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In the likes of espanhol, the h makes the word sound a certain way and which is different as if it were espanol.

However, in the verd conhecer, for instance, does the h make any difference at all? It's pronounced as if there was no h in it, isn't it? Why is it there then?

2 Answers 2

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The 'nh' in European Portuguese has the same sound as the 'ñ' in Spanish. This causes conhecer to be pronounced differently from conecer (which is not a word in Portuguese). The answer given by the Brazilian also applies to eu-pt.

4

The sound of nh is different from the n and so the h is indeed there for a reason. It is the sound that in IPA could be represented by /ɲ/, a nasal palatal either as a voiced sound or an approximant. In Brazillian Portuguese, the whole word could be pronounced as /kõ.ɲeˈseʁ/ (the pronunciation of letters such as the o or the r may vary but uniformly the sound /ɲ/ will be realized for nh).

In Spanish, this sound that we represent by the digraph nh is represented by the letter ñ; the pronunciation of nh and ñ are virtually the same in the two languages.

You may be interested in reading the Wikipedia pages on Portuguese Phonology, on the Voiced Palatal Nasal and on the Nasal Palatal Approximant.

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  • You've only added European Portuguese to the question tags, which I do not read when answering a question because I would never assume it conveys important information. I always mention Brazilian Portuguese because I do not want to extrapolate to other variants of Portuguese with which I am not familiar.
    – Tera
    Aug 14 at 22:26
  • There are many great contributors here from Portugal, I am sure, who could answer questions regarding European Portuguese
    – Tera
    Aug 14 at 22:27
  • Start to assume that it conveys important information
    – Nondi
    Aug 16 at 1:37
  • what motherfucker deleted my 1st comment?
    – Nondi
    Aug 19 at 4:51

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