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!

Língua: Vidas em Português – Documentary

I just saw a great documentary on the Portuguese language which spans the globe and all the lusophone countries. It’s called Língua: Vidas em Português (Language: Lives in Portuguese) and it really opens your eyes to how many different peoples speak Portuguese. As the late Saramago says in the opening credits, “there isn’t a Portuguese language, there are languages in Portuguese.” The film opens with another nice line that says something like “Every night, 200 million people dream in Portuguese. These are some of them.”

If you’d like to see a similarly-themed documentary (in PT) copied from a VHS tape to Google Video, try Além Mar (here’s part 1) although if you’d really like to see Língua, then I’m sure that (assuming you can’t purchase it) by entering the full name into Google then adding the word ‘baixar‘ (download), you may be able to find 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.

Assistir (a) – To Watch/Attend

I was reading some things on Por Trás das Letras when I saw a post (in PT) on the verb and usage of assistir. Basically, what is said on that post is that no one anymore uses the required ‘a’ which comes after the verb and it’s not a right or wrong thing anymore but a cultural thing. According to linguist Marcos Bagno, the verb went through a semantic change, or change in meaning, and what resulted was a syntactic change as well. Even cultured people are accepting such changes and adopting them.

Phrases like ‘eu assisti ao jogo‘ (I watched the game) are now said and written as ‘eu assisti o jogo‘. If we were to use a feminine noun such as peça (play) then what should be ‘eu assisti à peça‘ is now ‘eu assisti a peça‘. So who is wrong? Bagno says that those who don’t wake up to the fact that language is alive are likely to be living in the past.

Pois é.

Informal Way to Order – Phrases

A few years ago, I heard a random phrase that I hadn’t heard before and hadn’t heard since, until just the other day. It has to do with ordering things, mainly food or drinks and it translates literally to ‘see me…’ as in ‘see me a sandwich’, for example. Apparently, it isn’t an odd construction in Portuguese…

I’d like/Give me – Me vê

Ex. Me vê um copo de leite.
Ex. Give me a cup of milk.

Keep an open mind with this phrase as it’s possible to be used for ordering anything. A good way of thinking about it is to picture a final product that hasn’t been put together yet so by saying this phrase, you are in effect asking for the final product to be made (ex, a sandwich needs bread, tomatoes, lettuce, etc) or in the least, to be fetched from somewhere the customer isn’t allowed to go.

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.

Anglicism Glossary – New Link

We all know that I dislike anglicisms but nonetheless, for those times when you hear a word that is vaguely familiar but a bit strangely pronounced (ie. market-ching for marketing), it’s likely that it’s an anglisicm. Then again, correct pronunciation is, of course, debatable.

Here’s the link to a site containing glossaries of ‘economic, finance and e-commerce’ terms as well as those on marketing. The good part of these glossaries is that each term is explained in Portuguese, making them a good reference for those that have to deal with and use anglicisms on a daily basis.