Difference between mas and más - and also apples!

Bom dia!

Recently I did the plurals module and came across ‘más’ (‘bad’ fem. pl.) and I couldn’t really tell any difference in pronunciation with the word ‘mas’ (‘but’) - both seem to stress the ‘a’?

Is it just a context thing?

Also, I just can’t pronounce apple(s) ‘maçã/maçãs’ - I’m saying it like ‘masser’ and plural ‘massersh’ but I don’t think I’m getting the sounds right.


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The difference is subtle, but más has a more open sound a than mas ( (more open = you open your mouth more to say it)

One way to practise hearing the difference is if you open two windows in your browser and go to the learn → translate function. Select “Portuguese to English” and type más into one window and mas into the other. This will give you one of the usual speach bubbles in each window, and you can now easily flick forth and back between them, and hearing one after the other again and again and again. As I said, it is subtle, but you should be able to hear the added openness in más. The a in más sounds similar to the a in the English “father”, whereas the a in mas is more similar to the a in “apple”.

There is also a great learning note here where you can explore the different sounds of similar letters: https://www.practiceportuguese.com/learning-notes/minimal-pairs/
It has speech bubbles for ás and as right next to each other. It also has manha next to manhã which should make it possible to hear the nasal ã.

And for a lot more about wovel pronunciation there’s this in-depth learning note: https://www.practiceportuguese.com/learning-notes/pronunciation-guide-for-european-portuguese-vowels/

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