Bad Words vs. New Words

Starting with the bad words (I mean negative news), I give you another ‘latest news (I haven’t read)’ snapshot from Folha.

And then there’s the new words, which aren’t many. Pinga-pinga is the same as ônibus (bus), only it’s apparently the kind that always is stopping to pick up more passengers (source). Second, ‘Gre-Nal’, the nickname for matches between Grêmio and Sport Club International, both from Porto Alegre (source). Seemingly on par with a ‘Fla-Flu’ (Flamengo vs. Fluminense) match, though I’ve never been to a soccer game, so what do I know? For a second, I almost thought ‘Gre-Nal’ when spoken was grená (source), or a dark red color, but the context didn’t fit.

See comments*

Tal Phrases

A seguir, umas frases e tal ; )
Below, some phrases and stuff

Tal – Such, Like (or Said)
Ex. Falam que tal livro conta a história de nosso povo.
Ex. They say that said book tells the history of our people.

E tal / Coisa e tal – …and stuff / and things like that / etc.
Ex. O livro se trata de dragões e tal.
Ex. The book is about dragons and stuff.

Tal…tal… – Like…like…
Ex. Tal mãe, tal filha.
Ex. Like mother, like daughter.

Que tal… – How about…
Ex. Que tal a gente se encontrar na quarta-feira que vem?
Ex. How about we meet up this Wednesday?

*the title of the post, if written in Portuguese, would be ‘tais frases’ since ‘tal’ becomes ‘tais’ in plural form.

Confusing Terms – Differences/2 for 1

I’m going to combine a Differences post with a 2 for 1 post (both under the Portuguese category). While understanding the difference between the Portuguese words might be no sweat for Brazilians, I’ve been forced to throw them in the ‘confusing words’ pile (where the ‘camisa vs camiseta‘  and ‘troco vs trocado‘ pairs sometimes reside) for far too long. It’s time to stop confusing the terms (at least personally).

Series vs Sitcom

Série (f) – TV series

Seriado (m) – TV series/Sitcom/Serial

As in the US, a sitcom has no defined ending. An easy-ish way to remember the difference is ‘série’ looks like ‘series’ and ‘seriado’ looks like ‘serial’ (even though the last term isn’t used that much anymore).

Shirt vs T-shirt

Camisa (f) – Shirt/Dress shirt (buttons)

Camiseta (f) – T-shirt/Undershirt (casual)

I swore I already wrote about the difference but upon double-checking, I guess not. To not confuse these two, try to remember that t-shirt is a longer word than shirt, just as camiseta is longer than camisa. Also, one should note that jersey (used for sports) can be defined with either word or even jérsei, but it’s more likely you’ll see camisa used for jersey.

Of course, if you look at the comments, you’ll start to understand why some of these terms are confusing…

Mind Games In Portuguese

Let’s test your mental capacity to understand Portuguese, even when it’s jumbled. Many of us, I’m sure, have seen these in English. The second example is even more ridiculous. Have fun!

“De aorcdo com uma peqsiusa de uma uinrvesriddae ignlsea, não ipomtra em qaul odrem as lteras de uma plravaa etãso, a úncia csioa iprotmatne é que a piremria e útmlia lteras etejasm no lgaur crteo. O rseto pdoe ser uma bçguana ttaol, que vcoê anida pdoe ler sem pobrlmea. Itso é poqrue nós não lmeos cdaa ltera isladoa, mas a plravaa cmoo um tdoo. Sohw de bloa.”

“35T3 P3QU3N0 T3XTO 53RV3 4P3N45 P4R4 M05TR4R COMO NO554 C4B3Ç4 CONS3GU3 F4Z3R CO1545 1MPR3551ON4ANT35! R3P4R3 N155O! NO COM3ÇO 35T4V4 M310 COMPL1C4DO, M45 N3ST4 L1NH4 SU4 M3NT3 V41 D3C1FR4NDO O CÓD1GO QU453 4UTOM4T1C4M3NT3, S3M PR3C1S4R P3N54R MU1TO, C3RTO? POD3 F1C4R B3M ORGULHO5O D155O! SU4 C4P4C1D4D3 M3R3C3! P4R4BÉN5!”

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.

Knowing Your Ordinal Numbers

The first 10 ordinal numbers can probably be considered basic knowledge by just about anyone who speaks or is learning Portuguese. The lesson the books don’t teach you is what happens after décimo (10th)? How does one say 11th or even something crazy like 44,999th? I would teach you here if I thought there was a way to teach it aside from employing basic memorization skills. Since that is the case, I recommend seeing the Números Ordinais section of this Wikipedia page.

