Differences Between Spanish and Portuguese

Differences Between Spanish And Portuguese

Although Portuguese and Spanish are closely related, to the point of having a considerable degree of mutual intelligibility, there are also important differences between them, which can pose difficulties for people acquainted with one of the languages who attempt to learn the other. Both are part of a broader group known as West Iberian Romance, which also includes several other languages or dialects with fewer speakers, all of which are mutually intelligible to some degree.

The most obvious differences are in pronunciation. The written languages are often significantly more intercomprehensible than the spoken languages. Compare, for example, the phrase:

A buen entendedor pocas palabras bastan (Spanish ) and Para bom entendedor, poucas palavras bastam (Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese ), roughly equivalent to the English proverb "A word to the wise is sufficient."

There are also some significant differences between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese as there are between British and American English or Peninsular and Latin American Spanish. This article notes these differences below only where:

  • both Brazilian and European Portuguese differ not only from each other, but from Spanish as well;
  • both Peninsular (i.e. European) and Latin American Spanish differ not only from each other, but also from Portuguese; or
  • either Brazilian or European Portuguese differs from Spanish with syntax not possible in Spanish (while the other dialect does not).

Read more about Differences Between Spanish And Portuguese:  Samples, Grammar, Phonology, Contact Forms

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