EP word of the week (#83): matraquilhos

Since the Portuguese love football so much (some of us just bear it, but the topic is almost unavoidable), we try to make sure we find new words to set us apart from our rivals across the pond!

On a more serious note (I hope you really didn’t believe we changed words because of sports rivalries), yes – this is another post about differences between EP and BP when it comes to [o] desporto rei (the king of sports), but this time we’re talking about the table variety, i.e. foosball / table football.

Over here, you can find them in almost any tasca or snack-bar (around Lisbon, the dolls are usually painted with the green and red jerseys of Sporting and Benfica respectively, the two biggest football teams of the capital – see below), and we mostly call it [os] matraquilhos (colloquially [os] matrecos), while in Brazil it can be called either [o] totó[o] pebolim or [o] pacal depending on the region.

Never use [o] totó in Portugal, though; here it’s an adjective/noun meaning “fool, silly, halfwit” :)


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EP word of the week (#82): “Parabéns a você!”

Hey, everyone!

On this day last year, I decided to take a leap forward with my desire in helping people learning EP and I started this blog, so it’s time to say Happy Birthday! :D

I’d like to take a moment to thank the people who have helped to me during this process, especially Elaine (I haven’t heard from you in a while, but you were key for me to make the jump from Duolingo to this more personal endeavour; I hope all is well with you), João (your insightful comments are always appreciated, and your likes help me know at least someone is engaged with the blog and keep going) and Yuliya (thank you for your questions and the support – I notice your likes too, and I sincerely hope you’re learning something with the blog or at least finding some motivation to keep your Portuguese studies)! But anyone who’s commented, followed the blog or was a friend helped make this happen :)

Today’s word of the week is more of an expression than an actual word: it’s actually the first line of the EP birthday song, which usually goes like this:

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EP word of the week (#81): vólei

The differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese are really tricky to place in neat boxes: since we’re talking about two variants of the same language who have been separated for centuries, it’s hard to pin where the differences will be more noticeable, and which words will suffer from this divergence.

Today’s word of the week is another such case where different phonetics causes different spelling, but one complicated by the fact that we’re talking about a shortening of a word that’s shared by both variants.

[O] vólei is EP short for [o] voleibol, the sport known in English as volleyball; in BP, the base word is spelled the same way – [o] voleibol – but the shortening takes a circumflex accent to match BP’s closing of the stressed vowel, becoming [o] vôlei.

Márcio Araújo, um jogador brasileiro de vólei de praia. Márcio Araúko, a Brazilian beach volleyball player.

Why does this happen? Well, for two reasons:

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EP word of the week (#80): aplicação

To continue the New Year theme, I thought today I could talk about something just as new – different translation of neologisms between European and Brazilian Portuguese.

Today’s word of the week – [a] aplicação is the EP translation of the English word app; the noun itself isn’t new: aplicação means application, the noun associated with the verb aplicar (to apply, to put into use, to use). It’s also quite common to say [a] app when you’re talking about mobile apps; in writing people may differenciate between this and other types of applications by writing [a] aplicação móvel, but [a] app is the most common word in speech.


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EP word of the week (#79): Janeiras

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you had some good New Year’s Eve celebrations and that the New Year is treating you well! I’m already back to work after a few short days in Portugal, but I’m feeling great: the blog is about to have its first anniversary (in great part thanks to you – I wouldn’t feel so compelled to keep going without your feedback) and there’s always new things you can learn.

Today’s Word of the Week is a reflection of this: as Janeiras is the EP word for a special Portuguese tradition: singing songs at people’s homes wishing them a happy new year. These were much more common a few generations ago (since there are also religious connotations to the songs, and the groups that caroled them are usually organized by churches). They usually lasted from the 1st of January to King’s day (the 6th), but in some areas they last the whole month.

As you probably figured out, Janeiras comes from the Portuguese word for January, Janeiro.

Here’s one example of cantar as Janeiras (to sing the Janeiras):

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