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Phonology: Differences Between Portuguese and English Pronun
Transcript of Phonology: Differences Between Portuguese and English Pronun
Importance of Studying Phonology
Number of Phonemes
Phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a language that serves to distinguish two words. Different languages have different phonemes and have them in different numbers. Portuguese has 7 vowel phonemes. English, however, is a language extremely economic in the use of syllables, very compact, with a large number of 1-syllable words. Naturally, this requires a larger number of vowel phonemes, we can identify at least 12. And as a consequence, the language will require additional hearing accuracy from the speakers in recognition and production of these phonemes.
EFL - Language
Olívia Maria Alves Coelho
English x Portuguese
Some languages, such as japanese, have a completely different structure when compared with the european languages. This doesn't happen with Portuguese and English, since both languages have common roots (Indo-European).
Presentation based on:
Schütz, Ricardo. "Diferenças de Pronúncia entre Inglês e Português." English Made in Brazil <http://www.sk.com.br/sk-pron.html>. Online. 28 de abril de 2008.
Last access: December 2013
Vowels x Consonants
English has a rich consonants occurrence, while portuguese has a large number of vowels and vowels combinations (diphthongs and triphthongs) in its words. This is one of the reasons why these two languages require such different muscular effort and movement, making hard for a Brazilian to pronounce some common sounds in the English language and vice versa.
In the phonology context, rhythm can be defined as the flow and beat of the speech. It consists of stress, quantity and timing of syllables. According to rhythm, languages are classified in syllable-timed and stress-timed.
In syllable-timing, rhythm of speech is based on the syllable, taking each syllable a similar amount of time to be pronounced. This is the case of the Portuguese language.
In stress-timed languages like English, rhythm is based on stressed syllables of certain words that occur at apparently irregular intervals when we look at the written sentence. This means that the amount of time it takes to say a sentence in English depends on the number of syllables that receive the primary sentence stress and not on the total number of syllables.
It is essential for the full learning of English to have contact with the language in its spoken form;
A big obstacle in the learning of English is the unstable correlation between the written and the spoken language;
It is unwise to try to learn English having contact only with the written language, the student will interpret the phonetics based on his mother language rules;
The use of the phonetic chart is very helpful to achieve a good pronunciation and domain of the spoken language.
Pronunciation x Spelling
The phonetic interpretation of the written language is a very different aspect when comparing these both languages. In Portuguese the pronunciation is more clear and constant, while in English it is more irregular.
Domain of the speaking ability is fundamental in the process of communication. When you want to learn a new language, you need to learn how to hear, understand an reproduce all the phonemes that constitute the language. This may be a tough task because, among other reasons, students always tend to base the phonemic learning on a similarity model, constantly comparing the sounds with their mother language, without paying attention at the nuances.
"No community has ever been found to lack spoken language, but only a minority of languages have ever been written down. Likewise, the vast majority of human beings learn to speak, but it is only in recent years that some of these people have learned to write"
But the similarities are not too strong as they are when comparing portuguese with spanish or italian. They occur predominantly on the vocabulary, when written. The phrasal structure and the pronunciation have many contrasts.
comunicação / comunication
natural / natural
velocidade / velocity
t / b
k / bl
d / br
ch / d
ke / c
t / c
r / b
ll / glob
eck / ma
"The tables of common English spellings found in many unabridged dictionaries show that as many as 340 to 360 spellings are listed for the 44 phonemes these dictionaries typically use"
(D'Eugenio, Antonio. Major Problems of English Phonology.)
ta / livr
che / p
zer / g
to / c
rro / glob
orar / ca
orro / boli
s músicas preferidas
e / no
ern / si
The degree of phonetic information in one language can be measured by the average of the number of syllables per word. That happens because the syllable is a sound unit. When comparing Portuguese and English, the difference is accentuated. The phonetic information is much higher in the Portuguese language.
air / ar
I / eu
one / um
good / bom
sky / céu
ball / bo-la
car / car-ro
sleep / dor-mir
tree / ár-vo-re
wall / pa-re-de
com-pu-ter / com-pu-ta-dor
air-plane / a-vi-ão
de-part-ment / de-par-ta-men-to
mo-dern / mo-der-no
tem-pera-ture / tem-pe-ra-tu-ra
According to some studies, difficulties in second-language speech recognition are strongly influenced by the quantity of phonetic information provided by the target language as compared to the learner’s mother tongue. Therefore, may be hard for a native Portuguese speaker to understand and speak English.