Ola, bom dia para todos :wink:

I’m a bit intrigued by something. I wonder, what the rules are for NOT pronouncing some vowels.
For example: estou sounds like stou (the e is apparently mute)

Can someone shed some light on this please ?

Thanks in advance,
Muito obrigado,


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I think it is fairly simple. When you speak slowly and carefully you pronounce all vowels, such as the e in noite or estou. When you speak rapidly or with less care you omit them.



Hi Yves,

thanks for your swift response :slight_smile:, however …

It makes things rather complex though.

In the course for example, I learnt that “dez” is 10, and “dezasseis” is 16. It suprised me though that the dez in dezasseis was pronounced without the e … more like dzasseis. So i started wondering, is it dezasseis with the dez prounced as in the figure 10, or dzasseis with dez pronounced in a different way.

the same goes for “dezoito” which is pronounced as “dzoit”.(if i read it the first time, i would hav thought it was pronounced more like “dez-oito”

That is, if I’d pronounce it as “dez oito”, would it be correct as well ? Is it a “flaw” in the course ? or is it absolutely normal, common practice?

Not that it’s a big deal, but it might help me to better understand the “correct pronounciation thing” :slight_smile:

All the best.

Kind regards,

Hello Sven.

It would be hard to answer your questions without using a phonetical transcription (IPA, which is the most widespread, I believe) as well as some phonetical notions. I hope it is no problem.

When it stands by itself the numeral “dez” is stressed on its unique vowel: [ˈdɛʃ]. When it is combined with another numeral, the resulting compound word bears only one stress, on its second element, “seis” in the case of “dezasseis”, which means that the “dez” part is unstressed, and its vowel is weakened to [ə]; so, yes, “dez” is pronounced differently when it is alone and when it appears in a compound word such as “dezasseis”: [dəzəˈsejʃ] in a careful speech and [dzəˈsejʃ] in a swift speech.

In “dezoito”, as far as “dez” is concerned, it is the same as above. But there is something else, the final o, which is pronounced [u]. In Portuguese the vowel [u] can become voiceless (as if you were whispering) when it is unstressed and between two voiceless consonants (for instance the o in “costume”, habit) or between a voiceless consonant and nothing (that is to say in the end of a sentence). So “oito” is [ˈojtu], with a voiced or voiceless [u], which becomes [ˈojt] in a swift speech. If you listen carefully to the speaker, you will notice that sometimes she pronounces a final o as voiceless, and sometimes she does not pronounce it at all.

If you pronounce “dezoito” as “dez oito”, I suppose a Portuguese would understand “10, 8”, not “18”.

I hope it did not give you a headache :slight_smile:

Kind regards,


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Hi Yves,

I get it, and it starts to make sense now :slight_smile:

Thanks for the crystal clear explication :smiley:

Maybe our “course-creators”, could add a few features:

  • play audio at 50% speed
  • IPA transcription (e.g. on hover)
  • where to stress the word
  • what the function is of the accents ( eg. é versus ê versus e)
  • a bit of explication on when vowels may become mute

I feel that it may help many others in understanding why, and may help them in getting their pronounciation right when learning new words or sentences.

What’s your idea on this ?

All the best, and thanks again for the explication