Tá Falado

March 2, 2007

Lesson 19: Pronunciation of “nh”, Laundromats, Really?

Filed under: Pronunciation — @ 8:56 am

Valdo and Michelle still can’t get used to the idea of taking their clothes to a laundromat and using the coin-operated machines. Sure enough, in Brazil you either wash clothes at home or pay someone else to do the laundry.

As they talk of laundromats, we’ll hear the pronunciation of many words that are spelled with “nh,” similar to the Spanish “ñ.”



  1. Great job guys, I’m sure you have a lot of happy listeners out there, believe me this was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for — very, very useful for a Spanish speaker trying to get acquainted with Portuguese. I would offer advice if I had any but all I can say is keep it up and don’t change. By the way, Mr. Kelm, your observation on old women barging shamelessly in front of you in the bread line had all of my sympathy. I experienced that kind of behavior all throughout South America (namely Peru, Ecuador and Argentina) and never knew what to make of it (and not just in bread lines but in any line at all). Was I supposed to let them go first? Did they not see me? Or did they spot me for the foreigner I was a million miles away (likely!) and decide that they weren’t going to wait a single extra minute in line for the likes of me? Who knows! I was hoping the rest of the gang would have given you an answer to that mystery.

    Comment by Jon R. — March 5, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

  2. How funny Jon. I’m in Santiago, Chile right now and I’m reliving the line protocol!

    Comment by orkelm — March 5, 2007 @ 4:12 pm

  3. Hey guys!
    Thank you for creating such a helpful podcast. I enjoy it so much and I am always looking forward to downloading new episodes. As an obsessed person of brazilian culture and portugese language it helps a lot to listen to your podcast.
    I have learned so many things about brazilians just by listening to your podcast and I I have also learned some portuguese!!!
    One suggestions though….I feel that the translation (from Portuguese to Spanish) is NOT so ACCURATE. Also, Jose Luis pronounces the R’s waaaaaay too strong. No one speaks like that(emphazising the r’s in such a strong manner) while having a conversation in Spanish! 🙂

    Thanks again to all of you (specially the four of you) for providing us with such a great podcast!

    PS. I love listening to Valdo speaking in portuguese!


    Comment by Melisinha — March 6, 2007 @ 10:49 am

  4. Melisinha,
    Hi, thanks for the feedback. I clearly understand the feeling about being obsessed about Brazilian culture and language. I have been accused of the same thing a lot.
    Interesting observation about the Spanish translations. Truth told, we always struggle with that part. Sometimes we write translations that are more similar to the Portuguese original, knowing that it really isn’t the best way to say it in Spanish. Looks like you may have caught us on that one!!!!
    And you are right about Vald’s portuguese, it is a delight to listen too.

    Comment by orkelm — March 7, 2007 @ 6:14 am

  5. Melisinha makes a good point about the literal translations to Spanish. For example, in the conversations between Valdo and Michelle you wouldn’t generally translate “você” to “usted”. I know Jose Luis wouldn’t always construct the phrases the same way if it were a spontaneous conversation in Spanish, though I don’t dare question his pronunciation of “r”.

    All of that said, I personally think that it is better to keep the translations literal, as you do. It is more helpful to a student with a background in Spanish to learn the literal translations between Portuguese and Spanish. When I try to think in Portuguese I am automatically engaging the Spanish-speaking part of my brain, which wants those Spanish-Portuguese links. Differences in idiomatic expressions have to be learned one by one (often painfully) in any new language, so changing

    Just my thoughts.

    Comment by Jon R. — March 7, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

  6. Was cut off but I was saying that changing the Spanish phrasing/choice of vocabulary in the translations will probably confuse more than help.

    Comment by Jon R. — March 7, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  7. Jon (and Milisinha), you might be interested to know that we have been thinking about expanding our lessons to include some grammar-based podcasts too (as opposed to pronunciation lessons). These would be things like comparing “eu gosto de falar” to the Spanish “me gusta hablar”. In those lessons we could actually focus on some of the things that you are mentioning. To date our lessons have focused on pronunciation sounds, which has been the more important part. Stay tuned…

    Comment by orkelm — March 7, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  8. ”or example, in the conversations between Valdo and Michelle you wouldn’t generally translate “você” to “usted”. ”

    well, in Brazil você can be both FORMAL and INFORMAL, just like the English YOU.
    in the South of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) and North of Brazil (Amazonas) você
    is always formal (just like ”o senhor”)…People there use TU: tu viu, tu falou…instead of você viu, você falou…
    2. the opposite is true of some other parts of Brazil like Minas and Espírito Santo states, where TU is never used, so it sounds formal and ”biblic” when/if used. VOCÊ is the one and only form there, it’s informal.
    3. in some parts of Brazil (Rio state, Pernambuco state, interior of Bahia, Santos city in São Paulos state) both TU and VOCÊ are used, TU is always informal, and used by many ( VOCÊ sounds formal to those people), but to those who don’t use TU, VOCÊ is perfectly informal
    4. USTED can be informal in some Spanish speaking countries like: Colombia, Costa Rica and parts of Chile: USTED is used between lovers, man and wife, and close friends there.

    Comment by Milton — August 2, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

  9. Nao consigo distinguir uma diferencia grande. Acho que ‘nh’ tem um som um pouquinho mais nasalizado mais a diferencia nao é muito marcada.

    Comment by Cynthia — November 7, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  10. Ñ é igual a gn é quase igual a nh.
    Essa lição me faz lembrar dos cursos de italiano que eu freqüentava antes. Ô, que saudade.

