Posted in English, Portuguese

[IN]Pertinente – Podcast

In pertinente podcast

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this podcast before: I heard about it a while ago on twitter and Portuguese tweeps were praising it as being an good listen. It’s put out by the Fundação Francisco Manuel Dos Santos. They bring together experts, eggheads, brainboxes and boffins to discuss a different topic each week, ranging over politics, economics, science and society. I have quite a few “serious” podcasts in Portuguese and tend not to be very good at listening to them because they require sustained concentration over an hour or so which is usually more than I can cope with, so I usually stick to shorter stuff. As a result, it’s been on my list for a while but I hadn’t given it much eartime.

Anyway, recently I listened to an episode about Britain and I found it both easy to understand and very detailed and interesting, so I based that day’s Portuguese text on it. And just to confirm my good opinion, the marker said it was one of her favourite podcasts too!

Now obviously when I say “easy to understand” I don’t mean the language is simplified: you’ll still need to be at a decent intermediate level of learning to follow it, but they speak clearly, don’t talk over each other, don’t ramble or drone on in a monotone or do any of the other things podcast hosts sometimes do that make it hard to follow the thread of what they’re saying. I appreciate that and I hope the episode I heard was representative of the series as a whole.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote. Thanks to Dani for correcting it.

Hoje, ouvi um podcast chamado In Pertinente. Os apresentadores estavam a falar sobre a história do meu país. Tocaram nos temas* “Astérix e os Bretões”, Shakespeare, Alan Turing, Blackadder, a guerra entre a Escócia e a Inglaterra e mais alguns outros. Fiquei muito impressionado com a profundidade da discussão. Não costumo de ouvir mas acho que, de futuro, isso vai mudar!

*I originally wrote tocaram no “Astérix e os Bretões” but it seems you need to write “touched on the theme(s)…” and not just “touched on..”

Posted in English


I’ve just updated the Textbook page of the blog with a new set of books I’ve heard about.

Susana Morais is the creator of the Portuguese Lab Podcast and Academy and she’s written a couple of story books aimed at portuguese learners: A Casa Na Bosque for intermediate learners (B2) and A Baú das Coisas Perdidas for beginners (A2). They each come with an audio version read by the author and some questions at the end to test your comprehension. I have the B2 version and have listened to the first few minutes. It looks like a really useful addition to the ever-growing list of resources for learners.

Looking out at the landscape today, compared to when I started, when it was pretty much just the Practice Portuguese podcast – and even that was pretty shonky in the early days – there’s really quite a lot of good stuff out there for anyone wanting to ;earn european portuguese.

Anyway, the links above go to the Kobo versions, which is what I’m using, since it allows me to listen to the audio and read all on one device, but you can get a printed version or several other ebook options via her website Storyglot.

Posted in English

Portuguese Audiobooks – A New Chapter?

I’m really chuffed to see Livraria Bertrand now has an audiobook section and an app for ebooks and audiobooks. You can find the page here, and it’s a little underdeveloped at the moment, but so was Audible when I first joined so I’m not giving up on it. The link takes you to the front page of the portuguese audio section, but if you look in the menu on the left-hand side you’ll see there are subheadings for history, science, classics and so on, so you can rummage around and see if anything takes your fancy.

The most annoying aspect of it is that it doesn’t have a preview feature so you can’t find out if the reader is European or Brazilian. Some are obvious, but I picked out a couple that I knew seemed like a good bet – O Vendeador de Passados by José Eduardo Agualusa and Vidadupla by Sérgio Godinho and can confirm that they are both european portuguese. Yippee!!! There are a couple of others by Godinho but as for the rest, I dunno. If you sample any, I’d love it if you could tell me what you thought in the comments. Share the knowledge!

I’ll add these to my Portuguese Audiobooks Page in the few days. In the meantime, if anyone knows anything about any of the other books, I’d love it if you could tell me about it in the comments. Let’s share the knowledge! We learners have to stick together!

Posted in English, Portuguese

Os Conselhos Que Te Deixo

I’ve been trying to tune my ears in to this series of videos. The character is called Bruno Aleixo and he has appeared in a few different shows. It’s sort of surreal humor. I would really like to be able to follow it but even with my wife’s translation there are big chunks I can’t make out. It’s got a really strong regional accent – you can hear the would “ouvir” has an extra syllable and sounds like ouviree, for example, and a lot of the words are run together so it’s hard to disentangle them.

There are two parts. I’ll put what she says it means and what I think I actually hear. Before she clued me in to what it meant I could only make out about a third of it, now I’m at about 80% but can’t quite make my ears hear the rest.

