Posted in Portuguese

Uma Quinta Pequenininha Na Cidade

Há seis anos, a minha esposa registou-nos numa lista de espera para um “allotment” e a semana passada, tivemos novidades que vamos ter a oportunidade de arrendar um deles. Não sei se existe uma palavra equivalente em português*. Um “allotment” é um lote de terra na cidade, talvez cinquenta metros quadrados, onde podemos cultivar** legumes, frutas e flores.
São propriedade do governo local e os cidadãos pagam uma renda para poderem usar-los.
A minha filha quer cultivar batatas e flores. A minha esposa quer cultivar morangos, cebolas, alhos, brócolos, bacalhau e esparguete*** (hei-de ter uma conversa longa com ela…), e eu… eu quero apenas construir lá um barracão onde posso sentar-me e praticar português sem perturbar os outros membros da família com os meus sons horríveis.

*= “quinta urbana” (urban farm) was suggested. “Lote de Terra” (used in the next sentence) was suggested as a possible alternative in Brazil too, although it does seem to indicate that the answer to the question “is there a specific word for a plot of public land in the city, for rent to residents” is “no, there’s only a plot of land, and you’ll have to do the rest of the description yourself!”.

**=My use of “crescer” (to grow) was universally nixed in both countries. Apparently you can’t use “to grow” as a transitive verb. What’s a transitive verb? Grammar isn’t taught very thoroughly in the UK because our grammar is a lot simpler than most, so for those of you who are puzzled at this point,  a transitive verb is a verb that takes a direct object. So if you say “I kick the ball”, kick is transitive because it is happening to the ball. In “I sleep for eight hours each night”, sleep is not transitive because you aren’t sleeping something, you’re just sleeping. In English, grow is transitive because you can say “I grow flowers in my window box” but in Portuguese, crescer is intransitive. My flowers grow but I don’t grow them. I can cultivate them (cultivar v.t), plant them (plantar v.t) or water them (regar v.t.) but I can’t grow them. They just grow. Crescer, by the way, is obviously related to the Italian word often (mis)used in English “crescendo”, so it’s easy to remember since a crescendo is when the music is growing in volume.

***=strawberries, onions, garlic, broccoli, codfish and spaghetti”. Despite the brackets saying “I will have to have a long conversation with her…”) two of the three people who helped me correct the work didn’t detect the joke and assumed I was either (a) using the wrong words and meant something else or (b) badly deluded about the basic principles of agriculture. Both fair assumptions, I suppose, given how any screw-ups there were in the rest of the text. Note that alhos and brócolos are both plural, whereas in English we would just treat both as uncountable stuff.

Thanks Susana, Greyck and Ester for helping correct this when it appeared on iTalki


Just a data nerd

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