Luiz Costa Pereira Junior, the editor of Revista Língua Portuguesa started doing quick Portuguese podcasts (titled “Em bom português” and recorded in Portuguese) on the magazine’s site and via the radio station Band AM840. You can check out the latest here and find the previous 2 or 3 near the blog’s comment section.
Due to a comment I got on my last Portuguese post (Brazilian Portuguese Badly Said), I decided to write about a few words that are so similar in writing and meaning that they get easily confused. Two words are ones that I actually used in the last post.
Acostamento (shoulder, roadside) – the place where one pulls over
Encostamento – the act or effect of pulling over
* Keep in mind, in the previous post, I mentioned that some people say the second word when they mean to say the first. However, you’ll rarely, if ever, come across the second word when used correctly since it’s almost always used as a verb (encostar) rather than a noun.
Deformação – the process of being deformed
Deformidade – the result of that process
Observação (observation, remark)
Observância (observance, of the law or in a religious context)
The last two sets come from an article at Revista Língua Portuguesa. If we’re listing all words that are similar in writing and/or meaning, we’d be here for a long time. If you’re a stickler for correctness, I suggest one of the “100 erros de português” lists (here’s one, PDF) and using Houaiss as your main Portuguese(-only) dictionary. If you want to test your knowledge of a list like the one I linked to, play this game at level 5!
These are words sometimes said by crianças, other times by people without formal education. The correct words are in bold. If you know others that people sometimes pronounce incorrectly, add them in the comments.
A gente (We)
– A hente
Cabelereiro (Hair stylist)
Acostamento (Shoulder, Roadside)
Gerund verb endings
– Ex. Você tá brincano? Ex. O que tá fazeno?
In late May, I linked to an article I wrote about LIBRAS. Here it is, sans link.
Growing up with a handicapped brother, I learned at a young age all the basics of ASL (American Sign Language). His handicap was such that he was free to do what he wanted at home which usually consisted of looking at magazines, dancing, saying mostly unintelligible things while talking to himself and, every so often, pinching people. My other brothers and I not only used basic ASL with him but also with each other when we were in public. The most usual case was when we were bored in the presence of others and wanted to leave, we’d make the sign for “let’s go” (which consists of both index fingers circling around each other).
My brother eventually went to live in a group home but I always thought it’d be kind of cool to one day learn more advanced sign language, only there was no longer an everyday reason to. Fast-forward about 15 years, and with fluency acheived in a whole other language (Brazilian Portuguese), I started to think about what it’d be like to learn sign language. In the very least, I could then learn the basics with my girlfriend and we could use it in public. The only problem is, much to my surprise (because I never truly considered it), each country has its own signs and even regionalisms within their own sign language. Luckily, my girlfriend is Brazilian and the type I’m looking to learn is the Brazilian kind.
In Brazil, it’s called LIBRAS, or Língua Brasileira dos Sinais and it actually constitutes as its own language, with its own grammar, syntax, morphology, etc. With an estimated 5 million deaf people in Brazil, it can be reasoned that most, if not all, use LIBRAS to communicate. Even with each country’s system being different, LIBRAS (along with ASL) has been considered to be a creole of 18th century French Sign Language. For this reason, there are quite a few similarities between them all (modern FSL, too).
To show some of the complexities of signing a language, I’ll explain 5 basic parameters. They consist of the following: hand configuration, articulation points (where you are signing, ie over your forehead or the neutral space in front of your body), orientation (directionality), movement (if the sign requires movement or is static), and expression of the face and body (seen the ASL of Lydia Callis yet?). In addition, another factor that plays into it all is the speed that the person signs in, whether it be fast (among those who have been deaf their whole life) or slow (fingerspelling, for kids, those who acquired the language later, or for spelling things that don’t have a standard sign).
There is lots of material out there, both online and offline on LIBRAS. On the web, there are some Brazilian websites you can check out which can teach you specific signs. I recommend Acesso Brasil’s online visual dictionary (keep in mind that verbs in LIBRAS are in their infinitive and, when written, in all capital letters, ie VOCÊ GOSTAR CARRO? = Você gosta do carro?). Just as cool as the other dictionary I mentioned is this collaborative dictionary. If you’re interested in more, just put “libras sinais” into Youtube and you’re sure to find a lot of content.
Sidenote: The sign for “Let’s go” I mentioned is actually considered “Signed English”, not ASL.
