Ask Luís (#9): adverbs of manner in EP

Hi, everyone! Here’s another long-suffering question from Yuliya (sorry again for the lack of answers):

Olá, Luís! Tenho uma mais pergunta para fazer.

Encontro alguns advérbios em duas formas: na forma de adjetivo e com término -mente. Por exemplo, “ele fala rápido” e “ele fala rapidamente”. Ou “ele fala fluente” e “ele fala fluentemente”. São ambas formas corretas? É uma forma mais preferida?

Obrigada, Yuliya.

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EP word of the week (#73): ovo estrelado

Fried eggs are a typical sight at many traditional Portuguese restaurants and tascas; tasty, nutricious (if you don’t put too much oil in the pan) and easy to cook, they usually go well with [o] bife (steak) of any kind!

But even in the simplest foods do the Portuguese and Brazilian find differences in their language variants, and that’s exactly the case for fried eggs. BP translates it directly, [o] ovo frito (frito being the past participle of fritar, to fry), but EP follows a different route altogether.

Our word for fried egg is [o] ovo estrelado, and its associated verb is estrelar [ovos/um ovo]; both are used only in reference to eggs, which makes it quite special indeed. Estrelado/a is also EP for “starry” (having stars visible or shared like a star, from Portuguese [a] estrela), but I’m not sure there any association between the two terms. There are similar terms in Galician (ovo estrelado) and Catalan (ou estrelat), so it’s safe to say that whatever etymology it has, it’s certain to have an Iberian origin that was completely lost over to BP.

A piece of meat with a fried egg on top is called bife com ovo a cavalo (lit. streak/filet with an egg on horseback) or just bife a cavalo. It’s a funny idiom, don’t you think?

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EP word of the week (#72): presidente de câmara

Portuguese political subdivisions have three different levels:

  1. The first includes the whole country; i.e. national leaders while the Prime-Minister and the President of the Republic
  2. The second is formed by [os] concelhos, 308 municipalities/mayoralties with a fair degree of autonomy versus the centralized government, including responsibility over basic services (like waste removal, water and sanitation, and the like);
  3. Concelhos are formed by [as] freguesias, or parishes, smaller units but that also have some autonomy over the preceding levels of autority.

There are territorial divisions which applied only to the continental part of Portugal and which no longer have any practical purpose, but that are still used in common parlance, like [os] distritosdistricts (which were a level above concelho; every freguesia is part of a concelho); and [as] províncias/regiões (which were the largest level possible, and comprise macrocultural and geological regions irrespective of distrito, but usually divided at the concelho level). The word região is now only used to refer to Portugal’s two Administrative Regions (the archipelagoes of Madeira and the Azores).

At least for the distrito-concelho-freguesia continuum, the larger units were (and are) always comprised by a group of smaller units (that is, 1 concelho is formed by a certain group of freguesias, and 1 distrito was/is formed by a certain, specific group of concelhos). For example, “a Freguesia de Belém” is part of “o Concelho de Lisboa” (which includes the whole city of Lisbon), which was/is part of “o Distrito de Lisboa” (the 18 distritos are named after the largest/most important city in them, which helps explain why they are still so commonly used throughout the country: it’s just easier to visualize the location of a place based on previous knowledge of the relative location of a key city). Similarly, “a Freguesia de Vila Nova de Milfontes” is part of “o Concelho de Odemira“, which was/is part of “o Distrito de Beja“.

Today’s word of the week is the EP word for mayor (the person in charge of governing one of the concelhos), [o] Presidente de/da Câmara (here, using da implies you’re talking about a specific concelho, while de is a general way of saying, with the focus being on the profession and not exactly the location) or [o] Presidente da Câmara Municipal (de here gets an article from the noun that comes afterwards, [a] Câmara Municipal, which is the full name of the municipality’s government (executive body), the mayor being its president). In Brazil, the word used is [o] prefeito (in charge of [a] prefeitura).

Coat of arms of the city [municipality/concelho] de Coimbra. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons.
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EP word of the week (#71): manga

[a] manga is a highly polysemous word in Portuguese: some of its meanings are shared between EP and BP (including shirt sleeve and mango, the fruit), while others are different (for example, it’s used in Brazil to name a fenced pasture ground for horses and oxen.

There’s an extra meaning in EP that’s not shared in BP by virtue of the latter’s insistence in having stressed final vowel openings in some new words (the same process that gives us metro/metrô).

So, manga (usually without the article, but still a feminine noun if definiteness is necessary) is also used in EP for manga, Japanese comics. In BP, it became [o] mangá, with an open, stressed A at the end (and a change in gender as well).

If anything, it can be argued (here as in bebé/bebê) that BP sometimes fares better at mimicking the sound of the word as taken from its original language, while EP prefers to pick up things on its own and adapt them in reference to existing words. However, the opposite seems to happen when picking up neologisms that are harder to change into Portuguese – EP tends to accept some neologisms without changing them, while BP can twist them into words more closely aligned with local pronunciation.

Doraemon’s first appearance in the eponymous manga. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons.

EP words of the week (#70): banda desenhada / Mónica

Comic strips as a form of cultural entertainment for the masses are relatively new; they accompanied the rise of the mass-produced newspapers of the late 19th century – and eventually evolved into

The EP word for comics as an art form is [a] banda desenhada, which means “drawn-on strip” (desenhado/a is the past participle of the verb desenhar, to draw, here used as an adjective). In BP, they’re known as [os] quadrinhos (lit. “little panels“).

Foto tirada no Museu Belga da Banda Desenhada. Photo taken at the Belgian Comic Strip Museum.

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