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Portuguese is a Latin language, and its grammar is similar to Spanish and Italian. People who can speak Spanish may have trouble communicating in Brazil, though, except in areas that border the neighboring Spanish speaking countries. Brazilians may understand a little of your Spanish, but you probably will not understand their responses.
It is best to try to learn a little Portuguese before you travel. There are a lot of programs available on CD, DVD and online to help you practice prununciation as well as grammar. You should carry a phrase book, and perhaps a dictionary with you on your trip.
Remember Latin vowels are pronounced differently to English ones: a as in 'car', e as in 'bed', i as in 'see', o as in 'Paul' and u as in 'foot'. Plausive consonants, such as b, d, p or t are not as strong as in English. Portuguese is a very nasal language, and words finishing in -m, -ã, ão or -ões should be pronounced nasally. For example: jardim (garden), irmã (sister), verão (summer) and canções (songs). Portuguese ç is pronounced like an 's' and j is pronounced like 'sh'.
Let's have a look at some important phrases:
You answer the phone saying ' alô' and you can finish your call with a ' obrigado, tchau" - meaning 'thanks, bye'.
Some other helpful expressions:
Food & Drink: