Portuguese is a Romance language closely related to Spanish, and even more closely related to Galician (in fact, many people consider that Galician and Portuguese are two dialects of the same language). It is spoken as the official language of Portugal and Brazil, with some differences in pronunciation, spelling, and use of pronouns. It is also the official language of Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé e Príncipe, Angola, Mozambique, and the co-official language of East Timor, and Macau. It is spoken mainly by the elderly in Goa, Daman and Diu in India. There are around 200 million Portuguese native speakers, the vast majority in Brazil.
The Portuguese we will include in this phrasebook is of the European usage which differs from the Brazilian in sounds and pronunciation. Even though both European and Brazilian speakers will slightly understand each other if they do communicate.
Needless to say, if you know a Romance language, it will be easier for you to learn Portuguese. However, people who know a little Spanish may hastily conclude that Portuguese is close enough that it need not be studied separately. While they may be able to figure out the meaning of some signage, items on a menu, etc., understanding of verbal communication will be very low to nothing. Words such as "gente" (people) are pronounced so differently in either variant of Portuguese, that you would hardly recognise them. Also, some personal names such as "Jorge Ramos," for example, will be pronounced quite differently as well.
If you know Spanish, watch for a lot of new vowels, a huge number of contractions (comparable to del and al) and irregular plurals. For the non-fluent, some pronunciation differences can be easily missed, such as año (year) becoming ano. If you speak good French, you may find Portuguese pronunciation to be fairly easy, though much of the vocabulary will have changed substantially.
The pronunciation in Portugal differs significantly from that in Brazil. The difference is basically in pronunciation and a few vocabulary differences, which make it tricky even for Brazilians to understand the European Portuguese accent. Now the European uses a lot of those oo's which are not used in Brazilian.
As a general guide, stress the penultimate (last-but-one) syllable except where there is an accent, or the word ends with a diphthong (that is, 2 vowels which are pronounced as a single syllable – explained in full later on), or if it ends with any of the following letters: i; l; r; z; im; um; ins; uns – in which case, the stress is on the last syllable.
A table for one person (/two, three... persons), please.
Uma mesa para uma pessoa (/duas, três... pessoas), por favor. ()
May I seat (/may we seat) beside the window?
¿Posso sentar-me (podemos sentar-nos) junto à janela? (" ")
Can I look at the menu, please?
¿Posso ver a ementa, por favor? ()
Can I look in the kitchen?
Posso olhar a cozinha? ()
Is there a house specialty?
Há alguma especialidade da casa? ()
Is there a typical local specialty?
Existe alguma especialidade típica da localidade? ()
Please bring an assortment of appetizers.
Faz favor de trazer acepipes variados. (" ")
I'm a vegetarian.
Sou vegetariano. ()
I don't eat pork.
Não como carne de porco. ()
I don't eat beef.
Não como carne de boi. ()
I only eat kosher food.
Somente como alimentos "kosher". ()
Note: most Portuguese speakers will not understand the Hebrew term "kosher", foods will therefore need to be requested one by one.
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard)
Pode preparar a comida "leve", por favor? (pouco óleo/pouca manteiga/pouca gordura) ()
a la carte
pela ementa ()
desjejum, pequeno almoço, primeira refeição, café da manhã ()
almoço, almoço do meio-dia, segunda refeição ()
chá ("merenda da tarde") ()
ceia, última refeição ()
I want _____.
Desejo ____. ()
I want a dish containing _____.
Desejo um prato que contenha ____. ()
carne de boi. ()
atum (" ")
sardinha (" ")
bacalhau (" ")
azeitonas (" ")
cebola (" ")
batata (" ")
tomate (" ")
milho (" ")
vegetais (frescos) ()
fruta (fresca) ()
Note: Brazil and Portuguese-speaking African or Asian countries have an inmense diversity of fruits and other vegetables not found in Portugal, and for which there are no English names. They are known by their native names in those countries.
laranja (" ")
limão (" ")
maçá (" ")
pêra (" ")
banana (" ")
uvas (" ")
abacaxi (" ")
pêssego (" ")
alperce (" ")
coco (" ")
morango (" ")
melão (" ")
melancia (" ")
amêndoas (" ")
nozes (" ")
avelãs (" ")
castanhas (" ")
amendoins (" ")
biscoitos, bolachas (" ")
chocolate (" ")
massa de "noodles" ()
Note: it is not common in Portuguese-speaking countries, it will be better understood by the general term "macarrão", but that term does not specifically refer to noodles.
Note: in Brazil, Africa or Asia, and even in Portugal, there are certain popular foods that most Europeans will probably NOT appreciate. When in doubt, it is recommendable to ask first or to decline politely.
Desejo alugar um carro (/uma motocicleta, uma bicicleta). ()
Can I get insurance?
Posso contratar um seguro? ()
driver's licence (documentation for driving motor vehicles)
habilitação de motorista (documentação para dirigir veículos a motor) (" ")
Note: Portugal, Brazil and most other countries are part of the Paris or of the Genève international conventions.
stop (on a street sign)
sentido único ()
ceda o passo ()
não estacione ()
limite de velocidade ()
passo de pedestres (" ")
luzes de trânsito (" ")
controle de polícia (" ")
gas (petrol) station
posto de gasolina ()
Note: exclusively in Brazil there is distribution of gasoline mixed with alcohol. In Brazil, Portugal and other countries there is also real gas (not liquid) used as fuel for engines. These special fuels are clearly marked at petrol stations.