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Mineiro (Portuguese pronunciation: [miˈnejɾu] ( )) feminine: Mineira), also called Brazilian mountain dialect, is the Brazilian Portuguese term for the inhabitants of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais and also the characteristic accent spoken in the heart of that state, and also in its capital, Belo Horizonte.
This dialect is quite complicated, due the pronunciation of the words, which is fast and curled. There are times when other Brazilians, who speak other dialects, do not understand what the mineiros speak.
Minas Gerais was settled during the late 17th and early 18th centuries by a mix of recent Portuguese immigrants (reinóis or "emboabas") and earlier colonists that came from São Paulo (paulistas). There was an intense rivalry between the two groups, fighting over the gold mines (from which the name of the province was taken, Minas Gerais means "General Mines"). These conflicts required the intervention of the Portuguese Crown after a serious uprisal developed into civil war (Guerra dos Emboabas) with the final defeat of the "paulistas" in 1708. See the article "Guerra dos Emboabas" in the Portuguese language Wikipedia.
In the 19th century, the state was being forgotten due the decline of gold mining. Due to this isolation, the state was influenced by the dialect of Rio de Janeiro in the southeast, while the south and the "Triangulo Mineiro" region, began to speak the rustic dialect of São Paulo (caipira). The central region of Minas Gerais, however, developed their own dialect, which is known as Mineiro or mountain dialect. This dialect is also present in cities of the center and southest of the state, which is surrounded by mountains and mines.
Recently, the influence of mineiro has been increasing and spreading, due to local pride and rejection of other accents.
- Reduction (and often loss) of final and initial unstressed vowels, especially e, i, and u: parte ("part") becomes part' (with soft affricate T). Common to most of Brazil.
- Assimilation of consecutive vowels: o urubu ("the vulture") becomes u rubu.
- Weakening (and usual loss) of final /r/ and /s/: cantar ("to sing", with the final /r/ sounding like the "r" in the French name Pierre) becomes cantá and os livros ("the books") becomes us livru. Common to most of Brazil.
- Loss of the plural ending /s/ in adjectives and nouns, retained only in articles and verbs: meus filhos ("my children") becomes (sometimes; most of the time in the capital, Belo Horizonte) meus filho, (most of the time) meus fii OR meus fiu.
- Intense liaison: abra as asas ("spread your wings") becomes abrazaza. Para onde nós estamos indo? ("Where are we going?") becomes Pronoistamuíno?. However, see : this is far from being the most common usage.
- Realization of most /ʎ/ as [j]: alho ("garlic") becomes homophonous with aio. Probably the most characteristic feature of the Mineiro accent, though it is less present in Belo Horizonte.
- Replacement of some diphthongs with long vowels: fio (thread) becomes fii, pouco (few) becomes poco.
- Apocope of final syllables. -lho becomes [ij] (filho → fii' ), -inho becomes -im' (pinho → pim' ).
- Soft pronunciation of "r': rato ("mouse") is pronounced [hatu]. Very common in other parts of Brazil.
- Diphthongization of stressed vowels: mas ("but") becomes mais and três ("three") becomes treis. Common in other parts of Brazil, particularly Rio de Janeiro.
- Loss of initial "e" in words beginning with "es": esporte becomes [spɔhtʃi].
- Another important trait of Mineiro is the absence of remarkable features of other accents, like the retroflex R (caipira), palatalization of S (carioca), strong dental R (gaucho), or "singsong" nordestino intonation.