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Encyclopedia > Portuguese alphabet

The official Portuguese alphabet consists of the letters of the Latin alphabet minus K, W, and Y: The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... The eleventh letter of the Latin alphabet, K, or k comes from the Greek Κ or κ (Kappa) developed from the Semitic Kap, symbol for an open hand. ... W is the twenty-third letter of the modern Latin alphabet. ... Y is the twenty-fifth letter of the Latin alphabet. ...

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, X, Z

Although not found in vernacular terms, the letters K, W, and Y are still used for proper names and Portuguese words derived from them. Portuguese also uses several digraphs and diacritics, described below. Look up A, a in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The letter B is the second letter of the modern Latin alphabet. ... C# redirects here. ... The letter D is the fourth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... The letter E is the fifth letter in the Latin alphabet. ... Are you looking for the article on the F Sharp programming language? You may have made your way to this page due to technical limitations in Wikipedia. ... G is the seventh letter in the Roman alphabet. ... H is the eighth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... Due to MediaWikis uppercase algorithm, ı (lower case dotless i) will bring you here. ... The letter J is the tenth of the Latin alphabet; it was the last to be added to that alphabet. ... L is the twelfth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... M is the thirteenth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... This article is about the letter N. For the Flash game, see N (game). ... O is the fifteenth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... P is the sixteenth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... Q is the seventeenth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... R is the eighteenth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... S is the nineteenth letter in the modern Latin alphabet. ... T is the twentieth letter of the modern Latin alphabet. ... U is the twenty-first letter of the modern Latin alphabet. ... V is the twenty-second letter in the modern Latin alphabet. ... X is the twenty-fourth letter of the Latin alphabet. ... Z is the twenty-sixth and last letter of the English alphabet. ... The eleventh letter of the Latin alphabet, K, or k comes from the Greek Κ or κ (Kappa) developed from the Semitic Kap, symbol for an open hand. ... W is the twenty-third letter of the modern Latin alphabet. ... Y is the twenty-fifth letter of the Latin alphabet. ...

Contents


Introduction

The history of the Portuguese script began in the 12th century, when scribes in the Western Iberian peninsula started using the local vernacular in documents, in place of Latin. The script evolved naturally until the close of the 19th century, the golden age of Portuguese literature. At about that time the national Academias de Letras ("Literary Academies") were created in Brazil and Portugal, and legally empowered to standardize orthography. (11th century - 12th century - 13th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 12th century was that century which lasted from 1101 to 1200. ... The Iberian Peninsula, or Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Today, Portuguese orthography is defined by national laws and international treaties, which are binding for most administrative and educational uses. The orthography underwent a major reform around 1940, when a large fraction of the words had their spelling radically simplified. A second reform around 1990 had much smaller impact. 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... This article is about the year. ...


The general result of those reforms was to make Portuguese orthography — which until 1940s has been determined chiefly by etymology — much closer to a phonetic writing system. However, its rules are still rather complex and non-algorithmic, and still somewhat based on etymology. Thus, spelling and pronunciation are still partly determined by tradition, on a word by word basis. The same letter may have two or more phonetic values ("X" has four), and the same sound can be written in more than one way, all depending on the word. // Events and trends World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrination, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons such as the atomic bomb. ... Etymology is the study of the origins of words. ... Phonetics (from the Greek word φωνή, phone = sound/voice) is the study of sounds (voice). ...


Two conspicuous examples of this variability are the letter "S", which may be pronounced as in English "sun" or as in "zero", depending on its context; and the letters "C" and "G", which are pronounced as in "set" or "vision" before "E" and "I", and as "cat" and "get", in most other contexts.


Digraphs and trigraphs

Portuguese orthography uses several character combinations to represent additional phonemes:

  • "CH": approximately as in English "shoe".
  • "GU": before "E" and "I", as in "get"; before "A" or "O", as in "Guatemala".
  • "LH": approximately as in English "million" or as in Italian "voglio".
  • "NH": as in French "champignon". In Brazil it is pronounced [~jj]: "banha" = [´bãjja].
  • "QU": before "E" and "I", as in "kettle"; before "A" or "O", as in "quality".
  • "RR": trilled "r".
  • "SC": before "E" and "I", the same as "SS"; before other letters, as in "skip".
  • "SÇ": the same as "SS".
  • "SS" (in all contexts): as in English "sun".
  • "TCH" (sometimes "TX"): as in "church".
  • "X": as in "easy", "ash", "axis", or "essence", depending on the word. "X" is not a digraph but a letter of several pronunciantions.
  • "XC": before "E" and "I", the same as "SS"; before other letters, as in "skip".
  • "XS": the same as "SS".
  • "ZZ": as in "Betsy".

