Tá Falado

November 9, 2006

Lesson 4:  Pronunciation of Open /ó/ and Closed /ô/, Getting on a City Bus

Filed under: Pronunciation — @ 3:30 pm

Spanish speakers learn to sing “a, e, i, o, u, el burro sabe más que tú” and it’s a way to show that there are only 5 vowel sounds in Spanish. Portuguese, however, complicates things with what are called “open” and “closed” vowel sounds. In this lesson we learn about open /ó/ and closed /ô/.

Culturally, Michelle and Valdo talk about how different it is to ride a bus in the United States. All we can say is that at least they don’t have to cram as tightly into limited space and then wonder the whole time how they are going to get off the bus!

PODCAST LINK: Lesson 04

44 Comments »

  1. I wanted to let y’all know that I appreciate these podcasts.
    I especially liked lesson 4 because as a native English speaker, I have a hard time
    talking to my 2-year old daughter about her vovô and vovó in Brazil.

    Comment by Jim — November 21, 2006 @ 5:37 pm

  2. I know what you mean. We spend years cheating by saying “meu” vovô and “minha” vovó!

    Comment by orkelm — November 21, 2006 @ 9:09 pm

  3. One lesson or podcast that I would find helpful would be a discussion of regional differences in pronunciation across Brazil. I listen to lesson tapes and some radio broadcasts. The lesson tapes spent a few minutes on paulista and carioca accents. Nothing prepared me for the Cearanese accent (and vocabulary!)

    Another lesson or podcast might talk about the difference in pronunciation of “H”, “J”, and “R” in Spanish and Portuguese.

    Comment by Jim — November 22, 2006 @ 11:58 am

  4. Jim,

    Stay tuned, just this week we started planning lessons where we are going to give the same lesson twice. That is, we’ll use the same dialog, but with speakers from different regions. We plan on doing this with “r” sounds and “s” sounds. In the meantime, you have two great examples from Michelle (São Paulo) and Valdo (Bahia).

    Comment by orkelm — November 22, 2006 @ 12:15 pm

  5. It seems that the Portuguese vowel system is more similar to English than Spanish, both having more than one sound for each vowel. Is this true?

    Obrigado!

    Comment by Lorna — January 30, 2007 @ 9:28 am

  6. Lorna, you have hit on one of the most important things, Spanish does all it can to maintain five simple vowels (a,i,e,o,u), while English has a million vowel sounds (beet, bit, bait, bet, bat, bougth, but, Bert, bout, put, boot). Portuguese doesn’t have as many as English, but there are a ton of them, and we have to worry bout nasalized vowel sounds too. You are right on.
    Orlando

    Comment by orkelm — January 30, 2007 @ 9:37 am

  7. os acentos sao muito complicados! entao, – ô – é similar que – o – em “seu olho” e – ó – e mais similar que – o – em “eu olho”, certo? Tento buscar um jeito de aprender os acentos mais facilmente, porque e dificil memorizar todas as regras quando tem muitas excepçoes.

    Comment by cynthiaz — September 13, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  8. What about when the o sounds like oi like nos (that’s supposed to have an accent mark on the o)?

    Comment by Monica Mitre — September 13, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  9. Outra vez, a única maneira que vou poder falar estas pronuncações é com prática. Preciso visitar a Brasil–se estou imergido na lengua, talvez posso aprender todas as pronuncações. Com a questão dos buses, acerto que é difícil saber as diferencias entre américa latina e os estados unidos. Prefiero como os estados unidos têm o pagamento porque acho que é mais organizado.

    Comment by Kellsey K — September 13, 2007 @ 6:56 pm

  10. Esta gravação muito bem apresenta e esclarece as diferenças entre o “o” aberto e o “o” fechado. A apresentação da novidade de [ɔ] em espanhol e nos dialetos de inglês nos quais não existe é útil. A ênfase na pronúncia do “o” quando acentuado e não acentuado é útil também. A ênfase na diferença entre o verbo e o sustantivo é um ponto excelente.

    Comment by dmonzingo — September 13, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

  11. O premeria linha, com as palavras “nosso” e “ônibus”, é benéfico porque mostra a diferencia entre os dois sons muito bem. Porque eu nunca digo o /ó/, este som é mais dificuldade para mim. Eu concordo – os acentos são muito complicados…

    Comment by Daniel Kietzer — September 13, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

  12. Sobre a nota cultural, eu lembro minha primeira viagem no ônibus em Brasil. Afortunadamente não estava sozinha então tudo deu certo. Nós entramos na porta da frente e em meio dos assentos tinha um tipo portão onde senta o cobrador, depois de pagar ele deixou nós etrar na parte de trás. Eu acho um bom sistema porque ninguem pode sair sem pagar, porque tem que sair das portas de trás. Mas tem assentos no frente para as pessoas velhas e outros. Quando eu não podia encontrar meu dinhero eu fiquei na frente até que encontre e pague. Mesmo que tive ajuda, não gostei do ônibus preferou o metrô.

