Help:IPA for Portuguese and Galician

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Portuguese and Galician pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. Distinction is noted between the two major standards of Portuguese—that of Portugal and of Brazil. Neither Portuguese variant is preferred over the other at Wikipedia, except in cases where a local pronunciation is clearly more relevant, such as a place in Brazil or a Portuguese artist. See Portuguese phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Portuguese.

Apply national variant differences with discretion: when there are differing dialectal Brazilian Portuguese pronunciations thanks to differing patterns of vowel reduction and voiced consonant lenition (that Brazilians indeed have in unstressed syllables), the one closest to the European Portuguese one should generally be preferred, as this guideline is intended to help native speakers of other languages (mainly English, and the native Anglophone [ə], [i] and [u] are way more reliable approximations to Portuguese than their equivalents to the full vowels, in this case [ɑː], [eɪ̯] and [oʊ̯] for American English speakers), since the opposing Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation tends to be the more phonetically written one and those in contact with a given Brazilian dialect would immediately get a clue on where vowel reduction is not used despite being optional. It also will help native speakers of other languages more easily spot where Brazilian Portuguese may use vowel reduction and lenition (so that a change from the European Portuguese pronunciation they may be used to is not necessary) and where it does not use it.

IPA Consonants
Galicia (Spain)
Examples English approximation
b besta; fábula (BP) best
β β bula (EP, G); placebo[1] between baby and bevy or best
v cavalo; livre (P); libre (G)[2] vest or between baby and bevy
ð ð fada; padre; rapadura[1] this
d duradouro; seu dente this or dice
d dedo dice
cidade; digo[3] dice or engine
f fase; café face
ɡ ɡ gato; guerra get
ɣ goa; magarefe between go and ahold or get
ɣ trigo; amiga[1] between go and ahold
k cores; laca; quente; kelvin scan
l l l lua; calor[4] lot
ɫ livro; lipídio; males[5] limp; fault (RP) or world (GA)
ɫ w mal; principal[6][4] toll; tow or lot
ʎ velho (P); vello (G)[7] roughly like million
m mesa; comer[4] almighty
n nata; ano[4] sonic
ŋ unha; inglesa; can; álbum (G)[4] sing
ɲ manhã (P); mañá (G) roughly like canyon[8]
p peito; topo spouse
r ʁ ʁ raro; carro; enrascado[9][10] guttural r (P) or trilled r (G)
ɾ lar; morte; por favor[9][10][11] ladder in American English
or guttural r
ɾ raro; caro; bravo; por acaso[10][11] ladder in American English
ʃ ʒ ʒ já; gente (P); xa; xente (G) rouge or shop
z z rasgado; portas brancas[12] rouge or zebra
s z casa; existir; portas abertas zebra or sack
θ zona; azul zebra or thought
ʃ s dez; foz sheep; sketch or bath
s cimeira; braço (P); brazo (G) sack or thought
s saco; máximo; isso (P); iso (G) sack
ʃ escola; mastro; portas fechadas sheep or sketch
ʃ ʃ xarope; baixo shop
chave; achar shop or chop
tchau chop
t tipo; ponte[3] stand or cheese
t tempo; átomo stand
IPA Marginal consonants
Galicia (Spain)
Examples English approximation
ħ ghato; trigho (G)[13] roughly like hook
x kharxa[14] loch
IPA Vowels
Galicia (Spain)
Examples English approximation
a a a taça; lá; às; Camões; alface father
ɐ Laurêncio; Ajinomoto about or father
ɐ taça; manhã; carapaça aura; finger (RP) or father
cama; banho; câmera[15] and also
anglicisms as rush, bug
purse (RP) or father
ɛ ɛ meta, sé set
e prémio/prêmio[15] incrível set or play
e e meto; sê; acepção[16] play
ɨ semáforo[17] emission or play
i pente; pequeno; se[17] emission; see or play
i meandro; e see or play
i cima[15] si; dia; país see
ɔ ɔ formosa; formosos; avó ball (GA) ~ lot (RP)
o bónus/bônus[15] hospital ball or sole (GA)
o o avô; oliveira sole (GA) ~ sword (RP)
u sortudo loop or sole (GA)
u boneco; voo; vi-o; frio[18]
u lume[15] rua; saúde loop
IPA Nasal vowels
Galicia (Spain)
Examples English approximation
ɐ̃ canto; ângulo; âmbar; lã[19] uhn-huh (nasal /ɐ/)
cento; sempre; essência[20] nasal /e/
ĩ cinto; sim; ímpar nasal /i/
õ conto; cônscio; bom; cômputo nasal /o/
ũ fungo; algum; cúmplice nasal /u/
IPA Semivowels[21][22]
Galicia (Spain)
Examples English approximation
j pais; saia; cães; corações you or boy
w quando; guarda; frequente; quão wine or cow
IPA Suprasegmentals
Galicia (Spain)
Examples English approximation
ˈ livre [ˈlivɾɨ] ~ [ˈlivɾi] lexical stress
ˌ contramão [ˌkõtɾɐˈmɐ̃w] secondary stress
. dia [ˈdi.ɐ] ~ [ˈdʒi.ɐ] syllable break


