Posted in English, Portuguese

A Ler Um Livro “Cético” Sobre o Aquecimento Global

Alguém disse “Liberdade de expressão não é a liberdade de gritar ‘Fogo!’ num teatro cheio de gente”. Mas estamos num teatro cheio de gente que já está em chamas e o autor do livro que estou a ler está a gritar “Fica sentado! O fogo não é assim tão mau e podemos extingui-lo por atirar pipocas para cima”

Bjorn Limborg

(the book I’m complaining about here is “Cool It” by Bjorn Lomborg. It doesn’t seem to be available at my favourite bookshop at the moment – but here’s one by the same author to give you an idea of where he’s coming from. It wasn’t quite as bad as my first impression but I’m a long, long way from recommending it, as you’ve probably guessed by now!)

Posted in English

Live Yoga All The Time

Returning to my recent theme, I’ve been doing yoga in January and I signed up for a Hatha Yoga class with A Escola Sunshine Yoga so I could try a live lesson instead of just following a YouTube video. And of course I wanted to challenge my Portuguese anatomy vocabulary. And I was pleased to find I could get what she was talking about most of the time, although listening through a tinny laptop speaker made it hard to follow all the instructions and I had to look at the screen quite a lot.

The instructor could see us students too, of course, and gave us feedback. It was a good session – interesting and challenging and twice as long as the American YouTube videos I’ve been watching, so I really felt like it was money well spent. Everyine was very welcoming too, which was nice.

Posted in English

Dual Citizenship

So the die is cast and I have made my second dual citizenship application. I wrote a summary of the first one, but a couple of things are different this time, so I’m going to document those changes here in case it helps anyone in the same position.

When I originally applied, I was missing one document: a criminal records check from the FBI, so I sent that and it didn’t arrive (gah!) I should have followed up at the time but it sort of got lost among the general apathetic weirdness of lockdown life and eventually the time ran out and they rejected the whole thing. As a result, I had to go back to square one.

Well, not quite square one in fact, because they confirmed for me that they had the original documents in archive so I could just send updates for *both* CRB checks, not just the American one, and refer to the original case ID for the passport, wedding certificate and all the rest. But I would need to submit a new form and start a new process and of course the real pain was having to pay the €250 fee again, but it’s my own stupid fault.

So I sent off my request to the FBI and ACRO, got them back, sent them out to the same translator I used last time, got the translations back, and in the meantime started scratching my head trying to figure out how I was going to get my signature witnessed and the fee paid, given that I am based in the UK. Last time I applied I went to Porto in person and rocked up at the SEF office to submit my application in person but travel is a bit more awkward these days and it seemed better to donut by post if possible.

Paying the fee

When I originally applied you needed cash (obviously not safe to send in the mail!) a Vale Postal, which you can only get in Portugal or a banker’s cheque from a bank with branches in Portugal. Tricky. I did a fair bit of detective work and contacted a few Portuguese banks with branches in London, to see if I could set up a current account there as a prospective future citizen without an ID card. The only one I had any luck with was the Caixa Geral de Depósitos, who confirmed they could provide an account, but it can’t be done online so they offered me an appointment to set up an account, but the day before I was due to meet them I found a better way and so I called them to cancel. I might set one up eventually anyway, but in the age of omicron it seemed daft to go and have a face-to-face meeting with someone if I didn’t need to.

So what’s this better way? Well, you can now do credit card payments. Yeessss!!! It’s not incredibly obvious but if you go through the website you can find your way there. I can’t give you a direct link because it varies slightly depending on your situation but start on this page. Click on the case that best fits your situation. Scroll down to where it says “modalidade de pagar”. Under the first section, “Por Cartão de Crédito ou Cartão de Débito”, click the link to Plataforma de pagamentos. You should now find it’s showing the right fee, and you can fill in the rest. When you’ve paid, they’ll email you a copy of the right modelo (form) with the payment details printed at the top instead of the normal payment section, so print it out and use it in place of the standard form. And that’s it! A hundred times easier than last time!