    Comment by Elisa — September 13, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  13. Outra vez, eu não tinha consciência das regras de pronúncia da letra “o”. A diferença de pronúncia entre o verbo e o sutantivo me surpreendeu. Mas não acho que vou poder aprender a pronúncia somente por estudar as regras – têm bastantes e fico confusa quando tento lembrar quando estou falando. Prefiro imitar.

    Comment by Amelia Crawford — September 13, 2007 @ 10:53 pm

  14. A dificultade pra mim e a diferenca entre o avo masculino e a avo femenina (e mais dificil quando nao posso por os acentos nas letras)

    Comment by Chris Morley — September 14, 2007 @ 7:09 am

  15. Acho que o “o” é mais difícil de pronunciar do que o “e” porque…bom, não sei porque, mas como eu disse antes a pronuncia fica mais fácil com a prática.

    Comment by Lisa Martinez — September 14, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

  16. I find it really helpfull to listen and then go back to the transcript.

    Comment by Leonel — September 15, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  17. The distinction between the accents can be pretty difficult. I found that the distinction between the grandparents–that is “avó” and “avô”–to be most helpful toward a better understanding of the different “o” sounds.

    Comment by Matthew Johnson — June 27, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  18. Na licão, Valdo mencionó que Salvador, Bahia é o lugar mais bonito dele mundo. Então busque fotos na internet e eu acho que ele tem razão. Um paisagem belo!

    Comment by Tatiana Reinoza Perkins — July 1, 2008 @ 5:03 pm

  19. What is “cade”? (when Valdo says “cade cobrador”) and when is it better to use it?

    Comment by Eduardo Gonzalez — September 8, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

  20. Também queria perguntar o que é cadê? Entendo que quer dizer, mais o menos, onde está? mas não sei de qual verbo é nem como conjuga-lo.

    Comment by Elena Bessire — September 11, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

  21. It’s interesting how the words in Spanish written with “ue” like “puede” have the open “o” like “pode” in Portuguese. A Portuguese professor told me this summer that some Brazilians think all words in Portuguese that have “o” in them are written with “ue” in Spanish. So Coco-Cola would become Cueca-cuela:)

    Comment by Shannon Zamora — September 11, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  22. Obrigado para me explica este tópico. E ái eu só practico meu ó e ô.

    Comment by Eduard Keller — September 11, 2008 @ 7:54 pm

  23. desculpe, eu preciso bota a palavra praticar, e não é practicar.

    Comment by Eduard Keller — September 11, 2008 @ 7:56 pm

  24. I think knowing when to do an open or closed vowel is one of the hardest things about Portuguese pronunciation. In the phonetics class we talked a little bit about the general tendencies for verbs in the present tense, but are there similar rules for other verb tenses with respect to which conjugation (eu, voce, nos, eles, etc.) tends to have an open vs. a closed vowel?

    Comment by Erin Daley — September 11, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

  25. Isn’t it also true that the ‘o’ fechado can change when a word becomes plural? For example olho and olhos; in the singular form the first ‘o’ is pronounced fechado and in the plural form it is aberto.

    Comment by Golden Dale Oehlke — September 11, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  26. Aprendi isso com dificuldade também. Foi me explicado utilizando a diferencia entre as palavras e . Uma professora de português na minha universidade me disse que, com a primeira palavra, o som morre dentro da boca, na garganta, enquanto o som da segunda palavra foge da boca. Também recebi ajuda da minha família de intercâmbio no Brasil. Meu irmão brasileiro me mostrou a forma da boca para essas duas palavras – a primeira com a boca muito aberta, e a segunda com a boca fechada.

    Comment by Clyde Sheble — September 11, 2008 @ 11:53 pm

  27. Para mim, e muito dificil para dizer o “o” em palavras como “corre,” “sobe,” o “logo.” Eu tento de dizer-lo mas soa muito estranho.

    Comment by Kyle A. — September 13, 2008 @ 9:30 am

  28. Same as with the sounds of open and closed “e.” If I hear them in isolated words I can hear them, but in words within a dialogue or a text. it gets much more complicated for me.

