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Estória and História

I was corrected by a brasileiro who changed my “história” to “estória” according to this page, I don’t think it’s quite right – história seems to be preferred and estória deprecated in European portuguese at least. In Brasil it’s used more for narrative fiction (“Story”) as opposed to actual history, but even then it’s obviously not that common becuase I use “história quite often and it’s only been altered once.


Well, I’ve already had one more correction (below) on this subject so I asked around on iTalki, where a Portuguese guy agreed with my tentative conclusion and a second person unearthed a couple of online posting boards (here and here) to support the Estória=story version. Most of the posts bear out my guess that it was more of a Brazilian thing, and a lot of Portuguese people seem to be harrumphing a great deal. But not all: some find the estória/história split natural. Maybe a generational or regional split?

There’s a lot of confusion around. For example one of the Portuguese peeps hotly denies that estória is a valid word because it’s too modern (Século XX), whereas Ciberdúvidas says it’s old – possibly Século XIII, before Columbus was even born! Maybe it’s one of these words that was part of the language at the time the Americas were colonised, got preserved in the speech patterns of the colonies and then crept back into the European form of the language, where it had been long forgotten, via media output by the more vibrant New World countries in the twentieth century. There are lots of similar words in American english (“gotten” as the past participle of the english verb “get” is the only one I can think of off hand but trust me, it’s not the only one). There are other strands to pick at – such as a reference to the Galega word “hestoria”, which puts us back in Marco Neves territory.

One of the posters on the two new threads mentions this little gem

Eu me lembro de ter lido em Guimarães Rosa (não posso dizer se foi em Primeiras Estórias ou em Tutaméia, não tenho meus livros à mão aqui agora) uma frase que dizia:
“A estória não quer ser história”.

which doesn’t shed much light because Guimarães Rosa is brazilian too, but it’s a great quote and a great illustration of the two words in action!

Update to the Update:

First reply from a Portuguese student confirms it is not used in Portugal and is regarded as an error. Video here explains everything:


Thank you Paulo and Bru for your answers to my question and thanks Manuel for your comment on this post (further acknowledgement deleted at request of person in question)


Just a data nerd

2 thoughts on “Estória and História

    1. Muito obrigado pelo comentário. Isso é muito polémico. Fiz uma pergunta sobre a minha dúvida num site para estudantes de línguas e continuo a acreditar que há sítios no mundo lusófono onde não se usa “estória”.
      Adicionei mais uns parágrafos e agradeci-te no texto ao fundo da página. Ainda não sei definitivamente a regra nisso mas acho que é mais seguro dizer “história” em portugal, mesmo quando o contexto exige um “estória” em PT-BR (Aliás, estou a escrever com verificação ortográfica ligada com o dicionário PT-PT activo e “estória” é a única palavra sublinhada!)


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