João e Dona Ana à Conversa

João and Dona Ana in Conversation

John crosses paths with Dona Ana around lunchtime. They have a respectful conversation about food and cooking. Notice the different forms of “you” used throughout the conversation.


  • This is very helpful, but it demonstrated my problem with listening to conversations. Even when I understand most of the words, and in this case all of the words, I still had to read the transcript to get the gist of the conversation.

      • Hang in there! It will get easier over time. The more you listen, the more your brain starts to pick up on patterns. After listening a few times with the transcript, try listening a few times without it. Even if you don’t understand everything, it will challenge you to put together the meaning and at least pick out some of the vocabulary you know.

  • The quiz for the conversation is very advanced, there are a lot of words that I have not seen in any of the units and I am going through all of the units in order. The transcript and audio are great but the quizzes are impossible, I’m just guessing.

  • I think I did well, only that there were some words in two questions I did not know. Maybe you should find a way of giving definitions of new words in context, whereby for instance one can simply put the cursor on the word and see the meaning or meanings.
    Thank you

    • Great job! That’s a good idea. One language-learning skill that’s really helpful to have is to be able to find or guess the meaning of a word or phrase from context, without the translation to fall back on. So we do like to use these quizzes as a bit of a challenge for you – to see what you can figure out. Of course, if too many of the words are unfamiliar, it becomes frustrating, so we’re always searching for a good balance!

  • Found the quiz straightforward, but like the other poster, I have to read the transcript. You´re perfectly correct, I don’t listen to enough spoken portuguese!

  • The quiz went well but I have a question for you. ¿”Jantar” only means dinner? In Spanish “yantar” is an old and now literary way to say “comer” in general.
    Also, concerning Dona and Senhora (Sra). Can we use Senhora as a generic way to address formally a woman whose name we do not know? Wouldn’t it avoid sensitivities as foreign speakers? And should we use Don (masculine)? And if we do, is it used under the same circumstances as Dona?

    Obrigada. Gosto de aprender portuges

    • Olá, Maria! Yes, “jantar” is specific for dinner 🙂 Regarding Dona and Senhora, yes, you can use “Senhora” or “Senhor” when you don’t know the name of the person you’re talking to. But you can’t use “Dona” alone; it’s always paired up with the woman’s first name. Also, it’s a tricky form of treatment as far as knowing when to use it. “Dom” is not used at all today – it was only used historically for high-ranking noble men/royals. For example, we refer to the first king of Portugal (and to all other kings, of course) as “Dom Afonso Henriques”.

      Here’s a good Learning Note regarding formal vs. informal forms of treatment: How to Address People Formally vs. Informally

  • I have a question about ‘Bom dia’ (sorry, can’t do accents) at the end of the conversation. Presumably this is saying goodbye when the conversation takes place in the morning, but is it fairly common? I’ve not come across it before.

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