Angolan Portuguese
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Angolan Portuguese
Angolan Portuguese
português angolano, português de Angola
Native toAngola
Native speakers
12 million (48% of the population) (2016)[1]
26 million (71% of the population) spoke Portuguese at home, often alongside a Bantu language (2014 census)[2]
Language codes

Angolan Portuguese (Portuguese: Português de Angola) is a group of dialects and accents of the Portuguese language used mostly in Angola, where it is an official language. In 2005 it was used there by 60% of the population, including by 20% as their first language. The 2016 CIA World Fact Book reports that 12.3 million, or 47% of the population, speaks Portuguese as their first language. However, many parents raise their children to speak only Portuguese. The 2014 census found that 71% speak Portuguese at home, many of them alongside a Bantu language, breaking down to 85% in urban areas and 49% in rural areas.[2]

There are different stages of Portuguese in Angola in a similar manner to other Portuguese-speaking African countries. Some closely approximate Standard Portuguese pronunciation and are associated with the upper class and younger generations of urban background. Angola is the second country with the highest number of Portuguese-speaking people, only behind Brazil.


The standard phonology in Angola is based on the European standard, as in the rest of Lusophone Africa. Vernacular accents share similarities with Brazilian Portuguese and these similar features have historical reasons. However, the contemporary Standard European Portuguese is the preferred pronunciation, as such it has become a transitional dialect somewhat midway between the European and Brazilian varieties.


Oral diphthongs
/i/ /u/
Start point /a/ aj aw
/?/ ?j ?w
/e/ ej ew
/i/ iw
/?/ ?j
/o/ oj
/u/ uj
Nasal diphthongs
/j?/ /w?/
Start point /ã/ ãj? ãw?
/?/ ?j?
/õ/ õj?
/?/ ?j
  • The close central vowel /?/ occurs only at final, unstressed syllables, e.g. presidente /p?ezi'd?t?/.
  • The open vowels /?/ and /a/ merge to [a], and likewise /?/ appears only in unstressed final syllables, unlike in European Portuguese, where it occurs in most unstressed syllables, e.g. rama /'?am?/. The nasal // becomes open [ã].[6]
  • In vernacular varieties, the diphthong /ej/ is typically monophthongized to [e], e.g. sei /'sej/ < ['se].
  • In vernacular varieties, the diphthong /ow/ is typically monophthongized to [o], e.g. sou /'sow/ < ['so].


  • is often realised as [j?], e.g. ninho ['n?j?u], which also nasalizes the vowel that precedes it.
  • Word-final /r/ ([?, ?]) is dropped, especially by people who speak Portuguese as their second language.


Although most of the vocabulary is the same as in Portugal, Brazil or Mozambique, there are some differences, many due to the influence of several languages spoken in Angola. Each area has different lexicon originating from the distinctive languages. In the capital, Luanda, a very standard Portuguese is spoken, and tribal culture and languages are practically nonexistent. Still, there are several Kimbundu influences. This lexicon is not used in documents or business, for example, as it is mostly seen as slang, but there are exceptions. Most of this lexicon is mostly used by younger Angolans and Portuguese, similarly to younger Angolan Americans in the US.

Angola Portugal Brazil Translation
bazar ir embora, bazar (slang) ir embora, vazar (slang) to go away/home
cacimba poço cacimba, poço well
chuinga pastilha elástica, chiclete chiclete chewing gum
garina rapariga, miúda, garina, gaja (slang) garota, guria (in the south) girl
jinguba amendoim amendoim peanut
machimbombo autocarro ônibus bus
candongueiro carrinha van van
ngongo país país country
musseque bairro da lata favela slum quarter

Younger Luandese, who speak primarily Portuguese, have even a wider lexicon of slang. It does not correspond to a dialect, but a sociolect. Because of immigration and because of the slang's novelty, the younger generations in Portugal often adopt its use. Angolans in Lisbon also have a tendency to create new words for use socially and as group expressions, and often even newcomers from Angola cannot understand them. The newcomers are known as exportados ("exported ones"). The following list has Luandese followed by Standard Portuguese:

  • não tem maka - não tem problema ("no problem")
  • está anduta - está fácil ("it is easy")
  • apanhar uma tona - apanhar uma bebedeira ("to get drunk")
  • kota - velho ("older person"; originally a respectful word and still so between Angolans, but younger Portuguese use it as a slang for older people, sometimes kindly, but often pejoratively, e.g. for "old geezer").
  • iofé - feio ("ugly"; maybe a Portuguese inverted slang; see verlan).
  • mboa - mulher ("woman").
  • piô, candengue - criança ("child")
  • pitéu - comida ("food"; Between Portuguese, it indicates "tasty food").
  • latona - mulata ("mulatto woman").
  • mboio - comboio (abbreviation for "train").
  • tape - televisão ("television").
  • bila, bilau - camisa ("shirt").
  • bóter - carro ("car").

Examples of words borrowed from Kimbundu, for instance, into Angolan Portuguese include:

  • cubata 'house'
  • muamba 'chicken stew'
  • quinda 'basket'
  • pogiumbo 'machete'
  • umbanda, milongo 'medicine'
  • quituxe 'crime'


Sign in Portuguese at the Avenida de Lenin (Lenin avenue) in Luanda

Many words of Angolan origin have reached other countries or regions where Portuguese is used. Among these words are bunda (backside or "bottom"); fubá (a maize flour); moleque ("kid"); and several others. Also included are words not native to other regions, such as kizomba, kilapanda, kilapanga, ngoma, and kuduro. But regardless of the loanwords from Bantu languages in the lexicon, it must not be considered a Portuguese creole because the grammar and lexicon are truly Portuguese-based. In Brazilian Portuguese, there are a large number of words whose origins lie in Angolan languages. Various aspects of Brazilian culture - samba, candomblé and capoeira - all bear linguistic traces of this contact.

In Portugal, Angolan Portuguese has had a large influence on the vernacular of the younger population, contributing significant amounts of lexicon. Examples include:

  • bazar ("to go away/home"; in Brazil spelt as vazar)
  • garina ("girl")
  • bumbar ("to work" in Angola, "to party" in Portugal; sometimes spelt as bombar)
  • bué ("many", "a lot")
  • ("yes")

and numerous other examples. Many of these words and expression made their way to Portugal during the period of decolonisation in the 1970s, with the arrival of so-called retornados, white Angolans who left the newly independent nation. This influence was reinforced by more recent immigration of black Angolans as a result of the Angolan civil war. These words were even brought to Brazil and South Africa by white Angolan refugees during and after independence.

It is also commonly seen as the African accent of Portuguese, and when dubbing an African character in cartoons and TV and film productions, Portuguese usually mimic an Angolan accent. Many Angolan Portuguese speakers grew up as, or had parents who were, speakers of African languages such as Umbundu, so there is some phonological influence of these local African languages on this form of Portuguese.

See also


  1. ^ "Ethnologue report on Angola".
  2. ^ a b "Angola: Português é falado por 71,15% de angolanos (censo de 2014)" [Angola: Portuguese is Spoken by 71.15% of Angolans (2014 Census)]. Observatório da Língua Portuguesa (in Portuguese). Lusa. April 7, 2016.
  3. ^ "Portuguese"; IANA language subtag registry; named as: pt; publication date: 16 October 2005; retrieved: 11 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Angola"; IANA language subtag registry; named as: AO; publication date: 16 October 2005; retrieved: 11 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b Undolo (2014), p. 185.
  6. ^ Undolo (2014), p. 183.


External links

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