The combinations "CH", "LH", and "NH" were a Mediaeval influence of Occitan. The digraphs "RR", "SS" and "QU" and were inherited from Latin spelling (possibly with some sound changes). The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Occitan, or lenga dòc, or languedoc, is a Romance language (or group of languages), spoken mainly in southern France. ...


The "ZZ" digraph is used in only one Portuguese word, pizza, and its vernacular derivatives pizzaria ("pizza parlor"; Italian pizzeria) and pizzeiro ("pizza maker"; Italian pizzaiolo). (The persistence of the [ts] pronunciation and the "ZZ" spelling is intriguing. Italian words generally had "ZZ" replaced by "SS", "Ç", or "Z" when borrowed into Portuguese; but while the variant piza has been occasionally used in Portugal, it did not catch, and pizza is essentially the only form used.) A Pizza Margherita made in Naples (Napoli), Italy. ...


The "TCH" trigraph is used in only a few words, such as tchau ("goodbye", from Italian ciao), atchim and tchibum (common onomatopoeias for sneeze and splash, respectively), tchê (a Southern Brazilian informal prefix for proper names, from Argentinian Spanish che), and tcheco ("Czech"). However, the last one is also spelled checo, especially in Portugal. The "TX" is used in Brazil in indigenous names as Txapakúra and Txukahamãe. Look up Ciao on Wiktionary, the free dictionary The word ciao (sometimes incorrectly written in English as chow) comes from the Venetian languages s-ciàvo or s-ciào, Italian schiavo, slave. ... Look up onomatopoeia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Motto: Spanish: En Unión y Libertad (English: In Union and Liberty) Anthem: Himno Nacional Argentino Capital Buenos Aires Largest city Buenos Aires Official language(s) Spanish Government President Democratic Federal Republic Néstor Kirchner Independence - May Revolution - Declared - Recognized from Spain 25 May 1810 9 July 1816 in 1821... Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (June 14, 1928 â€“ October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara or el Che, was an Argentine-born physician, Marxist revolutionary, politician, and Cuban guerrilla leader. ...


Each of these polygraphs is decomposed into its constituent letters for the purpose of sorting or indexing (as opposed to the traditional collating order of Spanish, for example, where each digraph counts as a single special letter). In fact, the Portuguese hyphenation rules require a syllable break between the two letters of CC, RR, SS, XC and XS: fric-ci-o-nar, pro-ces-so, car-ro, ex-ce-to, ex-su-dar. Portuguese digraphs are broken into separate letters also for the purposes of crossword puzzles. Sorting refers to a process of arranging items in some sequence and/or in different sets, and accordingly, it has two common, yet distinct meanings: ordering: aranging items of the same kind, class, nature, etc. ... An index is a detailed list, usually arranged alphabetically, of the specific information in a book publication or multimedia collection. ... A hyphen ( - ) is a punctuation mark. ... Crossword is a game. ...


Diacritics

Portuguese also uses diacriticsacute, circumflex, tilde, grave, diaeresis, and cedilla — on some letters: A diacritical mark or diacritic, sometimes called an accent mark, is a mark added to a letter to alter a words pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words. ... The acute accent ( Â´ ) is a diacritic mark used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin and Greek scripts. ... The circumflex ( ˆ ) (more commonly known as an uppen) is a diacritic mark used in written Greek, French, Esperanto, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Vietnamese, Japanese romaji, Welsh, Portuguese, Italian, Afrikaans, and other languages. ... The tilde (~) is a grapheme with several uses. ... The grave accent ( ` ) is a diacritic mark used in written Greek until 1982 (polytonic orthography), French, Catalan, Welsh, Italian, Vietnamese, Scottish Gaelic, Norwegian, Portuguese and other languages. ... In linguistics, a, diaeresis, or dieresis (AE) (from Greek (diaerein), to divide) is the modification of a syllable by distinctly pronouncing one of its vowels. ... A cedilla is a hook (¸) added under certain consonant letters as a diacritic mark to modify their pronunciation. ...

