✧ 1.4 Vowel sounds

In this pronunciation lesson, we take a look at Portuguese vowel sounds

Video lesson

Recap

a/a/ → pato, sábado, vaso
/ɐ/ → sábado, amar, patins
e/ɛ/ → pétala, lego, pele
/e/ → pera, meter, alameda
/ɨ/ → pecado, mente, quente
i/i/ → apito, litro, acima 
o/ɔ/ → bola, cola, avó/o/ → bolo, tolo, miolo/u/ → bolo, tolo, miolo
u/u/ → tudo, mudo, peludo

Put simply,

a → stands for either (1) the open /a/-sound, typically in stressed syllables; or (2) the more closed /ɐ/- sound, typically in unstressed syllables.

e → stands for (1) the open /ɛ/, typically in stressed syllables; (2) the /e/-sound, often in stressed syllables as well; and (3) the nearly muted /ɨ/-sound, always in unstressed syllables (not least when e comes at the end of words). 

i → always stands for the /i/-sound.

o → stands for (1) the open /ɔ/, typically in stressed syllables; (2) the /o/-sound, often in stressed syllables as well; and (3) the /u/-sound, always in unstressed syllables. 

u → always stands for the /u/-sound.

Let’s practice

Reading tips! We’ll have many more lessons devoted to pronunciation. However, just by reading the following article, you’ll get a fairly good idea of the Portuguese sound system as a whole: European Portuguese Pronunciation – A Guide to Portuguese Phonology and Spelling-Sound Patterns.

Now, if you really want to dive deeper into it, consider enrolling in Sounds of Portuguese.

Finally, explore the International Phonetic Alphabet (if you are nerdy enough).