EP word of the week (#25): dobragem

The worst enemy of any foreign language learner, the dubbing of cultural imports from other countries is an activity that has an effective stronghold in Brazil (or should I say stranglehold?); in Portugal, only children’s shows are commonly dubbed: it’s certainly a different experience to feel yourself immersed from an early age in different languages: not only do subtitles ([as] legendas, both in BP and EP) allow you to keep engaged on your language and to test your reading skills, but they also allow you to immerse yourself in a different culture and language while engaging in various forms of entertainment.

All of this is meant to introduce today’s EP word of the week, [a] dobragem (or pluralized, [as] dobragens), a noun meaning “the dub” (the dubbing of any cultural product, replacing the original voice with a voice actor in the native language); in Brazil, the word used for the exact same idea is [a] dublagem. As you’d expect, the verbs that signal these activities are also different (matching each of the nouns they are associated with); dobrar [um filme, série de televisão, etc.] in EP, dublar in BP.


Continue reading

Grammar Tips (#5): X marks the spot (for five different sounds)

Together with s (and ss), x is one of the most multipurpose letters in the Portuguese alphabet – it can stand for at least five different sounds or sound clusters, and those pronunciations can sometimes change from region to region. In this post, I’ll present only the standard as spoken in Lisbon (with a non-standard exception at the end, but explained as such), which will hopefully make things less complicated.

Continue reading

Apology to my WordPress/email followers

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all alright and having a nice day!

Here in Portugal the weather is quite rainy – laods of spring thunderstorms and showers, so the days are pretty glum (there’s a Portuguese idiom that goes “Abril, águas mil”, translated “April, waters a thousand [i.e. a lot of water raining down on us], so far that folk saying is holding up), but we’re always patiently waiting for the sun to come (:

Now, to the matter that has led me to write this post: I was working on a draft for a very important Grammar Tips article, but I unwittingly published it before it was entirely finished, so there are still many gaps and weird formatting choices that I’ll change until I publish the article in earnest.

I’d like to ask you to please refrain from reading the article via the link that was provided to you, or to at least tread carefully with your reading until I have time to finish the post and proofread its contents. I also won’t be able to answer any questions you may have directly, so this is really an unfortunate situation for all of us ):

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may cause you; I hope you’ll be able to forgive me for these occasional mishaps and still remain a follower of this blog for the foreseeable future.




EP word of the week (#24): taparuere

In all languages (especially those who are relatively lenient towards crosspolination from other languages and acceptant towards loanwords), we witness an interesting process: that of certain brand names become metonimically associated to every product/utensil of the same type as the one that became the generic name, regardless of manufacturer.

EP has several words that fall under that jurisdiction, in this case a word that’s being so divorced of its trademark that most people learn and use it without realizing where it comes from (or not paying enough attention, that is). So tonight, I’m present you with this beautiful word: [o] taparuere, or if you want to keep it in its pure state as a loanword, [o] tupperware.

Both words are present in dictionaries [1] [2], so you can use either one of them to make reference to the omnipresent plastic containers people store their food in; when in doubt, think of [o] taparuere to remember the Portuguese pronunciation of the word, but use [o] tupperware in writing (it’s not something that comes up often when writing a letter or email, but you never know!). If you’re feeling wordy you can use [o] recipiente de plástico (lit. “plastic container”), but [o] taparuere is the most common term.

Taparueres de diferentes tamanhos e feitios. Plastic food containers of different shapes and sizes.

Continue reading

EP Music Mondays (#5): B Fachada

By the time the 21st century came about, Portugal was mostly falling in line with the trends seen in international music; for example, the late 90s saw a boom in pop boy and girlbands and urban hip-hop, mimicking the rise to fame of musical acts like The Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, the Notorious B.I.G and Eminem.

In the mid-2000s, the same could be said of a budding indie scene, which also grew up bit by bit over those years and highlighted a change of pace from earlier forms of music: more introspective and/or experimental, and more inclusive of different types of soundscapes. A good example of that is the word of Bernardo Fachada, artistic moniker B Fachada, a Lisbon-born singer-songwriter of indie pop/rock. Gifted with a melodious voice and a knack for songs who can be both light and fun or introspective and quiet (or both), he is a shining example of a more professional, lyrically-based approach to songcraft and music writing.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Continue reading

EP words of the week (#23): glaciar / geleira

This one is a funny bit of misdirection that creates not only EP vs. BP differences, but also an important EP vs. BP false friend. A month ago, I discussed the differences between fridges and coolers amongst the two variants; I stopped myself from going all-in and revealing that those are not the only differences among cooling appliances between them!

The words you see in the post title match the European Portuguese words for glacier ([o] glaciar) and coolbox ([a] geleira), also matching the order of the images I’ve pasted below. However – and this is where the false friend component enters the fray – the BP word for glacier is the exact same term as the EP word for coolbox[a] geleira, admittedly two very different ice containers (: I’ve placed the direct terms of comparison as subtitles to the photos to make sure you know which is which and to avoid any mistakes on your travels (that means geleiras are a big deal in beaches in the summer in Portugal, not so much in Brazil!).

Um glaciar (EP) = Uma geleira (BP)

Continue reading

Grammar Tips (#3): Gs, hard and soft

This time around, the spotlight is on the letter G (guê / gê); as you’ll see, it has a few similarities with and ç that someone encountering any written Portuguese word might miss at first glance (that is, without knowing how words are pronounced beforehand).

O gato gordo não gosta de gelados nem de gelatina; prefere pizas e hambúrgueres. The fat cat doesn’t like ice cream nor jello; it prefers pizzas and hamburguers.

Continue reading

EP word of the week (#22): montado

Located between the courses of the rivers Tagus – [o] (rio) Tejo – and [o] (rio) Guadiana, the historical region of [o] Alentejo (etim. “além-Tejo”, [land] beyond the Tagus) at first glance seems like a long, mainly flat plain; but it’s actually a plateau slowly dropping towards the Ocean or towards the mountain ranges that separate it from the Algarve.

While seemingly a flat plateau, the most common features are [o] montado, rolling low hills mainly used to grow grasses for grazing and as growing grounds for trees of the oak family, especially the cork oak – [o] sobreiro – , from which cork – [a] cortiça – is harvested. Being native to Southwest Europe (and also Northwest Africa), cork is one of Portugal’s most-highly sought after products, and an increasingly important and versatile export.


Continue reading