  • Á, É, Í, Ó, Ú
  • Â, Ê, Ô
  • Ã, Õ
  • À,
  • Ü
  • Ç

ã represents a nasal A (IPA: /ɐ̃/). Being a typically Portuguese sound, it is sometimes used as a symbol of the Portuguese language. ... Õ, or õ is a composition of the Latin letter O with the diacritic mark tilde. ... Ü, or ü, is a glyph which represents either a letter from several extended Latin alphabets, the letter U with umlaut, or a letter U with diaeresis. ... A cedilla is a hook (¸) added under certain consonant letters as a diacritic mark to modify their pronunciation. ...

Acute and circumflex accents

The diacritics "acute accent" (acento agudo) and "circumflex accent" (acento circunflexo) are used primarily to indicate the stressed syllable of a word. The stress diacritic is either written or omitted according to detailed rules that depend primarily on the position of that syllable (first, second, or third from the end) and on the final letter of the word. The rules are such that the stress of an un-accented written word can (almost) always be deduced through them, even if the word was never heard before. In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis given to certain syllables in a word. ... A syllable (Ancient Greek: ) is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. ...


When the stress diacritic (acute or circumflex) is present, it also indicates the vowel's quality: namely, "Á", "É", and "Ó" have the so-called "open" sounds /a/, /ɛ/ and /ɔ/; whereas "Â", "Ê", "Ô" have the "closed" sounds /ɐ/, /e/ and /o/. When the vowels "A", "E", "O" carry no diacritics, their sound may be either open or closed, and this attribute cannot always be deduced from the printed word. Thus, for example, seco can be either an adjective ("dry") or a verb ("I dry"); the "E" is "closed" in the first case, and "open" in the second. The unmarked vowels "I" and "U" have only one possible sound each (/i/ and /u/), so they may take only the acute accent.


In a few written words, the acute accent is traditionally used even when the letter in question is part of a nasal dipthong: também ("also"), porém ("however"), ninguém ("nobody"). Those words rhyme with "mãe" ("mother") in Portugal, but in Brazil ém is pronounced as the nasal diphthong /ẽj/. Only Galician speakers pronounce the final "m".


These two accents are also used to distinguish in print the members of certain homophonous word pairs: para ("for", "to") and pára ("it stops"), por ("by", "through") and pôr ("to put"), tem ("it has") and têm ("they have"), etc...


Tilde

The tilde (til) is used over the vowels "A" and "O" to indicate nasalized vowel sounds. The accented letters "Ã" and "Õ" are a unique feature of Portuguese among Romance languages (although French also has the corresponding nasal sounds). The tilde is only used in these cases: ã, ãe, ãi, ão, õe. Unlike the acute and circumflex accents, the tilde does not necessarily indicate stress, and indeed a few words carry both a tilde and a stress diacritic, e.g. ímã ("magnet") and órgão ("organ"). The tilde (~) is a grapheme with several uses. ... A nasal vowel is a vowel that produced with a lowering of the velum so that air escapes both through the mouth and the nose. ...


Historically, the nasalized vowel sounds derive from vowel + "N" groups in the parent Latin words, e.g. mão ("hand") from Latin mano. The tilde sign originates from the Medieval scribal convention of writing the contracting letter "N" over the preceding vowel. In writing and typography, a ligature occurs where two or more letterforms are written or printed as a unit. ...


Unlike Spanish and Galician, however, Portuguese does not use tilde over "N" ("Ñ"). The corresponding sound is represented by "NH": one writes senhor ("mister", "lord"), not señor. Galician (Galician: galego) is a language of the Western Ibero-Romance branch, spoken in Galicia (Galicia or Galiza in the Galician language). ... Ñ or enye, (Spanish eñe) represents a palatal nasal (IPA: ). This is reminiscent of as in onion IPA: . It is the fifteenth letter of the Spanish alphabet, alphabetized between N and O. Though English keyboard schemes classify it as an N with a tilde, it is a separate letter in...


Grave accent

The grave accent diacritic (acento grave) is presently used only over a word-initial "A", to indicate the presence of a contracted preposition a ("to", "for", etc.) This grave-marked contraction occurs with only a handful of words, chiefly the article a and the various forms of the pronoun aquele ("that"). Thus, a ("to") + a ("the") = à ("to the"); a + aquela = àquela ("to that"); and so on. In all these cases the "À" sounds exactly like "Á" in most dialects. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with adposition. ...


