NC asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

In your experience, are Portuguese(Brazilian) and Spanish(Latin American) mutually intelligible?

I was just wondering what your feelings on the subject were?

I can speak fluent Spanish and when I went to Brazil this summer I could understand 90+ % of what was said (although I probably couldn't produce it on my own). I had studied Portuguese for about two months before the trip, and I found that once you recognize the relatively minor differences in pronunciation and spelling, they are quite mutually intelligible.

Has anyone else had this experience or are the differences broader than I had thought.

7 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    I speak both Spanish and Portuguese. I will say they are not mutually intelligible if a person has not studied either language. Even if you have studied it, there are enough differences that it would take a few years to know the other language completely. They're definitely very similar, but you have to pay attention to the way you pronounce thiings. Brazilians do not like it when people speak "Portunhol." a mix of Spanish-Portuguese. They're very strict with the way their language sounds, so I assure you that Brazilians will not allow you to speak Portuguese if you don't intend on doing it correctly. They will ask to speak English or Spanish.

    That being said, it's easier for a Brazilian to learn Spanish, because Spanish-speakers pronounce things the way it is written, while Brazilians do not pronounce words the way it is written.

    Basically, in Brazilian Portuguese the pronunciations would be like this:

    "Onde" is pronounced, "on-ji"

    "último" is pronounced "ooh-chi-mo" (the "ooh" sound doesn't exist in Spanish, it's like an elongated "u" sound")

    "loja" is pronounced "lo-zha" (this sound does not exist in Spanish either, it's like the "s" in the English word "pleasure")

    "musica" is pronounced "mu-zi-ca" (not mu-si-ca)

    You eventually memorize all of the rules of pronunciation just like in any other language.

    Also the vowels in Brazilian Portuguese are said in a way that's a little different from Spanish. You have to learn that as well, otherwise, people will say you're speaking "portunhol."

    You should be able to understand writings, with about a 60% comprehension level, which is not enough to understand anything too specifically, but you get the general idea of what is being spoken of. I would recommend any Spanish-speaker to study Portuguese, if they wanted to learn a different language. It is definitely the easiest language to learn. If you study frequently, in about 6 months you should be able to have a basic understanding of Portuguese and be able to understand people when they say something. You'll be able to "hear" the language. That takes a while to do, because the moment you can "hear" the individual words, instead of just hearing mumbo-jumbo, then you know you're gaining some mastery over the language you are studying.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Mutually Intelligible

  • Falco
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I am brazilian and I never studied spanish. I undestand well (90% or more) what I read in spanish. I cannot speak. I understand not so well when they speak, if they speak slowly. But is very hard for me to understand, for example, two spanish speakers talking to themselves. Or in a movie. When I was in Argentina I noticed that they understood me better than when I was in Spain.

  • 1 decade ago

    well I'm Brazilian but I can't say I understand spoken Spanish, though... they speak too fast =S

    but I still believe these languages themselves can be considered to be intelligible, mainly when reading a text... the differences are smaller because the words are more easily recognizable... despite the false cognates, of course...

    Source(s): I haven't been practicing English, so please forgive my faults ok =)
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  • 1 decade ago

    I think Brazilian portuguese is easier to understand than Portugal portuguese, there isn't all that shsh sound for esses

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yup, i myself studied portuguese and i also speak spanish and i can manage to understand them both clearly.

  • 1 decade ago

    I've been able to read Portugese, with average comprehension, but not understand spoken Portugese very well.

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