  1. ^ a b c In northern and central Portugal, /b/, /d/, and /ɡ/ are lenited to fricatives of the same place of articulation ([β], [ð], and [ɣ], respectively) in all places except after a pause, or a nasal vowel, in which contexts they are stops [b, d, ɡ], not dissimilar from English b, d, g (Mateus & d'Andrade 2000:11). Most often, it only happens in southern and insular Portugal and in Brazil in some unstressed syllables, generally in relaxed speech, but this is by no means universal.
  2. ^ In Galician and some rural northern accents of European Portuguese, /v/ has merged with the [b ~ β] set.
  3. ^ a b In most varieties of Brazilian Portuguese, /d, t/ are palatalized and affricated to post-alveolar (generally alveolo-palatal, but not thus represented here) [, ] before high front vowels /i, ĩ/.
  4. ^ a b c d e In Galician, nasal and lateral consonants only contrast before vowels. Before consonants, they assimilate to the consonant's place of articulation. In word-final position, only /ŋ/ and /l/ occur.
  5. ^ In most Brazilian dialects, and in standard Brazilian speech, /l/ is strongly velarized, uvularized, pharyngealized, and/or glottalized before /i, ĩ/. In some dialects, like marked registers of carioca, this happens in most contexts, so that people who speak other Brazilian dialects might hear a distinguished /ʎ/-like sound for their /l/ (moleque might sound slightly like molheque).
  6. ^ In European Portuguese, syllable-final /l/ is usually velarized [ɫ] much like with 'toll' for many English speakers. For most Brazilians, it has been vocalized to [w] before consonants and at the end of words. In traditional Galician, syllable-final /l/ was also velarized; but nowadays it has been widely replaced by a clear l [l] in most dialects.
  7. ^ In some Galician dialects /ʎ/ has merged with [j]. Minor yeísmo-like merger is also present in some dialects of Brazilian Portuguese, specially the caipira one.
  8. ^ In most Brazilian dialects, /ɲ/ is realized as a nasal palatal approximant []. See Thomas (1974:8) and Perini (2002:?).[clarification needed]
  9. ^ a b The rhotic consonant represented as /ʁ/ has considerable variation across different variants, being pronounced as [x], [h], [χ], [ʁ], etc., in Brazil; as [ʁ], [ʀ], [r], etc., in Portugal; and as [r] in Galicia. See also Guttural R in Portuguese.
  10. ^ a b c The rhotic consonants /ɾ/ ‹r› and /ʁ/ ‹rr› only contrast between vowels. Otherwise, they are in complementary distribution as ‹r›, with /ʁ/ occurring word-initially, after ‹l›, ‹n›, and ‹s› and in compounds; /ɾ/ is found elsewhere.
  11. ^ a b The realization of syllable-final ‹r› varies amongst dialects; it is generally pronounced as an alveolar tap [ɾ] in European Portuguese, Galician and some Brazilian dialects (e.g. Rio Grande do Sul state and São Paulo city), as either an alveolar approximant [ɹ] or retroflex approximant [ɻ] in various other Brazilian dialects (primarily known for its use in caipira dialect, but also paranaense among sulista dialects, mineiro, sertanejo, and to a minor degree, some spekers of paulistano, capixaba and even fluminense) and as a guttural R in all others (e.g. Rio de Janeiro city, the overwhelmingly majority from the Northeast). Additionally, in some Brazilian Portuguese dialects, word-final ‹r› may be weakened to complete elision in infinitives; e.g. ficar [fiˈka] (note word final ‹r› is pronounced —though as a tap [ɾ]— only if it is followed by a vowel sound in the same phrase or prosodic unit: ficar ao léu [fiˈkaɾ aw ˈlɛw]).
  12. ^ Allophone of /s/ in Galician.
  13. ^ In some Galician dialects /ɡ/ is pharyngealized to [ħ] or glottalized to [h] in a phonological process known as gheada.
  14. ^ In Galician, /x/ may be used in loanwords, foreign names and hispanicized names; like kharxa, Araújo (instead of Araúxo, pron. with [ʃ]) and Fagilde or Fajilde (instead of Faxilde, pron. with [ʃ]).
  15. ^ a b c d e The 5 higher vowels /ɐ, e, i, o, u/, when stressed and followed by a nasal consonant, may assimilate the nasality.
  16. ^ In the dialect of Lisbon, /e/ merges with /ɐ/ when it comes before palatal sounds (e.g. abelha, venho, jeito).
  17. ^ a b In European Portuguese the IPA symbol /ɨ/ denotes a near-close near-back unrounded vowel: [ɯ̟] or [ʊ̜], rather than a close central unrounded vowel.
  18. ^ Some of the post-stressed high vowels in hiatuses, as in frio ('cold') and rio ('river'), may vary between a reduced vowel [ˈfɾi.u] and a glide [ˈfɾiw], exceptions are verbal conjugations, forming pairs like eu rio [ˈew ˈʁi.u] (I laugh) and ele riu [ˈelɨ ˈʁiw] (he laughed).
  19. ^ In Portuguese, word final /ɐ̃/ may diphthongize to [ɐ̃w] (note this realization occurs exclusively in verbal forms spelled with final -am: namoram, falam, ruiram).
  20. ^ In Portuguese, word final /ẽ/ diphthongizes to [ẽj] (e.g. sem, também, nuvens). In many European Portuguese dialects (especially central and southern varieties) it has become [ɐ̃j]: sem [ˈsɐ̃j]
  21. ^ The semivowels [w] and [j], allophones of vowels /u/ and /i/, can be combined with most vowels to form diphthongs and triphthongs. This includes nasal diphthongs such as [ɐ̃j] and [ɐ̃w], and nasal triphthongs such as [wɐ̃w] and [wõj].
  22. ^ Sometimes, Portuguese will present "geminated" semivowels, more accurately each pair being separated to one's own syllable, with the first phone occurring as coda and the second occurring as onset. Examples of such pronunciations are saia and leio for [j.j] and doe or pessoa for [w.w]. They should be transcribed as such.

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