European Portuguese and Spanish

“Sometimes it is hard to think in European Portuguese without questioning myself if I’m using the correct idiom/language. Is this Portuguese or Spanish? Which are the differences? However, I am 100% sure that I have spoken “Portuñol” many times in my life!”

The grammar and many structures are quite similar. Portuguese and Spanish are two of the most similar languages in the world. The accents and the spelling are not easy if you think that there are different types of sounds for every single vowel.

Portuguese people don’t open much of their mouths when they are talking with other Portuguese people. This is a huge obstacle for foreign people who want to learn the language. But if you reach B2 level in Portuguese you will be able to understand almost everything that Portuguese and Spanish people say.


If you can understand Spanish grammar it will be easy for you to understand Portuguese. The idioms are not the same but they have equivalents in many tenses and many words.

Portuguese people can understand Spanish but Spanish speakers struggle to understand Portuguese citizens. European Portuguese has a broader range of different sounds. Spanish speakers use a narrow range of sounds and that is the reason why they can’t understand Portuguese people talking. Check this example: Portuguese nasal sounds (avião, cadernão).

If you are learning European Portuguese be aware that these two languages are very different when spoken, despite the fact that their grammar is similar.

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