Here’s a corrected review of a book I’ve been listening too lately called A Gorda (The Fat Woman) by Isabela Figueiredo. It has had rave reviews (this guy, for example, names it as his first, second and third best book of 2022) and… Well, it’s not the easiest book I’ve ever read, and I probably didn’t get all the nuance but I hung in there and managed to follow. The vocabulary is passable for upper-intermediate readers. You can buy the book at Bertrand or grab the audio version to listen to on your phone using the Kobo App.
A Gorda é um romance escrito por Isabela Figueiredo, que retrata uma portuguesa da minha geração, que “transporta (…) ou seja arrasta” 40 quilogramas de peso com ela. Ao longo da sua vida, sofre muitos problemas e muitos reveses. Nasceu no ultramar e volta para Portugal nos anos setenta com os outros retornados (se não me engano esta foi a experiência da autora também). Perde os pais e é traída por amigos, colegas e amantes e sente-se constrangida pelos efeitos deste peso excessivo, mas tem vontade de viver a sua vida, portanto recusa soçobrar.
Durante o percurso da história, a autora faz referência aos eventos da época na qual a protagonista se encontra: o Incêndio do Chiado, a crise financeira de 2008-9 e vários outros. Isto situa-nos na história do país e reforça a realidade da protagonista. Lembra-nos que pessoas assim existem mesmo, e a história não é uma fantasia abstrata sem ligação ao mundo verdadeiro.
I heard about a site today that seems useful. Maybe it’s old news and I’m the last to hear about it, but it’s called Youglish and its purpose is to make it easy to find subtitled videos in your chosen language with specific words in the transcript, and – here’s the best part – it even let’s you specify European or Brazilian portuguese! Unlike YouTube it doesn’t give you a post to choose from. If you pick a word like “Guerra” for example, it takes you to a video play list with 198(!) videos in it and the first one is queued up right before the person says the word. So you can hear that and, if you want, croll back and forth. Then you click forward to the next video and maybe it’s a song that contains the word, or whatever, and you can skip ahead, hearing the word in different contexts.
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..”
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.
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 Pagein 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!
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)
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!
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.
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.