Cognates: words that you already know

A cognate is a word that comes from the same origin as a word from another language. Cognates between languages usually have similarities in spelling, pronunciation, and/or meaning and are very helpful as we learn a foreign language because they may sound or look familiar to the student’s native language. Look athe following adjectives in Portuguese and see their cognates in English, and click below to hear their pronunciation.

*Note that some of the adjectives below have a masculine (ending with vowel o) and a feminine form (ending with vowel a). Example: Maria é corajosa, João é atlético.*

Portuguese cognatesagressivo/a  – agressive
ambicioso/a – ambitious
animado/a  – animated
atlético/a  – athletic
arrogante – arrogant
calmo/a – calm
corajoso/a – corageous
criativo/a – creative
competente – competent
conservador/a – conservative
dinâmico/a – dinamic
elegante – elegant
excelente – excellent
extrovertido/a – extrovert
eficiente – efficient
fascinante – fascinating
gigante – giant
generoso/a – generous
horrível – horrible
independente – independent
irresponsável – irresponsible
impulsivo/a – impulsive
introvertido/a – introvert
idealista – idealist
imparcial – impartial
importante – important
independente – independent
inteligente – intelligent
interessante – interesting
justo/a – just

Don’t forget your accents :)

Accents are very important in the Portuguese language. Coco (coconut) and cocô (poop), for instance, are words with very different meanings, although the only difference between the two in writing is the circumflex accent.

Set up your
 keyboard to use the correct characters as you type

1-Set up international keyboard: select English – United States – International
2-Press the codes in the bracket at the same time, followed by the letter you want to be accented.
[Shift ~] = tilde (til) -> pão

[`] = grave accent (crase) -> Sairei às duas horas.

[‘ ](apostrophe) = acute (acento agudo) -> está

[Shift ^] = circumflex (acento circunflexo) ->experiência

[RightAlt c] = cedilla (cê cedilha) -> balanço


Go to Apple -> System preferences -> Keyboard ->Input sources -> U.S. International – PC

Then, press the two characters at the same time, release them, then type the letter you want to be accented.

[Option n] + letter = tilde (til) -> não , caminhões

[Option `] + letter = grave accent (crase) -> Fui à escola.

[Option e] + letter = acute (acento agudo) -> Kátia, café, índio, pó, cúpula

[Option i] + letter = circumflex (acento circunflexo) -> você, pôr, âmbito

[Option c] + c= cedilla (cê cedilha) -> força, soluço


You may also try the shortcuts listed below:
(list based on information provided by  Symbol Codes )

Accents in Portuguese


Luso what? Lusophones/Lusófonos: a brief explanation

If you are studying Portuguese, know that you are learning about the Lusophone world and its cultures as well.  The Lusophone world are countries that speak Portuguese as their official language and were colonized by the Portuguese. With 270 million speakers, Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language on the planet.

The Lusophone world is comprised of ten countries/regions:

Brazil Brazil

Angola Angola

Mozambique Mozambique

Portugal Portugal

Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau

East Timor East Timor

Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea

Macau Macau

Cape Verde Cape Verde

São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe

(Portuguese: lusófonos) are people who speak the Portuguese language, either as native speakers or as learners. Similarly, the Lusosphere or Lusophony (Portuguese : Lusofonia) is a community of people who are culturally and linguistically linked to Portugal, either historically or by choice. The idea of a Lusosphere is free of ethnic connotations, in that a Lusophone may not have any Portuguese ancestry at all.

The Lusophone world is mainly a legacy of the Portuguese Empire, although Portuguese diaspora and Brazilian diaspora  communities have also played a role in spreading the Portuguese language. Even after the collapse of the empire, the corresponding countries continue to exhibit both cultural and political affinities, expressed in the existence of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), created in 1996.

The term Lusophone is a combination of the form “Luso-” (from the Latin term for an area roughly corresponding to modern Portugal, called Lusitania). and the suffix “-phone” ( from the Ancient Greek  word φωνή (phōnē), meaning “voice”).

The use of the term Lusophone mirrors similar terms, such as Anglophone for English-speakers, Francophone for French-speakers, Hispanophone for Spanish-speakers, and Sinophone for Chinese-speakers. The term is sometimes used in reference to the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, similar to the Francophonie.

Map Portugal's colonies
“And if there is more world, we will get there”. Map – Portugal dos Pequenitos – Coimbra, Portugal – Photo by Daderot (licensed under CC0 1.0.)


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