Posted in English, Portuguese

Buarque Ode

I’ve really got quite evangelical about this Chico Buarque song, you know. I insist that everyone should learn Portuguese so they can appreciate its greatness. Here’s something I wrote about it in WritestreakPT, and this probably won’t be the last time I mention it either!

Acabo de ler um capítulo do meu livro (“Idiotas Úteis e Inúteis” de Ricardo Araújo Pereira) no qual o autor descreve uma canção do cantor brasileiro Chico Buarque chamada “Construção”. A letra da canção tem um ritmo ligeiramente diferente do que o padrão. Porquê*? Seguindo o Ricardo, é por causa de… Hum… uma palavra desconhecida. Ainda por cima, mal consegui pronúnciá-la! Estava a ler na cama e o dicionário na mesa de cabeceira também a desconhecia, portanto tive de aguardar até hoje de manhã.

A palavra era “Proparoxítono”**. Significa que a palavra tem o acento tónico na antepenúltima sílaba. Todas as palavras de cada linha são proparoxítonas. Em resultado disso, a canção soa muito diferente de qualquer outra canção portuguesa que já ouvi.
Que colheita boa! Num único capítulo, aprendi uma nova palavra, ouvi falar duma nova canção (que é mesmo bonita – acreditem!) e ganhei um novo ponto de vista sobre a língua.

* miraculously the corrector found only one single error in this entire thing except that they thought this should change to “por quê?”. This surprised me a bit because explanations of the various types of por/que usually have only 3 forms and “por quê” is not one of them. According to ciberdúvidas it can be used if you are asking “for what?” but it doesn’t mean “why” according to Elsa Fernandes’s book so at the risk of sounding arrogant, I don’t think the corrector was quite on the mark here. [UPDATE – A better corrector came along and agreed that yes, I was right about Porquê, but they have also pointed out some other mistakes which I have since corrected in the text above. It wasn’t terrible…]

** Amazingly there is a second word for this. Two words meaning “having the accent on the antepenultimate syllable”! It’s like the Eskimos and snow! The other word is Esdrúxulo.

And finally if you’re wondering what you call words that have the stress on the final or penultimate syllable they are oxítono and paroxítono respectively.

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Just a data nerd

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