Posted in English, Portuguese

Se, Se, Se What You Want, But Don’t Play Games With Conjugation

I’ve been reading “Doze Segredos Da Língua Portuguesa” with a particular eye to reflexive verbs and verbs with impersonal pronouns, following on from discussions I’ve been having with a portuguese teacher resident in britain, about some of the more complicated aspects of the language that I’m not able adequately to describe to my usual portuguese teacher owing to my inability to express the question in portuguese! The specific point of grammar is the one described in a blog post a few months back.

Anyway, here are some examples that jumped out at me during chapter:

Diga-se o que se disser, a verdade é que os portugueses desprezam activamente tal parente, que, coitado, não merece tal sorte. [2x subjunctive tenses in the passove voices – bringing the grammatical thunder: means something like “whatever might be said, it’s true that the portuguese don’t really care about such a parent that hasn’t deserved such a fate”]

Ora a identidade vai alimentar-se daquilo que distingue os vários povos uns dos outros [True reflexive verb ir+inf: means something like “Now, identity will always feed on that which distinguishes groups of people from one another”]

Que se fale galego na Galiza e espanhol no mundo que isso do português não pode interessar a espanhol que se preze. [2x passive voice present subjunctive: means something like “because galician is spoken in galicia and spanish in the world, the question of portuguese isn’t interesting to a spanard who knows his own worth” but I’m not sure – in fact I’m not even sure I didn’t make a transcription error when I wrote it down!]

…o facto de o Brasil se ter mantido como território unido… [manter used reflexively: means something like “…the fact of brazil having stayed as a united territory…”]

Muitas pessoas que se divertem a apontar os erros dos outros estão a proteger uma ideia de pureza associada a ideia de língua nacional, que deve ser protegida como se dum cristal se tratasse. [two reflexive verbs – one presente indicative, the other imperfect subjunctive: Means something like “many people who amuse themselves pointing out other people’s errors are protecting a notion of purity linked to the idea of a national language which must be protected as if it were a crystal”]

Os exemplos acumulam-se [reflexive: means “the examples accumulate”]

Se olharmos para a lista das dez línguas de Portugal que acabámos de ver, apercebemo-nos de uma grande diferença entre as primeiras e as últimas. [aperceber-se is a reflexive verb that means “notice”so…: Means something like  “If we look at the list of the ten languages of Portugal, we notice a big difference between the first and last”]



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