While many former Portuguese territories speak a similar version of Portuguese to their former European masters, the Brazilian version stands apart with many differences.
This is courtesy of something interesting called the “Colonial Lag.”
Contact with various different cultural groups like the indigenous people of Brazil, slaves, and immigrants from Europe and Asia further changed the way Brazilians spoke Portuguese. Portuguese spoken in Brazil are further apart in terms of pronunciation, vocabulary and even spelling than the English spoken in the United States and the English spoken in England.
Some Differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese
1- ‘Tu’ or ‘você’: These are the words for “you” in Portuguese. Brazilians will use far more widely accepted the word “você” for both formal and informal situations. Whereas in Portugal, the word “tu” is used in informal situations and “você” is used for more formal situations.
2- Pronunciation: Brazilians will pronounce every vowel in the word whereas in Portugal, people will cut their vowels out a fair bit. For the word “telephone”, a Brazilian would say “teh-le-fon-ee”. All the vowels are pronounced. A Portuguese will say “tlefone”. Brazilians will speak with their mouths more open, while the Portuguese will speak with their mouths more closed.
The “t” has different pronunciations in both languages as well. In Brazil, “t” is pronounced “tch”. For example, the word “quente” (hot) is pronounced “quentchy”. In Portugal you only say “kent”.
Then there is the “s” at the end of words. In Portugal, the “s” at the end is read “sh” while in Brazil it is read as “ss”. Take the word “português”. In Portugal you would say “portuguêsh” while in Brazil you would say “portuguêss”.
3- Gerunds: A quite easy way to spot the difference is to find gerunds in a piece of text. Brazilians tend to use gerunds, while the Europeans would consider it unusual.
For example, to say “I am making dinner”, a Brazilian would say “estou fazendo o jantar” (auxiliary verb + gerund + noun). While the European Portuguese would say “estou a fazer o jantar” (auxiliary verb + preposition + verb in the infinitive + noun).
4- Vocabulary and False friends:
European Portuguese —- Brazilian Portuguese
autocarro (bus) — ônibus (bus)
sumo (juice) — suco (juice)
frigorifico (fridge) — geladeira (fridge)
There are also cases of false friends, wherein the same words have different, and sometimes unflattering meaning. Take the word “rapariga” (girl) in European Portuguese, but in Brazil “rapariga” can also be another word for “prostitute”. “Propina” is the fee students do pay at university in Portugal. But in Brazil, referring to a payment as a “propina” can also mean “bribe”. “Apelido” is a word that refers to a name in both versions of Portuguese. However, in Brazil people know “apelido” as a nickname while in Portugal it refers to a surname.
Portuguese is a Romantic language. It is closely related to Spanish particularly from Galicia in Northern Spain. It is also strongly influenced by Arabic as Portugal and Spain were conquered by the Islamic Moors from North Africa and the Middle East in the 8th Century.