Grandmother and Grandfather: Avó e Avô

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The Portuguese words for “grandmother” and “grandfather” are remarkably close in both spelling and pronunciation. In fact, the two words are spelled and pronounced almost the same way. Almost, but not exactly.

Let’s take a look.

The Portuguese word for grandmother is: Avó (with an accent mark over the o)

The Portuguese word for grandfather is: Avô (with a circumflex over the o).

And that’s it! Only an accent mark and a circumflex marks the difference between the spelling of grandmother and grandfather in Portuguese.

But what about pronunciation?

Well, the two words are pronounced almost the same too. The difference is that grandmother has a soft “o” sound while grandfather has a strong “o” sound.

Let’s take a look.

Grandmother: Avó (o as in “orange”)

Grandfather: Avô (o as in “bonus”)

You can remember these rules by imagining that grandfather is stronger than grandmother (and thus needs a stronger “o” sound), and that the circumflex is stronger than the accent mark.

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