Are and also Portuguese the different? that is the concern I’ve heard recently from my friends once I tell lock how difficult speaking Portuguese is because that me. I studied philology, married a mexican guy, live for much more than 15 year in countries, and also 6 month ago, I moved to Portugal.

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It need to be easy, people say. and Portuguese room so similar. It is true, however they are likewise different in a tricky way that takes you part time to discover. I also got to understand that if I battle to understand people around me, they have practically no problems understanding my I’ll call you later why.

Portuguese to be my second language in college and having learned that is grammar and history is helping me now. Let’s explore whether and Portuguese are more similar than different. Uncover out what to store in mind if you already know one of them and want to discover the other.

Are and also Portuguese Similar?

Yes, lock are, and also if you nothing speak either of them, you’ll have problems separating one indigenous another. My husband is native Mexico, and also he has never learned Portuguese. He deserve to survive top top the street in Portugal, review a newspaper, stimulate food, and also drinks, etc. This would certainly not take place if us were living in China.

Let’s have a look in ~ the well-known an initial sentences from “One hundred years Of Solitude” through Gabriel García Márquez in both and also Portuguese and you’ll acquire what i’m walking about:

Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recordar aquella tarde remota en que su padrelo llevó a conocer el hielo. ( anos depois, diante execute pelotão de fuzilamento, o Coronel Aureliano Buendía havía de recordar aquela tarde remota em que o seu pai o levou para conhecer o gelo. (Portuguese)

The English translate into is: “Many years later, as he challenged the shoot squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía to be to psychic that remote afternoon once his father take it him to discover ice.“

As you have the right to see, the sentence in looks extremely similar to the sentence in Portuguese, and if you understand one that these two languages, you’ll have no concerns with expertise it in the other one. Why?

A small Bit of History and also Portuguese source on a small territory of the Iberian península, and their history was very tangled because that centuries. That’s why they are so very closely related but with distinctions in vocabulary, grammar, and also pronunciation. Lock both belong to romantic languages (along with Sardinian, Italian, Romanian, Occitan, and also French).

Many world say Italian is easier than French, and that’s true. Why? every the romance languages advanced from Latin, but not every one of them evolved to the exact same degree. To leveling the subject a bit, I’d say the the ones the evolved much more are more facility to learn as much as spelling and also pronunciation room concerned, and also have an ext exceptions. Look at the table below, the highest possible the percentage, the greater the separation indigenous Latin:

LanguageDegree that Separation

So, is Portuguese harder than Yes, it is. Portuguese evolved an ext than, and also it’s pronounced level (how the is pronounced) and also spelling are more complicated. Have the right to a Portuguese person understand and also vice versa? due to the fact that Portuguese speakers are offered to more complex sounds, it’s easier for them to recognize the Spaniards 보다 the other means round.

Learn more about the history of

Portuguese started functioning as a separate language in northern Galicia wherein it progressed from the Vulgar Latin that was talked there. Also today, world using Galician communicate with the Portuguese with no problems. When I learned philology, an exchange student from Galicia, Spain, made decision Portuguese together his elective, to do his life easier.

Now that you understand why and also Portuguese are similar and various at the exact same time, let’s take a closer look at their details similarities and also differences.



You now understand that Portuguese and also come native the very same Romance family and simply went various ways. However, they tho share some common words and also grammar because of their common Latin origins and also geographical proximity. They were isolated native Europe by the Pyrenees and by body of water native everybody else, for this reason their mutual relationship was strong and intense.

Remember the Brasilian Portuguese has much more similarities through Latin American, whereas europe Portuguese is more similar come spoken in Spain, el Castellano.

What is similar? words order is mainly the same, with some small exceptions. The usage of genders for usual nouns the you don’t have in English shows up in both that them, too. And also the vocabulary looks really similar. Psychic the an initial sentence native “One hundred years of Solitude”? you have:

Muchos – muitos (many)

Años – anos (years)

Después – depois (later)

Pelotón de fusilamiento – pelotão de fuzilamento (firing squad)

Coronel – coronel – (colonel)

Recordar – recordar (remember)

Aquella – aquela (that)

Tarde – tarde (afternoon)

Remota – remota (distant, remote)

Padre – pai (father)

Llevó – levou (took)

Conocer – conhecer (discover, acquire to know)

Hielo – gelo (ice)

In fact, there’s practically 90% lexical similarity in between and also Portuguese! That method 9 the end of 10 native are comparable and have a cognate in the various other language.

Cognates space words the look and sound similar in both languages due to the fact that of a usual origin. To find out more, inspect out simple Cognates for start Learners.


Now, let’s have a look in ~ a grasp of cognates between and Portuguese. Ns have had the common, day-to-day words on this list. (English)Portuguese
Agua (water)Água
Sol (sun)Sol
Comer (to eat)Comer
Casa (house)Casa
Día (day)Dia
Mes (month)Mês

Apart from part minor changes in accents, you can’t deny there is a solid resemblance.

Cognates in between and Portuguese space your lifesaver if you recognize one language and also are finding out the other.

You deserve to read and also even say an ext that you have actually studied. This is what my husband go now, he says things in through a Portuguese accent, and can function in Portugal without major problems.

However, it’s not constantly that easy, and my daughters constantly tell me is no that comparable to Portuguese since “butterfly” in is mariposa and also borboleta in Portuguese.

Differences in between and Portuguese and also Portuguese likewise have far-ranging differences. Some human being even say that it can be more complicated to find out one that them knowing the other; ironically, it’s easy to get perplexed as a result of so countless similarities.

