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introducing yourself in Portuguese

Introducing Yourself in Portuguese

You learned how to say hello and goodbye in the Greetings unit, along with a few polite phrases, but what about after that initial greeting? You probably want to have a little more conversation when you meet someone new! In this Learning Note, we’ll cover the basics of how to introduce yourself in Portuguese.

How Are You?

It’s common to begin a conversation by greeting the other person and asking if they are doing well:
Tudo bem? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Is everything (going) well?
This question is used similarly to the English expressions How are you? or How’s it going? More literally, Tudo bem? translates to Is all well?
To respond to this question, you can simply repeat the same words as a statement (or just say yes):
Tudo bem Play normal audio Everything's fine
Tudo bem, e contigo? Play normal audio Everything's fine, and (with) you? (sing.,inf.)
Tudo bem, e consigo? Play normal audio Everything's fine, and (with) you? (sing.,formal)
Sim, e contigo? Play normal audio Yes, and (with) you? (sing.,inf.)
Note: We’ll discuss formality in more depth in a later unit, but for now we’ll continue to mark the informal and formal phrases so you know which is which.
As an alternative, you may also hear one of the following questions:
Como estás? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio How are you? (sing.,inf.)
Como está? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio How are you? (sing.,formal)
You can respond to this question by saying:
Estou bem, e tu? Play normal audio I'm well, and you? (sing.,inf.)
Estou bem, e você? Play normal audio I'm well, and you? (sing.,formal)
Again, the first (with tu) is more informal and the second (with você) is more formal.
Note: You may also hear Como é que está? or Como é que estás? This é que phrase is very common in Portuguese questions. We’ll learn more about it in the Questions unit.

Who Are You?

Next, someone may ask for your nome Play normal audio name by saying:
Como te chamas? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio What is your name? (sing.,inf.)
Como se chama? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio What is your name? (sing.,formal)
These questions translate more literally to What do you call yourself? There are a few ways you can respond:
Chamo-me Joel paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio My name is Joel
O meu nome é Joel paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio My name is Joel
Eu sou o JoãoI am João
Eu sou a Maria Play normal audio I am Maria
Notice in the last 2 examples how a definite article (o or a) is included, depending on whether you are a male or female. It’s as if you are saying I am the João or I am the Maria. This may sound unusual in English, but it’s perfectly normal in Portuguese.

Nice to Meet You!

To tell someone it’s a pleasure to meet you, you can say:
Prazer em conhecer-te paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Nice to meet you (sing.,inf.)
Prazer em conhecê-lo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Nice to meet you (sing.,formal,speaking to male)
Prazer em conhecê-la paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Nice to meet you (sing.,formal,speaking to female)
Or you can simply shorten it to one of the following:
Muito prazer! paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Very nice to meet you!
Prazer! Play normal audio Pleasure!

Where Are You From?

Another part of introducing yourself in Portuguese may include talking about where you are from. You could ask:
És de onde? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Where are you from? (sing.,inf.)
É de onde? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Where are you from? (sing.,formal)
Note: The word order is flexible here, so you could also say: De onde és? or De onde é?
If you know the person’s name, you could be a little more polite and friendly by saying:
O Rui é de onde? Play normal audio Where are you (Rui) from?
If you are asking more than one person at once:
De onde são? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Where are you(pl.) from?
To respond to questions like this, you could say something like:
Eu sou de França paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I am from France
Nós somos da Alemanha Play normal audio We are from Germany
Let’s break this down a little bit:

  • Notice that the verb ser is used when talking about where someone is from, as this is a more permanent characteristic.
  • De is a preposition that means of or from, which you will learn more about when you get to the Prepositions units. Sometimes de comes before the name of the country and other times it’s da or do. This is because a definite article is required for some countries (de + a = da, de + o = do), but not for others. We’ll cover this in more detail in an upcoming Learning Note.

Alternatively, you could respond to a question about where you’re from using an adjective like this:
Nós somos polacos Play normal audio We're Polish
Eu sou americanoI'm American (masc.)

Practice Introducing Yourself in Portuguese!

In the next few lessons, members can practice phrases for asking and answering these questions to introduce yourself in Portuguese.

Comments

  • Hi there
    Some expressions have not been provided audio especially at the start of the lecture i.e. ‘Tudo bem, e contigo?’ . Could you please provide the prononciation?
    Cheers

    • Hi there! Don’t worry, these are on the list to record. We record in batches, so often we go ahead and publish an article and then add audio to the written examples later. Sorry for the delay!

  • I only signed up yesterday and just gave it all a try – love your approach and have the impression that I finally found THE ideal learning studio for me! Great work!

