It is often said that Portugal and Brazil are twin countries. This feeling of closeness is deeply related to the language spoken in both countries, Portuguese! But is the language spoken in Portugal and Brazil exactly the same? The answer is no.

Think of two twin brothers. Are twins exactly the same or just similar? The differences between spoken (and written) Portuguese in Portugal and Brazil are very clear to native speakers (and a little less to students learning Portuguese).

Let’s analyze the differences between these twin brother languages.



Most people believe that the Brazilian accent is sweeter and softer than the European accent. The vowels are pronounced more openly which facilitates understanding of the language. European Portuguese ignores some vowels and so the sound of the language approximates the sound of the Slavic languages. The Brazilian accent is more “sung” than the European and this difference makes it easier for Portuguese language learners to understand.




There are some important differences between the two spellings. Here is an example for analysis: “recepção” (Brazil) and “receção” (Portugal) In Portugal the word “reception” does not have the letter p. In Brazil, the word is written with p, “reception” and p is audible. This case also applies to other words where the letter p can be heard in Brazil.


Brazilians are very creative in their use of the language and this is an example of the transformation of nouns into verbs. These “new” words do not exist in European Portuguese. Example: In Portugal people “dão os parabéns”. In Brazil Brazilians turn the word “parabéns” into the verb “parabenizar”.


1- “Trem” (Brazil) and “comboio” (Portugal)

2- “Ônibus” (Brazil) and “autocarro” (Portugal).

3- “Terno” (Brazil) and Fato (Portugal).

4- “Bunda” (Brazil) and “Rabo” (Portugal).

5- “Sorvete” (Brazil) and “gelado” (Portugal).

These differences in vocabulary can be confusing to Portuguese language students and can lead to some easily overcome misunderstandings. We must never forget that languages ​​are living organisms exposed to different cultures. For this reason, languages ​​change and evolve. European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese will always have differences. These differences must be respected.


It is interesting to see the foreign words that are assimilated (and later adapted) in Brazil. Example: Media is then transformed into “mídia” in the Brazilian version. Brazilian Portuguese uses the word from English and ignores its Latin root. European Portuguese is more resistant to this kind of change. Rarely are new words assimilated into the language; the words come from Latin and retain their spelling.

assimilation of words lisbon language café


In Brazil, the formal “you” solution is used informally and in many formal contexts. In Portugal, the personal pronoun “tu” is used for informal contexts (with friends and family). These differences can be quite confusing for Portuguese language learners students and also for Brazilian immigrants living in Portugal (the opposite is also true). Confusing “tu” with “você” can be embarrassing and lead to misunderstandings (especially when “you” is misused because its use may sound rude). Another interesting difference lies in the use of the personal pronoun “you” before the sentence. In Portugal, the pronoun is omitted and the verb is conjugated in the 3rd person singular (this difference “sounds bad” in Brazil).

formal and informal language


Many students who want to learn Portuguese have doubts about the best choice when starting to study the language of Camões: European or Brazilian Portuguese? There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

Despite the important differences between the “two languages”, it is important to note that communication between a Portuguese and a Brazilian is almost always done without difficulty.

We believe it is more advantageous to learn European Portuguese as understanding this kind of Portuguese is more demanding and challenging. Students who can understand European Portuguese will easily understand Brazilian Portuguese (the opposite is not true).

Overall, we can say that these two languages ​​are practically the same. The grammar rules are (essentially) the same, the vocabulary is practically the same, the spelling has very slight variations, and the slang and idioms have slight differences but are fully understandable on both sides of the Atlantic.

The option for one of these variants should also focus on the student’s particularities. Are you going to learn Portuguese because you want to emigrate to one of these countries? In this case, students should first choose the country where they want to live or visit. If this is not your case, choose the country where you have the most personal interests. Do you like fado, Fernando Pessoa and Lisbon? Choose European Portuguese! Do you like samba, carnival and Rio de Janeiro? Choose Brazilian Portuguese!

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