Posted in Portuguese

O Preço da Tolice

Já me queixei muitas vezes da nossa decisão de sairmos da UE. Ganhei mais um motivo de raiva, porque comprei um pacote de aulas. Vendem-se em dólares, mas a taxa de câmbio em vigor está tão ridícula que me custou mais do que anteriormente. Muito obrigado apoiantes do Brexit.

Posted in French

Bandes Desinées

I’m not planning to make a habit of this but I had a go at a french text on iTalki. I’ve highlighted the errors. Just to underscore what I said the other day, despite careful checking, I’d managed to smuggle three whole portuguese words in there: an “e” in place of an “et” and “a ler” in place of “en lire”

J’ai lu une bande dessinée française. C’était le premier livre français que j’ai lu depuis que j’ai quitté l’école. Je l’ai lu parce que j’avais besoin de quelque chose pour me rappeler la langue. J’ai lu et parlé tellement le portugais que j’ai oublié presque tout. Le livre que j’ai choisi était “L’Étranger” d’Albert Camus, un livre dont j’avais lu l’original quand j’étais jeune, mais aujord’hui il y a une bande dessinée aussi. Après ce “baptême du feu”, j’ai continué en lire un autre: “Lucky Luke – Un Cow-boy à Paris” qui était très drôle.

Posted in Portuguese

Diz-se Que Existem Outras Línguas #2

Screenshot_20190815-232340_InstagramAcabo de passar uma semana em França. Adorei mas havia um problema: Ainda que falasse francês muito bem quando era novo, muitos séculos vieram e passaram desde aquela época. Os meus livros vetustos empoeiraram e o meu cérebro enfraqueceu e endoideceu. Ainda por cima, tinha passado anos a ler, falar, escrever e ouvir em português. Por isso, cada vez que falava, palavras portuguesas a cairam da minha boca. juntamente com as francesas. O resultado: uma espécie de “Françugês”.

“Bonjour SENHORA” eu disse. “Je voudrais UM bouteille d’eau E UM café POR FA… hum, DESCUL… pardon… S’il vous plait”

Mas o que mais me interessou foi o efeito de quando regressei à minha terra: receei estar igualmente confuso quando voltasse a falar português mas não houve nenhum problema: nem sequer estava enferrujado: era como se fosse uma semana a praticar português. Ao que parece, os circuitos linguísticos do meu cérebro receberam um treino em francês que aumentou a minha competência em português!

Posted in English

A Wild Portugeese Chase

In t-shirt news, I saw this t-shirt, referencing the current portuguese fuel crisis, on the Cão Azul website…


…and although I had no desire to own the thing, I did get a bit obsessed by what the joke was. I asked around and found someone who explained it was to do with the way the words are pronounced in regional accents/dialects in the north, where the sound of words is more influenced by Galician – so a V might become a B and the ão sound would be more like an “on” or “om” (so “televisão” becomes “telebisom”). She also mentioned an explanation of the gasoil/gasoleo thing that included the word “gozar” which unfortunately I misunderstood as her saying that gazoil would be pronounced “gozar”

So I started trying to put the mispronounced syllables into a sentence

Camion… Bidon… Gasoil… Jarrican

Cá meu m… something… gozar… já something

but I couldn’t make sense of it so I asked again and she explained that, no, it’s just about how the northerners talk funny. I find this a deeply disappointing piece of news and keep looking at it again trying to find a hidden meaning in there like it was some sort of crossword clue, and I don’t think I can rest easy until I find one.

If you’re reading this and you have a better answer for why this is funny (feel free to invent one – I’ll be as gullible as you like) then please, please, tell me.


Posted in English

Diz-se Que Existem Outras Línguas.

Bon Soir, Boa Noite and Good Evening

Well, I think this is the longest gap between blog posts for quite some time now. I have been wibbling about doing other things, busy with work and actually took a whole week off portuguese to brush up on my french for a family holiday. It was sort of a strange experience. On the one hand, I was surprised by the experience of accessing the francophone bits of my brain. I’ve forgotten a lot in the 34 years since my O’Level of course, but I used to be pretty good at it back in the day, and the language has pretty deep roots in my head, such that I’ve always been able to hold my own in conversations I’ve had as an adult. But to continue the deep roots metaphor, the whole plant has been buried under a thick mulch of portuguese vocabulary. I had to read a couple of comic books to reawaken it, and even then I’d find portuguese would just tumble out of my mouth at every excuse. I consistently said “et” like the portuguese “e” and standards like “merci”, “pardon” and “oui” would all just give way to their portuguese equivalents even if I was a few sentences deep into a conversation. Words that are similar between the two like “fácil” and “facile” got a bit blurry too.

What was weirder still, though, was that the day after I got back, I had a portuguese lesson after having not spoken, read, heard, or written a word of portuguese for about 8 or 9 days. Normally if I have a delay like that I find I’m really rusty and can’t get a word out, but it actually flowed pretty well, and I can only conclude that whatever mental equipment I use for producing portuguese was getting a good workout from producing the bizarre Françuguês I was bellowing at the longsuffering garçons of Nantes.