EP word of the week (#69): lembrar-se (de)

Today, our foray into verb differences between EP and BP reaches the trickiest echelons of the language: reflexive verbs.

As it turns out, there are a few verbs that are reflexive in EP but not in BP (and I’m sure there are some examples of the opposite). This means you have to conjugate the verb together with a reflexive pronoun at all times to achieve a certain meaning (there are a few verbs which change meaning depending on whether you’re using the pronoun or not, and this inside a variant, not as an EP vs. BP comparison).

One of the verbs that follows the first paradigm (EP vs. BP differences) is lembrar-se [de] (to remember), which is pronominal/reflexive in EP but not in BP – across the Atlantic, it’s simply conjugated as lembrar [de]. Interestingly, the verb to forget follows the same pattern: in EP it’s esquecer-se [de], in BP it’s esquecer [de].

In EP, this yields the following verb conjugations for the present indicative (without vós):

  • [Eu] lembro-me [de]
  • [Tu] lembras-te [de]
  • [Ele/Ela/Você] lembra-se [de]
  • [Nós] lembramo-nos [de]
  • [Eles/Elas/Vocês] lembram-se [de]


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EP word of the week (#68): amámos [and other 1st person plural preterite forms]

Two weeks ago I mentioned the reasons why I haven’t used many verbs as Words of the week, but I’m trying to change this slightly but highlighting aspects of verb forms that are different between EP and BP, which is hopefully help you get a better idea of the main differences between variants overall.

If with descolar the focus was in spelling changes, today’s word is a slightly more complicated issue and one that most people don’t notice: the fact that 1st person plural forms on the preterite in verbs of the 1st conjugation (ending in -ar) have a different spelling of the stressed vowel (á, which also shows a change in its sound).

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EP word of the week (#67): pequeno-almoço

As we dive further and further into October, one of the most striking reminders that we’re now deep into Autumn is the dwindling light; the change is obviously not as stark as the one you see at higher latitudes, but it’s just as relevant because 1) most people don’t know about those more extreme cases and end up drawing comparisons only between the realities that they do know; 2) this continuous change presents itself in the 6-8 am timeframe, the time when most people with day jobs wakes up and starts their day.

For example, on July 12th the sun rose in Lisbon at 06:22 am (from a peak of 06:11 am in mid-June); today it rose at 07:43 am.

This long, boring introduction was meant to make you excited/hungry for breakfast, which makes up today’s word of the week! In Portugal, we can it [o] pequeno-almoço (which means “small lunch”, much like the French petit déjeuner); in Brazil, it is known as [o] café da manhã (lit. “morning’s coffee”), while in Portuguese-speaking Africa people prefer the term [o] mata-bicho (lit. “kill-bug”, a metaphor for how breakfast helps end your sleeptime fasting and stop the rumblings of your stomach).



EP word of the week (#66): descolar

Today is October 5th, which happens to be a national holiday in Portugal! On this day, we celebrate the deposition of the Monarchy and the creation of the Portuguese Republic in 1910 :) But today’s word of the week isn’t really related to that – unless we’re talking in a figurative sense.

I don’t usually highlight many verbs in this section because when one thinks of vocabulary, nouns are usually the first thing that comes to mind (since they’re the words we use to represent things and concepts that make up our world); that said, a verb can be just as important to build vocabulary and – at least within this blog – to highlight the small differences between EP and BP that separate and unite us.

Today’s verb is descolar, which means “to take off” (especially in the context of airplane travel). For the same idea, BP uses decolar. BP does use descolar in other ways (some of which are shared with EP – for example, “to unstuck/unglue” -, some of which are not), but Portuguese never uses decolar.


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