Um Canadiano em Portugal

A Canadian in Portugal

Currently living in Portugal and learning the language, Joel bumps into a helpful local. They are about the same age and in an informal context, so they are using the informal “tu” pronoun throughout the conversation. Members can learn more about the different forms of “you” in this unit: Informal You vs. Formal You


  • Is it ok for two strangers who take a liking to each other on meeting, to use the second person informal; like in this situation?
    Is the use of formal third person becoming a thing of the past (to some extent); amongst younger people?

    • Good question, Anton. Up to a certain age – think younger adults, up to their 30s -, when two people of similar age meet, they will most likely address each other informally, unless there is some kind of hierarchical relationship between them: a clerk talking to a customer, a student talking to a tutor or teacher, etc. Older adults generally default to the formal second person. When there is a noticeable age difference, the younger person will usually address the older person formally, but there is no expectation for the older person to do the same. Hope this helps!

  • I think Rui, Joel are just met each other And they are student. And they just want to make friends and have some Conversation As usual When someone is not in their own country, and when you’re in there country and you what to make friends with loco people

  • Hi. Very helpful.
    Please explain to me the difference between saying: Prazer em conhecer-te and Prazer em conhecê-lo? Do they have the same meaning? Are they pertaining to the same person?

    • They both mean pleasure to meet you / nice to meet you, but the one using -te would be more common to hear in a more informal setting or with younger people, and -te could refer to either a male or female. The one with -lo is more formal and would only refer to a male (It would be prazer em conhecê-la if speaking to a woman). You could also just say muito prazer, or simply prazer.

  • Ola Joseph! Could you expand on your answer to Anton with an example that would illustrate a formal exchange? Obrigada!

    • Sure! For example, the whole dialogue in this shorty is informal. I’ll pick some bits of it and change them to formal:
      Tu falas inglês? (informal) -> (Você) Fala inglês? or O senhor fala inglês?
      Como te chamas? (informal) -> Como se chama? (formal)
      Prazer em conhecer-te. (informal) -> Prazer em conhecê-lo. (formal)

      This Learning Note goes into detail on this: How to Address People Formally vs. Informally

  • English doesn’t really have this concept of formal versus informal, not like I’ve seen in some Romance languages. With this being the very first Portuguese I’ve learned, I think this example is too advanced for a beginner at this stage in the course. There hasn’t really even been a discussion of pronouns, he, she, etc. The idea that there are two forms of “you” needs to be discussed before this example is presented. By the way, not that it matters, I’m Canadian.

  • Here’s a question: The last question of the quiz is “Como se despede o Rui do Joel?” I guessed this was asking what Rui said to Joel at the end of their conversation but I plugged this question into Google Translate to get the exact translation. It came back with “How does Rui do Joel say goodbye?” This seems like a bug in Google Translate–this isn’t even correct English. I tried a reverse translate of “How does Rui say goodbye to Joel?” and got “Como é que o Rui se despede do Joel?” which of course is quite different than the question in the quiz. Is this due to differences in how this is said in Brazilian Portuguese?

    • Good question! In this case, the result you got back would also be correct. The “é que” is optional, but is often included in questions. Also, Portuguese word order is a bit more flexible than it is in English.

      Just a tip though: I would recommend using to translate, as Google Translate does tend to default to Brazilian Portuguese. And even then, any automatic translation will often be wrong, so take them with a grain of salt. There is not a one-to-one correspondence between languages and the context is missing when it’s automated.

      I think these questions are too advanced for this stage, so thank you for pointing this out. We’ll work on it!

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