EP word of the week (#32): dióspiro

Continuing this off-field journey through the natural realm, today is time to talk about a usually forgotten fruit, the kaki (or Japanese persimmon), whose scientific name is Diospyros kaki (bear with me for a moment, I’ll reveal the importance of this technical talk in just a second).

It turns out that Portuguese and Brazilians also have different names for this fruit, which are Portuguese adaptations of the names in the scientific name: EP uses [o] dióspiro; BP [o] caqui. Amazing, right?

Also of note is the fact that most people I know pronounce the word with the accent on the second-to-last syllable (pi), despite the accent on ós marking where the stress should be. Again, you’ll probably survive a trip to Portugal without hearing this word, but I always like to give out these little, seemingly irrelevant tidbits of information just to make sure you hold on to your knowledge when you need to, but also to make sure you know how to ditch it and adapt when a situation calls for it.


Actually, since scientific nomenclature mostly uses either Greek or Latin words to form names (at least at the genus level), having a good scientific knowledge (or just enjoying reading Wikipedia a lot) may help you sneak in a few words into your Portuguese mental dictionary; for example, genus Pavo (peafowl) comes from the Latin word for “peacock”, which became Portuguese [o] pavãoGallus (which includes all domesticated fowl, i.e. chicken) is Latin for “rooster”, which became Portuguese [o] galo (unsurprisingly, the Latin word for “hen”, gallīna, also bears a striking resemblance to its Portuguese descendant [a] galinha), and so on.

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