First, I’d like to make clear the ultimate rule when dealing with words with x: if you are not sure about how to pronounce it, check a dictionary. There are no perfect guidelines to read this letter, as it depends on its etymology and transformations through time. I’ll try to help you with some on-point observations considering possible positions of this letter in a word. After reading this, check my X-words list for practising and more examples of common words with x.
There are 4 possible phonemes for this mysterious letter:
- [ʃ ] like the sh in shampoo (xampu);
- [z] like the s raise (elevar);
- [ks] like the x in complex (complexo);
- [s] like the s in say (falar).
5 useful tips when reading x-words:
- Between vowels: any of phonemes above, but if you have to guess: [ʃ ].
- When x meets c, we have an [s] sound, like excesso.
- MANY TIMES in words starting with ex[vowel]-, we have a [z] sound, like exemplo, executar, exato.
- After en-, we have [ʃ ] : enxame, enxaqueca, enxugar.
- In the prefix ex-: ex-presidente, exceção, exposição.
Don’t forget to check more examples on my X-words list on quizlet!
Below you can find a complete presentation about the alphabet in Portuguese.
Hope you learned a lot and come back for more!