Discover Your Portuguese Orthography and Pronunciation Skills with Our Quiz



9 Questions

What is the purpose of diacritics in Portuguese orthography?

Which of the following is not a diacritic used in Portuguese?

What is the correct spelling of the Portuguese word for 'thank you'?

What is a digraph in Portuguese?

Which of the following is not a way that the correct spelling of a Portuguese word is determined?

What is the correct spelling of the Portuguese word for 'house'?

Which of the following is not a consonant in Portuguese?

What is the purpose of the trema in Portuguese?

What is the status of the reformed orthography (1990 Agreement) in Portuguese-speaking countries?


Portuguese orthography is based on the Latin alphabet and includes five diacritics to denote stress, vowel height, nasalization, and other sound changes. Accented letters and digraphs are not counted as separate characters for collation purposes.

The spelling of Portuguese is largely phonemic, but some phonemes can be spelled in more than one way. In ambiguous cases, the correct spelling is determined through a combination of etymology with morphology and tradition.

Portuguese makes use of digraphs, pairs of letters that represent a single sound different from the sum of their components. Digraphs are not included in the alphabet.

Portuguese uses five diacritics: the cedilla (ç), acute accent (á, é, í, ó, ú), circumflex accent (â, ê, ô), tilde (ã, õ), and grave accent (à, rarely ò, formerly also è, ì, and ù).

Primary stress may fall on any of the three final syllables of a word. Monosyllables are typically not accented, but those whose last vowel is a, e, or o, possibly followed by final -s, -m, or -ns, may require an accent mark.

Most consonants have the same values as in the International Phonetic Alphabet, except for the palatals /ʎ/ and /ɲ/, which are spelled lh and nh, respectively, and the following velars, rhotics, and sibilants.

The alveolar tap /ɾ/ is always spelled as a single r. The other rhotic phoneme of Portuguese, which may be pronounced as a trill [r] or as one of the fricatives [x], [ʁ], or [h], according to the idiolect of the speaker, is either written rr or r.

The vowels in the pairs /a, ɐ/, /e, ɛ/, /o, ɔ/ only contrast in stressed syllables. In unstressed syllables, each element of the pair occurs in complementary distribution with the other.

Knowing the main inflectional paradigms of Portuguese and being acquainted with the orthography of other Western European languages can be helpful.

Personal names in Portugal must be Portuguese or adapted to the Portuguese orthography and sound and should also be easily discerned as either a masculine or feminine name by a Portuguese speaker. Brazilian birth registrars are likely to accept names containing any (Latin) letters or diacritics.

The use of diacritics in personal names is generally restricted to the combinations above, often also by the applicable Portuguese spelling rules.Overview of Portuguese language pronunciation and orthography

  • Unstressed nasal and vowel phonemes tend to mid height in Brazilian Portuguese, whereas in pre-20th-century European Portuguese, they tended to be raised to [ə], [i], and [u].
  • Vowel reduction is less commonly used in educated speech than in colloquial and vernacular speech, but mid vowels are still dominant over open-mid ones in unstressed environments.
  • Vowel reduction of unstressed nasal vowels is prevalent in Brazil, in both colloquial and educated speech, and is slightly less common in Portugal.
  • The pronunciation of accented vowels is fairly stable, but they become nasal in certain conditions.
  • The grave accent is used only on the letter “a” and is grammatical, indicating a crasis between two “a”s, such as the preposition “to” and the feminine article “the.”
  • The trema is no longer official, but it was used to indicate that the usually silent “u” between “q” or “g” and “i” or “e” is pronounced.
  • Loanwords with /ʃ/ in their original languages receive the letter “x” to represent it when they are nativized.
  • Portuguese syllabification rules require a syllable break between double letters, but all digraphs are indivisible.
  • The apostrophe is used to indicate the elision of a vowel in the contraction of a preposition with the word that follows it, and the hyphen is used to make compound words.
  • Prior to the Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement of 1990, Portuguese had two orthographic standards.
  • The reformed orthography (1990 Agreement) is obligatory in Brazil, Cape Verde, and Portugal.


Test your knowledge of Portuguese orthography and pronunciation with our quiz! From diacritics and digraphs to inflectional paradigms and personal names, this quiz covers all the essential aspects of the Portuguese language's orthography and pronunciation. Whether you're a native speaker or learning Portuguese as a second language, this quiz will challenge and expand your understanding of this fascinating and complex language. So, put your skills to the test and see how well you know Portuguese orthography and pronunciation!

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