Brazilian Portuguese is a fun language, and learning some common Brazilian Portuguese phrases can give you insight into Brazilian culture, which is a lively one. Learning Brazilian Portuguese phrases and expressions that are used every day will also prove useful when traveling.
Portuguese is a Latin language, and its grammar is similar to Spanish and Italian. While Brazilians may understand some Spanish – such as those living in areas that border Spanish-speaking countries – it is best to learn Brazilian Portuguese phrases to communicate while abroad.
Learning Brazilian Portuguese phrases is pretty straightforward, as long as you know learn a few basic rules. Let’s get started!
How Do I Say That?
Before we go over how to pronounce entire phrases in Brazilian Portuguese, let’s go over how to pronounce vowels. Learning the basics of how to pronounce the letters of the alphabet in Brazilian Portuguese will give you a better foundation to reference when learning words and phrases.
Latin vowels in Brazilian Portuguese are pronounced differently than they are pronounced in English.
Following are examples of the way the Latin vowels a, e, i, o, and u are pronounced in Brazilian Portuguese, using sounds from English words as a reference:
A as in “car”
E as in “bed”
I as in “see”
O as in “Pau”’
U as in “foot”
Try to practice these and once you have them memorized, pronouncing Brazilian Portuguese phrases will be quite easy.
It is also important to know how to pronounce consonants in Brazilian Portuguese that sound different than their counterparts in English.
When learning Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation, keep in mind that plausive consonants, such as b, d, p and t are not as strong as in English.
Portuguese is a very nasal language, and words that end in -m, -ã, ão or -ões should be pronounced nasally. Let’s take a look at some examples!
Also, the Brazilian Portuguese ç is pronounced like ‘s’, and j is pronounced like ‘sh‘.
Common Brazilian Portuguese Words and Expressions
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to pronounce Brazilian Portuguese letters, let’s take a look at some common Brazilian Portuguese words. After that, we’ll build on what we’ve learned, and cover phrases!
The following are words and expressions used in everyday Brazilian Portuguese. Learning them will prove quite helpful when traveling or trying to communicate in Brazilian Portuguese. Let’s take a look and practice learning a new language!
Alô – means “hello” and is commonly used when answering the telephone.
You can finish your telephone call with “obrigado, tchau” – which means “thank you, bye”
Obrigado means “thank you.”
And, in response to “Obrigado,” or “thank you,” one would simply say, “De nada,” meaning “You’re welcome.”
Here are some other helpful commonly used single-word expressions:
Oi – “Hello”
Por Favor – “Please”
Desculpe – “Sorry”
Quando – “When”
Quantos – “How many”
Entrada – “Entrance”
Saída – “Exit”
You can also say “Desculpe” or “Por favor” to say “Excuse me” in Brazilian Portuguese.
Now, let’s cover some simple phrases.
Greetings are always useful! Let’s go over some ways to greet others, as well as ways to ask some common questions in Brazilian Portuguese.
Greetings and Introductions
Bom dia – “Good morning”
Boa tarde – “Good afternoon”
Boa noite – “Good night”
Boa sorte – “Good luck”
Boa viagem – “Bon voyage”
Prazer – “Pleased to meet you”
Meu nome é… – “My name is…”
Como se chama? – “What is your name?”
Let’s take a look at some common questions that are useful to know.
Fala inglês? – “Do you speak English?”
Tudo bem? – “How’s it going?”
Quanto é…? – “How much is?”
Que horas são? – “What time is it?”
A que horas…? – “At what time…?”
Como eu chego em…? – “How do I get…?”
Quanto custa? – “How much does it cost?”
Now, let’s go over some useful Brazilian Portuguese vocabulary pertaining to money, transportation and directions, places of interest, and food and drink – all essential to communicate about when traveling abroad!
The more you learn, the easier it will be to get around and learn more about the culture of another country because speaking the language helps you assimilate and gain a better understanding of the other culture’s perspective.
Let’s go over some useful vocabulary!
