PORTUGUESE CONSONANTS



Consonant phonemes of Portuguese

The consonant record of Portuguese is moderately conservative. The medieval affricates /ts/, /dz/, /tss/, /dz/ combined with the fricatives /s/, /z/, /ss/, /z/, respectively, but not with each other, and there were no other considerable alterations to the consonant phonemes since then. However, some considerable dialectal modifications and allophones have emerged, among which:

  • In many regions of Brazil, one of the most perceptible tendencies is the palatization of /t/ and /d/, which are pronounced as /dz/ and /tss/, respectively, before /i/. For example, the word presidente "president", for example, is pronounced consonants in these regions of Brazil, but z in Portugal.

  • At the end of a syllable, in European Portuguese, the phoneme /l/ has the allophone [t]. In Brazilian Portuguese has the allophone [w] instead (L-vocalization).

  • In many regions of Brazil and Angola, /n/ is pronounced as a nasal glide [j̃] which nasalizes the vowel before it, so that for example /'ninu/ is pronounced ['nĩj̃u].

  • The phoneme /r/ has different dialectal variants in Portugal, Africa and Brazil. In Portugal and Africa the major variants of this phoneme are the alveolar trill [r], and in Brazil, the voiceless uvular fricative [χ] or the voiceless glottal fricative [h].

  • In many parts of Brazil, the alveolar sibilants /s/ and /z/ take place in complementary allocation at the end of syllables, depending on whether the consonant that follows is voiceless or voiced, this is like in English. But in most of Portugal and regions of Brazil sibilants at the end of syllables are postalveolar: the voiceless postalveolar fricative /ss/ take place previous to a voiceless consonant or at the end of an utterance, while the voiced postalveolar fricative /ss/ take place before a voiced consonant. (In Judeo-Portuguese, /s/ is frequently replacement with /ss/ at the end of syllables, too.)

  • The letter x has a habitual pronunciation between vowels, and this is /ss/, but in loanwords from Latin or Greek it may correspond to other sounds: /ks/ (the most common), /z/ (in terms that start with ex- or hex- followed by a vowel, and in composites made from such words), or /s/ (in a very small number of terms, for example trouxe and próximo). It is always pronounced /ss/ at the beginning of words and after consonants.

 

Bilabial

Labio-dental

Dental

Alveolar

Post-alveolar

Palatal

Velar

Uvular

Plosives

p

b

 

t

d

 

 

 

k

g

 

Nasals

m

 

 

n

 

n

 

 

Fricatives

 

f

v

 

s

z

ss

z

 

 

r

 

Laterals

 

 

 

l

 

y

 

 

Flaps

 

 

 

re

 

 

 

 



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