Spanish Diphthongs with Counterparts in Portuguese
Most of the diphthongs that occur in Spanish also occur in Portuguese, but with different degrees of frequency. We will not bother to treat all of them here, but will make just a few comments about several of them.
Spanish ie and ue can be found in Portuguese, but not nearly so often as in Spanish. We have already seen that the Portuguese open e and open o sounds frequently appear when you are accustomed to hearing Spanish ie and ue.
On the other hand, the diphthongs ei and eu, which are somewhat limited in their occurrence in Spanish, are very common in Portuguese.
You should be particularly mindful of the ei, since it often appears in those positions where Spanish has a simple e sound. When this is the case, you will have to be doubly careful to add the '-i-glide' to the e sound and make it a genuine diphthong. It will sound much like the -ay of English bay. Compare these examples:
Notice that many of these Spanish words end in -ero and -era.
The ei diphthong is also to be found in these verb endings:
mandei, mandarei (cf. Spanish mandé, mandaré)
falei, falarei (cf. Spanish hablé, hablaré)
cantei, cantarei (cf. Spanish canté, cantaré)
and others of the sort.
The most common occurrences of the eu diphthong are:
meu, seu (cf. Spanish mi, su)
eu (cf. Spanish yo)
deus, adeus (cf. Spanish dios, adiós)
the 3rd person,
tense ending of
regular -er verbs:
venceu (cf. Spanish venció)
valeu (cf. Spanish valió)
bebeu (cf. Spanish bebió)
comeu (cf. Spanish comió)
vendeu (cf. Spanish vendió)
Portuguese Diphthongs Not Occurring in Spanish
1. Oral Diphthongs
Among the new diphthongs are three involving the open vowel sounds e and o.
Ei, as in papéis, hotéis
Eu, as in céu, chapéu
Oi, as in dói, herói
Also new is ou, as in vou, sou. Note particularly its presence in trabalhou, falou, mandou and similar past tense items where Spanish has the single vowel -ó (cf. Spanish trabajó, habló, mandó).
2. Nasal Diphthongs ẽ ĩ õ ũ and ə̃
The nasal vowels ə̃, ẽ, and õ combine with the vowel sounds i and u to form four nasal diphthongs:
ə̃i, as in mãe, cães, pães
ẽi, (usually spelled em), as in vem, tem, bem, dizem
õi, as in põe, canções, botões, funções
ə̃u, as in não, pão, falam, saíram
A fifth diphthong, ũi, appears only in the word muito.
The ə̃u diphthong is very useful. It corresponds to the Spanish verb endings -án, -an, and -on. It also corresponds to Spanish noun endings -ón and -ión. Observe the samples below.
a. Third person plural verb forms:
(Many other nouns ending in -ón and -ión in Spanish will end in the diphthong -ə̃u in Portuguese.)
The õi diphthong is heard in the common plural ending -ões, which corresponds to Spanish -ones and -iones. Compare these Spanish and Portuguese plurals of nouns listed in (b) above.
The ẽi diphthong often corresponds to the Spanish verb-ending -en. Compare:
Diphthongs Restricted to Some Dialects
It is striking to the ears of Spanish speakers that in the speech of many Brazilians a stressed vowel before a final s sound is glided toward the i sound. The result is a diphthong.
|Standard Spelling||Possible Pronunciation|
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