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Brazilian vs. Portuguese

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Ruud Harmsen

Sep 30, 1995, 3:00:00 AM9/30/95
I post this on behalf of a friend who doesn't have Usenet
access. He's Mario Eduardo Viaro,, but next year
again in Brasil as Note that due to an editing
problem, most of the > marked lines in the beginning of the article are his.
> In article <449grj$> h...@GAS.UUG.Arizona.EDU (Hung
J >> > Lu) writes:>From: h...@GAS.UUG.Arizona.EDU (Hung J Lu)>> > >Subject: Re:
Brazil v. Portugal>> > >Date: 26 Sep 1995 18:30:11 GMT>> >
>> > >John E Koontz ( wrote:
>> > >: Have you run into the Brazilian dialect where they pronounce "r" as /h/?
>> > >I thought most Brazilians do that anyway.
>> It is hard to affirm that. The Cariocas, the Northern and the Northeastern
>> people do it, but the Southern people, the Sao Paulo, the Western and Central
>> areas people do not do so. In Minas, only the Northern half do so.
>> The /h/ can be a voiced or voiceless aspirated laryngeal, an uvular vibrant or
>> a voiceless velar fricativ, indifferently. For me, it is difficult sometimes
>> to distinguish the german Hund from Rund or to pronunciate properly Ahorn,
>> Aachen, Arabisch...
>> > >It's probably going to be tough to trace the why of the accents, just
>> > >like the American English accent differs from the British accent due
>> > >to a large number of factors... both forms of English evolved. Ah,
>> > >Brazil received a lot of African influence, which may be part of the
>> > >origin of the accents.
>> This theory was abandoned a long time ago. The African and Indian influence
>> is able to be proved only in the vocabulary. The best explication is Seraphim
>> da Silva Neto's one: people of some parts of Portugal came and a koine get
>> out. So, we can explain why there is not in Brazil the four alveolar fricatives
>> of North Portugal, but only two, as in South Portugal, and at same time some
>> people changes v and b: barrer instead of varrer, like in North Portugal. The
>> African have come from different parts of Africa, they spoke different dialects
>> and languages. Fastly they lost their language (a few exceptions we can find
>> between the Male and Yoruba in Bahia), and in their position of slaves I can
>> not believe they will influence the senhor's language. For example, I do not
>> believe the German People will become a Turkish accent: there is a lot of
>> words in the vocabulary (like Doener, Kebap...) but the children of the Turks
>> speak already a so good German as the natives. The major differences between
>> Brasil Portuguese and Luso-Portuguese are from XIX century Lisboa's innovations.
>> Read for it Paul Teyssier's book. The vocalism of Brasil is really older, as
>> the Joao de Barro's XVI grammar proves.
>> The only indian influence we can prove is a habit in Northeast (part of Bahia,
>> Ceara and so on), where the people changes intervocalic -v- for /h/. So they
>> do not say eu estava, aber /o'taha/ e cavalo becomes /ka'halu/. This is a
>> sociolinguistical not good form, and the people avoid it.
>> Also in Sao Paulo interior, South Minas, Part of Mato Grosso and North Parana
>> there is the caipira dialect. In it the /r/ at the end of the word or before
>> consonants is retroflex (the same position for the /h/). I do not if that is
>> a Tupi influence. This is too avoided. I am from a city from interior and they
>> do not notice it, but they always say about the Piracicaba's caipira, a kind
>> of symbol of this dialect, that it is an ugly dialect: they notice the special
>> use of the Piracicaba /r/: also intervocalic!
>> > >Also, within Brazil there is a large number of accents. At least
>> > >there are:
>> > >1) Southern accent of Rio Grande do Sul, which is closer to Spanish
>> > > Including the use of trill <r>.
>> Yes, but originally the caipira dialect also had: we can hear it from older
>> people. The intonation of the Rio Grande do Sul people is hard to imitate,
>> and I would like to know if it is the same of Uruguay's Spanish. There is
>> a city (Rivera/Santana do Livramento) where the spoken language is Portu~nol!
>> In Florianopolis they speak a kind of the dialect of Azores.
>> > >2) Sao Paulo, with a lot of Italian influence. (Longer value for
>> > > stressed vowels.)
>> O, this is a legend. In the TV there is a series that show that, but it is
>> not true. I live in Sao Paulo since ten years and I have never meet anyone
>> who speaks so. I am grandson of Italians, but my father do not speak a word
>> of Italian. I do not believe in it either.
>> > >3) North East, maybe a bit closer to the continental form than
>> > > the rest of the Brazilian accents?
>> NOPE! The Northeastern accent is the more innovative one! From the same
>> old toneless /e/, that we can hear in the South and caipira accents and
>> that is in the grammar of Joao de Barros, and in North Portugal, there is
>> too directions:
