Posted in English, Portuguese

A joke that doesn’t work

Here’s a joke you can use at parties if you want people to look at you with a baffled, pitying expression:

Cola Cao

Hoje em dia, os cães são autocolantes mas antigamente, se quisesse prender um cão numa parede ou seja o que for, teria de usar Cola Cão

Cola = glue and Cão (with an accent) means dog so I’m reading this as dog glue, even though I know it’s a brand of hot chocolate powder and Cao is short for Cacau. The joke is just riffing off the idea of what you might use dog glue for.

It doesn’t work because Cao is pronounced differently from Cão. More like “Cáu”. Apparently it took a couple of reads to even see what I was driving at. Disappointing. I was quite proud of it.

Posted in Portuguese

This Lã Is Your Lã

I wrote a couple of knitting-related texts so here they are with corrections. To explain the puns: =Wool, Tricô is knitting, from the French Tricot. The verb form can be “tricotar” or “tricotear” or just “fazer tricot” and finally, Malha can mean knitwear (among other things; it’s generally any kind of mesh or netting), but confusingly the verb form “malhar” doesn’t mean “to knit”. If you look it up on Priberam it has heaps of different meanings but none of them is what you think it’s going to mean. Likewise if you Google “malhador” you’ll find it’s mainly personal trainers and people in the fitness industry. It’s confusing. There are corrections at the bottom of each. I’m out here trying to learn from my mistakes and I hope they’re helpful to others too. As usual, thanks go out to the correctors on r/Writestreakpt – in this case, Dani Morgenstern and Cataphract – for their patient explanations.

The Many-Coloured Lã

1 – Malhasculinidade Tóxica

Sou velho e por isso há muitos aspectos da cultura moderna que não entendo. Entre eles, há uma comunidade de tricotadeiros (e outros fãs de lãs) que é uma das comunidades mais “politicamente correctas” e condenatórias na Internet (Intermalha?). Há várias histórias de sites dedicados à malha nos quais os membros se juntam em várias fações rivais que acreditam serem mais santas do que as outras e entram em guerra civil*

O exemplo mais recente é uma polémica que tem a ver com um site chamado knitting.com. O site é assunto de uma série no YouTube porque uma empresa chamada “ecom crew” (basicamente “equipa de negócios online”) comprarou o domínio com o propósito de estabelecer uma loja Online. Boas notícias não é? Mais lojas significa que haverá mais opções. Mas há um problema: foi fundado por dois homens brancos. Para mim, isto é positivo. Tradicionalmente, o tricô era considerado uma atividade feminina; se houver homens que** querem tricotar, força, digo eu. Mas nem todos vão concordar comigo e não há problema. Afinal, se não gostares de um site, há um remédio fácil: não o visites.

Mas isso não chega. Membros da comunidade ficaram zangados. Apesar de o site ainda não ter aberto, havia já denúncias contra estes homens: iriam “homensplicar***” o tricô: iriam roubar padrões de outros sites; eram racistas contra chineses (por acaso, ambos os homens são casados com chinesas, mas ninguém quer saber). A empresa encara um grande desafio: já contratou muitas pessoas e investiu muito dinheiro em construir o site, mas, uma vez que tantos dos seus clientes estão a espalhar boatos de que os homens querem principalmente tricotar bandeiras nazis ou seja o que for, a sua estratégia de comercialização está à beira de ser frustrada antes da estreia do site!

*I think this is a pretty complicated sentence and my first attempt went so wrong that the correction ended up saying something other than what I was driving at. This is my second go and I hope it’s better. I’m talking about rival factions breaking out on message boards and denouncing each other for their lack of purity.

**There’s a whole show dedicated to men who knit in the Açores in this video from RTP. Their accents. Wooh, mama!

***This word actually does exist as an equivalent of “mansplain” although if you paste it back into gtranslate it translates it as “mensplicate” which is now my favourite word.

Mensplication Femsplicated

2 – Tricãô

Escrevi um texto ontem sobre os malucos na comunidade de tricô, mas no mesmo dia ouvi falar de um projecto que está em andamento aqui nesta ilha húmida que restaura a minha fé neste passatempo. A nossa rainha está quase a chegar ao sexagésimo aniversário do seu reinado. O instituto de mulheres hum… Como posso descrever o instituto de mulheres? É um clube de senhoras que tem* uma reputação de ser tradicional, antiquado, talvez conservador**. O instituto está a fazer um jogo. Vários membros tricotaram cãezinhos*** de lã. São corgis (a raça preferida de sua majestade). Irão esconder estes brinquedos em vários sítios na cidade. Quem encontrar um pode ficar com ele, claro, mas há um que contém um corgigo… hum… um código que dá acesso a uma festa para celebrar o aniversário da Rainha Isabel

Gosto muito disto. É a minha história preferida da semana que tem a ver com a malha.

