Portuguese phonology

Countries speaking Portuguese:
  Native language
  Official and administrative language

The phonology of Portuguese varies among dialects, in extreme cases leading to some difficulties in intelligibility. Portuguese is a pluricentric language and has some of the most diverse sound variations in any language. This article on phonology focuses on the pronunciations that are generally regarded as standard. Since Portuguese is a pluricentric language—and differences between European Portuguese (EP), Brazilian Portuguese (BP), and Angolan Portuguese (AP) can be considerable—varieties are distinguished whenever necessary.

One of the most salient differences between the European and Brazilian dialects is their prosody.[1] European Portuguese is a stress-timed language, with reduction, devoicing or even deletion of unstressed vowels, and a general tolerance of syllable-final consonants. Brazilian Portuguese, on the other hand, is of mixed characteristics, and varies according to the speech rate, dialect, and gender of the speaker.[2][3]

Brazilian Portuguese disallows some closed syllables:[1] coda nasals are deleted with concomitant nasalization of the preceding vowel, even in learned words; coda /l/ becomes [w], except for conservative velarization at the extreme south and rhotacism in remote rural areas in the center of the country; the coda rhotic is usually deleted entirely when word-final, especially in verbs in the infinitive form; and /i/ can be epenthesized after almost all other coda-final consonants. This tends to produce words almost entirely composed of open syllables, e.g., magma [ˈmaɡimɐ]. In European Portuguese, similarly, epenthesis may occur with [ɨ], as in magma [ˈmaɣɨmɐ] and afta [ˈafɨtɐ].[4]

  1. ^ a b Parkinson, Stephen. "Phonology". In The Romance Languages edited by Martin Harris and Nigel Vincent. Routledge, 1988. Pp. 131–169.
  2. ^ Bisol, Leda (2000). "O troqueu silábico no sistema fonológico (Um adendo ao artigo de Plínio Barbosa)" [The Syllabic Change in the Phonological System (An Addendum to Plínio Barbosa's Article)]. DELTA: Documentação de Estudos em Lingüística Teórica e Aplicada (in Portuguese). 16 (2): 403–413. doi:10.1590/S0102-44502000000200007.
  3. ^ Meireles, Alexsandro R.; Tozetti, João Paulo; Borges, Rogério R. (2010). Speech rate and rhythmic variation in Brazilian Portuguese (PDF). Speech Prosody 2010, Fifth International Conference, Chicago, IL, USA, May 10–14, 2010.
  4. ^ Veloso (2005:623–624)

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