FIRST BIT If you have a brother, show him these tips (se tivesse algum irmão, mostra-lhe estes conselhos) / if you have a sister, don’t show her because they aren’t for girls (se something irmã não mostre something coisas something ouvir) / if your grandmother hears it she’ll hit me (se tua avó apanhe isto something-me)

SECOND BIT If you catch your uncle Horatio drunk, take the chance to steal his money (se apanhasse (? Tense?) o teu tio Horácio bêbedo aproveita para (re)tirar dinheiro) But careful, if he catches you he’ll hit you hard (Mas cautela, se ele te apanhe (? Tense) dá something… Oh wait, its cabeçadas isn’t it! com força) and the money is from France so you’ll have to exchange it at the bank (e a dinheiro é da França, tens something trocar ao banco – actually sounds like à banco but that can’t be right)


Posted in English

O Verso Alcançando o Infinito


So ages ago, I heard Jose Jorge Letria (a poet who wrote, among other things,”Era Uma Vez Um Cravo”) read a poem called O Dia Mundial da Poesia. I mean, I thought it was called that. I thought he’d written it for world poetry day and he’d called it that because it was about poetry itself, where it comes from and how it’s made. And I spent ages looking for a printed copy because I liked it so much even though my listening skills were terrible and I could only make out about one line in five.

The poem is born of an impulse [… Blah blah blah… ] from the sonorous temptation of a metaphor [… Something something…] Afterwards, it’s writing, the work of hands on the incandescent material of syllables [… Tum ti tum…] The poem is born, finally, from the illusion that there is something left that hasn’t been said [… Etc… ]

I couldn’t catch it all. But I got enough to know I wanted more but I couldn’t find it anywhere online or in any of his books.

Anyway, as you’ve probably gathered by now, it’s not called O Dia Mundial da Poesia at all; it’s called O Verso Alcançando o Infinito. So that explains why I couldn’t find it. Anyway, now I know what to plug into Google, I’ve found another recording of it here…

And if you need the lyrics (I wish I’d had access to then five years ago!) they’re here. Well, some of them are. Another one for my project to learn poetry, I think!

Posted in English

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.

Posted in English


One of the nice side-effects of exploring e-readers has been that I’ve come across a couple of proper portuguese audiobooks. I’ve had the most luck on Kobo but even that’s pretty hard to navigate, primarily because even when I tell it portuguese is my preferred language it insists on showing me english language titles and I don’t seem to be able to do anything as basic as search by language.

Anyway, I’ve come across Margarida Espantada which I’m reading now in conjunction with an ebiook version and Perguntem Sarah Gross, which has a good reputation. Naff all by Afonso Cruz, Joao Tordo, Nuno Nepomuceno, Ricardo Araujo Pereira – people who seem pretty mainstream, really. Still, though, it’s a good sign and I’m hoping to see more in the future.

Posted in Portuguese

Acame, Açore, Aconquered

I liked this video. It’s challenging (that açoriano accent! Holy crap, it’s like another language!) but it’s quite funny so it’s good, entertaining listening practice. He’s talking about english words that sound like Portuguese words and he gets a lot of mileage out of the idea.

Posted in Portuguese

A Grande Exposição do Mundo Português (1940)

Here’s the transcript I’ve been trying to make of this imperialist propaganda video. I only managed the first 6 minutes. I might come back to it after the exam but I think the benefits I’m getting are pretty small for the time spent (about 3 hours and counting!) It’s interesting how I can pretty much understand the gist of the video but when it comes down to actually separating out the words, in their proper forms, the detail isn’t as simple to disentangle. Corrections from Sophia (thanks!) in italics

[00:00] Naqueles terrenos vastos e escaldados, que se estendiam entre o Mosteiro dos Jerónimos e a Torre de Belém, junto daquela praia do Restelo, donde largaram o século XV de Vasco da Gama, durante mais dum ano, milhares de operários, de técnicos e artistas portugueses, demolindo o feio para construir o belo, rasando o inútil para pôr em seu lugar uma verdadeira cinza de Portugal no passado e no presente. Ergueram um traje amorosamente esse prodigioso momento das nossas virtudes e do nosso préstimo foi a exposição do mundo português. A maravilhosa exposição foi inaugurada a 23 de Junho de 1940 pelo português mais digno de tal acto Senhor General Carmona, presidente da república portuguesa. E a seu lado estava o homem que a tornou possível; verdadeiro arquitecto de Portugal de hoje, novo e eterno, Salazar, e o ministro das obras públicas, engenheiro Duarte Pacheco a quem coube a honra a verificar. Assistindo o título de comissario geral Doutor Augusto de Castro, pelo engenheiro Sá e Melo e pelo arquitecto Cottinelli Telmo. Os antigos terrenos transformaram-se na soberba praça de império, com a sua fonte luminosa e os seus jardins. De todos os lados* se erguiam pavilhões de risco sobre e digno de uma originalidade e um gosto incontestável. Os olhos deslumbravam-se com as perspectivas imprevistas, com a pureza das linhas, com o equilíbrio deslumbre. Ao cinema português, cumpria pular no tempo e no espaço magnifica fixando-a num filme que servisse para matar as saudades dos que a viram e para a mostrar aos que não puderam vê-la. Foi o que o cinema procurou fazer, lamentando não dispor mais amplos recursos que permitissem traduzir fielmente a par das formas a cor, a alegria e a imponência da exposição de Belém.