“The cravings of Sergio Cabral, governor of Rio de Janeiro, of making his successor in the State government and contemplating that part of the population that applauds BOPE when they gun-down drug traffickers in Complexo do Alemão is taking Rio de Janeiro along a dangerous road. Cabral’s recent acts and declarations have revealed a despotic facet of the governor and, apparently, serve as a licence for the Military Police to expand the authoritarianism they employ in the favelas to the wealthiest neighborhoods of the Fluminense capital.
After last week’s riot in Leblon, the most expensive per square meter in Brazil, Cabral diagnosed the vandalism problem in Rio de Janeiro in the same way as Arab dictators — placing the blame on “international organizations”. As it happens in the Middle East, attributing the violence to the foreigner isn’t a simple diagnostic error. It’s a device to exempt their own government from any responsibility for what’s occurring.
In the same speech, given last Friday, Cabral promised an “answer to society”. The answer came via the Special Commission of Investigation of Acts of Vandalism in Public Manifestations (CEIV, in Portuguese). The so-called CEIV was created on the 19th of July, by way of the decree 44.302, published in the Diário Oficial of the State on Monday, the 22nd. The text that the commission created (here in its entirety, in PDF) has alarming authoritarian contours (not to mention it’s illegal, PT).
In Article 3, Cabral determines that all “solicitations and determinations of the CEIV” have “absolute priority” above any other request sent to public or private bodies. In a single paragraph, Cabral obligates telephone companies and ISPs to follow requests by the CEIV in a “maximum timeframe of 24 hours”. It’s not clear if questions like the Pope’s security or a problem in a hospital, for example, will be put to the side in detriment of combating vandalism, or if the telephone/Internet companies have the right to appeal the CEIV’s orders.
More worrying is Article 2 of the commission’s creation. According to the decree, the CEIV can “take all actions necessary to carry out the investigation of acts of vandalism, and may request information, conduct investigations and perform any acts necessary to the conduct of criminal proceedings for the purpose of punishing wrongful acts under public demonstrations.” This text, as Bernardo Santoro on his blog Instituto Liberal reminded us, opens it up to anything, through not being clear on what “all necessary actions” means. Can the CEIV declare prison sentences, do illegal wiretapping and torture suspects, for example?
In the best of hypothesis, the text is a disaster provoked by haste and by the lack of knowledge of those who wrote it. In the worst, it’s a reflection of the climate, inflated by the government of Rio, of “anything goes against vandalism”.
Reflections of the climate have been observed. On Friday, the newspaper O Globo published an interview with the sociologist Paulo Baía, in which he commented on the riot in Leblon. “The police saw crime occurring and didn’t act. The message of the police was the following: now I’m going to give a smack-down on everyone”, said Baía. On that very Friday, the sociologist suffered a lightning kidnapping in the Aterro do Flamengo. “In the car, they passed along the message and nothing else. They said I shouldn’t give any other interviews like todays at O Globo and to not say anything else about the Military Police, because, if I did, it would be the last interview I’d give in my life”, said Baía.” – Carta Capital (PT, more here)
“I’m an optimist. Time and again, despite my age, I still have flashes of utopic hope of a more dignified life for the Carioca.
One of these rare moments from last weekend.
What happened was the following: the State Government considers that some favelas in Rio are pacified. Without a trace of the old drug traffickers or militia that, in fact, governed the communities. Among them are the favelas that make up the Complexo do Alemão. Cabral — and his Secretary of Safety — consider the region “pacified”, free from the truculence of traffickers. A sad untruth. In spite of the existing UPP in Alemão, the NGO AfroReggae received orders from the traffickers to close out their activities at the community center there, which benefited 350 children, with art workshops at the principal activity.
While the State Government kept mum on the announcement that the NGO would stop operating in the favela, the mayor Eduardo Paes personally went to the location and said the Mayor’s Office would assume all of AfroReggae’s activities, with an attitude that I would define as “macho”. He personally confronted the orders of the traffickers. And even donated some land to Renê Silva, responsible for the newspaper Voz da Comunidade, to rebuild the new headquarters. The old one was located in the AfroReggae building and was burned down in an act that until now is considered criminal by the NGO’s directors.
Paes was also elegant. He said the pacification process of Alemão wouldn’t reverse, an affirmation that should have been made by those responsible for the security of the State, or rather, the governor. It was a way he found that wouldn’t leave Cabral in an uncomfortable situation.
“Paes’ political bravado” is what the political adversaries of the Mayor’s Office, of which I include myself, might say. It may be. But he fulfilled a role that’s of an authority: he went to the place of conflict and invoked the power given him. If he is going to manage to keep this attitude or not, we will see in the next few weeks.
