Portuguese Grammar > Orthography


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Alphabet & Pronunciation
Portuguese Grammar > Orthography > Alphabet & Pronunciation

Alphabet & Pronunciation

There are 23 letters in the Portuguese alphabet. The table below shows each letter with the European and Brazilian names and pronunciations.

Letter Name Pronunciation Notes
Aa á /a/, /ɐ/
Bb /b/
Cc /k/, /s/ /s/ before "e", "i", "y", or with cedilla
Dd /d/, /dʒ/ /dʒ/ before "e" or "i" in Brazil
Ee é or ê /e/, /ɛ/, /i/, /ɨ/, /ɐ/, /ɐi/ often extremely shortened in European Portuguese
Ff efe or /f/
Gg or guê /ɡ/, /ʒ/ /ʒ/ before "e", "i", "y"
Hh agá silent used to make digraphs, see below
Ii i /i/
Jj jota or ji /ʒ/
Kk capa or /k/ used only in foreign loanwords
Ll ele or /l/, /ɫ/, /w/ often pronounsed as /ɫ/ or /w/ at the end of syllables
Mm eme or /m/ often silent at the end of syllables or used to indicate nasalization
Nn ene or /n/ often silent at the end of syllables or used to indicate nasalization
Oo ó or ô /o/, /ɔ/, /u/
Pp /p/
Qq quê /ke/ always followed by "u"
Rr erre or /ɾ/, /ʁ/ /ʁ/ when "rr" or "r" at the start or words
Ss esse or si /s/, /z/, /ʃ/ a single "s" between vowels is /z/, in Portugal "s" before consonants or at the end of words is /ʃ/
Tt /t/, /tʃ/ /tʃ/ before "e" or "i" in Brazil
Uu u /u/
Vv /v/
Ww dâblio or duplo vê /w/ used only in foreign loanwords
Xx xis /ʃ/, /ks/, /z/, /s/, /gz/ always /ʃ/ at the beginning of words
Yy ípsilon or i grego /y/ used only in foreign loanwords
Zz /z/, /s/, /ʃ/
Portuguese Grammar > Orthography > Diacritics


In Portuguese there are four types of accents used on vowels: acute (´), grave (`), circumflex (ˆ), and tilde (˜). These accents are used to indicate the stressed syllable or to specify the sound of the vowel. There is also the cedilla (ç) used to indicate the /s/ sound.

Letter Pronunciation
á /a/
â /ɐ/, /ɐ̃/
ã /ɐ̃/
à /a/
ç /s/
ê /e/, /ẽ/, /ɐj/
é /ɛ/
í /i/, /ĩ/
ó /ɔ/
ô /o/, /õ/
õ /õ/
ú /u/, /ũ/
Portuguese Grammar > Orthography > Digraphs


In Portuguese there are several pairs of letters that represent a single sound.

Spelling Pronunciation
ch /ʃ/
lh /ʎ/
nh /ɲ/
rr /ʁ/
ss /s/
qu /k/, /kw/
gu /g/, /gw/
Portuguese Grammar > Orthography > Diphthongs


In Portuguese, several combinations of vowels are classified as diphthongs.

Spelling Pronunciation
ai, ái /ai/, /ɐi/
au, áu /au/, /ɐu/
ei, êi /ei/, /e/, /əi/
éi /ɛi/, /əi/
eu, êu /eu/
éu /ɛu/
iu /iu/
oi /oi/
ói /ɔi/
ou /ou/, /o/
óu /ɔu/
ui /ui/
Portuguese Grammar > Orthography > Nasalization


The nasal sound of vowels in certain words is typical of the Portuguese language. Nasalization occurs with diphthongs using the tilde and with syllables ending with "m" or "n".

Spelling Pronunciation
ãe, ãi /ɐ̃ĩ/
ão /ɐ̃ũ/
õe /õĩ/
-am, -an /ɐ̃/, /ɐ̃ũ/
-em, -en /ẽ/, /ẽĩ/, /ɐ̃ĩ/
-im, -in /ĩ/
-om, -on /õ/
-um, -un /ũ/