Sunday, March 27, 2011

Accents of Portugal

The three Portuguese cities of Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra all have different accents. At the website learningportuguese.co.uk, I listened to three male speakers from those cities. They all read from the following Portuguese text:

Dom Sebastião I era o décimo-sexto Rei de Portugal, e sétimo da Dinastia de Avis. Era neto do rei João III, tornou-se herdeiro do trono depois da morte do seu pai, o príncipe João de Portugal duas semanas antes do seu nascimento, e rei com apenas três anos, em 1557. Em virtude de ser um herdeiro tão esperado para dar continuidade à Dinastia de Avis, ficou conhecido como O Desejado; alternativamente, é também memorado como O Encoberto ou O Adormecido, devido à lenda que se refere ao seu regresso numa manhã de nevoeiro, para salvar a Nação.

Here is my translation of the text:

Sir Sebastian I was the sixteenth king of Portugal, and seventh of the dynasty of Avis. He was the grandson of King John III, became heir to the throne after the death of his father, the prince John of Portugal two weeks after his birth, and king at barely three years, in 1557. By virtue of being such an awaited heir to give continuity to the dynasty of Avis, he became known as the Desired; alternatively, he is also remembered as the Hidden or the Asleep, due to the legend that refers to his return on a foggy morning to save the nation.

The speaker from Porto had a schwa in the word "de" of "de Avis." He had a diphthong in "tornou" and "ficou." He had a mid front unrounded tense nasal vowel in the second syllable of também and a voiceless uvular fricative in words such as "rei."

The speaker from Lisbon had a high front unrounded tense vowel in the word "de" of "de Avis." He pronounced it "di." He had a monophthong in "tornou" and "ficou". He had a mid central unrounded nasal vowel in the second syllable of também and a uvular trill in words such as "rei."

The speaker from Coimbra also had a high front unrounded tense vowel in the word "de" of "de Avis." He pronounced it "di." He had a monophthong in "tornou" and "ficou." He had a mid front unrounded lax nasal vowel in the second syllable of também and an alveolar trill in words such as "rei."

Though Portugal is a relatively small country in both area and population, it has a number of different accents of Portuguese. The three cities of Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra attest to this fact.

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