>> - Lisboa and the rest of South Portugal pronounce it as a shwa /@/ or simply
>> syncopate it.
>> - Northeastern accent opens it, like English E in "red".
>> So, a word like "diferentes" is pronounced:
>> /dife'r~etes/ in Rio Grande do Sul and some places of Caipira;
>> /dife'r~eti/ in other places of Caipira (with flap or retroflex r)
>> /dife'r~etSis/ in Minas Gerais, Parana, too in Sao Paulo.
>> /dife'r~etSiS/ in Rio de Janeiro.
>> /dife'r~eitSis/ in Sao Paulo.
>> /difE'r~etSis/ in North Eastern. Also /difE'r~etSiS, difE'r~etiS/
>> /difr~@itS/ in Lisboa.
>> The less sociolinguistical marked form is the third. In the more influent
>> channels of TV and Radio we here a mixted form of the third and the fourth even
>> in Northeastern Brazil. It will surely be the normativ one for the future.
>> /S/ is the sh sound of show.
>> > >4) Carioca: accent of Rio de Janeiro, where <t> is affricated when
>> > > followed by <i> (or ending <e>), <mas> pronounced as <maish>.
>> > > Initial <e> are often silent like in <estou> <esta> pronounced
>> > > as <shta> <shtou>.
>> You are right, the ti as /tSi/ is a carioca innovation. But it is the better
>> form in Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Parana and part of Northeastern (Ceara, at
>> least and Bahia?). I try myself to pronounciate so, but it is hard, because
>> in my city only the girls did so "to seem more delicated". I remember that
>> in the gymnasium, a teacher of Bauru (a city in the interior of Sao Paulo,
>> one hour far from mine) has come and he pronounciated this way. In the begin,
>> we though he was effeminate, but he was very young and charmant and he made
>> success between the girls. So, my pals began to pronounciate this way to
>> imitate him and to make the same succes! All that has surely changed today:
>> I can not recognize my city when I go there to visit my parents.
>> A carioca pronounce estou as /iSto/ or - as all Brazilians - /to/. A lisboeta
>> will pronounce it /iSto/, /ISto/- with a ieri: closed central unrounded sound,
>> or /Sto/ (perhaps too /to/). The diphthong is very formal and seldom.
>> > >Some of my Brazilian friends have told me that it's easier for them
>> > >to understand spoken Spanish than the spoken continental Portuguese
>> > >(Luso Portuguese). I know some people are going to be upset
>> > >about this comment. :-)
>It is true and false. Where an educated people speaks calmly it is very easy
>to understand. But I remember I saw a film one time and I could not understand
>one word, only there were formal situations! I had an oncle of Azores and he
>died before I understood one single word! But once time I went to Northeast
>in a bus and beside me a man sat down and he spoke the 52 hours of the trip,
>but I didn`t get anything! He was from Sertao da Bahia, and changed not only
>v for h, but also f, j and so one.
>A sentence: vou beber um vinho de jenipapo ja ja turned to:
> /hobE'be ~u'h~i dZi'hEnipap'ha'ha/
>I cannot understand well a Bolivian, but can understand an Argentin or a
>Madrid person. I cannot understand well an Azores people, but I find easy
>the Galician. Enygmas?
>> > >I learned my Portuguese with the Carioca accent. And I have been
>> > >heavily criticized by people from Sao Paulo: I have been told that
>> > >I spoke Carioquese, not Portuguese. :-) My advise is, stick either
>> > >with the Sao Paulo accent or the Northeast accent, they seem to
>> > >be more towards the average.
>Yes, I lived during my highschool times with a Chilene and a carioca.
>Sometimes there was easier to understand the Chilene than the carioca.
>He used to speak too many slang, and the sh-sounds didn't help! The Sao
>Paulo and Rio de Janeiro people used to ridicularize each other. I do know
>why. Sincerely the best form is the neutre one, the mixture of Sao Paulo
>and Rio variants. I find the Northeastern variant very beautiful, but it
>is not recognized as the best one, at least in the South. You know, ubi
>munera ibi bona. The neutre variant would be:
>- The r not trilled but uvular at the begin of the word, after s,n,l and
> when written rr. In the other situations, a single flap.
>- Not to open toneless vowels,
>- Not to use exagerately the sound sh for s before consonants
>- Not to drop final consonants (except the r of infinitive perhaps)
>- To pronounciate ti as chi and di as dji (affricates)
>- To pronounce final e and o as /i/ or /u/.
>You can see, a new koine is happening, with strong influence of the
>Sao Paulo variant.
>> > >-- Ekki
>> >
>> >


Oct 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM10/4/95
Thanks for the description of Brazilian dialects.

I am a fan of Brazilian music, and have enjoyed a few movies,
and your comments explain the variations in dialect that I've
heard: such as why Elis Regina pronounced words differently
(more of the "aish") than some others. And the silly joke
about "Caravana Rolodai" being an attempt to spell the English


Karl King


Oct 4, 1995, 3:00:00 AM10/4/95
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