This question is coming from the meme about Brazilian players supossedly spamming “huehuehue” in some game. On urbandictionary, it says that’s the Brazilian way to express the sound of laughter. However, it doesn’t say how it is pronounced or whether it is solely written that way by Brazilians.

I don’t know any Portuguese, so I was wondering:

  • Do the Portuguese also write “hue hue hue”?
  • How do Brazilians and Portuguese pronounce it?
  • In English it’s “ha ha” or “he he”, why is there a “u” in “hue hue”?
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    Welcome to Portuguese Language! In Portugal usually we use "ha ha", we don't use "hue hue hue". – Jorge B. Mar 3 '16 at 16:32
  • it would, taken literally, end up sounding like "we, we, we" in english – roberto tomás Mar 3 '16 at 18:14
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    @robertotomás not really... where's the dry 'h sound? And wouldn't English we we we sound like portuguese uí uí uí? – ANeves Mar 9 '16 at 9:45
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    @ANeves the 'h sound' you are looking for is in the "r" at word-initial position (although not at all present in european portuguese, which has an almost french-sounding "r"). "h"s are silent in portuguese, particularly at the beginning of a word. (quick reference) Also, 'e finals' (the 'e sound' for "e"s at the end of a word) have their sound changed to "i". Thus "hue" in portuguese ==> "we" in english – roberto tomás Mar 9 '16 at 13:42
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    youtube.com/watch?v=WAWa0pSXHbk sou um br brbrbrb r hueheuheuheuheuehuehueheuheu HUE HUE HEU h/ BRBRBR huehueheuheuheuehuehueheuheuheuehuehueheuheuehuehueh huehuheuehueheuheueh – user1364 Sep 23 '16 at 1:57
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Adding to what Eduardo said, "hue hue" isn't the Brazilian way to express the sound of laughter, it's only one of the many textual laughs Brazilians use.

"Hue hue hue", pronounced somewhat this way and explained in details below, is the, exclusively Brazilian, laugh of "zoeira". "Zoeira" means joking, making fun of things.

Additionally, "hue" can also be a typo from the "heu heu heu" laugh.

But hue can also be more than just an internet laughing, it can also be considered as a concept.
As hue's foundation, it's said by Brazilians that "the zoeira has no limits" and "the zoeira never ends". There's the word "hueragem" that is the practice of doing "hue" things. So basically hueragem is the Brazilian "skill" of making fun of everything that is possible to make of, be that verbally (like joking) or practically (like causing a mess on a social network page or online game, etc.), just for fun, and never knowing when to stop.

Usually (or most of the times) it's used in an international context, like in an online game, Brazilians directly joking someone of another country, etc., in which "hueragem" means the practice of doing hue things specifically by Brazilians to people of another nationality, causing people from these countries to create bad stereotypes about the Brazilians, known, at least in online games, by their mark: the "hue hue hue" laugh.

Some examples of hueragens:

Tyler James Willians being spammed with quotes from "Everybody Hates Chris" by Brazilians.

Brazilians spamming Grammy's page with indications for the singer Inês Brasil (this resulted in a ban)

Bad habits in games by Brazilians

But please keep in mind however, that these behaviors are disapproved by many Brazilians, being considered a shame/embarrassment these people cause Brazil to take because of them. And the others just find these funny.

Pronunciation

The "hue hue" laughing mixes the phonetics of both English (H) and Portuguese (U and E).

H

Every (yes, every) textual laughing Brazilians use that start with an H, the H is pronounced just like in English (like in "hat", or IPA /h/).

"But if the Brazilian Portuguese R (as in "rato") is pronounced the same way, why not to use it instead of H that is mute in Portuguese?" you may ask. Well, most of Brazilians don't really like laughs that start with this sound to be spelled with an R (like "Ra Ra Ra"), we find that "too Portuguese" (language) or maybe "too correct", and prefer much more using an H for that sound. (Note: this only applies for laughs, nothing more than that.)

U

Pronounced like the IPA /u/, or like the U in "empanturrado".

E

The E, pronounced like the E in "comer" or IPA /e/, is the stressed vowel in "hue".

Adding it all up, "hue" would be pronounced something like /hu'e/. It can also be pronounced like /hw'e/.

  • I'm not an IPA expert either, but are you certain that's [ɪ], not [e]? Wikipedia makes me think [ɪ] usually shows up in unstressed, not stressed, syllables. (It's also the "short i" in English "it".) From what I understand, [e] is the pronunciation for /ê/. – Dan Getz Mar 12 '16 at 17:20
  • @DanGetz Well, I based myself on the pronunciations from this IPA chart, and, at least for me, /ɪ/ sounds closer. But I didn't know that it's actually an I. In Japanese, ェ is E, so I thought in IPA it was too. I'll edit, thanks. – Bruno Lopes Mar 12 '16 at 18:03
  • You know better than I do. I'm seeing things through the lens of English pronunciation, where there's a distinction made between [ɪ] and [e] (which I think is always part of the dipthong [ej]). – Dan Getz Mar 12 '16 at 18:04
  • @DanGetz So I leave it this way? – Bruno Lopes Mar 12 '16 at 18:37
  • I can't answer something I don't know…which sound do you mean? When I listen to the Brazilian recording you linked to, it sounds more like [e] than [ɪ] to me. But I don't know Portuguese enough to be certain of what I'm hearing or saying. If by [ɪ] you meant the sound of Japanese ‹ェ›, the vowel charts on Wikipedia say that's not the same sound at all. If you look at the IPA vowel chart, [ɪ] is more closed (higher in the mouth) than [e] (/ê/), and [ɛ] (/é/) is more open (lower). – Dan Getz Mar 12 '16 at 19:00

