EP word of the week (#47): humidade

Even though Portuguese summer aren’t usually all that humid (our Mediterranean climate usually brings sunny weather and dry air), in the past few years I’ve noticed some summer days where the relative humidity is quite high while the temperatures are not as high as they normally would be (hovering between 25-30ºC max when they usually go upwards from 35ºC). When that humidity is not accompanied by clouds and light rain, the result is virtually the same: you sweat a lot when you’re outside and you’re always trying to find some shade (unless you’re at the beach or by some riverside).

All of this to say that the word for humidity/moisture isn’t the same in Portugal and in Brazil: over here we write [a] humidade, across the sea Brazilians write it without the h[a] umidade. In case you missed it, I explain exactly why EP choose to keep the h in words from the family of húmido/a (moist, humid) on my Grammar Tips article about the letter h.


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EP word of the week (#46): calções de banho / cueca de banho

It’s a law of life: when the weather gets hotter, humans adapt by slowly getting more and more naked. People’s limits vary: by country, region, culture, self-consciousness with your body, but it’s fair to say we always see more of each other when the temperatures get higher.

Considering both Portugal and Brazil are blessed to have gorgeous beaches anda generally hot climate, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that each language would develop its own ways of talking about men’s beachwear. Actually, one could always argue that the development of beaches as places of leisure for the masses and the mass production of clothes are both products of the 20th century, well after the two language variants became established as independent units; as such, it’s only normal to find differences between such normal things as beach shorts and swim briefs.

In Portugal, swimshorts are called [os] calções de banho or [o] fato de banho, while Brazilians prefer the term [o] calção de banhoBoardshorts are known as [os] calções in EP, and as [a] bermuda in BP (this noun is also present in Portugal, but it’s not as prevalent). Here, the distinction is between shorts you wear specifically for swimming, and shorts that can be multipurposed into regular summer clothing (which is wearable in other places other than the beach).

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EP word of the week (#45): gelado

Summer is finally here! To celebrate the occasion, from now on and until the end of the season the Words of the week segment will present you with words that are evocative of Summer or the holidays, including a series of posts on Portuguese cuisine to make you salivate (and/or bookpassages to spend some days with us in the sun)!

When the days get hotter, ice cream usually comes in handy to satiate the body’s need for something cold; it’s obviously not to everyone’s taste – cold drinks and light snacks will always be available if you stop by -, but it’s certainly a (very yummy) possibility (:

Like so many other words related to coldness [1] [2], the Portuguese word for ice cream is also different on the two sides of the Atlantic: Brazilians call it [o] sorvete; while Portuguese use the term [o] gelado (lit. “iced, icy”; we can be very literal sometimes).

In EP, the word [o] sorvete exists, but it applies only to fruit and sugar-based frozen desserts (that is, without the actual cream), therefore being similar to the English sorbetIn any case, [o] gelado is the most widely used term, even for what typically would be called a sorbet (only artisanal shops and posh restaurants would dare and care to clarify the difference).

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Grammar Tips (#16): Personal pronouns (2): object pronouns (direct / indirect)

The whole range of Portuguese object (clitic) pronouns is as follows:

Subject pronoun Direct object pronoun Indirect object pronoun
Eu me
Tu te
Ele / Você (if male) o (lo, no) lhe
Ela / Você (if female) a (la, na)
Nós nos
Vocês vos
Eles os (los, nos) lhes
Elas as (las, nas)

EP also has the particularity of allowing the merge of these two objects into a single pronoun; to learn more about it, you’ll have to read this whole article – or scroll down until you find it, even though I recommend you read everything that comes before first!

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EP word of the week (#44): paragem

Here we stand, on the last stop of Words of the Week before the Summer Solstice. And today, the topic I’ve chosen is, in its own roundabout way, a retrospective on a series of posts I’ve written about modes of public transportation.

Today, stop is the key noun: here I’m thinking about the designated places/shelters where people wait for buses/trams|streetcars. In Portugal, the word used is [a] paragem [de autocarro/elé[c]trico], while in Brazil the most common word is [a] parada [de ônibus] (also [o] ponto); over here, we only use the [a] parada with other meanings (including “military parade“).

Paragem de autocarro em Lisboa. Bus stop in Lisbon

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Grammar Tips (#15): Personal pronouns (1): subject

The whole range of Portuguese subject personal pronouns (that is, that substitute the subject of the sentence) is as follows:

Person and Number Personal pronoun Special cases
1st person singular eu (I)
2nd person singular tu (you, informal)
3rd person singular ele (he) / ela (she) você (you, formal)

Other pronouns of treatment in the singular, like o senhor, a senhora, et. al.

a gente (we, very informal)

1st person plural nós (we)
2nd person plural vós (generally obsolete)
3rd person plural eles (they, masc.)

elas (they, fem.)

vocês (you [pl.], informal)

Other pronouns of treatment in the plural

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EP word of the week (#43): fato

Today’s word is a BP vs. EP false friend! For the Portuguese speakers on the eastern side of the Atlantic and beyond, [o] fato is a suit (Brazilians use [o] termo or [o] costume]); for Brazilians, the same word represents the noun fact.

In EP, fact is [o] facto (its spelling didn’t change with the Spelling Reform of 1990 since we pronounce the c here, just like English does).

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Ask Luís! (#7): Use of the present indicative vs. future subjunctive in relative clauses with quem

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all having a nice week (:

Today’s question comes via Elaine in the United States:

Olá professor! Por favor, queria saber porque o JB (o jornal) não usou o futuro do conjuntivo na oração que começa com: “…enquanto luta contra quem quer (quiser?) expulsá-la de vez…”

«The New York Times comenta que uma sensação de impotência e indignação permeia o Palácio da Alvorada, a residência onde Dilma Rousseff, mesmo afastada é permitida de habitar enquanto luta contra quem quer expulsá-la de uma vez por todas

Agradeço desde já, Luís.

The answer will follow after the jump.

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Grammar Tips (#14): Gender in tech words and the Internet

English learners of Portuguese or other languages with grammatical genders tend to struggle when trying to associate words with a certain gender; in the field of technology, where new words are created with the flow of tech advances and trends, it may be ever harder to figure these things out unless you’re keeping up with said trends (a good EP dictionary always come in handy).

This post serves mainly as a way for you to get acquainted with some rules that exist regarding the gender of tech products.

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