Numbers one through ten: um, dois, três, quatro, cinco, seis, sete (seche), oito, nove, dez
Dinheiro – Money or cash
Banco – Bank
Caixa (caysha) Eletronica – ATM Machine
Cheque (shek) – Check
Cartão de Crédito – Credit Card
Custo – Cost
Moeda – Coin
Nota – Bill
Troco – Change
Troca or Câmbio – Exchange
Transportation and Directions
Carro (cahoo) – Car
Bus – Onibus – Bus
Plane – Avião – Plane
Trem (treng) – Train
Metrô – Subway
Bilhete – Ticket
Passaporte – Passport
Subir – Go up
Descer – Go down
Direita – Right
Esquerda – Left
Places of Interest
Avenida – Avenue
Rua – Street
Ponto de ônibus – Bus stop
Museu – Museum
Teatro – Theater
Parque – Park
Food and Drink
Comida – Food
Restaurante (pronounced like hestauranche) – Restaurant
Agua – Water
Agua Mineral – Mineral water
Refrigerante – Soft drink
Cerveja – Beer
Cardâpio (some will recognize menu) – Menu
Vinho Branco – White wine
Vinho Tinto – Red wine
Carne – Meat
Frango – Chicken
Peixe – Fish
Arroz (pronounced like ahoz) – Rice
Batata Frita – French fries
Prato – Plate
Copo – Cup
Faca, Garfo e Colher – Knife, Fork and Spoon
Guardanapo – Napkin
Canudo – Straw
Sem gelo – No ice
Gelado – Iced
Frio – Cold
Quente – Hot
Sobremesa – Dessert
Bolo – Cake
Café – Coffee
Chá – Tea
Açúcar – Sugar
Sal – Salt
Pimenta – Pepper
Conta – Bill
Brazilian Portuguese Expressions
Here are some Brazilian Portuguese phrases that will give you a better feel for the culture, and prove useful as you become better acquainted with the language.
Um beijo! or Um abraço!
Brazilians are very affectionate people and they often end a conversation with a friend or acquaintance they feel friendly toward by saying Um beijo! (oong bay-zhoh), which means “a kiss,” or Um abraço! (oong ah-bdah-soh), which mean “ a hug.” In general, women use Um beijo! to male and female friends, and men use Um beijo! to women and Um abraço! to male friends. Also, these expressions are commonly used as ways to end an e-mail or note.
É mesmo? (eh mehz-moh) means “Really?” It is usually used to react to some interesting new fact.
For instance, if you say to someone, “Did you know that Maria is dating Claudio?” He or she might respond, “É mesmo?” or “Really?”
If you tell your friend you are learning Portuguese, he or she might say, “É mesmo?” or “Really?”
Brazilians are also very hospitable people. After telling you thank you — obrigado (oh-bdee-gah-doh) if you are male and obrigada (oh-bdee-gah-dah) if you are female — a Brazilian often says, Imagina! (mah-zhee-nah. Literally, it means Imagine! What they mean to say is, It’s no trouble at all! Take note: In Brazilian Portuguese, the initial “i” is chopped off in the spoken language, so Imagina! sounds like Magina!
Pois não? is a common phrase you may hear when you enter a shop or call a service-oriented company over the phone, like a restaurant. Pois não? (poh-eez nah-ooh) means “Can I help you?” The phrase literally means “Because no?” so it is a funny phrase, and does not make sense when literally translated, but it is useful to know!
Com certeza! is another fun, common phrase. Com certeza! (koh-oong seh-teh-zah) literally means With certainty! The phrase translates to “Of course!” or “Definitely!”
If someone asks you, Vai para a festa? (vah-ee pah-dah ah fehs-tah) – meaning, “Are you going to the party?” – you can answer, Com certeza!
Learning useful phrases is a great beginning to learning a new language. Incorporating language learning methods can help you to better retain what you learn so the Brazilian Portuguese phrases you learn stay with you long after your vacation or trip abroad. Give it a try!