What is the correct pronunciation of "Porto"?

I’m unclear on the correct pronunciation of “Porto”, specifically with regards to the final “o”. I would think that the same rule as in words like gosto and gato would apply where the final “o” is more of a closed “o” sound. I’m here in Porto though and my impression is that the final “o” is being pronounced more like the “o” in “sopa”, a more open “o” sound. What’s the correct pronunciation?

Peter

1 Like

@pwsteele, the final O is a more closed sound, more closed than in “sopa”. But if your reference is the average Lisbon accent, for example (as heard in most Practice Portuguese materials), the northern pronunciation might sound slightly more open or somehow more rounded than you’re used to. In that case, it’s a matter of adjusting your baseline of what’s a closed sound to the local accent(s) you hear around you :slight_smile:

Since we don’t stress the last o, we drop it. Generally we pronounce Porto and the English word Port identically, but Peter makes a good point - the pronunciation of Porto will vary across Portugal depending on where the speakers are from and what kinds of accents they have.

Porto’s accent particularly features open vowel sounds.

We went to a football match here and instead of a national anthem they sang a boisterous song about Porto and their beloved football team. The song pronounced Porto with a very loud and proud wide open O. Of course, it’s not unusual for songs to play with pronunciation.

I’m definitely running into some difficulty with accents here. I’m Canadian so everything l say will of course be tainted with the regional accent of my home province in Canada. I discovered the drink guaraná since being in Portugal and find I have to pronounce it very slowly and carefully when ordering it at a restaurant to be understood.

In another case, my wife and I were in a furniture store the other day and an attendant asked if we needed help. I replied “Estamos só a olhar” and she didn’t understand me at all. I tried pronouncing each word slowly and she still didn’t understand. I opened my phone and typed in what I was saying and then it finally dawned on her what I was saying. She repeated the phrase herself and it basically came out as “stams solhar”. I would not have understood her version anymore than she apparently couldn’t understand mine.

I’m finding in general that although I can read the Portuguese I encounter reasonably well, it’s rare that I can understand what someone says when they speak to me in Portuguese. I know that’s normal when learning a new language but it’s definitely frustrating. It will take many months of emersion to improve my oral comprehension.

Peter

2 Likes