Portuguese 101

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Portuguese is a very rich language in terms of dialects, each with its particularity. Most of the differentiation between them are the pronunciation of certain vowels. Between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese, there are differences in vocabulary, pronunciation and syntax, especially in popular varieties. The dialect of Piauí, in northeastern Brazil is the closest dialect to European Portuguese in Brazil. Other very close dialects are the ones of Belém and Rio de Janeiro. There are several similarities in pronunciation, syntax and simplification in grammar use between vernacular Brazilian Portuguese and vernacular Angolan Portuguese. But there are no differences between standard European and Angolan Portuguese. Coimbra Portuguese is considered the most standardized Portuguese dialect.

Some apparent differences between the two varieties in lexicon are not really differences. In Brazil, the common term for carpet is tapete, while in Portugal it's alcatifa. However, many dialectal zones in Portugal use tapete and other areas in Brazil use alcatifa. This applies in several such apparent differences, except in the new terms, such as ônibus in Brazil, which is autocarro in Portugal. A conversation between an Angolan, a Brazilian and a Portuguese from very rural areas flows very easily. The most exotic Portuguese dialect is vernacular São Tomean Portuguese, because of the interaction with local Portuguese Creoles, but even with this one there are no difficulties when talking to a person from another country.

Below are examples of words that are different in Portuguese dialects from three different continents Angola (Africa), Portugal (Europe) and Brazil (South America):


~ Angola: machimbombo
~ Brazil: ônibus
~ Portugal: autocarro

slum quarter

~ Angola: musseque
~ Brazil: favela
~ Portugal: bairro de lata or ilha

Go away

~ Angola: bazar, ir embora
~ Brazil: ir embora, (or vazar as a slang - Portuguese "to leak");
~ Portugal: ir embora, (or bazar as a slang - from Kimbundu kubaza - to break, leave with rush);

Major Portuguese dialects:


1. Caipira — Countryside of São Paulo ( Piraquara — caipira from Vale do Paraíba - São Paulo (state) / Minas Gerais)
2. Carioca — Rio de Janeiro
3. Cearense — Ceará
4. Baiano — Region of Bahia
5. Fluminense — States of Rio de Janeiro (the city of Rio de Janeiro has a particular way of speaking)
6. Espírito Santo — Capixaba
7. Gaúcho — Rio Grande do Sul
8. Mineiro — Minas Gerais
9. Candango/Brasiliense Because all influent dialects of Brazil.Brasilia have a different dialect which is a mix of all dialects. — Brasilia
10. Nordestino — northeastern states of Brazil (the countryside and Recife have particular ways of speaking)
11. Nortista — Amazon Basin states
12. Paulistano — city of São Paulo
13. Sertanejo — States of Goiás and Mato Grosso
14. Sulista — south of Brazil (the city of Curitiba has a particular way of speaking)


1. Açoreano — Azores (São Miguel Island and Terceira Island have particular ways of speaking)
2. Alentejano — Alentejo
3. Algarvio — Algarve (there is a particular small dialect in the western area)
4. Alto-Minhoto — North of Braga (interior)
5. Baixo-Beirão; Alto-Alentejano — Central Portugal (interior)
6. Beirão — central Portugal
7. Estremenho — Regions of Coimbra and Lisbon (can be subdivided in Lisbon Portuguese and Coimbra Portuguese)
8. Madeirense — Madeira
9. Nortenho — Regions of Braga and Porto
10. Transmontano — Trás-os-Montes


1. Benguelense — Benguela province
2. Luandense — Luanda province
3. Sulista — South of Angola

Other areas

~ Caboverdiano — Cape Verde
~ Guineense — Guinea-Bissau
~ Macaense — Macau, China
~ Moçambicano — Mozambique
~ Santomense — São Tomé and Principe
~ Timorense — East Timor
~ Damaense — Daman, India
~ Goês — State of Goa, India


Portugal in the period of discoveries and colonization created a linguistic contact with native languages and people of the discovered lands and thus pidgins were formed. Until the 18th century, these Portuguese pidgins were used as Lingua Franca in Asia and Africa. Later, the Portuguese pidgins were expanded grammatically and lexically, as it became a native language. About three million people worldwide speak a Portuguese Creole. These variations of creole are spoken mostly by inter-racial communities:

~ Angolar Spoken in coastal areas of São Tomé Island, São Tomé and Príncipe.
~ Annobonnese Language of the island of Annobón, Equatorial Guinea.
~ Crioulo do Barlavento (Criol) Spoken in Barlavento islands of Cape Verde. Some divide it into several creoles: São Nicolau Crioulo, Sal Crioulo, Boavista Crioulo, and Santo Antão Crioulo. Some decreolization.
~ Crioulo de São Vicente Language of São Vicente Island, Cape Verde. Semi-Creole. Some decreolization.
~ Crioulo do Sotavento (Kriolu) Spoken in Sotavento islands of Cape Verde. Some divide it into several creoles: Santiago Crioulo (Bádiu), Maio Crioulo, Fogo Crioulo, and Brava Crioulo. Some decreolization.
~ Daman Indo-Portuguese Spoken in Daman, India. Semi-Creole. Decreolization process occurred.
~ Diu Indo-Portuguese Spoken in Diu, India. Almost extinct.
~ Forro Spoken in São Tomé Island, São Tomé and Príncipe.
~ Kristang Spoken in Malaysia.
~ Kristi Language of the village of Korlay, India.
~ Lunguyê Spoken in Príncipe Island, São Tomé and Príncipe. Almost extinct.
~ Macanese Spoken in Macau and Hong Kong, the two special administrative regions of China. Decreolization process occurred.
~ Papiamento Spoken in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Spanish influenced.
~ Saramaccan Portuguese/English Creole. Spoken in Surinam.
~ Sri Lanka Portuguese Creole Spoken in coastal cities of Sri Lanka.
~ Upper Guinea Creole (Kriol) lingua franca of Guinea-Bissau, also spoken in Casamance, Senegal.

In the past, Portuguese creoles were also spoken in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, possibly in Brazil and in other areas in India, Malaysia and China.

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