Tip 52. Words that sound almost the same, but not quite…

Vowels (you know, a, e, i, o, u…) can be tricky letters, and their pronunciation can change radically from one language to another. That is definitely the case between Spanish and Portuguese. There is a whole group of words in Spanish that have two vowels next to each other, words like escuela, juego and vuelta, that only have one vowel in Portuguese, escola, jogo and volta. Sometimes Portuguese speakers will understand what you mean if you use these Spanish words, but if you can learn to say them correctly in Portuguese, all the better. After all, who doesn’t want to sound Brazilian? Here are 15 of the most frequent words in Portuguese that only have one vowel where in Spanish they have two:

English Spanish Portuguese
death muerte morte
account / bill cuenta conta
school escuela escola
game juego jogo
turn vuelta volta
foot pie
price precio preço
strong fuerte forte
guard guardia guarda
member miembro membro
meeting / encounter encuentro encontro
fear miedo medo
source fuente fonte
answer respuesta resposta
open abierto aberto

Example 1:
English: This restaurant is open late.
Spanish: Este restaurante está abierto hasta tarde.
Portuguese: Esse restaurante fica aberto até tarde.  

Example 2:
English: Let’s get the bill (the check).
Spanish: Vamos a pedir la cuenta.
Portuguese: Vamos pedir a conta.