A couple of posts ago I mentioned that ted.com have videos with subtitles, sometimes in Portuguese. This week I discovered a website that goes one better – yappr.com. It is built for the language learning community and has a selection of videos from many genres and topics that you can watch with two streams of subtitles – English and another language. The subtitles are generated within the community of users on the site and then peer checked and approved. There seems to be a large Brazilian Portuguese presence on the site and I’ve already watched a few videos this way with a Brazilian Portuguese stream of subtitles. Fantastic language resource, check it out here: www.yappr.com.

June 14, 2009 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

Book Review: Ron Martinez – Como se diz chulé em inglês?

Como se diz chulé em inglês? (How do you say “chulé” in English?) is a book written for Brazilians learning English, but in my opinion its just as useful if not more so for English people learning Brazilian Portuguese.

Some time ago, Ron Martinez (who has a background of teaching English in Brazil) started a group on the social network site Orkut for learners of English. Students posted questions about words in Portuguese they couldn’t find an equivelent for in English. This book is Ron’s attempt to answer those queries. Basically, it’s a fascinating study of phrases and words that are common in Portuguese which no English word seems to quite capture.

The best way to illustrate this is through some examples. An oft-cited Portuguese word that has no English translation is “saudades” which roughly translates to “longing” – basically the feeling we have when we miss something. Other useful words which Martinez picks up on – Picanha (the prime cut of meat so popular at Brazilian barbeques/churrascos which butchers in the northern hemisphere don’t use!), caprichar (sort of means “to embellish”, “to treat well”, “to put extra effort in”), cadê (that wonderful word which doesn’t need to be conjugated which means – Where is/are..?) and, from the title, chulé (smelly feet!).

As the book is written in Portuguese you will need at least an intermediate grasp of Portuguese to get everything, but the chapters are short, witty and the examples clearly laid out in boxes. A great way to get under the skin of both English and Portuguese and how the two languages actually work in practice…

Here is a listing for the book on submarino.com.br

June 9, 2009 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

TED.com with Portuguese subtitles

Some of you may know about the excellent website TED.com already – experts from various fields around the world talk for a short time about their “idea”. A great way to learn something new, fast.

I was happy to discover that TED.com’s own internal video streaming set up now has optional subtitles included, mostly in English. And several videos have subtitles in Brazilian Portuguese. If you read this blog and don’t live in Brazil, and so don’t have access to DVDs with Portuguese subtitles etc. then this site would probably help you a lot. For a real challenge, watch the video with no sound, using only the mute images and subtitles to help you out. If you have time, watch the video again – repetition reinforces new vocabulary.

Here is one such video with Portuguese subtitles about the nature of happiness – very thorught-provoking.

May 28, 2009 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment


I recently checked out this website. It claims to be an almanac of Brazilian popular culture. It certainly has a lot of content on many strange and interesting aspects of Brazilian people and life. For example, I discovered that there are parts of Brazil with their own currency – a measure designed to keep money in the local economy. I also read an article about an incredible British lady called Margaret Mee who spent years cataloguing flowers in the Amazon, and so on…

Anyway, short, pithy, well-written Portugese articles are here.

May 22, 2009 at 12:58 am Leave a comment

Oasis in Brazil

The British stadium rockers Oasis are in Brazil on tour. One of their lesser-known songs has Brazilian subtitles in the video above. Oasis’ lyrics are pretty non-sensical in any language but, hey well… Coverage in the news of Oasis, photos of their concerts etc. can be found here.

May 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Ronaldo dressed as a nun!

If you’re a fan of football, or even if you’re not, you have to watch this video! Ronaldo, now at Corinthians, is once again a hero after he scored 13 goals to help Corinthians to the state championships here in Brazil. Here is Ronaldo singing a number from Sister Act. Someone has helpfully subtitled the song back into Portuguese. Pay attention to the appearance of Brazilian president Lula on piano…

And, if you haven’t seen this already, this is what happened when Corinthians lifted the state championship trophy. Fireworks + streamers + raised platform = potential health and safety hazard. But, in true Brazilian form, once the fire was out everyone just got on with the business of being in a party…

May 12, 2009 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

40 ways to make the world a better place

To celebrate 40 years of their publication, Veja magazine has invited specialists from different fields to comment on how to make Brazil a better place. The list, with short explanations, is an excellent mini-manifesto on how to make the world a better place. Apart from being very interesting, it’s also packed with loads of essential vocabulary!

You can read it here: http://veja.abril.com.br/100908/p_110.shtml#17

April 19, 2009 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

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This website has practice activities for people learning Brazilian Portuguese at Intermediate level or higher. Please browse around or click on ABOUT to find out more about how to get the most out of the site.