Until about 1971 in Brazil and probably 1945 in Portugal, the grave accent also replaced the acute accent to indicate the secondary (stem) stress in adverbs formed with the suffix -mente, e.g. hábil ("deft") + -mente = hàbilmente ("deftly"). Circumflex accents on the stem were retained, e.g. sôfrego ("eager") + -mente = sôfregamente ("eagerly"). All the -mente adverbs are now written without any stress diacritic or vowel quality indication, e.g. habilmente, sofregamente. 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1971 calendar). ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ...


Diaeresis

The diaeresis (in Portuguese, trema) may be used only over the U in the combinations gue, gui, que and qui. These are pronounced [ge], [gi], [ke], [ki] when unmarked; with the diaeresis — namely, güe, güi, qüe, qüi — the "U" is pronounced, yielding [gwe], [gwi], [kwe], and [kwi]; e.g. agüentar ("to bear") or freqüência ("frequency"). U is the twenty-first letter of the modern Latin alphabet. ...


The diaeresis is only used in Brazil, and increasingly omitted (some newspapers and many people don't use it). In Portugal, there is no diaeresis, in which case the correct pronunciation of those trigraphs must be learned word-by-word.


The diaeresis does not indicate stress, and indeed a word may contain other diacritics — such as argüição ("questioning"), or qüinqüelíngüe ("in five languages", conjectured to be the Portuguese word with most diacritics).


Before 1971, the diaeresis could be used in poetry, to indicate that dipthongs ending in "U" should be broken into separate vowels, for scansion purposes. Thus saudade, which is normally read as three syllables (sau-da-de), could be written saüdade to indicate a four-syllable reading (sa-u-da-de). Meter (non-American spelling: metre) describes the linguistic sound patterns of verse. ... Saudade (pron. ...


Cedilla

The cedilla (cedilha) is used only under the letter "C", only before "A", "O", or "U", and never at the beginning or at the end of a word: poça ("puddle"), moço ("lad"), açúcar ("sugar"). The combination "Ç" always sounds [s] as in "sun", even in contexts where the letter "S" would sound [z]. (Originally the cedilla was a small "Z" or "S" written under the "C".) Nowadays the cedilha is used in words of latin origin (replacing the 't': "natione"->"nação") or arab origin ("alcaçuz" [liquorice], for instance).


The combinations "Ç" and "SS" are therefore phonetically equivalent, and only tradition determines which of them is correct in a given word. Indeed, writing one for the other is perhaps the most common kind of spelling error made by native speakers. Incidentally, several homophonic pairs or words are distinguished only by the use of "Ç" or "SS" in writing: paço ("palace") and passo ("step"), ruço ("red-haired") and russo ("Russian"), seção ("section") and sessão ("session"), etc. In music, the word texture is often used in a rather vague way in reference to the overall sound of a piece of music. ...


Other symbols

Apostrophe

Although not properly a letter of the alphabet, the apostrophe (') can be part of certain words, almost always to indicate the loss of a vowel in the contraction of a preprosition with the next word: de + amigo = d'amigo.


Hyphen

The hyphen (-) is used to make compound words, especially animal names like papagaio-de-rabo-vermelho ("Red-tailed Parrot"). It is also extensively used to append weak pronouns to the verb, as in quero-o ("I want it"), or even to embed them inside the verb, as in levaria + te + os = levar-tos-ia ("I would take them to you").


Portuguese-language typewriters

Typewriters in Portuguese-speaking countries generally have a separate extra key for "Ç", and a dead key for each diacritic except the cedilla; so that "Á" is obtained by typing first the acute accent, then the letter "A". It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Combining character. ...


Brazilian vs. Portuguese orthography

There are significant and pervasive differences between the spoken dialects of Brazil and Portugal, as well as within each country. Indeed, much of the orthographic complexity of the language results from the struggle by the national spelling reform authorities to define a single written language for the whole Lusitanic or Lusophone community. In spite of those efforts, there remain numerous discrepancies between the spelling standards of Brazil and Portugal. Lusitanic is a word which refers to the shared linguistic and cultural traditions of the Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) nations of Portugal, Brazil, Macau, East Timor, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe and Guinea Bissau. ...


