Characteristics of the Portuguese language in AX Semantics


In Portuguese, you need to know the gender of the noun in order to form the accompanying determiners, adjectives, and numerals correctly.

Portuguese has two genders for nouns: masculine and feminine. There are two numbers: singular and plural.

Additionally, it only has one case for nouns: nominative. But for personal pronouns, Portuguese has accusative and dative cases.

grammatical namevaluesexamples
gendermasculineo porto azul (the blue port)
femininea cadeira azul (the blue chair)
numbersingularuma casa vermelha (a red house)
pluralduas casas vermelhas (two red houses)
cases (noun)nominativeo cão (the dog)
cases (pronoun)nominativeMário constrói uma casa. Ele constrói uma casa.
(Mario builds a house. He builds a house.)
accusativeMario constrói uma casa. Mario la constrói.
(Maria builds a house. Maria builds it.)
dativeMaria dá um livro a Luigi. Maria lhe dá um livro.
(Maria gives Luigi a book. Maria gives him a book.)
adjectives (noun)after-nouno telefone preto (the black phone)
before-nouno excelente produto (the excellent product)
verb tensespresentele escreve (he writes)
past (preterite)ele escreveu (he wrote)
past participleescrito (written)
imperfectele escrevia (he wrote)
futureele escreverá (he will write)
gerundescrevendo (writing)

The standard order of a noun phrase in Portuguese is the following:

preposition + determiner + numeral + noun + adjective

See for example:

com   estes  três   livros     populares
with  these  three  books[pl]  popular
PREP  DET    NUM    NOUN       ADJ
"with these three popular books"



For Portuguese nouns, the lexicon needs to encode gender and determiner changes. If the lexicon entry is missing, the NLG platform tries to find the most probable gender based on heuristics. The plural forms should be added to the lexicon if they are not regular.

Lexicon entries for nouns may also be necessary for inflecting determiners, adjectives and pronouns correctly. These are omitted completely from the output, if a lexicon entry is required, but missing.


The basic lexicon entry for casa (house) contains:

  • gender: f
  • inflection table for case and number:


If you need lexicon entries for countries, write to the support about that and you will get them for Portuguese with automatic handling of determiners.


In the lexicon the inflection table for gender and number can be encoded, as well as the adjective position (before the noun or after the noun).

For adjective position, the default is "after noun". Certain adjectives should stay before the noun. In that case, "before noun" has to be selected in the lexicon. For instance, some adjectives like bom ("good") or belo ("nice") often precede the noun:

o bom livro
(the good book)


The most common verbs are encoded in our software. If a verb inflects the wrong way, you should add it to the lexicon.

Container settings


The AX NLG platform supports the following determiners for Portuguese: definite, indefinite, demonstrative, distal, proximal, possessive, and quantifier (every).


The noun will automatically agree with the numeral number when a numeral variable is used. Four types of numerals are possible on the AX NLG platform: cardinal, cardinal as digit, ordinal, and ordinal as digit.

textnove dias
(nine days)
o nono dia
(the ninth day)
digit9 dias
(9 days)
o 9º dia
(the 9th day)

For Portuguese, both cardinal and ordinal numerals are written out until 100 on the platform, otherwise (above 100) the output is in digit form. Take cardinal numerals for example:

cem automóveis
(one hundred cars)
101 automóveis
(101 cars)

Preposition contractions

If users configure prepositions and determiners in the container, they are automatically adapted when phonetic assimilation needs to happen. For instance, the preposition em is contracted with the definite determiner a:

na cozinha
(in the kitchen)

Additionally, if users configure prepositions with demonstrative pronouns or third-person personal pronouns, they will also be automatically adjusted if contractions are applicable. Take the preposition de for example:

destas [de + estas]
(of these)
dele [de + ele]
(of him)

Determiner switch

Determiners can be switched according to lexical information. If you set the determiner switch for a specific noun in the lexicon, it will automatically switch to another determiner when you add the determiner you intend to switch in the container. The container setting for Berlim in the first example is: preposition="para", determiner is unset (blank), and case="nominative".

para Berlim
(to Berlin)

In the second example, the container setting for Holanda is: preposition="para", determiner is unset (blank), and case="nominative". However, the determiner switches from none to definite, because it is configured in the lexicon entry for Holanda. As the result, the definite determiner (i.e. a) is added to Holanda.

para a Holanda
(to the Netherlands)


If the lexicon entry of a country includes a switch from none to definite, there is still a way to use the country without the article (e.g., just "Netherlands"). The determiner will always remain none by setting determiner=none in the container. Only an unset determiner (blank) triggers the switch from none to another determiner.

Language Variants

The AX NLG platform offers 2 variants of the Portuguese language:

  • Portugal (Standard)
  • Brazil

The differences between these variants are mostly lexical. The grammatical difference shows in the forms of the possessive determiners: for example my book is o meu livro in Portugal, but meu livro in Brazil.