The Riverense Portuñol or Riverense Portunhol, also known as Fronterizo or Fronteiriço is a mixed language (linguasphere language code 51-AAA-am) formed from Portuguese and Spanish, or Portunhol. It is spoken on the border between Uruguay and Brazil, and more specifically in the region of the twin cities of Rivera (Uruguay) and Santana do Livramento (Brazil). This section of the frontier is called Frontera de la Paz (Border of Peace).
The majority of linguists classify portuñol as a variety of Portuguese (Alberto Elizaincín , uses the term "DPU" - Dialectos Portugueses del Uruguay to refer not to just one, but to between two and six different variations of Portuguese spoken in northern Uruguay, being Riverense Portuñol one of these varieties), but there is no consensus. On the other hand, it can be safely said that Portuñol is a very rich language, in the sense that it has a great amount of synonyms and more precise words to express specific meanings, besides of having a larger phonetic richness. However, it is not true to say that Riverense is merely a mix between two languages which doesn't follow strict grammatical rules.
The chosen representation is the closest to the one that would be used if we tried to transcribe the phonemes to the Spanish language (because this is the language taught to Uruguayans, which is the nationality of the majority of speakers of this dialect), except for the phonemes that can't be represented through the Spanish alphabet, like, for example the nasal vowels.
|letter||IPA||Portuñol||Pronunciation (IPA)||Spanish (Rioplatense dialect)||Portuguese||English|
|catarata||catarata||catarata / queda de água||waterfall|
|ciá||cenar||jantar/cear||to have dinner|
|o||o||ontonte||anteayer||anteontem||day before yesterday|
|u||yururú||triste, melancólico||triste, melancólico||sad, melancholic|
|nu||en el||no / em||in the (m.)|
Distinguishing the open-mid vowels (é, ó) is very important because they can change completely the meaning of a word, like in the following examples:
|sã||sana (adj.)||sã||healthy (f.)|
|an (*)||cansha||cancha||campo desportivo||sports ground|
|ẽ||en (*)||pênsaũ||piensan||pensam||(they) think|
|õ||õ||garsõ||mozo (de bar o restaurante)||empregado de mesa||waiter (bar, restaurant)|
|niñũa||ninguna||nenhuma||no one (f.)|
(*) before s, sh, y, z, ce, ci.
(**) before s, sh, y, z, ce, ci, or when it is the first syllable and is not followed by ga, gue, gui, go, gu, ca, que, qui, co, cu or k.
Distinguishing nasal vowels is very important, because they can completely change the meaning of the word, like in the following examples:
On the next table, when there is a reference to Spanish, it is actually referred to the Rioplatense Spanish dialect, and where there is a reference to Portuguese, it is actually referred to Brazilian Portuguese and more specifically the Gaúcho dialect (from the Brazilian Southern state of Rio Grande do Sul).
|letter||IPA||name||description||examples and counter-examples (eng=English, esp=Spanish, port=Portuguese)|
|b||b, β||be||It represents the same phoneme as in Spanish and Portuguese. It is always a bilabial.||brabo ['bɾaβo] (eng. angry, esp. enojado/bravo, port. zangado).|
|c||k, s||ce||It is used the same as in Spanish and Portuguese when before a vowel or a consonant different from h,. That is, it represents the phoneme [k] when it is followed by the vowels a, o, u, ã, õ, ũ, ó, another consonant than h; and it represents the phoneme [s] when it is located before the vowels e, i, é.||cacimba [ka'simba] (eng. hole with drinkable water, esp. cachimba, port. cacimba).|
|ch||ʧ||ce hache, che||It is always used as in Spanish and is equivalent to tch in Portuguese.||che [ʧe] (esp. che, port. tchê), bombacha [bom'baʧa] (underpants), bombasha [bom'baʃa] (gaucho's trousers).|
|d||d, ð||de||Used the same as in Spanish. It never represents, as in some regions of Brazil, the affricate [dʒ].||diploide [di'plojðe] (eng. diploid, esp. diploide, port. diplóide [dʒi'plɔjdʒi]).|
|f||f||efe||The same phoneme as in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.|
|g||g, ɣ, χ||ge||It represents the same sound as in Spanish and Portuguese when located before a consonant or the vowels a, o, u, ã, õ, ũ, ó. It represents the same sound as the Spanish j (similar to English h) when located before the vowels e, i, é.||gagueyá [gaɣe'ʒa] (eng. to stammer, esp. tartamudear, port. gaguejar), geología [χeolo'χia] (eng, geology, esp. geología, port. geologia).|