Getting the Signature Witnessed

It’s possible to do this at the consulate apparently but the Portuguese consulate in London has a dreadful reputation and I’ve been there a couple of times so I can see why. Anyway, it’s an option and probably cheaper if you can do it. I gave up pretty early on when it asked for an ID card number. Maybe I could have got my wife to do it and accompany me on the visit but wild horses couldn’t drag her to the consulate so it didn’t seem worth the effort. There’s a firm of Portuguese solicitors in London called Castelo who are able to properly notorise official documents but it’ll cost you a little north of a hundred and seventy quid including VAT. They have three branches but I went to the one in Victoria. It’s a really nice place, very welcoming, and there is a heckin’ beautiful floofy white dog (a Samoyed?) who is there every day and who keeps you company in the waiting room and lets you stroke his (her?) fur. In my opinion, that was worth the price of the fee all on its own. I believe the solicitors are all Portuguese. The one I spoke to just sounded British to me, so that I wondered if it was maybe a Portuguese firm with staff from both countries but when I made the mistake of asking if she spoke Portuguese she switched languages right away and said she was Portuguese and I felt a bit silly for having asked.

A beautiful samoyed in the waiting room of the Portuguese solicitor in London
Company in the waiting room

One potential snag was that she mentioned I might need an “apostille” from the foreign office to accompany the form because it was being sent from outside the country. I wasn’t keen to delay the application because the CRB checks have a limited shelf life, and couldn’t see any mention of such a thing in the instructions so I decided to just cross my fingers and hope it only applies to certain types of applications. If I find out later that I need one, I’ll update this page.

I put all the signed forms and other papers and translations together with a printed email of the conversation I’d had up to now about the end of the previous application, including the reference number, and took them to the post office to send by recorded delivery so I’d know it hadn’t got lost. The chap behind the counter helpfully pointed out that I’d spelled Lisbon with an A and I said oh well, never mind, it’ll probably get there.

Posted in English

Citizen Again

I’ve just put my envelope in the post for my second attempt at acquiring dual citizenship. I’ve been working on it for a while and finally got the form notorised and then the whole lot went to the post office (where the guy helpfully pointed out I’d spelled Lisbon with an A at the end…)

Anyway, it’s been interesting and I’ll have to write more about it on another day but I’m exhausted. I cycled there and back and it’s about twenty miles there and back.

A picture of a good boy
What’s Portuguese for “floof”?

Anyway, I’ll talk about that more when I’ve recovered but in the meantime, here’s a teaser.

Posted in English

Whose Limb Is It Anyway?

Hardcore grammar today. Strap in.

The book I’m reading has quite a high incidence of a grammatical structure I’ve always found a bit hard to understand. It just looks like a stray indirect object that doesn’t seem to have much purpose in the sentence.

  • Tendo também medo de aranhas(…), lhe pareceu senti-las a passarem-lhe pelo corpo
  • Agarrou-lhe o braço
  • ….O necessário para te limpar a ferida

The third of these looks a bit different because it has “te” instead of “lhe” and it comes before the verb not after (an example of “próclise“) but it’s basically doing the same thing as the lhe in the other two examples. Te and lhe are both indirect objects so they mean “to you” and “to him/her/it” respectively. So if you were to translate the phrases, super-literally into English you’d get absolute monstrosities

  • Being afraid of spiders too, it seemed as if they passed to her over the body
  • It grabbed to him the arm
  • …The things necessary for cleaning to you the injury

There are two unfamiliar things going on here. Firstly, something called “posse inalienável” (inalienable possession) which sounds fancy but it’s not that hard to understand. It just means that the ownership of the object isn’t really in question so you don’t even need to say “my arm”, just “the arm”.

OK, that explains why there’s no possessive pronoun. That’s not the thing I want to focus on today though, so let’s move on to the second point: What’s up with the indirect object? Well, even though you don’t need to say “your arm”, you do still need to say who has been grabbed or cleaned or whatever, so that’s where the indirect object comes in. He grabbed the arm to him. It sounds very weird to anglophone ears but that seems to be what’s going on.

It doesn’t only happen in the context of body parts though. For example, to use an example from the Reddit discussion, “Roubou-me a carteira” is fine, and so are “lê-me um livro” and “faz-me um favor”. Now I don’t know about you, but these three phrases don’t all seem the same to me.

  • Lê-me um livro = Read me a book. That’s completely fine in English. Read the book TO me – >indirect object
  • Faz-me um favor =Do me a favour. Also fine. Do the favour FOR me – > indirect object
  • Roubou-me a carteira is a different kettle of fish though. Treating the indirect object like its English equivalent, I’d translate it as “he stole me the wallet”, implying that I asked someone to steal a wallet on my behalf and they obliged. That’s not how Portuguese works though. Prepositions are all different. It’s legit to say “Roubou a carteira a mim” (He stole the wallet to me). The victim is the recipient of the action even though the thief is the recipient of the wallet. It’s a different way of thinking and I’ll just have to meditate on it a bit and not try and translate it literally in my head.