    Comment by Lisa Martinez — November 8, 2007 @ 4:27 am

  11. Ah e eu concordo com a Cynthia.

    Comment by Lisa Martinez — November 8, 2007 @ 4:28 am

  12. Eu concordo com Cynthia e Lisa, eu não posso ouvir muita diferencia entre os sons do “ñ” e “nh.”

    Eu lavo minha roupa em casa, não tenho que vir para o lavanderia 🙂

    Comment by Kellsey — November 8, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

  13. Também concordo. Eu ainda digo todos os “nh” em português como “ñ” em espanhol. Eu acho que no ejemplo de “señor” e “senhor” a differença é no fim porque em espanhol a palavra tem fim de “r” e no português só tem o som de “o.”

    Comment by Elisa — November 8, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

  14. Não tinha percibido que existe uma diferença entre o “nh” português e o “ñ” espanhol. Também nunca tinha ouvido essa diferença. Legal!

    Comment by dmonzingo — November 11, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  15. Quando primeiro chegamos ao Estado Unidos de Mexico minha familia pensaba o mesmo de lavar roupa.

    Comment by Leonel — November 15, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  16. E um pouco esquisita a diferência entre o ñ do espanhol e o nh do portuguese. Pra mim parece que o sonido ‘nh’ está mais no frente da boca, e por isso a tendência é que os vocaes que siguem nâo sâo tâo fortes.

    Comment by Chris Morley — November 16, 2007 @ 8:11 am

  17. Eu tambem nunca sabia que ha uma diferencia entre o portugues e o espanhol. Debemos practicar dizendo as duas.

    Comment by ryanc — November 16, 2007 @ 8:15 am

  18. é interessante, na argeentina eu tinha que usar a “lavanderia”. no brasil, a minha familia afitriã tinha uma empregada que fazia na casa. Tambem os hoteis tinham esse servício.

    Comment by Ebony Jackson — October 23, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

  19. Eu acho interessante esse diferença. Não sabía que existía.

    Comment by Golden Dale Oehlke — October 30, 2008 @ 10:13 pm

  20. Eu sempre tive problemas com o pronunciacao de “nh.” Estou tentando melhorar agora!

    Comment by Kyle — November 3, 2008 @ 11:15 am

  21. A primeira lição que eu recebi da diferença entre ‘ñ’ e ‘nh’ foi quando eu estava aprendendo cantar corridos de capoeira, antes de começar meus estudos em português. Para ajudar entender o som, o instrutor comparou o som em espanhol ao som em português, e disse que é mais preguiçoso. Ele disse que o som em espanhol é mais duro, com a língua bem pressionada ao céu da boca. Em português, quase não se pressiona a língua ao céu da boca, e fica mais suave assim. Me parece que acontece a mesma coisa que acontece com palavras como ‘grande’ e ‘banda,’ que é que o ‘n’ ou ‘m’ se torna em som nasal. Então, ‘grande,’ seria ‘grãde,’ e assim ‘banho,’ seria ‘bã-yo,’ ou algo assim. Não sei, talvez eu esteja sendo bobo.

    Comment by Clyde Sheble — November 5, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

  22. Os “washing machines” no brasil sao mais barato, ou que? Porque tudo mundo podem pagar um washing machine ou podem pagar para alguem lava as roupas deles?

    Comment by Eduard Keller — November 6, 2008 @ 11:57 pm

  23. Outra vez acho difícil manter a diferença entre o espanhol e português com respeito ao som do “nh”, sobretudo quando a palavra é igual e só é diferente a pronuncia. Quero melhorar minha pronuncia do “nh” e especialmente o seu efeito nas vogais porque ainda acho muito difícil pronunciar vogais nasais.

    Comment by Erin — November 7, 2008 @ 12:29 am

  24. Achei interessante o comentário que Kelm fez no fim do diologo sobre como a boca forma o som de “ñ” no espanhol e “nh” no português. Fiquei alguns minutinhos falando devagar tomando nota de como meu língua formava “señor” e “senhor.” Sem duvida, minhas companheiras ficavam olhando com expressões de preocupação que a amiga delas havia voltada maluca.

    Comment by Elissa Wev — November 9, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

  25. Para fazer mais confusão: a minha melhor amiga estuda o italiano e ela tenta de me ensinar algumas coisas, como o “gli.” Isso é quase a mesma coisa que o “nh,” mas eu acho que a lingua nem toca a parte superior da boca.

    Comment by shannon zamora — November 10, 2008 @ 12:32 am

  26. The Portuguese “nh” sounds to me like Spanish “ni.” Would that work?

    Comment by Carlos Barrera — July 6, 2009 @ 9:54 am

  27. Very subtle difference. The comparisons at the end of the lesson (senor/senhor, etc.) helped.

    Comment by Kanitra Fletcher — July 16, 2009 @ 5:43 pm

  28. Qual maneira de lavar de roupas é mais facil? Americano ou Brasileiro?

    Comment by Swetha Nulu — April 6, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

  29. quantos tipos de onibus existem em Brasil? eu sei que há onibus com camas, e no dialogo falam de onibus sem e com ar condicionado. há outros?

    Comment by Barbara Fox — April 6, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  30. When listening to José Luis and Michelle compare ‘baño’ and ‘banho’ at 8:50, the most noticeable thing to me is the strong nasal influence of the ‘nh’ – the preceding ‘a’ and following ‘o’ are strongly nasalized, unlike the Spanish. The softer ‘nh’ sounds like it is disappearing and leaving the nasality, almost like the ‘m’ in ‘bom’.

    Comment by Mark — April 8, 2014 @ 10:53 am

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Brazilpod  |  2022-12-09, 01:32:35 PM