By the way, 11th is either undécimo or décimo primeiro while 44,999th is a bit Germanesque* in length,  quarenta e quatro milésimo noningentésimo nonagésimo nono!

* – I’m refering to das Kompositum.

Machismo in the Portuguese language

On the Portuguese forum at WordReference, user Kynnjo recently made the following statement (the bulk of which I posted just below) in regards to using the verb arrepiar (to get goosebumps or to be frightened) and how machismo might interfere.

“It’s getting to be carnaval time, and I’ve been listening to a lot of the new official 2010 enredos in YouTube… I’ve been struck by how often the comments from appreciative Brazilians include variations of “arrepiar” (=get goosebumps). It’s not that the notion is hyperbolic, not at all (I too get goosebumps sometimes listening to this music, especially when one of those armies of sambistas goes off a cappella). Rather, what surprises me is that, as far as I can tell, “arrepiar” is used not only by women, but often by men too. Is this impression accurate?

In US English, expressions like “it gave me goosebumps” is heard mostly from females. One may hear it from very young boys (say, 5 or younger), or from flamboyant gay men. But a “regular US guy” won’t readily admit to getting goosebumps outside of his therapist’s office, and least of all from listening to music; the US male culture regards it as unmanly.”

I would generally agree with the statement above.

The conversation continues and the subject changes to the use of diminutives in Portuguese and how it isn’t considered “manly” in Brazil to use them (outside of saying ‘cafezinho’ and the like). I found this to be quite true during my time in Brazil although in my experience it was mostly women who would tell me “men don’t say that” or “if you say that, other men will think you are gay”. Personally, I could care less if someone is gay or not as I believe in “to each his/her own”, do what makes you happy as long as you aren’t hurting others in the process. Anyways, I rather enjoy hearing women use diminutives although not all the time as that reminds me of ‘baby-talk’ (infantilization). As far as men using them, I just don’t have the ear for it, in order to notice that anything is wrong with using it, so it is very much ‘over my head’.

While on the subject of diminutives, a few years ago, just before wanting to tell a random beautiful woman she was “bonitinha”, I considered the fact that I hadn’t quite got my mind around the use of such a diminutive so I didn’t say anything at all. Later, I asked my Brazilian female friend and she told me never to say that because that particular way of saying someone is pretty is considered to render the opposite effect…meaning it would be like calling her “ugly” or in the least, “a little bit pretty”.

Might you have any other examples?

Tough tense – The Past Perfect

These days I read more in Portugese than I do in English, actually I finish the books faster when they are in Portuguese, which to some is strange. I think they think I mean that I understand Portuguese better than English, which isn’t true. It’s just that I am more motivated to have another book in Portuguese under my belt than one in English.

One tense has perplexed me for a while now and I never bothered to check it out until now even though after time, I started to get the gist of what it meant. The tense is called the “pretérito mais-que-perfeito” (past perfect/pluperfect) and I’ll explain it to you below using someone else’s response to a question on the matter here (click to learn a little more).

Take any verb and add an “a” on the end although not an accented “a” and what do you get? You get confused, or at least I did…until now. The tense in question for this post refers to a past event that occurs before another action in the past. Here are some examples.

“Ele nunca tinha comido salmão até visitar aquele restaurante = Ele nunca comera salmão até visitar aquele restaurante (He had never eaten salmon before he visited that restaurant)

Disse-me que não tinha pensado no assunto antes de chegar = Disse-me que não pensara no assunto antes de chegar (He told me he hadn’t thought about the issue before he arrived)

The tense is seldom used in the spoken language, although it appears in literature and in situations when someone is recounting a past event (e.g. historical documentaries).”

So, now you know! Happy reading!

500 Posts in my 17th month

I started this site as a way to store the information about Brazil that I held in my head but quickly I saw its use as a learning tool. There was a time when I approached the subject of Brazil as a ‘typical gringo’ but that was nearly 10 years ago. Why the need to dive deeper? Well, stereotypes have always interested me and so has sociology and etymology and because of that, I knew there was no way to let Brazil let me off the hook easily. I made my bed long ago and getting under the covers was the only way for me to get to know the sleeping beauty called Brazil (although I do have one complaint, she often hogs the blanket).

Even though the word Brasil in Portuguese is masculine, I’ve always seen it as feminine…like a tomboy who grows into a beautiful woman that never stops talking and whom you never tire of (we all know women talk more than men). She’s got a voice that’s sweet like honey and her words are as smooth and curvy as the border of her body. She speaks in tongues and she’s got your ear, from the moment you first see her.

Here’s to 500 posts and 130,000 views!