EP word of the week (#5): Polónia / polaco

Today and for the next few Word of the Week segments, I’ll highlight vocabulary differences between the different variants of Portuguese when it comes to political geography (basically, countries / cities / nationalities).

Starting in Europe, we shift our attention from Portugal for a while to look at Poland, specifically at the way EP speakers refer to the country and its people… As you probably already guessed it, we use the words in the title post ([a] Polónia for the country, [o/a] polaco/a as its demonym).

In this regard, EP differs from Brazilian Portuguese, which uses the spelling [a] Polônia (a phonetic difference caused by the nasalization of stressed vowels before n, m and nh in BP – I’ll write a post specifically about it using countries as an example later); while polaco may also be used in Brazil, the nouns [o] polonês / [a] polonesa are prevalent, which makes them sound completely foreign to European Portuguese ears.

Related words/Useful sentences:

  • Varsóvia: Warsaw (the capital of Poland)
  • Cracóvia: Krakow (Poland’s second largest city)
  • [Tu] Falas polaco? [Você] fala polaco? or
  • [Tu] Sabes falar polaco? [Você] sabe falar polaco? Do you speak Polish?
  • [Tu] és polaco/a? [Você] é polaco/a? Are you Polish?
  • [Tu] vens da Polónia? [Você] vem da Polónia? Are you from Poland? [lit. Do you come from Poland?]
  • Vou à Polónia no mês que vêm. I’m going to Poland next month.
  • Os meus vizinhos são imigrantes polacos. My neighbo[u]rs are Polish immigrants.
  • O meu namorado Michał é polaco; ele mora em Cracóvia. My boyfriend Michał is Polish; he lives in Krakow.

2 thoughts on “EP word of the week (#5): Polónia / polaco

  1. Patricia/orfeonegro February 7, 2016 / 9:51 am

    Olá, Luís, this is wonderful, thank you!
    I live with my family in Germany, my son lives and works in Lisboa,
    and thanks to Duolingo I was able to understand (and be understood) while visiting in that beautiful city. Now it will be even better, learning about the differences between BP and EP.
    By the way, “polonesa” would also be the dance form, music written by composers like Chopin, for example…


    • luisdomingos February 9, 2016 / 10:42 am

      Olá, Patricia. Thank you for kind words, and you’re exactly right: “polonesa” can be used like that in EP (just for dance, not the nationality); thanks for pointing that out, and good luck with your studies :)


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