Posted in Portuguese

A Semiótica Do Palavrão

(Description of an article about swearing in Porto: there are some grammar and vocab pointers down at the bottom for anyone who needs them. The portuguese is uncorrected and might contain errors but hopefully not many! Thanks to Dani and “Iznogoud” of the r/WriteStreakPT subreddit for helping me tidy up a few errors in the original text)

Acabo de ler um artigo no site do jornal Público intitulado “A Semiótica do Palavrão“. O autor, Paulo Moura, defende que a língua do Porto é rica porque a gente de lá usa muitas expressões com palavrões. Estas expressões não se trata de insultos como seria noutras regiões, mas sim de uma filosofia da vida. Acho que ele está a brincar, ou pelo menos está a escrever numa maneira ligeira. Parece que ele tem muito carinho pelos cidadãos daquela cidade e a sua maneira de falar. Apesar das obscenidades, acha-os acolhedores e simpáticos.

Já ouvi falar desta tendência portuense de usar palavras feias. Tenho uma amiga lisboeta que considera os portuenses bárbaros por isso mesma! Fica escandalizada quando vê vídeos online ou programas televisivas de tripeiros e o seu calão.

Notes on the text.

I’ve referred to Porto residents in three different ways

  • “a gente de lá” (the people from there). Gente is a collective noun so it’s treated as a singular (“a gente… usa” instead of “a gente… usam”)
  • “portuenses” is just a standard adjective meaning “from Porto”
  • “tripeiros” means tripe sellers, and has a couple of origin stories, both dating back about 600 years into the early history of portuguese navigation. You can read more about the most common version here

If you’re reading the article, hopefullly you’ll realise that the missing words are all rude

  • c=cu in every case, meaning “arse”. There are ruder c words in Portuguese like “caralho” (cock), “cagar” (verb meaning to shit) or “cona” (cunt) but I don’t think any of these are the c in any of the expressions on the page
  • p=puta which is a word for a prostitute. You occasionally see the abbreviation pqp online, meaning “puta que pariu” or “puta que te pariu” which is the whore who gave birth to you
  • b= I’m less sure about this one. “Bico” possibly? That just means beak but has a lot of alternative meanings, one of which is “Prática sexual que consiste em estimular o pénis com a boca ou com a língua. = FELAÇÃO”

Checking the theory in the last post, dealing with gender of – ão nouns, just to make sure it isn’t leading me astray:

  • Palavrão (swear-word) – masc: fits the rule
  • Expressão (expression) – fem: fits the rule
  • Razão (reason) – fem: doesn’t fit the rule, but it’s listed as one of the exceptions in the article so that’s no surprise
  • Regiao (region) – fem: fits the rule
  • Cidadão (citizen) – masc: fits the rule
  • Calão (slang) – masc: fits the rule
  • Felação (fellatio) – fem: fits the rule

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Just a data nerd

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