10 Pronunciation Mistakes Brazilian Portuguese Speakers Make

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In this video, you’ll learn what the 10 most common pronunciation mistakes are for Brazilian Portuguese speakers, how to pronounce the sounds correctly, and how to practice your American accent effectively.

Of course, not every Brazilian speaker would make all of these mistakes (it depends on the background, dialect, and many other things), and these are not ALL the possible pronunciation challenges Brazilian Portuguese speakers face, but rather, the most common ones.

Pronunciation mistakes happen when a sound in the target language, in this case, English, doesn’t exist in the speaker’s native tongue (Brazilian Portuguese). When this happens, speakers tend to pronounce a different (but somewhat similar) sound that does exist in their language, or slightly mispronounce the sound in English, not knowing what exactly they need to do in order to pronounce it accurately.

Scroll down to read about each mistake and to download the FREE English pronunciation guide for Brazilian Portuguese speakers.

Download your Free Guide

Mistake #1: Different vowels are pronounced the same

These two different vowels are often pronounced with the same neutral vowel sound causing different words to sound the same. 

To learn how to improve and practice the sheep-ship vowel pair: click to download the FREE pronunciation guide for Brazilian Portuguese speakers 

To learn how to improve and practice the pool-pull vowel pair: click to download the FREE pronunciation guide for Brazilian Portuguese speakers 

Mistake #2: Adding a vowel at the end of the word

Syllables that end in one consonant or more are not common in Brazilian Portuguese, so whenever Brazilian Portuguese speakers pronounced such words they add a vowel which splits the syllable into two.

Mistake #3: /d/ and /t/ are replaced with /dʒ/ and /tʃ/

/t/ and /d/ tend to become /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ at the end of words in Brazilian Portuguese. When English words end in a /t/ or /d/, Brazilian Portuguese speakers would pronounce it as /tʃ/ or /dʒ/.

To practice how to pronounce words that end with a /t/ or /d/ more clearly: click to download the FREE pronunciation guide for Brazilian Portuguese speakers 

Mistake #4: Replacing M with N or NG

The M sound doesn’t exist at the end of words in Brazilian Portuguese. If an English word ends in M, Brazilian Portuguese speakers would pronounce a sound that is similar to an N sound.

Mistake #5: Mispronouncing the TH

The /th/ consonant sounds are substituted with /f/ or /v/, or alternatively with /t/ or /d/, /s/ or /z/.

For the TH, the tongue has to stick out from between the teeth.

Since Brazilian Portuguese speakers don’t have the TH consonant sounds in their language, they tend to keep the tongue inside for words with TH.

It is a common mispronunciation which sometimes results in pronouncing different words the same.

Mistake #6: The L is replaced with a W at the end of words

In Brazilian Portuguese, the letter L is pronounced as a W sound at the end of syllables.

Brazilian Portugues speakers sometimes apply this pronunciation in English instead of using the American L in that position.

To learn how to improve and practice the /L/ download the FREE pronunciation guide for Brazilian Portuguese speakers.

Mistake #7: Misplacing the stress

The primary stress is probably the most important element in pronunciation and is essential for clarity. It is the most dominant syllable in the word, and it is longer, louder, and higher in pitch. Sometimes, Brazilian Portuguese speakers tend to misplace the primary stress, and stress a different syllable in the word instead, which makes the word unclear.

Mistake #8: Mispronouncing the American R

The Brazilian Portuguese R is varied, depending on its position in the word and the dialect of the speaker. It can be a rolling R and It can also be a voiceless guttural sound like [h] or [χ]. 

For the R in English, the tip of the tongue doesn’t touch the upper palate, but curls back a bit as the lips round (click to watch a video tutorial about the R).

To learn how to improve and practice the American R download the FREE pronunciation guide for Brazilian Portuguese speakers

Mistake #9: The Schwa

There is no schwa in Brazilian Portuguese so BP speakers tend to pronounce a pure vowel sound for the vowel letters in English words.

Click here to learn more about the schwa on my podcast

Mistake #10: Using the intonation of Brazilian Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese speakers tend to apply the melody of their language in English. In Brazilian portuguese almost every other word is significantly higher in pitch.  In English, high pitch generally means ‘stressed’. The result – too many words are stressed in a given sentence and the message becomes unclear.

Get a head start and download the English Pronunciation guide for Portuguese speakers

A FREE guide with the 10 most common pronunciation mistakes explained, tips to improve, examples and additional practice resources!

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2 Comments on “10 Pronunciation Mistakes Brazilian Portuguese Speakers Make”

  1. Hi Hadar. I’m a Brazilian Portuguese speaker and I have to say that you made a great job about our English mistakes. Many of them I can recognize when I speak. It is very difficult for me to recognize the schwa sound and reproduce it.
    But my most terrible “nightmare” (if I can use this expression) is to say correctly the “th” sound.

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