning they have a common origin and similar forms in both variants.


Additionally, similar idiomatic expressions are used, contributing to overall comprehension.

Exposure to Media and Technology:

With increased exposure to international media, movies, music, and online content, speakers of European and Brazilian Portuguese are regularly exposed to both variants.


This exposure helps them become familiar with regional differences and adapt their language use accordingly.

Educational Standardization:

Standardized language education materials often aim for neutrality, incorporating elements from both variants.

Language learners are exposed to a mix of European and Brazilian Portuguese, helping them become proficient in a form of the language that is widely understood.

Conscious Adaptation:

Native speakers often adapt their speech consciously when interacting with speakers from the other region.


This adaptation may involve using neutral vocabulary or making small adjustments in pronunciation to enhance mutual understanding.

Contextual Understanding:

Communication is not solely based on language; context plays a crucial role. In situations where there might be uncertainty in vocabulary or pronunciation, speakers can often rely on context to decipher meaning.

Language Evolution:

Languages are dynamic and constantly evolving.

The influence of media, travel, and globalization has led to increased interaction between speakers of European and Brazilian Portuguese, contributing to a more standardized and mutually intelligible form of the language.


While there are regional differences, the ability for European and Brazilian Portuguese speakers to communicate effectively underscores the mutual intelligibility of the language variants.


This shared linguistic heritage allows for meaningful interaction and understanding between speakers from different regions.

Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe; Learning Both With Tobian Language School

Check Our Available Courses:

Visit the Tobian Language School’s official website or contact them directly to inquire about Portuguese language courses.

Confirm whether they offer courses specific to European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, or a combined program.

Determine Your Learning Objectives:

Clearly define your language learning goals.
Understand if you want to focus more on European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, or if you aim for a balanced understanding of both variants.

Consult with Our Experienced Language Instructors:

The Tobian Language School offers personalized consultations and has experienced language instructors available for discussion.

Discuss your language learning goals and ask for guidance on the most suitable courses for you.


Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Participate in Language Immersion Programs:

At the Tobian Language School we offer immersion programs when they are available.

These programs often provide a deeper understanding of the language by exposing learners to real-life situations, cultural nuances, and native speakers.

Enroll in Specific Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe:

If you are still unsure which language to learn when considering Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe, the Tobian Language School can provide you with the unique chance to enroll in both.


This allows you to focus on the unique aspects of each variant and gain a well-rounded proficiency.

Supplement with Online Resources:

Enhance your learning with additional online resources, such as language learning apps, podcasts, and interactive websites.

These can provide extra practice, cultural insights, and exposure to different accents.

Participate in Language Exchange Programs:

Engage in language exchange programs or conversation partners to practice both European and Brazilian Portuguese.

This practical experience can significantly improve your speaking and listening skills.

Attend Cultural Events:

Seek out cultural events related to Portuguese-speaking countries, attend these to immerse yourself in the language and culture.


This exposure can be valuable for understanding the linguistic and cultural differences when looking at Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe.

Stay Consistent and Practice Regularly:

Language learning requires consistency and practice.

Dedicate time regularly to your studies, and make use of the resources provided by Tobian Language School to reinforce your skills.


Remember to adapt our suggestions from this Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europe article based on the specific offerings and structure of the language programs at Tobian Language School or wherever you are learning from.


Learning both European and Brazilian Portuguese can be a rewarding and enriching experience, providing you with a broader understanding of the Portuguese language and its diverse cultural contexts.


Give it a go today and end find out your own answer to the Brazilian Portuguese vs Portuguese from Europ debate.

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Tobias Woudt
Tobias Woudt

Tobias is a polyglot, traveller and founder of the Tobian Language School.

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