Cujo/a – Vocabulary/Grammar

(Cujo by Stephen King)

The pronoun cujo/cuja means ‘whose’ and precedes a noun without an article, but is employed as an adjective pronoun.

Ex : Qual será o animal cujo nome a autora não quis escrever? 
Ex. Which would be the animal whose name the author did not wish to write?

[whose name = the name of which]

Ex: Gosto muito desse compositor cujas músicas sei de cor. 
Ex. I really like that composer whose songs I know by heart.

[whose songs=songs of who]

As one can observe, cujo/cuja has a possessive value that agrees in gender and number with the object possessed. Keep in mind that it isn’t used in everyday speech but it may be found in literature.

Produto Interno Bruto – Vocabulary

Today, I learned a new phrase which I’ll put under vocab. cause that’s where it belongs. You know how we, when speaking of the economy, might say GDP (gross domestic product)? Well, Portuguese-speakers have their own three letters for that which is PIB, or produto interno bruto (literally, internal brute product).

That’s about it!

Stoplights – Vocabulary

There is a small thread on WR about how to talk about cars and stoplights, although it only deals with a single aspect of it. I’d like to address some other important points because the subject has tripped me up before. Technically, one of the terms (farol) means ‘lighthouse’, but in modern usage, it has come to mean ‘stoplight’ as well.

Stoplight – Farol, Semáforo or Sinal de Trânsito.
Red/Yellow/Green light* – Sinal vermelho/amarelo/verde.

* – To express red or green, keep in mind that you can say ‘sinal fechado‘ (red light) or ‘sinal aberto‘ (green light). In basic terms, it means that the intersection is momentarily open or closed to traffic.

Root Beer (Float) – Vocabulary

When I watch films, I tend to look for Portuguese subs and when doing that tonight, I came across two terms that I’d never seen before in Portuguese. Here they are…

Root Beer – Cerveja Preta (lit. ‘black beer’)

Root Beer Float – Vaca Preta (lit. ‘black cow’)

Now imagine having head trauma one day and only remembering how to speak English via translating Portuguese. Then you walk into a diner and ask for a black cow.

On a side note, ‘root’ in Portuguese is raiz so translating literally from English to Portuguese, one would think of asking for a ‘cerveja de raiz’, but that would be incorrect.

Hinterlands – Vocabulary

When talking about the ‘hinterlands’ or ‘backlands’ in Brazilian Portuguese, which can be considered Brazil’s version of Australia’s outback, one can use the term sertão, but be sure not to confuse it with other related words. Thanks for a comment from Fábio (of English This Way, which I link to on my Links page), we see that sertão comes from desertão (big desert).

 (sertão, dry season)

Sertão – Semi-arid lands of the Northeast of Brazil. A person from there may be called a sertanejo, which means ‘peasant’ but is generally used to say ‘cowboy’. Another word for cowboy is vaqueiro.

Related Words

(caatinga, rainy season)

Caatinga -A type of shrub-like vegetation and an ecoregion of the Northeast characterized by said vegetation.

Cangaço – For a second, I thought cangaço (social banditry) was the same as sertão and cangaceiro (social bandit) the same as sertanejo but I was incorrect. Thanks to this post, I looked it up.

A Random Subject – Vocabulary

This will be short. There have been many times when I wanted to say “random” in Portuguese but at first didn’t know the word then forgot the word. Random is, well, random. In fact, most of the time, I don’t even know how to explain it without saying the word so I end up saying something like sem ordem/desordem (without order/disorder). Anyways, here’s the right word…

Aleatório – Random

On the outskirts of the city

Over at WordReference, there is a topic on how to get across the idea in Portuguese of saying someone lives on the outskirts of the city. There are a few options for you and a tiny bit of caution needs to be taken when deciding which to use. Just add “da cidade” to the end of one of the phrases below to say “on the outskirts of the city”.

Best to Use

nos arredores (in the surroundings), nas cercanias (same as arredores).

Best to Avoid

nos subúrbios (in the suburbs), na periferia (on the periphery).