*We have this dilemma in English too, but it’s not often that’s its as clear as this. The way the sentence is set up, the subject is a club (masculine singular) for women (feminine plural), so when we get into the verb, are we talking about the women – in which case we have to use têm – or the club – which would be tem. My thinking was that the Women’s Institute has a slightly old-school vibe and thats what some people like about it – so I’m talking about the club’s reputation. If you look at it the other way then we have to imagine that there are all these women who have a reputation for being a bit fuddy-duddy and one day someone takes them aside and says “Hey, Violet, nice twinset. The rest of us were chatting and we wondered if you had considered joining the WI with the rest of your kind?”

**Who knew one sentence could have so many pitfalls in it? OK, so we’ve established that we need “tem” and not “têm” but now we’ve got another noun in the mix. When I wrote the first draft, I was thinking in English and translating “a conservative reputation” – uma reputação conservadora. But is it really the reputation that’s Conservative? Don’t we mean that the club (or the women) has (or have) a reputation for being Conservative? So if I’m thinking of the club, my adjectives need to align with the gender of the club, surely? And for good measure, I needed to reword the sentence slightly.

So, taking those last two bullets into account, I changed “O Instituto de Mulheres (…) é um clube de senhoras que têm uma reputação tradicional, antiquada, talvez conservadora.” to “O Instituto de Mulheres (…) é um clube de senhoras que tem uma reputação de ser tradicional, antiquado, talvez conservador

***Cãozinho is one of those tricky words like Qualquer whose plural form changes in the middle. It’s not surprising though because it’s related to “Cão”.

Cão->Cães… so… Cãozinho ->Cãezinhos

Posted in English

Synonymous Bosch

Found our today that the word nora has two meanings. One is Daughter-in-law (I already knew this one) and the other is Waterwheel. Why those two things? I dunno.

Anyway, i was straight in there with a pun. I asked my wife to proof-read it for me to make sure I hadn’t ballsed up the grammar too badly. She’s very patient.

Posted in English, Portuguese

Robert Dinheiro’s Waiting, Talking Portuguese

I’ve been looking at words related to money and I’ve put together some short paragraphs that use them in context

This has absolutely nothing to do with the text, I just like puns, OK?

Os meus vizinhos oferecem alvíssaras (a reward) a quem forneça informações sobre o seu cão que desapareceu no domingo passado.

O governo já aumentou os impostos (taxes) apesar de ter prometido não agravar a carga fiscal (tax burden).

O meu contabilista (accountant) pratica honorários (professional fee) muito altos mas vale a pena

Além da propina (tuition fee) que pagava à universidade tinha de pagar uma joia (subscription fee) ao clube Marxista e manter a minha quota (periodic membership fee) em dia. Caso contrário, eu ficaria “cancelado”.

O meu avô recebe dividendos (dividends – not a hard one to guess, that!) modestos* cada ano em resultado dos seus investimentos (investments – another easy one!) . Comprou um por cento das ações (stocks. I’ve seen “títulos” and “papéis” used in this context. See here for example) duma empresa chamada “Apple” em 1978 e os lucros (profits) do seu capital cobrem as despesas (expenses) da sua humilde mansão numa pequena ilha privada no mar das Caraíbas.

A minha filha ganha (earns) bem com o seu serviço de ama mas vive connosco sem pagar renda (rent free: renda can also mean “income” in other contexts as well as rent). É rica. Penso em pedir-lhe um empréstimo (loan) mas a taxa (rate) de juros (interest) que ela aplica é bastante alta.

Depois de receber uma indemnização (compensation) do meu empregador, fui ao banco fazer um depósito (deposit, obviously) e depois à tasca praticar o levantamento do copo.

*This useage of “modesto” to describe something as small and unshowy, is not actually given in the dictionary but seems to be used as in English alongside the more normal use of modest to mean a person who is not boastful.

Posted in English

It’s Satire Innit

There’s a politician in Portugal called André Ventura who’s the leader of a “party” called CHEGA. The fact that CHEGA sounds a lot like MAGA is probably not a coincidence since he’s a populist: someone who builds a following by telling one section of society that they are the real, the deserving people, that everyone poorer than them is a dirty sponger, everyone richer than them is corrupt and anyone who has read a book is an elitist. Oh and he talks a lot of shit on Twitter too, like old whatsisname.

I’ve come across a few twitter accounts sending him up, like this one above. It appeals to me because I like puns. André Ventura = Aldrabé Ventrulha.

I think the pun in the first name is based on Aldrabão which is a sort of crooked person or con artist

1. [Informal]  Que ou quem diz ou faz coisas com intuito de enganar. = BURLÃO, IMPOSTOR, INTRUJÃO, TRAPACEIRO

2. [Informal] Que ou quem fala de modo confuso.

3. [Informal] Que ou quem não é limpo ou perfeito no que faz.