The main difference is a general switch from acute accents in Portugal (sinónimo) to circumflexes in Brazil (sinônimo), reflecting a switch in pronunciation, from "open" to "closed" vowels. Another important difference is that Brazilian spelling often omits a "P" or "C" that comes before another consonant other than "L" or "R", such as ótimo ("optimum", in Brazil) vs. óptimo (Portugal), or fato ("fact") vs. facto. Some of these spelling differences are reflected in the pronunciation of those words.


Status of K, W, Y

The letters "K", "W", and "Y" were heavily used in Portuguese spelling until the 1940s, but were officially removed from the alphabet by a broad spelling reform agreement between Portugal and Brazil. The corresponding phonemes were to be written with "C" or "QU", "U" or "V", and "I", respectively. So, for example, kiosque ("kiosk") became quiosque, and syndicato ("syndicate") became sindicato.


In practice, however, those three letters are still necessary for vernacular words which are derived from foreign names, such as keynesiano and newtoniano, which are listed even in the most authoritative Portuguese dictionaries. They are also used in some metric units (watt, henry) and abbreviations thereof (W, km, kg) which are legally mandated measurement units in Brazil and Portugal. They are sorted as in the English alphabet, namely "K" before "L", "W" before "X", and "Y" before "Z". A metric system is a system of units for measurement developed in late 18th century France with decimal multipliers. ... The watt (symbol: W) is the SI derived unit of power. ... Henry is a male given name and a surname. ...


Spelling of proper names

In practice, if not by law, the letters "K", "W", and "Y" are also widely accepted for personal names, in all official records and documents. In Brazil, in fact, those three letters are quite popular in made-up first and middle names, such as Waldirci and Deyvide, or in the names of Japanese-Brazilians, such as Satiko and Yojiro. Family names have often retained their pre-1940 spellings — in particular the final "Y" was retained in many names of native (chefly Tupi-Guarani) origin, such as Guaracy. 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... The indigenous people of Brazil (povos indígenas in Portuguese) comprise a large number of distict ethnic groups who inhabited the countrys present territory prior its discovery by Europeans around 1500. ... Guaraní (gwah-rah-nee) [gwarani] (local name: avañeẽ) is a language spoken in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and southwestern Brazil. ...


However, the use of diacritics in personal or family names is generally restricted to the letter-diacritic combinations above, and often also by the applicable Portuguese spelling rules. So, for example, a Brazilian birth registrar may accept Niccoló, Schwartz, or Agüeiro; but he is likely to object to Niccolò, Nuñez, Molière, or Gödel, and possibly even to Çambel or Qadi.


Portugal is far more restrictive than Brazil in this regard. First and middle names must be of Roman, Jewish (Biblical), or Arabic origin, taken from a list fixed by law. However, in the wake of increased immigration (especially from Eastern European countries), a regime of exception has been instituted for immigrants. The main reason given by Portuguese authorities to justify these restrictions is that an unusual name may lead to discrimination in school by other children, a thesis that was backed by some psychological studies.


Letter Names

The Portuguese names for the "official" letters are: A a, B , C , D , E ê, F efe, G , H agá, I i, J jota, L ele or , M eme or , N ene or , O ó, P , Q quê, R erre, S esse, T , U u, V , X xis, Z . In the names of F, L, R, S, the initial e is pronounced [ɛ], not [e]. So the letters L and S are not homophonous with the pronouns ele ("he") and esse ("that").


The names of the additional letters are

"K": in Brazil, kappa in Portugal;
"W": dábliu / dáblio in Brazil and Portugal, or duplo-v / vê dobrado in Portugal;
"Y": ípsilon in Brazil and Portugal, or ipsilão in Brazil.

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Portuguese alphabet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2225 words)
The history of the Portuguese script began in the 12th century, when scribes in the Western Iberian peninsula started using the local vernacular in documents, in place of Latin.
Today, Portuguese orthography is defined by national laws and international treaties, which are binding for most administrative and educational uses.
Portuguese digraphs are broken into separate letters also for the purposes of crossword puzzles.
Portuguese language - definition of Portuguese language in Encyclopedia (3944 words)
Portuguese (português) is a Romance language predominantly spoken in Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, and East Timor.
Portuguese Creoles are the mother tongue of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau's population.
Portuguese is also an official language of the European Union, Mercosul and the African Union (one of the working languages) and one of the official languages of other organizations.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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