Portuguese item (2): the language

The first thing you notice in Portugal is the language: it looks like Spanish but it sounds (to a European ear) like a Slavonic language. In fact, the distinctive sound is the influence of Arabic from the one-time Islamic occupation.

Very little is pronounced as it looks – even the vowels. So, ‘thank you’ is ‘obrigado’ (for a male speaker) but is pronounced ‘obrigardu’. The special music of Portugal is called ‘fado’ but pronounced ‘fardu’.


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