The quick action of Eduardo Paes as a constituted authority imposing itself is encouraging. Leaving his office to show his face in a conflict zone should be common in a democracy. Paes inaugurated the posture of a statesman of Rio. One point for him.” – CartaCapital (PT)
After all this time, I still really love hearing Brazilian Portuguese, and I also love finding new ways to hear it. With the Internet these days, doing so is not so hard but finding a sustained listening experience isn’t always as easy. Over the years, I’ve come across a few means of finding a fix for my needs and I’d like to share them with you.
One Youtube feed I discovered just recently is the TV Cultura channel which, among other things, hosts an interview show called Provocações with presenter Antônio Abujamra. The show, which went on the air in 2000, shows interviews that are interweaved with recited poems and “vozes das ruas” (opinions from people on the street). Abujamra interviews intellectuals, artists, celebrities and even everyday people. Check out his recent interview with Serginho Groisman, presenter of another show, Altas Horas.
(if Provocações isn’t your thing, try out Repórter Eco, also on TV Cultura)
Another Youtube channel I discovered last year is that of TV Folha, part of São Paulo’s Folha newspaper. The format is different, in that it’s news-oriented, and the topics are varied. Below is part of last week’s show, and on their channel you can find many more like it.
While not a channel, there are many videos on Youtube with episodes or segments of Globo Rural which, as its name infers, covers rural topics. I’ve seen only a few but the ones I saw were interesting. Below, you’ll see a segment on Zabé da Loca, a flute player from the northeast.
Introducing my third ebook (PDF) for learning Brazilian Portuguese which, as the title says, includes 25 interesting expressions used in Brazil, as well as their origins. If you’re looking to come a little closer to your goal of being fluent, this will help you get there. According to the introduction inside,
“This e-book is for anyone with an interest in Brazilian Portuguese and gaining knowledge that would be considered pretty common within Brazil. The phrases and expressions, being idiomatic, aren’t used every day, nor should they be, but they are interesting to know, fun to use, and useful to keep in your linguistic toolbox (and, of course, it makes you feel smart to recognize something seemingly nonsensical in another language).”
To purchase it, just click the Paypal image below (you don’t need an account, just a credit card), and I’ll send it to you by email!
Price: US $2.99
My other ebook links (Paypal)
After successfully launching my first ebook, 103 Tricky Verbs in Brazilian Portuguese right here on Eyes On Brazil, today, I’m announcing my second ebook (PDF), 150 Tricky Words in Brazilian Portuguese. It is based on content I created for this blog several years back, only I’ve reworked and improved it, in addition to having it edited by a native Brazilian Portuguese speaker.
Just like the first ebook, as a PDF, it can be viewed (via Apple’s iBooks app) on iOS devices as well as on Amazon’s Kindle devices (or any device or computer that allows for PDF viewing).
The ebook is aimed to make Brazilian Portuguese easier for those of you who are finding yourselves unsure of when to use one word over another. As the title states, there are (technically more than) 150 Tricky Words, spread out over 44 Word Sets (groupings of words that have similar meanings) which include example sentences and, in many cases, additional information on the word(s).
Here’s an actual Word Set you’ll learn about in my e-book:
I’ll be selling 150 Tricky Words in Brazillian Portuguese using PayPal’s Online Invoicing, which allows you to pay with a credit or debit card on PayPal’s site (even without the need for a PayPal account). Click on the link(s) below the PayPal image and, once you’ve paid, PayPal will tell me so and then I’ll send you the ebook(s)!
From Dicio: “achismo (achar+ism) – Tendency of evaluating situations according to one’s own opinions or intentions, many times unjustified.”
Dicionário Informal: “Culture of making groundless comments, without knowledge, deducing by personal experience something that you’re not sure of.” Examples are when people say things like: “Acho que não se deve correr riscos desnecessários, acho que vai dar certo...”
We all know the verb “Achar”, but did you know it has an “-ism”? On WordReference, I found some possible creative suggestions for translating it into English, one was “as-we-now-knowism” and “as-I-now-thinkness”. On Orkut, I found someone suggesting “armchair quaterback” (which means “a person who offers advice or an opinion on something in which they have no expertise or involvement”) and another person simply said “assumption”. Linguee, on the other hand, suggests “guesswork”. Perhaps something more along the lines of “presumptuousness” or the made-up “assumptivness” would work, too.
The problem with most of the Portinglês suggestions is that none of them speak of a tendency to do such things. In the comments of this post, “self-opinionated” was suggested. Fits pretty well.