Another way to look at it would be to think of the indirect object as doing the job of a possessive pronoun. There’s a ciberdúvidas article about this phenomenon here.

Posted in Portuguese

Rainha Jinga

Ana de Sousa vestida em roupas tradicionais
Rainha Jinga

Jinga (ou Ginga) Amande foi uma rainha no século XVII numa parte do território atualmente conhecido por Angola. Durante a ocupação portuguesa o seu pai, Quilombo tornou-se rei do território de Dongo. No seu falecimento, o seu irmão conquistou* o trono e Jinga fugiu para Matamba com o filho. Em 1621, o rei português mandou a conquista do território de Dongo para alimentar o mercado transatlântico de escravos. Perante esta ameaça, o irmão de Jinga pediu-lhe para enviar uma embaixada a Luanda onde o governador português tinha a sua sede. Jinga apresentou-se vestida em roupas tradicionais, mostrando a sua independência do poder dos europeus. Achando a sala de audiências sem cadeiras e com apenas uma almofada (para forçar os africanos a assumir uma posição de submissão face ao governador) ela mandou que um soldado ficasse de gatas no chao para que ela o pudesse usar como móvel humano.

Conseguiu fazer um tratado com os portugueses, preservando os direitos mais importantes em troca de conversão e ensino do cristianismo e de ligações comerciais com o império. Jinga foi baptizada e a partir dessa dia chamou-se Ana de Sousa, baseado no nome da sua madrinha, a esposa do governador. Mas esta transformação não foi o mais esquisita na vida dela como vamos ver a seguir.

Após a morte do seu irmão, Angola Ambade (Angola significa “Rei” além de ser o nome do país), o rival dele, Hari (também conhecido por João por aliança com os cristãos) tomou o trono. Jinga fugiu para Luanda, reuniu um exército e reassumiu o trono por força de armas.

Como a maioria das sociedades, Dongo era uma cultura machista. Jinga não foi capaz de ganhar a lealdade do povo nem da aristocracia por ser mulher. Portanto, em meados da década de 1640, “tornou-se homem”. Daí em diante, ela (vou continuar com “ela” para simplificar esta narrativa apesar do disfarce!) era “o rei” e liderou a gente em batalha contra os portugueses e contra um outro império, o holandês. Foi relativamente bem sucedida. No fim do seu reino, os territórios sob o seu controlo eram livres e com potencial de desenvolvimento apesar dos longos anos de guerra. Permaneceram neste estado feliz até 1741 quando foram integrados na Angola Portuguesa.

Há uma última lenda que quero abordar neste texto: segundo um boato da época**, Jinga manteve um harém de escravos masculinos. A vida destes amantes da rainha não era assim tão má, tirando o facto que de cada vez que ela escolheu um com quem ter relações sexuais o mesmo era morto no dia seguinte.

Noutras palavras era a Madonna da sua época.***

*=I was going for the idea of “seized the throne” as a result of a power struggle, not a straightforward ascent. Tomar or conquistar seem to fit here, not either of the words I originally chose!

**=The corrector pointed out that calling it both a lenda (legend) and a boato (rumour) is a bit contradictory… Well, maybe but I’m pinching all this from Wikipedia and the line between legend and rumour is a little blurry there…

***=I don’t even know why I wrote this except that it was a good excuse to use the phrase “noutras palavras”. Madonna is not, to the best of my knowledge, a Viuva Negra (black widow spider)

Thanks to Talures for the many, many corrections

Posted in Portuguese

Expectation Vs Reality

A couple of corrected texts. Thanks to the ever-helpful Dani_Morgenstern for the corrections


Quando acordar amanhã, vou comer um pequeno almoço saudável. Depois, vou escrever o meu texto neste subreddit (em vez de adiar a tarefa até à hora de dormir!) e fazer um exercício do curso Português Para Estrangeiros. Tendo acabado o trabalho de casa, acho que vou experimentar dar uma corrida (não tenho certeza porque tenho dores de joelho). De tarde, sei lá, se calhar passarei uma hora na horta comunitária a plantar cebolas e ervilhas de cheiro.


