Conjugations (source: Venâncio)
Verbs in -ar
Verbs that have an infinitive that ends in -ar, and which have an
e or o in the penultimate syllable have the open sound (as if written
é or ó) whenever that syllable is stressed.
Example: emprego /e~prEgu/ (I use /AI ju:z/), emprega /e~prEg3/ (he/she/it uses), etc.
See also verb vs. noun.
There are some exceptions to this rule: chegar (chego /Segu/ (I arrive)) and arguably fechar: fecho (I close) often sounds as if written feicho /f3iSu/, probably due to the assimilation of the /S/ sound and insertion of a short /i/.
Sonhar and soltar have closed vowels in their conjugation. But voltar is regular.
Present tense of verbs in -erMany of these that have a non-nasalised e or o in the penultimate syllable have /e/ or /o/ in the first person singular of the present indicative and in all persons of the subjunctive, but /E/ or /O/ in the other persons of the present indicative (i.e., because of the stress patterns, second and third singular, and third plural.
|corres||(you run)||/kOR\1s/ [kOR\1S]|
|corra||(that I tun / that you run)||/koR\3/|
|corras||(that you run)||/koR\3s/ [koR\3S]|
|corram||(that they run)||/koR\3~u~/|
Perfect etc. of verbs in -er
Regular verbs in -er
The e in the endings of the Perfeito, Subjuntivo Imperfeito
and Subjuntivo Futuro of regular er-verbs have the
half-close sound /e/.
Example: vendeste (you sold) /ve~dest1/ [ve~ndeSt1].
Irregular verbs in -er
In the corresponding conjugations of irregular er-verbs
(except ler=read) we hear the half-open
Examples: soubeste (you knew) /soubEst1/ [souBESt1], houver (that there was/were) /ouvEr/.
Verb vs. noun
Because the rule about open sounds in conjugated forms of ar-verbs is only valid for verbs, not for nouns, there is a systematic difference between first person singular verbal form and the corresponding noun. The difference can be heard, but after several spelling reforms there is no longer any distinction in writing. Example:
emprego /e~prEgu/ means "I use" /AI ju:z/, but
emprego /e~pregu/ means "use" /ju:s/.
Likewise começo (I begin, beginning), jogo (I play, game), olho (I look, eye), and many others.
The same thing can occur with nouns ending in -a and third person verbs: força /fors3/ means force, power, strength; while força /fOrs3/ is a verb conjugation meaning it/she/he forces.
Special case: see 14 about "sonho".
Singular vs. plural nouns.
Thus we have:
By combining information from various sources I compiled the following table of words with a different o-vowel in singular and plural, and of other with have the close vowel in both.
Note that some words are in both lists, due to conflicting information from different sources: almoços, acordo, esposo, or mention of variation in one source (Willis): desporto, estofo. I haven't yet checked (June 2004) what the Academia has to say about these.
Singular masculine adjectives vs. feminine and plural forms
Many adjectives have /o/ in the
masculine singular, but /O/ in
the feminine singular, and also in both the masculine and feminine plurals.
novo /novo/ © vs.
nova /nOv3/ ©,
novos /nOvus/, novas /nOv3s/,
canhoto, choco, grosso, morno, morto, porco, posto, torto, and all
adjectives that end in -oso/-osa/-osos/-osas.
Todo however always keeps its /o/, also in toda, todos, todas.
Many pronouns follow a similar pattern as the aforementioned adjectives,
except that here masculine plurals also have the close sound:
ele /el1/ vs. ela /El3/, eles /el1s/, elas /El3s/.
Likewise este, essa and aquele and àquele.
Note that in these examples either half-open sounds, /E/, /O/ or /3/, meet in the same word, or they are all (half-)close sounds /e/, /o/ or /1/ (written e) or /u/ (written o). So one could speculate that this phenomenon was once due to assimilation (making sounds in each other's vicinity similar) or some kind of vowel harmony, like what is also found in unrelated languages like Turkish, Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian. This same pattern is also seen with related words such as porta (door) © and porto (harbour) ©. But counter-examples exist: todo /todu/, but also toda /tod3/, not */tOd3/.