How to read "o" in words in Portuguese?

Alice Val Alice Val (2) on 07/08/13

Could you tell me, of course, if it's possible (if there is a rule), when "o" is read /u/ in Portuguese words, and when it should be read /o/? For example, the words "compreender", the "o" here is /o/ or /u/?



Hello Alice...

You're going to have the /u/ sound if the letter o occur in the end of a sillabe. When at the beginning or in the middle, you get the /o/ sound.

The same will happen to the letter "e": /i/ sound in the end /ê/ or /é/ (it depends on the accent) at beginning and middle.


comer-co.mer /cumê/

compreender. com.pre.en.der /compreedê/

ouvir-ou.vir /ouvir/



Alice Val Alice Val (2) on 21/09/13

Thank you, Miguel! Miguel, but as for the 'o' letter not at the end of a word. For example, 'comer'. Please correct me if I'm wrong. If the 'o' letter is in an open syllable (ending in it - the 'co' part in 'comer'), then it should be read 'u' - 'cumer'. When it is in a closed syllable like in the word 'compreender' (ending in a consonant sound - 'com'), we read it 'o'. Thank you once again in advance!

Miguel Alexandre Miguel Alexandre (0) on 10/10/13

Yes, you're totally right! If you know how to cut a word into syllables, you know how to make the right sound. Sorry for replying late. :(

Alice Val Alice Val (2) on 10/10/13

Miguel, thank you and never mind! :) We say in Russia, 'It's better late than never' :). Thank you!

Miguel Alexandre Miguel Alexandre (0) on 11/10/13

You're welcome "Melhor tarde do que nunca"... (PT for it's better late than never, just for fun)

Alice Val Alice Val (2) on 11/10/13

:) Thank you, Miguel! I like sayings and interesting phrases in the languages I learn! I've already learned it by heart :).

Usually the more close to the end of a word, the more chance you have it is an u-sound, except when pronounced really clearly. So compreender is definitely with an o-sound, while most words ending on o are pronounced with u at the end. Some sotaques might show different tendencies though.



Alice Val Alice Val (2) on 14/09/13

Thank you for your answer, Joop!

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