A accentuation serves to assist the written representation of the language.
When we listen, we easily distinguish a stressed syllable in an unstressed syllable. When we read, however, it is not so easy, which can make reading difficult.
Thus, accent marks fulfill the role of distinguishing, in writing, words with identical spelling but different stress, such as secretary/secretary, public/public, baba/babá, mágoa/magoa.
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By Marina Cabral
Specialist in Portuguese Language and Literature