    Comment by Carlos Barrera — June 14, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  29. I find this difference easier to hear than the different “e” sounds. Like Carlos, it is easier for me to hear it in isolation… but I was able to recognize it in the dialogue after a couple of times of listening all the way through.
    I really liked the discussion of rules/tips as to when one pronunciation is more likely — and I appreciate your highlighting the differences between nouns and verbs; I thought I was going insane with gosto — pronouncing it one way and then hearing it pronounced a different way.

    Comment by Mary Slosar — June 15, 2009 @ 7:36 am

  30. Like Mary, I found this difference easier to hear than the different “e” sounds. Maybe I’m getting more attuned to the subtleties of the sounds. Thanks for breaking this down!

    Comment by Franklin Strong — June 16, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  31. The difference between the sounds is much clearer now, thanks!

    Comment by Marina Potoplyak — June 19, 2009 @ 11:48 am

  32. This one was especially helpful, particularly when you compared the pronunciation of the noun and verbs, such as “eu olho” and “olho”.

    Comment by Kanitra Fletcher — June 23, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

  33. This is a really good lesson! Orlando, you should talk with you web site designer to add a “Share” button to each episode, maybe you could place it next to the discussion board link. It would allow uses to share with email, facebook, twitter etc.

    and you still need to hire a iphone coder to make the ta falando iphone app, you could get a huge synergy effect for your brasil pod project. Only if I knew how to write programs!

    Comment by Daniel Heron — February 2, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  34. Sometimes distinguishing the difference between these two vowels drives me crazy. Words like avô; avo are not only hard to hear but extremely difficult to say. I guess it just takes a lot of repetition to get it right.

    Comment by Jackie Vega — February 2, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

  35. Eu acordo completamente com o Daniel – seus clips de aúdio são muito impressionais e professionais!
    Eu não gosto que começam de eliminar os acentos, porque agora é difícil para aprender a pronunciação actual (como “hôtel”)

    Comment by Lynne Lee — February 2, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

  36. Quando “o” no final do palavra é sempre pronunciou como “u” como “good”, tá?

    Comment by Swetha Nulu — February 3, 2010 @ 1:01 am

  37. Não passam uma regra nova recentemente na língua oficial de português que se livrou dos acentos agudos e cirunflexos em palavras como “avó” and “avô”?

    Comment by Kristin Bonds — February 7, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

  38. I can’t figure why these lessons go to so much trouble to be so amusing and informed when these entertaining asides are all in English.
    Doesn’t this sort of presentation just reinforce the mentality that anything in English is more informing and interesting than anything in the target second language? It appears to me that all the ‘learning’ is being done in English and not in the target language. These should produce even more sophisticated English speakers. They would make great English classes for Brazillians wanting to learn fluent English.

    Comment by Mario Rinaldi — July 18, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  39. Muchas gracias por estas lecciones!!, son maravillosas y espero mejorar mi portugues.

    Comment by Estudiante de portugues — October 13, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

  40. I thank you very much for these podcasts. I needed some light shed on the o pronounciations of the verb conjugations. Been a mystery until now.

    Comment by Daniel — February 8, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  41. Hey Daniel,
    We all totally relate to the mystery of open and closed vowels in Portuguese. Glad to hear that we can help solve some of that mystery.

    Comment by orkelm — February 8, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  42. Hey,

    These podcasts are awesome by the way, I haven’t found anything that remotely compares to them. But I do have a question, despite the last comment being over a year old. In lesson 2 about the ‘u’/’oo’ sound I’m pretty sure it mentions that a word ending in ‘o’ has an ‘oo’ sound; examples such as ‘sinto muito’ end in ‘o’ but sound like ‘oo’. But I didn’t hear any ending like that during this lesson, despite there being some examples to choose from. So when does a word ending in ‘o’ sound like ‘oh’,’aw’ or ‘oo’?

    Cheers,

    Comment by Rob — June 19, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

  43. Actually, after listening again a few times when Valdo says ‘nosso’ and ‘Como’ I can’t actually hear him pronounce the ending ‘o’ – so I’m even more stuck.

    Comment by Rob — June 19, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

  44. Hey Rob,
    OK, final unstressed “o” generally sounds like ‘u’. So, falo, canto, como, all sound more like “falu, cantu, comu” If you pronounce things this way, it will sound better. The final vowels are less stressed and shorter (than for example in Spanish). It is probably for that reason that when you heard Valdo say words like “nosso” and “como” that they sounded more like “nosssu” or just “nosss” I should add that if you are in the most southern parts of Brazil, such as Porto Alegre, then the final “o” does indeed sound more like “o”.

    Hope that helps,

    Orlando

    Comment by orkelm — June 20, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

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