"Aldrabão", in Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa [em linha], 2008-2021, https://dicionario.priberam.org/Aldrab%C3%A3o [consultado em 22-09-2021].

And in the second, it seems to be Entulha – 3rd person singular of Entulhar, meaning basically throw it in the junk pile or dispose of it in some way. It seems mostly to be used for either olive pits or builder’s rubble. Why do those two things go together? I’ve no idea.

en·tu·lhar - Conjugar
(en- + tulha + -ar)
verbo transitivo
1. Meter ou dispor em tulha.

2. Encher de entulho.


"entulha", in Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa [em linha], 2008-2021, https://dicionario.priberam.org/entulha [consultado em 22-09-2021].

Anyway, I think the general idea seems to be that he’s a crook who needs to be on the scrapheap.

I’m not sure how seriously to take Ventura. He somehow got eleven percent in January’s presidential elections and came third, so he can’t be written off entirely. But that still leaves forty percent of a country to convince and I think they’d take some convincing. Pictures I’ve seen from the campaign trail in the local council elections show some pretty underwhelming gatherings, not Trump style rallies. He doesn’t seem well-enough organised to be a serious threat. More of an Iberian Tommy Robinson than a new Salazar – but maybe that’s just my perception from my distance. He does seem to be a racist douchebag, and he’s been fined for saying some things that were out of line. I’ve also heard that he did time, maybe for fraud, but I can’t find a source for that so maybe it’s just a rumour.

There have even been calls to ban CHEGA itself as a racist organisation. As a general rule of thumb, I’m not in favour of banning organisations unless they are actively advocating or engaging in violence, not just talking shit. It only makes them look like martyrs and the authorities look like repressive, censorious dictators. Why give them that martyr status? Even the “oh isn’t he awful” hand-wringing stance with which the BBC treated Nigel Farage – another clueless, sloppy populist with racist leanings – fanned the flame of his appeal to the point at which he was able to knock us out of the EU. So it’s best not to build these idiots up too much, even by showing disapproval. Better to give them the same arms-length treatment as other fringe parties like the Greens and Plaid Cymru and let them make their own case under their own steam until they burn themselves out. It’s too late for us with Farage now. I hope Portugal don’t make the same mistake with Ventura.

Anyway, all of the above is just my uninformed wittering. I’ll be finding out more over the next week or two, but in the meantime if anyone wants to correct any misconceptions in any of it, drop me a note in the comments 👇

Posted in English, Portuguese

Piadas de Tiozão

Apparently piadas de tiozão (“big uncle jokes) are what Brazilians call dad jokes. Older subscribers who have endured three or more years of this blog (I raise a glass of Licor de Beirão in your honour) may remember that the European equivalent is “Piada Seca

I inflicted two in the world today.

Como se chama um cantor que tem muita sede?

Justin Beber

Como se chama um cantor que tem um leque e um tambor?

Justin Tamborleque

Posted in English

Aqui Vou Eu Novamente

This is a bit of a silly one. Notes down at the bottom. Thanks again ThisCatIsConfused for correcting it (and having the patience to read my silly word games!)

Abbabo de ver um filme baseado nas músicas de aca. Hum… Quero dizer “Acabo de ver um filme baseado nas músicas de ABBA”. O seu título é Mamma Mia. A minha filha e a sua amiga fizeram uma festa ontem à noite. Abbastecemo-las… Hum… Ou seja Abastecemo-las com petiscos e abbandonámo-las… Abandonámo-las na sala de estar. Hoje de manhã estão com sono e estão só capazes de comer panquecas com xarope e ver filmes.

Abbasar de ser…. Hum… Apesar de ser de sexo masculino*, gosto do filme. Há muitas estrelas no elenco. Acima de todos, gosto de Christine Baranski que é abbasolutamente… Hum… absolutamente fantastica. O enredo é engraçado, e as canções… Tipo… Quem não abbora ada… Ou seja quem. Não adora ABBA?

*=i just wrote “apesar de ser masculino but you have to say” de sexo masculino”. Probably would have been easier to say “apesar de ser homem” really, eh?

So what’s the joke?

I’d better explain for the benefit of anyone who is confused by the unfamiliar vocabulary that this is a sort of long-running pun: I’ve swapped the word “abba” onto other similar words like “apesar”, “acabo” and “abandonámos” and occasionally swapped letters in the other direction too. In each case, I correct myself immediately after but if you’re still at an early stage of your journey it probably looks a bit confusing so I’m sorry about that!

Posted in English

Puntuguese

I’m sure you’ve been enjoying the recent news out of the USA. Me too. And I also really enjoyed the fact that I was actually able to understand a portuguese pun

Hey Trump, when you leave the white house, ask Melania to help “Kamala”.

The joke is that Kamala sounds like “Com a mala” (“with your suitcase”) although when I showed m’wife she pointed out it could equally well be “queimá-la” (“burn it”) but I guess that’s not what the author was going for