Easy Portuguese Lesson 2 Cognates

Easy Portuguese Lesson 2 Cognates:


Portuguese words similar to English words are called COGNATES.

Many Portuguese and English Words are similar, because Portuguese has words like ones in Spanish and French, which were the source of many English words.

Since many of these adopted words entered the English vocabulary long ago, by now some are spelled differently, and pronounced differently than their current Portuguese counterparts.

Meanwhile, in Portugal and Brazil, the old Portuguese words were evolving to become the modern Portuguese of today. In the process, many Portuguese words changed in meaning and pronunciation over the centuries, as words tend to do in all languages.

Spellings also changed in both English and Portuguese until they became uniform in the 19th century.



Easy Portuguese Lessons begins your introduction with words that are identical in both languages, in the Lessons Recent Relatives and Your Portuguese Twin.

Similar words with accent marks in Portuguese over some letters are in the lesson Your Portuguese Twin Has a Marked Accent.

Then Easy Portuguese Lessons move to words spelled slightly differently than English, in the lesson Your Portuguese Sibling. Progressively it will show you Portuguese words increasingly different from their English relatives, although still clearly recognizable as related.

The next lesson, Your Helpful Portuguese Cousin, will take you to another level of similarities-with-differences between the two languages. What is here called a helpful cousin is a Portuguese word with a different but suggestive meaning -- it looks similar to another English word that suggests the correct meaning. For example, "livraria" in Portuguese means bookstore (not library).

Sounds Like a Relative, unlike preceding lessons about look-alikes, focuses on sound-alikes.

Sound similarities are far fewer than spelling similarities. So this lesson will take you a step farther from the likenesses between the two languages toward the differences. It will prepare you for the logical next stage of learning: listening to Portuguese on audiotapes of tourist phrases.

The lesson Your Portuguese False Friend reveals how some treacherous Portuguese words that look like English words have different meanings, which can be misleading.

The following lesson, "Sign" Language: Easy New Words, will help take you another step further into Portuguese. It will introduce you to some unrelated and unfamiliar but basic new words that you would see and hear often on a first visit to a Portuguese-speaking country.

Some signs you will see often in similar settings. It will be easy for you to guess the meaning of these Portuguese words because you are familiar with comparable signs in English.

For example, the word Saída on signs over doors corresponds to Exit signs.

And the sign Não Fumadores, accompanied by a cigarette with a line through it, obviously means No Smoking.



Although the main purpose of Easy Portuguese Lessons is to present the similarities between English and written Portuguese, the secondary purpose is to prepare you for the next steps in learning: listening to and then speaking Portuguese.

Since you are already familiar with these look-alike words in English, it is easier to focus on learning the new Portuguese pronunciation of a familiar word.

Mispronouncing Portuguese Words that Look Like English

Even while reading, which is the focus of these Easy Portuguese Lessons, you may find yourself trying to pronounce these Portuguese words that look like English ones.

Seeing any unfamiliar word in print sometimes prompts the urge to try to pronounce it.

In our native language we often can come close to the correct pronunciation of a new word by following pronunciation guidelines we have unconsciously assimilated over years of speaking our native language.

Your first reaction when you see a Portuguese word spelled exactly like an English one may be to pronounce it as you would in English.

With Portuguese, that is often NOT the way it is pronounced.

You have previously learned to associate a certain English pronunciation with a cognate that has a different pronunciation in Portuguese.

So whenever you see the word in Portuguese, your previously learned English pronunciation of it may interfere with your attempts to pronounce it the Portuguese way.

Portuguese pronunciation gives some people trouble, because when first seeing a new word and attempting to pronounce it, the natural tendency is to follow the rules of English pronunciation most people assimilated subconsciously.

So when it comes to guessing how a word is pronounced in a foreign language, the guess is often wrong.

A printed pronunciation guide is included so you will have help when you try to pronounce these cognates.

Portuguese words may fool you at first. Portuguese words are not always pronounced exactly as they are spelled.

By sounding out the pronunciation guide, you should get the basic sound of the word — and a Portuguese person would probably understand you.

This pronunciation guide describes the sounds of Portuguese in a very simple way. Wherever possible it uses letter combinations of sounds from English that are closest to the sounds in Portuguese, so that you can combine these common English sounds into Portuguese words.

You don't have to try to make the word sound foreign -- yet. Be aware that it is difficult to reproduce the sound of Portuguese perfectly, just from reading a phonetic guide.

Portuguese has a different system of pronunciation than English, so you would hear these words pronounced somewhat differently by a native Portuguese-speaker.

Especially the words containing any of the letters "r" or "x" or “j”, all of which the Portuguese pronounce differently than they are pronounced in English.)

However, you don't need perfect pronunciation to make yourself understood in a Portuguese-speaking country.

Tourists are not primarily concerned with perfect pronunciation -- they just want to communicate their needs.

So these Easy Portuguese Lessons provides you with the easiest introduction to Portuguese pronunciation, through Portuguese variations of familiar English words.

The next step in Portuguese pronunciation -- audiotapes – is the best way to learn correct pronunciation.



These Easy Portuguese Lessons is the easiest way to introduce yourself to Portuguese, by concentrating on the likeness between the two languages.

This progressively leads you into Portuguese by using its similarities to English to make learning less difficult.

So read through these Easy Portuguese Lessons first, before trying to listen to an audiotape of tourist phrases, because most of the similarities are in the written form.

In the spoken form, many Portuguese cognates do not sound identical to their English counterparts.

The many written resemblances between the two languages will enable you to read a little Portuguese more easily than speak it or listen to it.

While words that look alike can help you learn Portuguese, care must be taken with any differences in meaning (explained in later Lessons ), because some meanings have drifted apart in the two languages over the centuries.

Care must be also be taken with differences in pronunciation (which are explained more fully in a later Lesson).

In order to keep the following lessons simple, all lists of Portuguese words similar to English contain the most familiar examples to demonstrate the point of each lesson.

These lists are not intended to be complete, and more examples exist for each category.

These Easy Portuguese Lessons are the easiest way to begin learning Portuguese – guaranteed..

These Easy Portuguese Lessons will prepare you easily and enjoyably for your next steps in learning Portuguese.


Return to Easy Portuguese Lessons.


Looking for something else?

Use this search feature to find it:

Custom Search



Easiest Languages have thousands of words similar to English, so:

“This is The Easiest Way to Begin Learning Foreign Languages.”

Helping More People Begin Foreign Languages The Easiest Way.