[03:20] Todas as inúmeras obras da arte que impunham não eram unicamente feitas de matéria. Também eram feitas do espírito e tinham a alma, a própria história de Portugal. E essa história, a mais velha de todas foi novamente contada ao povo por meia de alegorias e de findo os mais grandiosos era sem dúvida o momento ao Infante Dom Henrique autêntico padrão erguido ao génio da raça. Nós demos ao mundo novos mundos. [corte?] Lembrava aos visitantes uma das legendas da pavilhão de honra. E o interior do pavilhão em redor de um átrio decorado com as bandeiras de todos os municípios portugueses, continha uma sala de recepção ornada de tapeçarias de alto preço, uma sala de honra onde se evocavam as mulheres celebres da tradição portuguesa desde a padeira de Aljubarrota a oração mariana, um teatro de concepção moderníssima

[04:20] Ao lado do pavilhão de honra e fazendo corpo com ele para melhor honrar e destacar a capital do império erguia a sua alta torre o pavilhão de Lisboa. Um dos seus mais velhos aspectos exteriores é o pátio em que um baixa-relevo estilizava a arquitectura em presépio da cidade rainha do ocidente. O átrio do pavilhão de Lisboa foi consagrado a São Vicente, patrono da capital em cujas armas figuram os dois corvos heráldicos do santo.

[05:00] Ali estava a grade que durante quatro séculos serviu de porta a umas das capelas da Sé. Um cofre guardava o Foral de Lisboa purgado em 1179 por Dom Afonso Henriques. Dois trípticos evocavam o cerco e a tomada de Lisboa aos moiros** e o pintor, exemplo dos antigos, emprestou às figuras as feições de alguns distintos Olisiponenses***. A evolução do aspecto da cidade podia seguir-se através de gravuras paneis de azulejo e de modelos reduzidos, cheios de verdade.

*=I originally heard this as “no topo dos gelados” and couldn’t for the life of me, un-hear it afterwards

**=alternative spelling of “mouros”

***=seems to be a fancy-pants way of saying “lisboeta”

Posted in English, Portuguese

Gente Que Não Sabe Estar

Another of those lessons I mentioned a couple of posts ago: we went through an episode of “Gente Que não Sabe Estar”, which is a sort of portuguese version of those american late night satire shows fronted by Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel or Seth whatsisface. In this case, it’s Ricardo Araújo Pereira, who has the requisite mixture of humour and ability to look credible in a suit. This is a challenging lesson for me because aside from the usual problems of trying to follow rapid-fiire portuguese, I have very little clue about who is who and what the hell it’s all about so I have had to do quite a lot of research. Here are some pointers, some from my teacher and some cribbed from Wikipedia and elsewhere

Joe Berardo (the creepy-looking dude in black, flanked by two very overworked lawyers) is a businessman who is somehow mixed up in a scandal regarding the recapitalisation of the Caixa Geral de Depósitos when it got in trouble a few years after the 2008 crash. It emerged that he had 980 million euros in debt to the bank and refused to pay interest because er… it would cause some sort of unspecified harm. He was fished out and dragged in front of the Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito, and that’s what the footage is in the show. It’s a strange mixture of careful distancing of himself from the scene of the action and ridiculous failure to read the room. “This is costing the people a lot of money” / “Not me though!” being just one example.

Right at the start there’s a missed pun opportunity owing to this being in Portguese and not english, so “Bearardo” does not happen.

“Se queres ajudar um homem não lhe dês o peixe” at around 1:25 is the first half of the portuguese equivalent of the old saying “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach him to fish and he’ll eat for life”

“pipa de massa” = “a load of dough”, where dough is money, just like in an old american gangster movie

“Os juros” = interest

“as dívidas” = debts

“As ações” = stocks and shares

“Os títulos” = share certificates

“a garantia” = collateral

Floribella is a sort of soap opera about a young singer. Lots of bright colours and shonky acting, but it has heart. I skimmed through the pilot (below) and was sort of fascinated by the spectacle of someone speaking portuguese with a strong german accent. I thought she was spanish at first but her name’s Helga Schneider apparently. The theme is “não tenho nada mas tenho tenho tudo” ( don’t have anything but I have everything), which as he says, is an astute allegory about high finance.

I thought the “coleção” was a charitable institution that collects money for good causes but it turns out, no, it’s an actual collection of artworks and he’s a bit confused about whether he owns it or the foundation he runs owns it. Hence the hand-waving from the lawyer. He also seems to have given share certificates as securities for the loan, but they are valueless because the paintings can’t be sold without his permission… oh god, my brain is starting to hurt.

There’s an analogy with “monopólio” (Monopoly, the game) around 11.00-11.30 just before the magic trick with the cups.

Spooky bit at 20:30. Where did the lady in the light jacket go after disappearing behind Margarida Mano?

“Comer” in the context of the bit about Rui Rio at around  21:35 means “shag”. He’s not talking about cannibalism.


Postscript. Apparently my wife met Berardo when she was young in Funchal and is far from impressed with him as a human being.