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My favorite words in Portuguese are all those which I call “arcaicisms”, old-words that have been left to the dust in Italian but are perfectly functional in modern Portuguese. Above all my favorite is “comboio”: in ancient Italian it would be “convoglio” and means train. It makes me think of old -time travels. The Fitzgeralds on the French Riviera kind of time.

Portuguese is the hardest of all Latin languages, because of its “matizes”, nuances. I’d say that if you can speak a reasonably good (C1 level) Spanish in a couple of years, reaching a C2 of Portuguese will almost be unattainable in a lifetime, so complex and complicated this language is.

Of course youngsters do not speak a very good Portuguese, but I have learned the language mainly by reading Eça de Queiroz (he never uses a synonym in the hefty books he writes) and his Portuguese is rather delicious for the ears and the heart.

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Apparently, we've only begun to scratch the surface of the complexities, nuances, and complications of the language. Fortunately, we have the rest of our lives to keep learning.

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It will be a marvelous linguistics journey!

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I also enjoy reading the ads I see on the Metro. One McDonald’s ad for a new egg sandwich had the tagline, “Nunca Ovo Um Recital Assim” which translates literally as “Never Egg a Recital Like This.” But it’s a play on the verb ouvir, so it means “You Have Never Heard a Recital Like This” (“Nunca Ouviu Um Recital Assim.”) Clever. But it had me scratching my head.

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Exactly! Excellent example.

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Love this!

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Scott H-K, Amy Redfield

My favorite word, at the moment, is "malabarismo," meaning "juggling." Both literally, and figuratively (as in to "juggle a schedule.") I had read about and heard about "Indian jugglers," as in an essay by William Hazlitt. Apparently the art of juggling as we know it was developed by people in India on the Malabar Coast during the period of British rule... but for some reason the association made it into Portuguese and Spanish, but not English.

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Interesting.

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Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023Liked by Scott H-K

Learning languages is fun, but more difficult as you get older. I was a Spanish major at university and spent a year studying abroad in Madrid my junior year. After a year I was at about a B2/C1 level. My senior year I needed another class to fill my schedule and decided to take Portuguese. My knowledge of Spanish certainly helped me pick up Portuguese pretty easily (although we were taught Brasilian Portuguese at the University of California). Grammatically they are very similar although Spanish uses the reflexive verb a lot more than Portuguese and Portuguese has a future subjunctive verb form while Spanish does not. I still understand Spanish a lot better than Portuguese (when in Spain I understand about 80-90% of what is said on the radio, while in PT I only understand about 70%) however, after 4 years here when I try to speak Spanish a lot comes out Portuguese, the exact opposite of when we moved here in 2020. We lived in China from 2015-2018 and the first year I tried really hard to learn Chinese, but after about 6 months I gave up. Too much of a tonal language. I would say things on the street only to receive blank stares. Still I managed to get about a 200-300 word vocabulary (including the numbers)

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It seems to me that in general in Spanish you pronounce everything, whereas in Portuguese....

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Dec 7, 2023Liked by Scott H-K, Amy Redfield

Boa! Fun! Good stuff. Musings I often have. Glad to have run across your blog.

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So glad to have you!

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Scott H-K, Amy Redfield

Hmm. A beer that says more than we know. Is that a hops-based idea equivalent to "In vino veritas"?

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I suspect it is, yes. But I'm not really sure. Fortunately for Super Bock, I am not their target audience.

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My partner just came back from a game tournament in Santarém having been taught a new phrase, "Empata fodas," which translates to "stall fucking" and is essentially equivalent to cockblocking in the U.S. 🤣

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Wowza!

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Scott H-K, Amy Redfield

Very interesting distinctions that we are just beginning to entender,... Or compreender? Thanks for sharing!

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Scott H-K, Amy Redfield

When I was young I was good at languages and learned them quickly. My aging brain is having a tough time with this one. It's good you are learning it now. I especially don't get the beer commercial. Nao comprender, or words to that effect.

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Dec 24, 2023Liked by Scott H-K

This was great! Thank you

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Glad you liked it! Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas to you and family :)

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Love it! A small blender is called "varinha mágica" in Portugal, which means "magic wand". Unfortunately in Brazil we say "mixer" :-)

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I do love a good magic wand. Boas festas!

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