|h||hache||Silent, except when it follows a c or an s. In Portuñol, it is preferred not to use h when it is not present in the original word in Spanish or Portuguese.||hoye ['oʒe] (eng. today, esp. hoy, port. hoje), oso ['oso] (eng. bone, esp. hueso, port. osso)|
|j||χ||jota||It represents the same phoneme as in Spanish (similar to English h).||jirafa [χi'ɾɑfɑ] sounds like Spanish and yirafa [ʒi'ɾafa] sounds like Portuguese (eng. giraffe, esp. jirafa, port. girafa)|
|k||k||ka||Represents the same phoneme as in Spanish and Portuguese (and English).|
|l||l||ele||Represents the same phoneme as in Spanish. In Portuguese, an l at the end of a word sounds like an [u] or [w]; in Fronterizo this never happens.||Brazil [bɾa'zil] (eng. Brazil, esp. and port. Brasil)|
|m||m||eme||It represents the same phoneme as in Spanish (voiced bilabial nasal). In Portuguese, an m denotes many different sounds, depending on the preceding vowels.|
|n||n, ŋ||ene||It represents the same phoneme as in Spanish, except the cases exposed in the nasal vowels section.||amên a'men] (eng. amen, esp. amén), amêñ [a'meɲ] (eng. amen, port. amém), inté [ĩ'tɛ] (eng. see you later, esp. hasta luego, port. até mais), sanga ['saŋga] (eng. ditch, esp. zanja, port. valeta)|
|ñ||ɲ||eñe||Is the same phoneme as in Spanish (and which in Portuguese is represented by the digraph nh).||niño ['niɲo] (eng. nest, esp. nido, port. ninho), carpiñ [kaɾ'piɲ] (eng. sock, esp. calcetín, port. meia), muñto ['muɲto] (eng. a lot of, esp. mucho, port. muito), ruñ [ruɲ] (eng. wicked, bad or rotten, esp. malo, port. ruim)|
|p||p||pe||Represents the same phoneme as in Spanish and Portuguese (and English).|
|q||k||cu||Represents the same phoneme as in Spanish and Portuguese (and English). It is always followed by a u.|
|r||r, ɾ||erre, ere||It represents the same pair of phonemes as in Spanish.|
|s||s, z||ese||It represents the same phoneme as in Spanish; except when at the end of a word and the following word begins with a vowel, or when located before a voiced consonant. In these cases it is phonetically equivalent to the Portuguese z [z].||asesino [ase'sino] (eng. murderer, esp. asesino, port. assassino), read like in Portuguese it would be azezino [aze'zino], a non-existent word in Portuñol; más flaco [mas'flako] (eng. skinnier, esp. más flaco, port. mais magro), más gordo [maz'ɣordo] (eng. fatter, esp. más gordo, port. mais gordo)|
|sh||ʃ||ese hache, she||It represents the same phoneme that is represented by the digraph ch in Portuguese (that is, the English sh)||shuva ['ʃuva] (eng. rain, esp. lluvia, port. chuva); aflósha [a'flɔʃa] (eng. don't disturb, esp. no molestes, port. não perturbe)|
|t||t||te||It represents the same phoneme as in Spanish and is never affricate.||tímidamente ['timiða'mente] (eng. shyly, esp, tímidamente, port. timidamente ['ʧimida'menʧi]).|
|v||v||ve||It represents the same phoneme as in Portuguese and English, that is, a voiced labiodental fricative or more rarely a voiced bilabial fricative.||vaso ['vaso] (eng. glass, esp. vaso, port. copo). When used as in Spanish, it becomes baso ['baso] (eng. spleen, esp. bazo)|
|w||w||doblevê||It is used in the words derived from English, but it is convenient to follow the orthographic rules of Portuñol, for the words that are already part of this language.||whisky or uísqui ['wiski], show or shou [ʃow]|
|x||ks||equis, shis||It represents the consonant cluster [ks].||exelente [ekse'lente] (eng. excellent, esp. and port. excelente)|
|y||ʒ, j||ye, í griega||As in Rioplatense Spanish, it is postalveolar (as the s in measure); except when at the end of a world which finishes with a diphthong or a triphthong, in which case the sound is the same of Spanish or Portuguese i.||yurá [ʒu'ɾa] (eng. to swear, esp. jurar; port. jurar); Uruguay [uɾu'ɣwaj] (port. Uruguai); yacaré [ʒaka'ɾɛ] (eng. South American alligator, esp. yacaré, port. jacaré)|
|z||z||ceta||It represents the same phoneme as in Portuguese and English.||caza ['kaza] (eng. house, esp. casa, port. casa); casa ['kasa] (eng. hunting, esp. caza, port. caça)|
|zy||z, zʒ, ʒ||ceta ye||It is used in some words that have a phoneme which varies continuously between z and y (depending on the speaker).||cuazye ['kwazʒe] (eng. almost, esp. casi, port. quase); ezyemplo [e'zʒemplo] (eng. example, esp. ejemplo, port. exemplo).|