Tá Falado: Brazilian Portuguese Pronunciation for Speakers of Spanish

Lesson 5: Stressed and Unstressed /a/, Self-Checkout at the Supermarket

Nov. 12, 2006

  • asset title: Lesson 5: Stressed and Unstressed /a/, Self-Checkout at the Supermarket
  • filename: tafalado_05.mp3
  • track number: 5/46
  • time: 9:30
  • size: 6.52 MB
  • bitrate: 96 kbps
There is a tendency for almost every vowel in unstressed syllables in English to turn into what is called a 'schwa'. It is the sound like 'uh'. Listen, for example the 'e' in 'delivery'. When learning Spanish, one of the great challenges is to stop saying 'uh.' 'It's 'nada' not 'naduh'! However, in Portuguese Brazilians also pronounce unstressed /a/ as a schwa. You see, all this time you thought you had bad Spanish and you really just have good Portuguese. As to the cultural situation in this lesson, both Michelle and Valdo had to get used to the self-checkout lines at the supermarket.


Valdo: Ah, essa fila tá enorme!
Michelle: É verdade. Vamos pagar no auto-atendimento.
Valdo: Onde fica a máquina?
Michelle: Está lá na entrada.
Valdo: Você sabe como se usa essa coisa aqui?
Michelle: Claro, é fácil. É só passar o cartão.

Valdo: Esta fila está muy larga.
Michelle: Es verdad. Vamos a pagar en el auto-servicio
Valdo: ¿Dónde queda la máquina?
Michelle: Está allá en la entrada.
Valdo: ¿Sabes cómo se usa esa cossa aquí?
Michelle: Claro, es fácil. Es sólo pasar la tarjeta.

Valdo: This line is really long.
Michelle: That's right. Let's pay at the self-service machine.
Valdo: Where is the machine?
Michelle: Over there by the entrance.
Valdo: Do you know how to use this thing here?
Michelle: Of course, it's easy. Just insert your card.

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