Portuguese Accent

An accent occurs when sound patterns from the native language(s) influence the pronunciation in the second or third language. Although every accent is different, there are popular mispronunciations for adults who learned Portuguese before they learned English (referred to as P1 speakers below). Here is a description of these frequently occurring Portuguese accent sound targets.  


Short I Sound

How To Pronounce The Short I Sound

P1 speakers commonly to elongate their “i” sounds so that a word like “tin” sounds like the word “teen.” Part of our work is training the P1 speaker to learn a new vowel sound for “i” and apply that new vowel sound to words containing the short "i" sounds.


The word “bin” becomes “bean”

The word “fit” becomes “feet”

The word “pinnacle” become “peenacle” 

Z Sound

How To Pronounce The Z Sound

P1 speakers understandably have a difficult time with the “z” sound in English because in Portuguese, the “s” sound goes with the “z” letter. We, the speech-language pathologists at Well Said: Toronto Speech Therapy, can help you to learn the difference between the "s" and the "z" sounds once and for all, and then apply the lessons in the real-world to improve your pronunciation accuracy.


The word “fuzz” becomes “fuss”

The word “zoo” becomes “sue”

TH Sound

How To Pronounce TH Sounds

P1 speakers often pronounce the TH sound with their tongue father back than native Canadian and American English speakers. The latter pronounces these sounds with the tongue sandwiches between the top and the bottom teeth. As a result, P1 speakers often substitute the TH sound with something that resembles a D or T sound. Consider the word “the,” do you pronounce it the same way as “duh”?


The word “through” becomes “true”

The word “although” become “aldo”

L Sound

How To Pronounce The L Sound

P1 speakers often drop the final "L” sound in words because in the some Portuguese dialects it is left out. For example, in Rio De Janeiro, speakers do not pronounce that final "L" sound, they might say "Portugao" instead of "Portugal." The client often has the habit of ignoring the final "L" when speaking English, where the final L is meaningful and necessary.  To improve your pronunciation of the final "L" sound, we will practice pronouncing the sound from simple activities and progressing to harder ones until you are consistently using the final "L" sounds as required in real-world conversations. 


The word "fall" becomes "fao"

The word "Carol" becomes "Caro"

Hooked U Sound

How To Pronounce The Hooked U Sound

English is a tricky language from a pronunciation perspective. There are more vowels than most other languages and often the intended vowel is not clearly indicated by the spelling. For this reason, P1 speakers often have a hard time with a sound called the "hooked u." The "hooked u" is a sound that often is symbolized by a double "o, " like in "look." Consider for a moment the difference between "look" and "Luke". Do you pronounce them the same, or differently? If you are a P1 speaker without specific practice with this sound, you probably pronounce them the same. The "hooked u" is an easy skill to grasp and we are here to guide you through this minor pronunciation adjustment.