Let’s take it a glimpse at the key differences in between these 2 languages: vocabulary, grammar, and spelling.


I remember talking to a new Portuguese friend. She inquiry me how long ns had been in Portugal and I answered: un rato.

She went silent, looking at me v a visible concern in she eyes. Climate she described to me the rato in Portuguese means “rat” and also not “a short duration in time” choose in

In the exact same conversation, i told her that I occupational as a maestra and also she said that she doesn’ understand much about music. At this moment I looked confused, and I got to understand that maestro in Portuguese is “conductor” and also not “teacher,” which is what I wanted to say.

False Cognates

Rato and also maestro are instances of false cognates. It way they look and also sound the same but have a various meaning. They deserve to have various origins and also they look similar only through accident. Or probably their an interpretation changed in one location over time however not in the other country. Perform you want to learn some more? (English)Portuguese (English)
Vaso (glass, cup)Vaso (vase, flowerpot)
Oso (bear)Osso (bone)
Pez (fish)Pez (pith, resin)
Polvo (dust)Polvo (octopus)
Tienda (shop, business)Tenda (tent, marquee)
Perro (dog)Perro (rusty)
Aceite (oil)Aceite (accepted)
Oficina (office)Oficina (repair garage)
Topo (mole)Topo (top)
work of the week

I remember when I started studying Portuguese, what to win me was just how Portuguese speaker name the days of the week contrasted to speakers.

You desire to say “Monday” and expect something similar to lunes and also instead, you obtain Segunda-feira. What? Why?

It’s because modern Portuguese go not use the roman inn planetary system for the days native Monday come Friday. They derived their names from Church Latin and also made lock numerical.

The indigenous feira refers to religious Catholic celebrations and is often omitted in speech. Saturday and also Sunday are referred to as sábado and also domingo in both and also Portuguese. (English)Portuguese (English)
Lunes (Monday)Segunda-feira (Second weekday)
Martes (Tuesday)Terça-feira (Third weekday)
Miércoles (Wednesday)Quarta-feira (Fourth weekday)
Jueves (Thursday)Quinta-feira (Fifth weekday)
Viernes (Friday)Sexta-feira (Sixth weekday)
Sábado (Saturday)Sábado (Saturday)
Domingo (Sunday)Domingo (Sunday)

I have been living in Portugal for 6 months now and I still must do calculations in my head when somebody describes Quarta.

Interrogative pronoun

In Portuguese, questions pronouns carry out not have actually accent marks. In, they carry out (quién, por qué, qué, cuándo, cuál).

¿Quién es ese hombre? ( é esse homem? (Portuguese)Who is the man?

Did you also notification that yes no question note at the beginning of the inquiry in Portuguese? that’s right, they space omitted, as space initial exclamation marks.


Apart from vocabulary differences, and Portuguese grammar, back similar, additionally involve obstacles for civilization who speak one to learn the other.


The language has actually three creates for singular definite articles:

woman elFeminine laNeutral lo

It likewise has three matching third-person pronouns:

Él (he)Ella (she)Ello (it)

Portuguese has only two develops in both cases.

Definite articles:

mrs oFeminine a

Third-person pronouns:

woman eleFeminine ela

Some words that room masculine in room feminine in Portuguese and vice versa: (English)Portuguese
el color (color)a cor
el dolor (pain)a dor
el viaje (journey)a viagem
la leche (milk)o leite
la nariz (nose)o nariz

In Portuguese, you placed a definite article before somebody’s names. So come say “Pedro left” in, you’ll say Pedro salió, and in Portuguese o Pedro saiu.

In Portuguese, you’ll additionally put a definite write-up before possessive adjectives and also pronouns. In, you just do it before possessive pronouns.

Need a refresher on possessive pronouns in examine out just how to usage Possessive pronoun in come Express Ownership.

own Adjectives

Tu casaA tua casaYour house

Possessive pronoun

La tuyaA tuaYours

In Brazilian Portuguese, you have the right to place the definite post before the own pronoun.

There room many an ext differences in grammar, however let’s leave them for an additional day.


Let’s look at distinctions in order next. Due to the fact that and Portuguese developed from Latin, plenty of letter combinations have a equivalent in the other language.

Here are some rules around spelling that will assist you guess the word in Portuguese if you currently know and also vice versa.

-ón and -ão

The indigenous that finish in -ón end in -ão in Portuguese: (English)Portuguese
corazón (heart)coração
inversión (inversion)inversão
televisión (television)televisão
-ll and also -ch -ll transforms to -ch in Portuguese: (English)Portuguese
llover (rain)chover
llegar (get)chegar
llamada (call)chamada
-ñ and nh –ñ turns come Portuguese -nh (English)Portuguese
España (Spain)Espanha
mañana (morning)manha
araña (spider)aranha

You’ll be happy to uncover that there room many more combinations favor this that aid you guess: v the correct type of words in the other language.

See more: What Do Numbers In Parentheses Mean Ing, What Does Parentheses Mean Around A Number

Practice Time!

Are you impression with how much did you do it learned? Similarities and also differences between and Portuguese are exciting topics. Familiarity through these nuances will aid you extremely in finding out either language.

Are girlfriend a Portuguese speaker? execute you desire to try yourself and also see exactly how much you have the right to understand and say in your very first class? authorize up for a free class with among our professional, native-speaking teacher from Guatemala and compare and Portuguese!