Whilst wandering amongst the medieval castles and cobblestone villages, make your Portugal experience even more special and learn these common Portuguese phrases.
Having just returned from a once in a lifetime trip to the volcanic archipelago of the Azores (something I highly recommend), I thought it appropriate to dedicate my next post in my travel phrase guide series to Portuguese! That’s right, I’ve brought together a bunch of super useful and common Portuguese phrases along with a pronunciation guide.
Even though Portugal covers a relatively small area, it played a crucial role in world history.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal started a major chapter in world history with the New World Discoveries known as “Descobrimentos” in Portuguese.
As the Portuguese established a sea route to India, colonized areas in Africa (including Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde), South America (Brazil), Asia (Macau), and Oceania (East-Timor) thus creating an empire.
It is because of this that the Portuguese language continues to be the biggest connection between these countries and a great reason for learning the language.
Let’s take a quick look at the Portuguese language so you’re a bit more clued up on its origin, use, and vocabulary.
I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed bringing it together. If you have any requests for other languages, let me know in the comments section!
Where is Portuguese spoken?
Portuguese is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe.
It also has official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, and Macau in China! (The latter came as a surprise to me too!)
As mentioned above, due to the expansion during colonial times, Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers can also be found in Goa, India, Sri Lanka; Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole.
In both English and Portuguese, Portuguese-speaking people and nations are referred to as “Lusophone”.
There are well over 250 million Portuguese native speakers, with 200 million of that population residing in Brazil!
The Portuguese in this travel phrase guide is of the European usage which differs from the Brazilian in both sounds and pronunciation.
A brief history of Portuguese
Being a Romance language, Portuguese is a descendant of Latin, which was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by Roman soldiers, settlers, and merchants from 218 BC.
It wasn’t until 1290 that King Denis decreed that Portuguese, which was simply called the “Vulgar language” (i.e. Vulgar Latin) should be known as the “Portuguese language” and should be used officially. By the 15th century, Portuguese had become a mature language with a rich literature.
Because of the New World Discoveries made between the 14th and 16th century, the great majority of Portuguese speakers live in Brazil, in South America.
Even though the Portuguese and Brazilians speak the same language, due to cultural and historical differences the language has evolved over the years. Curious at just how different European Portuguese is from Brazilian Portuguese?
Here are some examples of just how different it can be.
|English||BR Portuguese||EU Portuguese|
Whilst there are loads of pronunciation rules out there (too many to list here for simple travel phrase guide), as a general rule of thumb, remember to place the stress on the penultimate (second-last) syllable.
Here come the exceptions…
Don’t stress the penultimate syllable if it has an accent, or the word ends with a diphthong (that is, 2 vowels which are pronounced as a single syllable), 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.
P.S. If you’re reading this on your phone and can’t see the pronunciation column, turn it to landscape mode. For some reason, tables aren’t mobile friendly. Sorry!
Common Portuguese Phrases
Want the infographic to take with you? Scroll to the bottom of the page.
|Good morning||Bom dia||bom dee-ah|
|Good evening||Boa tarde||bo-ah tar-deh|
|Good night||Boa noite||bo-ah noyt|
|Goodbye||Adeus/Tchau||a-de-us / chow|
|How are you?||Como está?||ko-mo es-tah?|
|I’m well, and you?||Eu estou bem, e tu?||eu es-tou behm, eh too?|
|Good, thanks||Bem, obrigado / (m.) obrigada (f.)||behm ob-ree-gah-doh/dah|
|Please||Por favor||por fa-vor|
|Thank you||Obrigado (m.) / obrigada (f.)||ob-ree-gah-doh/dah|
|You’re welcome||De nada||de na-dah|
|Excuse me||Com licença||kom lee-sen-sah|
|I’m sorry||Desculpa / lamento||des-kool-pah|
|I don’t understand||Não compreendo||naoum kom-preh-en-doh|
|Do you speak English?||Fala inglês?||fa-la in-gles|
|How much is…?||Quanto custa…?||kwan-toh kos-tah|
|Where is…?||Onde é…?||ond-jeh eh|
|May I please have…?||Pode dar me…, por favor?||pod-je dar meh por fa-vor|
|I don’t eat…||Não como||naoum ko-moh|
|I’m a vegetarian||Sou vegetariano (m.)/ vegetariana (f.)||sow ve-ge-ta-re-en-no/noh|
|the bill, please||A conta, por favor||a kon-tah por fa-vor|
|Straight ahead||Sempre em frente||se-pre em fren-chee|
|Turn left||Vira a esquerda||vi-rai a es-ker-da|
|Turn right||Vire à direita||vi-rai a djee-rey-ta|
|Bus stop||Paragem de autocarro||pa-ra-jem dje au-to-kar-ro|
|Train station||Estação de comboio||es-ta-sao dje kom-boy-o|
|Monday||Segunda Feira||se-gun-da fey-ra|
|Tuesday||Terça Feira||ter-sa fey-ra|
|Wednesday||Quarta Feira||kwar-ta fey-ra|
|Thursday||Quinta Feira||kwin-ta fey-ra|
|Friday||Sexta Feira||ses-ta fey-ra|
|I need a doctor||Eu preciso de um médico||eu pre-si-zo de um meh-de-ko|
|I don’t feel well||Nâo me sinto bem||naum me sin-to behm|
|Call the police!||Chama a policia||xa-ma a po-lee-see-a|
Want more? Here are some hilarious Portuguese expressions!
Ready to improve your Portuguese? Visit my handy language resource guide.
Plus, if you want to know how the experts learn languages, I asked 11 top polyglots to share their language learning secrets. Find out how they start learning a new language, overcome plateaus, and maintain multiple languages.
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Over to you!
Which of these common Portuguese phrases do you find most useful? Which other phrases would you like to know?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
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