  • Early in the article, it responds to “Como esta?” with “Estou bem, e voce?”

    I was under the impression in European Portuguese that you really avoid the word voce most of the time and either have it implied (without actually saying the subject) or use “o senhor/a senhora” instead of saying the voce. I know that can vary a bit in different regions, but is it strange and/or rude to say “Estou bem, e voce?”

    • Olá, Derek. Some people with a more traditional/conservative education do find it a bit blunt to be treated directly as “você”, which is most of the reason why we err on the side of caution and suggest avoiding it. Another part of the reason is that it quiiiickly gets repetitive and there’s no need for that! We often omit all pronouns.

      Either way, it’s usually fine to use it here and there (including courtesy questions like this one), especially in informal contexts between people in the same age group and no hierarchy. If in doubt, you can always flip it to “Estou bem. E o senhor/a senhora?” 🙂

  • Can you invert the verb in – É de onde? – ie De onde é? De onde é em Portugâl? I feel more comfortable with that construction as it corresponds to the spanish construction (although the spellings are different) I learned spanish before I started studying portuguêse.

  • To say “Nice to meet you again” can you say “Prazer em conhece-lo de novo” ou “Prazer em conhece-lo outra vez”?

    • Both translations are correct and technically possible, but since in theory, you can only meet someone (for the first time) once, it wouldn’t make sense to say any of this. However, you could say “Prazer em vê-lo de novo/outra vez/novamente” (Nice to see you again) or “Prazer em encontrá-lo de novo/outra vez/novamente” (Nice to meet you again*).

      *Conhecer for when you first meet/get to know someone (doesn’t have to be in person), encontrar for when you meet anyone you’ve already met before (presumably in person, but Zoom probably has something to say about that).

  • 1) Eu sou da o de Espanha?

    2) Nos somos Espanholes o Spanhoes?

    What’s the right way to say it?

    I’m Spanish!

    Obrigada!

    • Olá, Ofelia! Both “da Espanha” and “de Espanha” are fine to use, but I think “de Espanha” is more common (and my personal preference). E vocês são espanhóis (masculino) e espanholas (feminino)!

  • How could I say “I am Latvian, I am from Latvia”? What’s the difference between the male and female version of the term Latvian? And finally – how can I say LatvianS in Portuguese?
    Thank you so much in advance for your answer. I have been looking for a satisfactory answer in some online dictionaries, but I haven’t found a clear one yet. Muito obrigada!

    • Olá! 🙂 Here’s the translation:
      – Male version: Eu sou letão. Eu sou da Letónia.
      – Female version: Eu sou letã. Eu sou da Letónia.
      – Plural version (male or mixed gender group): Nós somos letões. Nós somos da Letónia.
      – Plural version (female-only group): Nós somos letãs. Nós somos da Letónia.

  • I’m very grateful for the approach you take. I feel like I was getting no where fast on some other sites. I especially appreciate the pronunciation work.

  • OMG THANK YOU for the de+A = da and de+O= do! You should see my flashcards! De Do De Da … it’s been driving me zippideeee do da crazy!

  • If you are checking in at a hotel or being served in a shop should you use the formal or informal reply when asked “como está?”

  • Thanks. And as there is no audio clip how do you pronounce the end of “você” without the s as in “Estou bem, e você?”

  • Hi! Why do you say “Prazer em conhecer-te”, but “Prazer em conhecê-la/lo”? Is there a reason why you use conhecer with the tu-form but conhecê with the você form?
    By the way: I am really enjoying this course!

    • Olá, Josina, e obrigado!
      In both cases, we start from “conhecer”. But the você form needs to be modified because of the third-person clitic pronoun (o/a). We have this rule that if the verb form ends in a consonant (conheceR), that consonant is dropped before the clitic pronouns o/a. We also add an L to the clitic. So we end up with “conhece-lo”. Finally, we have to add the circumflex to keep the stress on the final syllable, just like in “conhecer”. This is how we arrive at “conhecê-lo”.

  • I’m curious, why do we say : Eu sou A Jenny, but not Chamo-me a Jenny / O meu nome é a Jenny.
    Why is there an article in one case, but not in the others? Is the article more linked to the use of ser than to the name?
    Obrigada desde já

    • Indeed, when we’re directly naming something and using the verb “chamar”, we don’t use definite articles. Maybe because the verb ‘chamar’ is focused on the name as if it were an object in itself:
      – Eu chamo-me João.
      – Este objeto chama-se mesa.
      – O livro chama-se “Fogo”.

      This also happens when we say “O meu nome é Jenny” -> we’re using the verb ‘ser’, but not adding any definite articles before the person’s name in this case.

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