Acordei com dor nas costas. Desperdicei duas horas no Twitter a dizer disparates. Ainda não corri, mas pelo menos estou a escrever este texto antes do meio-dia. Expectativas vs realidade…

OK, já chega. Está na hora para fazer alguma coisa útil.

Posted in Portuguese

De Volta à Escola

Text from a couple of days ago. This is the only text I’ve posted on WritestreakPT so far that has contained zero errors

A minha filha foi à escola ontem para fazer um teste de covid. Não tem o vírus, graças a Deus. Hoje é o primeiro dia do novo período letivo. Como podem imaginar, ela não está contente mas é necessário! Está a preparar-se enquanto eu escrevo este texto.

Posted in Portuguese

Cão Com a Cabeça Para Baixo

Yep, more yoga in today’s corrected text. Thanks to Dani for the corrections. I’ve out footnotes at the bottom, mainly cool new (to me) vocabulary.

Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Pupper

(Este texto é uma tradução da descrição de Downward Facing Dog [nesta página ]( mas acho que o inglês não é perfeito portanto, fiz algumas alterações. Também ouvi “Cão Olhando Para Baixo” e “Cachorro olhando para baixo” em vários sites brasileiros e uma vez “Cão boca para baixo” num único site PT-PT. A página relativa à postura Downward Facing Dog não tem tradução em português.)

Para começar, fica de gatas* e verifica que os joelhos estão logo atrás das ancas. As tuas mãos(1) devem estar à largura dos ombros**. Estica amplamente os dedos. Pressiona com as mãos contra o tapete*** e suavemente mete os dedos dos pés por baixo dos pés. Inspira profundamente. Depois, continua a pressionar no tapete e expira profundamente, levantando os joelhos do chão e endireitando as pernas tanto quanto possível.

Não te esqueças inspirar e expirar**** profundamente e podes aproveitar de se mover dentro da tua postura. Podes pedalar com os pés para desfrutar da***** sensação de extensão atrás das pernas. Tenta criar mais espaço entre os ombros e relaxar o pescoço. Relaxar os músculos do rosto. Tenta levantar mais as ancas durante a inspiração e pressionar com os calcanhares contra o chão durante a expiração.
Não há problema se as pernas estiverem ligeiramente dobradas. Simplesmente desfruta do alongamento e da experiência de criar espaço na parte posterior do corpo.

Após algumas respirações, deixa os joelhos cair suavemente para o tapete, estica os dedos dos pés e deixa as ancas descer para a “postura de criança”.

(1) fiz um erro de digitação nesta palavra e a autocorreção tentou acertar. Quase publiquei o texto com “As tuas mamilos devem estar à largura dos ombros.” 😬 Não tentes isto em casa.

*De gatas = “on all fours”

**a largura dos ombros =”shoulder width apart”

***tapete is used for “yoga mat” as well as other kinds of rugs

****I used inalar and exalar in a couple of places thinking they were other ways of saying inhale and exhale. Both words do exist but they aren’t synonymous with inspirar and expirar, which are the words I should have used.

*****Desfrutar, like gostar, needs “de”

Posted in Portuguese

Yoga: Legbelly.

Another corrected text with footnotes. Thanks to Cataphract for the corrections

Já fiz duas sessões de Yoga (link to previous post about my yoga NY resolution) com uma professora americana e uma com uma brasileira mas ainda não experimentei os professores portugueses sugeridos por outros redditores. As aulas são vídeos de YouTube, mas apetece-me experimentar uma aula ao vivo com um português se for possível.

O curso da brasileira é demasiado fácil mas o da americana é melhor. É muito desafiante aos músculos da barriga, das costas e das pernas. Deixou-me com dores de perna, principalmente nas… Hum panturrilhas*….? Os músculos da parte posterior da perna, entre o tendão de Aquiles e o joelho.

*This does seem to be *a* right word for calves, yes, but the corrector had to use a dictionary and that doesn’t seem to be a good sign! “Gémeos” is more common. This is weird since the same word also means “twins”. OK, I can see thinking of your calves as “the twins”. It’s quite cute, but I can also imagine some scope for confusion if you’re a father of twins but also a yoga enthusiast. “Tenho de alongar os meus gémeos” “O quê? Seu monstro! Deixe os filhos em paz!”

The other fun way of describing that part of the leg is “barriga das pernas” – your legbelly. New favourite expression.