Se as in Sit

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First Published: February 1st, 2022.

Last updated: February 1, 2022 at 17:08 pm

You can spend your whole life learning Portuguese, and when you go to the supermarket, and you’re checking out, and you open your mouth to speak, the salesgirl starts to giggle (in a nice way of course), and she knows that you were not born in Brazil. Of course, this is not everyone’s experience, but it certainly was mine when I first ventured into Brazil!

So what is this thing about accents, and why is so hard to master the Portuguese language? It’s called the Portuguese accent. Every country has a special accent and pronunciation which are unique to that language. That is because we don’t only have different words, but we pronounce the letters of the alphabet differently in each language. So, speaking another language is not simply using the matching word for that language, you also have to change the way you pronounce the vowels and consonants in that language. Here is one example.

Se = if

If you would like, we can go home now. – Se você quiser, podemos ir para casa agora.
You can come back tomorrow if you wish. – Você pode voltar amanhã se quiser.
We can visit the waterfalls tomorrow if it doesn’t rain. – Podemos visitar as cachoeiras amanhã se não chover.
You can watch TV if you want. – Você pode assistir TV se quiser.

Most English people would be inclined to pronounce “se” as “seh” as in “session.” But in Portuguese, “se” is pronounced as “si” as “sit.”

Now, armed with this knowledge, read the sentences above out load again, taking particular care to pronounce “se” as “si” as in “sit.”

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