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Groan… I’ve just spent ages trying to work out what “tratabalho” means in this paragraph.

The book is “A Construção da Democracia em Portugal“, a translation of “The Making of Portuguese Democracy” by Kenneth Maxwell, by the way

The quotation marks make it look like it’s a deliberate change so I was theorising it might be a combination of “trabalho” and another word like “tratamento”. I was curious because I thought the author was being sarcastic or implying something about their motives.

It’s not though. After a lot of hoo-ha, I finally found a copy of the English version in Google Books and it just says “Task Force”, so it must just be a simple typo. Annoying!

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New YouTube Channel

If you enjoyed the audiobook post a couple of weeks ago you might also enjoy this new YouTube channel started by Booktuber Silent Wanderer. It’s called Em Voz Alta and it’s looking to release two chapters per week of short stories read by Portuguese readers, many of whom I already know from their own channels. So far, they’ve finished O Principezinho (everyone’s favourite!) and they’re well into The Canterville Ghost.

Don’t forget, you can use the videos as audiobooks even if the screen is off by following the suggestions in my most recent post, Story Hour

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Story Hour

One of the things that struck me after posting my list of audiobooks is that there aren’t many that are aimed at younger children, and if you’re a new reader that might be exactly what you need. I did check all the Portuguese children’s stories on Audible but with the exception of O Principezinho they were all Brazilian.

It seems like the best way to listen to stories for children is through videos. There are some on YouTube and some on the RTP Estudo em Casa site under “Hora da Leitura” (Reading Hour).

Here are a few lists you can tap into. If you want to listen to them as audiobooks, with the screen off and your phone in your pocket, there are a couple of settings you need to change on your phone, and I’ll put a video about that down at the bottom if you need it.

Obviously, you might be happy just to follow along with the video, especially since some of them show the actual text, or animations that can be good visual clues, but if you want to treat them like normal audiobooks, here’s a video that will explain how to set your phone up to play the audio only, even when the phone screen is off.

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The Greatest Stories Ever Heard

As regular readers (hey, stop laughing – I have regular readers! I do!) will know, I am obsessed with audiobooks, so I have been trying for a while now to compile a definitive list of all the european portuguese audiobooks available, so I have been through every single audiobook in Audible and listened to the accent and I’ve wrestled with Kobo’s completely useless search function to bring a few golden nuggets from among the grit. You can find them all here. I’ll add to the list as new ones become available. If you know of any I’ve missed, please let me know. I feel like I’ve been pretty thorough but I’m just one person and it’s a big internet.

There are affiliate links on the page, by the way: I’m hoping my obsession will pay for itself one day.

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Practice Portuguese

It seems like there’s a lot going on at Practice Portuguese, everyone’s go-to European Portuguese resource. The lads are now both full-time on the project as paid work, freeing up time for their non-paid work: dadding.

But even better, they’ve got a new app out that makes it easier to use their content on a phone. This could be a real game changer for a lot of people. At the moment it’s only in beta but I’ve downloaded it and it looks good.

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No Such Thing As Society

I came across this paragraph in a book I read recently. It hit me because it’s a familiar quote but I also realised i didn’t know how to say “there’s no such thing as…”

“For the right-wing libertarian “there’s no such thing as society” (Margaret Thatcher) and liberty is individual or not at all”. And “Não existe tal coisa” is the key phrase meaning “there’s no such thing as”

Incidentally, that “direita” is causing me some headaches in the book I’m reading now “A Construção da Democracia em Portugal”. My confusion comes from the fact that one of the socialist leaders is a law professor – “Professor de Direito” – because “direito” means right as in right hand but also means right as in “human rights” and by extension, law. But I keep thinking he’s a Professor de Direita – ie, a right-wing professor, which is a bit weird if he’s helping lead a socialist movement. Direita isn’t a different word from direito, it’s just shorthand for right-wing, and wing is “ala”, which is feminine so the ending has changed.

There you go: quite a lot to unpack there! I have quite a few of these little nuggets saved up from the last few weeks of reading so I might do a few more of these posts. They help me to remember them and maybe they’re useful to other people too.

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An Apple A Day

The portuguese equivalent of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is pleasing because it rhymes just like the english version

Uma maçã por dia, não sabe o bem que lhe fazia

It isn’t usually used in that form though. If you look for the second part online it’s more often used with “um livro por dia”, “uma música por dia” “uma panda por dia” or any other noun you care to name

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I came across a word the other day that I hadn’t really thought about much but seems to have more depth than I realised. For some, it’s just as much a national characteristic as “saudade”. The word is “desenrascanço“. Its root is “enrascar” which means to twist or tangle. So it’s basically the ability to untangle things, and it’s more-or-less equivalent to English words like improvisation, hacking, kludging, or pulling a MacGyver*.

Just to be clear though, as far as I can tell, it’s the quality of a person who is resourceful, not an individual act of improvisation, although I can see some online definitions that have explained it that way. So it’s more like “the quality of being good at improvising” or maybe “MacGyverishness”. And hence, some Portuguese people see it as an important national characteristic in the same way we brits value our ability to “muddle through”

*=confession time: I’ve never actually seen MacGyver, but I gather he was someone who always managed to get out of a tight spot by winging it with whatever was available. Or so my wife tells me.

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Things Going Quite Well…

… In my lockdown side-quest language too. Finished the Duolingo and half way through the video course. I might try my hand at reading a basic text in kindle (with translation support built in!) and see how I get on!

Moses would be cross about this worship of golden animal statues, I’m sure, but it’s pretty exciting.