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In a completely regular alphabetic writing

system, each letter would represent one and
only one phoneme, and each phoneme
would be represented by one and only one

This is hardly the case in the portuguese

writing system.

For example, it is often the case that the same

letter represents more than one phoneme (
letter c, for instance, can represent the
phoneme /K/ or the phoneme /s/).
Likewise, the same phoneme is often
represented by different letters or graphemes (
e.g., the phoneme /s/ can be represented by
the graphemes ss, x, c, and s).

In most cases, choice of the right grapheme

is dictated by contextual rules or
morphological and syntactic considerations.
In same cases, on the other hand, the choice
is totally arbitrary and has to be learned by

So, here are some guide lines.

j is always = sound j
jia (jewelry)
j (already)
jumento (donkey)
viajar (to travel)
ultraje (outrage)

g before e / i = sound j (gelado, ginstica(fitness) ,
girafa, gesso, relgio)

g before a / o / u = sound g (gato, agosto)

g + u before e / i ='silent' u,(guitarra, guerra)

There are some exceptions (there always are!), such as

linguia (spicy sausage), aguentar (endure), pinguim(penguin)

C, , S, SS, Z
s between vowels = sound z (rosa, casa, mesa)

z is always = sound z (azeite, zelo, zero)

at the end of a word sound is like ch (dez, raiz, vez,
nariz, noz (nut))

C, , S, SS, Z
Double s between vowels = sound ss
(assalto, assunto, assinatura, pssaro)
s at the beginning of the word, or before/after a
consonant = sound (santo, saia, cansado, valsa (waltz) ,
discurso, percurso (route) )

s at the end of the word, = sound ch (trs, Ins,

portugus, campons (farmer))

C, , S, SS, Z
c before a, o, u = sound K (casa, custo, coisa, cu,

c before e, i = sound (cesto, cima, cereja,

cebola, macio, cegonha, cigarro, bicicleta, )

before a, o, u = sound ss (caa, poo(well), cabea,

aucareiro, eleio, atrao)
note: never use at the beginning of a word

X e Ch
ch = sound ch (acho, chato, chave, chinelo, chuva,

X = sound ch (peixe, xisto, ameixa, baixo, caixa,

enxame, xadrez )
X = sound z (exrcito, exame, )
X = sound ss (mximo, sintaxe, prximo)
X = sound ks (txi, fixo, fax)
X = sound is (ex-presidente, expresso, exploso,

R, rr
r at the beginning of words = sound rr (rgua,
rato, rdio, rugido)

double rr between vowels = sound rr

(borracha, carro, corrida)
After l, n, s = sound rr (melro(blackbird) , tenro(tender),
Israel, genro)

R, rr
r between vowels and at the end of the
word= sound r (caro, Portugal, estudar, comer,
viver, coroa (crown))


ai, au (pai, mau, pau,)
(seu, deu, anis, ilhu)
oi, ou (outro,andou, foi, passou)
ui,iu (uivar, mediu, )

e (me, pes, alemes,)

nasais: o (mo, sto, co, no, ladro, tubaro)
e (pe, limes, campees )
am,em,en (deviam, bem, cem, imagem, enquanto, ento )

(os acentos)

verbos ser e estar e ter