June 14th, 2005


Random musings on the Portuguese language

-- reads like Spanish, but all the determiners, conjunctions and modal verbs are different. they're quickly inferred from context, though. (I'd hope, since the fixed class of words are purportedly what babies learn first in language acquistion..... :-)) i started picking them up when I saw a road sign next to construction that said "os [people] devem utilizar [the sidewalk]" where devem is obviously "are to" / "must"

-- sounds like French but more sharp/consanant-y. (my proper lingusitic terms) Actually it's just full of sounds. Overall it kinda sounds/reads like a bunch of European language, though I suppose that's not fair since I've never looked at the etymologies and who "came first". I hear a fair number of Portguese are tri-lingual (portguese, english, spanish) in at least that they can understand (and speak a little) Spanish, but not vice-versa: Portugese has too many sounds for the Spanish to understand.

-- The word for "the" is "o", which parallels nicely with their cardinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd) which they write like "5o" for 5th. (mnemonic: the 5) and "os" for "all" (mnemonic: the + plural "s"). heh, and I realize they must underline it so it doesn't look like an extra zero!

-- I have "C" and "F" on the hot and cold knobs in the shower, except the "F" is rubbed off to the point of being unreadable. So my first instinct was to turn on the "C" (cold?) until I saw the baday (sp?) had an "F" where the shower was unreadable. So then I thought "frio" (cold) was F, but I still have no clue what "C" is, other than knowing it's definitely not cold! Luckily the shower has a switch to make it into bath mode while you adjust the temperature! :-)

-- the word for "park" is "retire", so it's funny to see "Park here!" signs every couple car lengths saying "Retire aqui!"

-- they use the same word for to lock a window/door (fetchar) as they do for closed (fetchado) like a business, instead of cerrado. So a store is "locked" instead of "closed". Makes me think of Evan's Mena asking him to "close" the light switch. Equally valid, just different convention. Often times a store /is/ closed when it's open, not locked, but when it is closed, it's always locked!

-- the Backstreet Boys are still popular here!? okay, this isn't related to my subject anymore, so I should get off the computer.

Update: most the stuff in this post is wrong. see comments. :-)