It is merely an intentionally "retarded" way of laughing, as when such players are really having fun with such attitude. That's why you see memes with a "retarded" facial expression for laughing.

  • Oh ok, I thought that was the way Brazilians laugh. – k.stm Mar 3 '16 at 22:45
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    In writing, I often see "huahuahuahua" used among teen-agers. – Centaurus Mar 4 '16 at 1:22
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    @Eduardo I thought "kkkkk" meant the form of laughter that's like a prolonged "k" fricative sound in the back of your throat. (Sort of like spitting with your throat instead of your lips?) At least, I know multiple people who laugh that way, write laughter that way, and speak Portuguese (though Portuguese is technically not their first spoken language). – Dan Getz Mar 4 '16 at 2:50
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    Eduardo, the answer is useful. But it doesn't answer the main question, the one in the title: «How is “hue hue” actually pronounced in (Brazilian) Portuguese?» – ANeves Mar 9 '16 at 14:57
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    People don't actually laugh that way, but if I were to read it, it would be: hoo-e (as the sound of the E when you read eight) – Eduardo Mar 9 '16 at 15:17

It's a internet expression which came from online multiplayer games.

There are many ways to express a laugh:

  • ha ha (pronounced almost the same as in English, because it is imported from English);
  • rs (abbreviation of risos, which means laughter; people use rsrsrs too);
  • kkk (maybe the most used);
  • hua hua hua (also a variation of hue);

As a native, I've heard friends say hue hue hue like we say the word rua, but changing a to e.

I guess hue came from a typographical error of he he, since in online games you need to type and play almost at the same time. If your keyboard have a QUERTY layout you can see the h near u. There is also some variation of this typographical error: shue, huash, and others. Well, just type randomly near from h and a or e and see what happens.

Wondering about hue hue, I use it as slang to denote a sort of smart ass, someone who will feel like a smart guy even if they do something bad or stupid. In online game servers they would play with illegal accounts, or speak only in Portuguese, and don't care about it (also have a lot of fun with it writing hue hue br br!).

A way to write a laugh as a onomatopoeia could be: "rá rá rá" or "ra ra ra" (with any vowel). This way would be near our pronunciation.

Keep in mind most of these forms are just a way to abbreviate and communicate faster through internet.

  • sumitani, fiz umas melhorias à resposta. Se não gostares de alguma delas, edita simplesmente essa parte de volta para o que estava ou para o que achares melhor. – ANeves Mar 9 '16 at 9:56

Brazilians write laughs in several ways (almost infinite), the spellings are "personal" onomatopoeias, being the most common I see: "hehehe", "hahaha" and "kkkkk".

The "h" has the sound as in the word hat in English, so similar to the sound of: risos, rato, retorno, etc in Portuguese. I believe this is a foreignness, from English. But look below the problem of using the "r" in Portuguese in the middle of the word.

ONOMATOPEIAS (FREE NEOLOGISM)

There are several variations of "hehehe" or "hahaha" using all vowels and some combinations like "hihihi", "huhuhu", "hauhauhau", "hoehoehoe", etc. There are also variations of the replications with and without the spaces like: "he he he", "hehe", "heheheheheheh...".

There are also the "kkkk" which is pronounced as "ca ca ca ca" using just the ca from word car, which is a natural pronunciation of k in Portuguese.

Rarely but used, are the onomatopoeias using the "r" instead of "h", like: "rarara", "ririri" ("rerere" I haven't seen yet, but is possible). These form has a problem to be correctly pronounced in Portuguese because just the first "r" has the sound of h like in hat, the others have the sound if r in rat. So, its strict pronunciation is English would be something like "ha ra ra", from ha(t), ra(t). To be more correct it should be written with spaces "ra ra ra", now this "ra" has the sound of ha(t) in English, and so could be an pseudo-onomatopoeia.

As free onomatopoeias, I have some friends which prefer to be unique and write things like "quiquiqui", "cacaca", "kaukaukau". So, there are many others.

The spelling variations may have a lot of motives, being the main: personal preferences, as people laugh differently can be a try to imitate it. But there are others like cultural of a group, or imitation of friends from a group, like the explanation for memes to be spread around the world. I have the example of the word "casul" which became common in Brazil just in the world of games to refer a newbie player, the origins is from "casual player".

As a meme, few people (or nobody) knows its origins either meaning (or pronunciation), so the pronunciation of "huehuehue", can be (the most probable) an English pronunciation or any adaptation to sound like an onomatopoeia for laugh.

