Archive for October, 2008

Another globo quiz…

Test your geography with another quiz from Globo. Can you tell the difference between two countries with similar names in Brazilian Portuguese? I got 9/10. Click here to access the site.


October 20, 2008 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

Dictionary of the financial crisis

Found this handy article which has a glossary of words used in describing the present financial chaos. It was put together by the magazine VEJA and does quite a good job of explaining both English and Portuguese words in a fairly simple way. Useful if like me you’ve read everything there is to read about the recent crash and still come out scratching your head. Read it here.

October 14, 2008 at 12:17 am Leave a comment

Nobel Peace Prize winners

As a break from all the stories of financial krakatowa, here’s an article about the recent winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. This year’s winner was announced last week with the Finnish ex-president Martti Ahtisaari taking the honour for his conflict resolution work in different parts of the world. Globo’s run-down of past winners is interesting. Click here to access the article. As usual, I’ve included a short quiz to test your comprehension. No word help this time though!

Quiz questions

1) Which two winners were awarded prizes principally for their work with the environment?
2) Which winners won awards for their work in reconciling people of their own nation with a neighbouring enemy?
3) Which winners idea was exported to 58 countries?
4) Which two candidates are highlighted for their work with human rights?
5) How many other UN Secretary Generals have their been before Annan?
6) Which TWO organisations are winners of the Nobel Prize in the list?
7) How is “The Good Friday Agreement” translated into Portuguese in the article?

October 13, 2008 at 12:02 am 1 comment

Gender issues 2

This post follows on from what I wrote about getting the gender right in Portuguese.

I thought I’d try and make a list here, which I will keep updating, of the most common irregular nouns that don’t follow any of the rules that I listed before.

Words that are feminine that you might think were masculine

a carne = the meat
a colher = the spoon
a chave = the key
a fase = the phase
a foto = the photo
a luz = the light
a noite = the night
a torre = the tower
a vez = the time/the phase

Words that are masculine that you might think were feminine

o chá = the tea
o clima = the weather
o dia = the day
o sofa = the sofa


Compound Nouns

Generally, it seems to me (unless anyone can tell me otherwise) that compound nouns – words made up of two nouns often end up being masculine even if both the nouns are feminine. Some examples:

o guarda-roupa = the wardrobe (guarda and roupa are both feminine separately)
o guarda-chuva = the umbrella (guarda and chuva are both feminine separately)
o homem-aranha = the spiderman (homem is masculine and aranha is feminine)

Other compound words

When there is a preposition between the words, the first word is usually the one that has to agree with the gender and plural rules. For example:

o Pé-de-moleque = lit. young boy’s foot, a kind of brittle candy popular in Brazil.

The gender can change in some compound nouns depending on if you are talking about a male or a female person:

o Amigo-da-onça / a amiga-da-onça = the friend of the jaguar (an idiom meaning a person who seems like a good friend but is hypocritical or insincere).
O Ex-governador / a ex-governadora = the ex-governor.

Some compounds combine adjectives and verbs with nouns. Then the gender and plural agrees with the noun:

O Beija-flor = lit. the kiss-flower / hummingbird.
Os Beija-flores = lit. the kiss-flowers / hummingbirds.

Thanks to Jack Scholes’ book (see Links & Resources) for giving me some of the examples for this section.

October 9, 2008 at 12:10 pm 1 comment

McFly in Brazil

McFlymania is hitting Brazil this week as the British outfit play their first shows in Brazil, in Rio and Sao Paulo.

Here’s a few links about it to read if this is your thing: 1) a set of photos from their show in Sao Paulo, 2) A report on what’s been going on here. And, why not a couple of subtitled videos of their songs…

And there’s actually quite a lot on YouTube in Portuguese about McFly including several documentaries and interviews with subtitles. Have a look here.

October 9, 2008 at 9:16 am Leave a comment

They don’t speak Spanish, you know!

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.