As a general guide, stress the penultimate (last-but-one) syllable except where there is an accent, or the word ends with a diphthong (that is, 2 vowels which are pronounced as a single syllable – explained in full later on), or if it ends with any of the following letters: i; l; r; z; im; um; ins; uns – in which case, the stress is on the last syllable.

The text under the Portuguese words that follow is a pronunciation guide, and represents an approximate phonetic equivalent of the word in English such as you might find in a phrase book (we decided not to use ‘phonemes’ – like a dictionary uses – because that just means you have even more stuff to learn. The pronunciation guide is based on a neutral London accent, but is also designed to be generally usable by a wide range of English and American accents).

Square brackets indicate an approximation of a sound – i.e. where it is not possible to spell the actual sound phonetically. Where you encounter these, try to merge the sound of the previous syllable with the sound given in brackets, and you should be close to the real sound. The letters ‘zh’ in the pronunciation guides indicate a soft ‘j’, which sounds like the ‘s’ in ‘measure’.

Practise saying the following words out loud, remembering to emphasise the penultimate (last-but-one) syllable except where there is an accent, or the word ends with: i; l; r; z; im; um; ins; or uns – in which case, the emphasis is on the last syllable. The syllable represented in italics is the one that should be stressed. Don't worry about what the words mean yet – just practise pronouncing them.



vosseh sintoo akee

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