RISOS

There are also the word "risos" (laughs), usually in plural, written as an informal (incorrect) abbreviation, like: "rs", "rs rs", "rsrsrs", and several others replications and combinations.

The full word risos is also used, with some exceptions, usually among parenthesis or braces like: (risos), [risos]. These forms is usually written in the final of the phrase like: A festa ontem foi maravilhosa, adorei relembrar as histórias do colégio (risos).

  • Yeah. Riu riu riu. – Luciano Mar 16 '16 at 21:18

Origin:

I have two hypotheses:

  1. It's derived from "evil laughter" as in mwa-haha → huahuahua → huehuehue

  2. It just came from a random combination of H + any vowel that represent various kinds of laughter (including evil, retarded, silly, uncontrolled, whatever): huaieuhiauehiuahhiuhiuheiaha

Pronunciation:

(this has been answered, just in case some kind of doubt remains)

IPA: /hu'e/ or /hwe/.

Using an English-like transcription: hoo-e (E as in Eight).

Do we really laugh that way?

No.

Well I'm Brazilian from State of MG (Minas Gerais) and I've never heard of "hue hue hue" — I found it funny.

There are many ways in which we Brazilians show laughter, such as:

  • rsrsrsrsrs (which is the abbreviation for the word “laughter” (risos)

  • kkkkkkkkkk

  • kakakakaka

  • hahahahaha

  • hauhahuauha (some do this one I don't know why, rs)

  • hehehehe (the /e/ sound in Brazil goes for the sound /e/ inside the diphthong /ei/ as in the word day)

But if you want to be ironic, you can laugh like HA HA HA (no funny).

These are the ones I'm remembering for now. I use more kkkkkkkkkkkkkk.

As has been noted by many others, my experience is also that "hue hue hue" is not a lusophone meme at all, not onomatopoeic for the sound of laughter in portuguese.

Loosely, you could imagine that it is meant to preserve the foreign character of portuguese sounds to english speakers, and still be onomatopoeic to the sound of laughter (it is basically a misspelled laughter sound).

If you asked a portuguese speaker to pronounce it as if it were a lusophone utterance, there are a couple of variations you might hear:

  • hi (as in the english word "he") if they decide to try to be faithful to the onomatopoeic character.
  • wi (again, as "we" is said in english) if they are not from portugual. This is because "h"s are silent in portuguese, particularly at the beginning of a word. (quick reference) Also, 'e finals' (the 'e sound' for "e"s at the end of a word) have their sound changed to "i" in common Brazilian portuguese (and often enough other locations).
  • ɣui or χui or ʁui (these first letters are ips symbols for various R sounds as pronounced in portuguese) if the speaker is portuguese and decides to anglify the pronunciation rules but use portuguese sounds, therefore electing to use "r"s for the initial "h" sound.
  • ɣu or χu or ʁu same as above, but following the portuguese pattern of dropping the final e. This is common in portuguese speach, for example: Sara Sampaio illustrates Portuguese where she says "O meu nome é Sara. É assim que se fala Português" which sounds to an english speaker rather like "Meu Nom é Sara. É assinc sfala Português" —notice all the dropped final e's.
  • a final option might be u for people from Portugual, both dropping the silent "h" and dropping the final "e".
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    "hue hue hue" is not a lusophone meme at all Indeed, because only Brazil use it, while all other Portuguese speaking countries do not. Hue -> hi ?? Wi ?? What?? I think you are kind of equivocated with the pronunciations, or at least with the Brazilian ones. A syllable starting with an H, in Portuguese, have a clear sound of its vowel (e.g. "hu" is pronounced with a clear /u/ sound, instead of a /w/ sound), i.e. "hue" wouldn't be pronounced as [wi]. The H in hue have a /h/ sound, just like "ha ha", that is the reason for it to be spelled with an H. – Bruno Lopes Mar 10 '16 at 3:23
  • And this /ɪ/ pronounced as /i/ thing isn't a rule, and "hue" isn't a word, so the E is pronounced as /ɪ/, instead of /i/ like in "corte", "ande", "monte", etc. – Bruno Lopes Mar 10 '16 at 3:23
  • Bruno I invite you to read the comments elsewhere in this thread. I was asked to post my response, and there is plenty of detail as to what sounds come from where in this answer. PS, the term Lusophone includes Brazil —it means "all portuguese speakers" – roberto tomás Mar 10 '16 at 4:24
  • I did read the comment requesting you to create an answer, but in your answer you are saying that "hue hue" is pronounced totally in Portuguese reading, and saying that the "E" in "hue" is pronounced as "I", which both actually aren't, as I explained. – Bruno Lopes Mar 10 '16 at 5:39
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    Ok, this answer isn't about the "hue hue" laughing, but it's as if this laughing didn't existed and if it was pronounced with the phonetics of the Portuguese language, which some does make sense. But this question refers to the laughing, so... End of discussion. – Bruno Lopes Mar 10 '16 at 15:29

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