Filipe tells Bruna the story about how he got a black eye, using many of the expressions you learned in the Idioms 1 unit.
In this Learning Note we’re going to show you a few more Portuguese idioms.
This expression literally means “you’re a head of spoiled garlic”, which means you are not very bright. Although originally meant for people who are easily distracted or forgetful, it has a become an endearing way of calling someone dumb.
In the past, Portuguese fishermen sailed all the way to Greenland and Newfoundland looking for cod. While fishing in those “cod waters”, many of them lost their lives, boats, and cargo and that is, supposedly, the origin of this expression. It can mean that after a great deal of work, nothing happened, something was lost, or that an agreement could not be reached.
This is an expression used when someone says they’re thinking, but all they really need to do is to take some action. The word burro can also be used as an insult for someone you think is stupid or not very bright, but that’s not the meaning of the word in this context.
Maria is a little grumpy today and Gustavo is trying everything he can to make her feel better.
Jaime and Maria were strolling through the park talking about the good old days. Find out what their grandson did to shock them!
You have been learning to speak and write proper Portuguese, but not every Portuguese person speaks perfectly 100% of the time. Depending on the context, we might prefer using simpler terms to save time, explain something in a different way, joke around, or even fit in with a group. That’s where gíria popular – or just gíria slang – comes in. Let’s take a look at some of the most common European Portuguese slang words.
Pá is one of the slang trademarks of the European Portuguese dialect. It can be used at the end of sentences to emphasize what’s being said, as in the example above. It can also be used in place of “uhh…”, the sound you make when you’re thinking.
Expressões Idiomáticas Idiomatic expressions, or idioms, are expressions that you shouldn’t interpret literally. Portuguese idioms have a symbolic meaning, which is rarely maintained upon literal translation into other languages. These expressions reflect the customs and history of the country and are part of all conversations of the Portuguese, rich or poor, from North to South of Portugal. They often incorporate slang words and can be used to convey irony, exaggeration, or impatience, or even just to save time.
Or, as we say in Portugal:
During the 1755 earthquake, two convents collapsed in Lisbon, one with the name Carmo and one with the name Trindade. It was here that the expression Cair o Carmo e a Trindade appeared, which initially implied terror and panic. Although it still retains that meaning, nowadays it is often used in an ironic tone, when you fear the consequences of something unimportant. For example:
Interjections are words with an emotive function. They are used to express emotions, sensations, and moods. They can be just simple vowel sounds, like Ah! and Oh! , but most are either a free word or a phrase, in which case we call them locuções interjetivas .
The same interjeição interjection can have different meanings depending on the context in which it appears, its purpose, and the speaker’s attitude. Even with simple vowel sounds, sometimes changing the tone and extending the sound will give it another meaning.
Interjections can be used as a standalone reply / affirmation, or they can be followed by a sentence.
Follow along as Carolina goes through the process of renewing her Cartão de Cidadão (Citizen Card).
To prepare for an upcoming birthday party that they’ll be hosting, a modern grandma and her jokester husband stock up on groceries at the local supermarket. While taking advantage of every promotion they can, will they actually remember to pick up everything they went there for in the first place?
Eduarda, the mechanic, deals with a customer who thinks he knows exactly what’s wrong with his car… when in fact, the biggest problem might just be the driver!
(Special guest: Eliana Silva)
One of the most common adverbs of time is já already, now, which at its core means in this moment. Like all other adverbs of time, já is always invariable. It is one of the most frequently used adverbs, and possibly one of the most confusing for non-native speakers! The meaning of já in Portuguese varies quite a bit depending on the context. Because of this, you should try to focus more on the general influence the word has on a phrase, rather than thinking of an exact translation. Let’s have a look at some of the different uses of já:
Já as Already
Perhaps considered the primary use of já, and the most straightforward one, is when it means already. Examples:
While making her way through her lengthy shopping list (containing useful food vocabulary, of course), Sra. Rosa shares her elderly wisdom with a young employee who is eager to help.
Special Guest: Eliana Silva
Just like its people, the Portuguese language is very courteous. Below are just some of the many polite phrases used to express basic, everyday courtesy in Portuguese. This guide covers the most important ones, but there are also many others that will help get you started in simple conversations or greet people properly throughout the day.
We Portuguese tend to shorten words whenever we can. So don’t be confused if instead of se faz favor you hear ´faz favor in fast, informal speech.
The Portuguese expression is:
It’s said to be a leftover from a polite expression that went more or less like, “I am obliged (obrigado) to return your favour”. In fact, the English expression “much obliged” has the exact same meaning and would also be an accurate translation of Muito obrigado Thank you very much
Because you are the one who feels obliged to return the favour, your thank you must
Let’s learn how to say goodbye in Portuguese! There are many options, depending on who you are talking to, the time of day, or how long it will be until you see them again. Take a look at the infographic below for a quick guide:
Currently living in Portugal and learning the language, Joel bumps into a helpful local.
Maria is looking for a pen, but ends up chatting with Pedro and shares some snacks with him.
A tourist struggles to find his way to his hotel… but not as much as he struggles with understanding Portuguese expressions.
Salvador and Mariana (– no, Adriana! –) visit a hair salon to freshen up their looks, but quickly find themselves in a hairy situation! In this episode, you’ll learn lots of new vocabulary and expressions that should come in handy the next time you find yourself going under the scissors…
Today we revisit Diálogo 29 to discuss some of the vocabulary and expressions surrounding the Portuguese housing market. There’s also an extra listening challenge waiting for you in the second half, so stick around!
In the peak of summer, fitness expert Rui Sénior takes a few minutes to show us how he stays in better shape than everyone else, even while on vacation… No excuses!
Talk about a callback… This video is a brand new animated version of our very first podcast episode, from way back in 2013!
By comparing the audio of this episode to our newer ones, you’ll hopefully notice not only a massive evolution in not only our production quality and comfort on the mic, but also in Joel’s Portuguese. He had been learning Portuguese for about a year when this was recorded.
It’s very humbling (especially for Joel) to go this far back into the archives, but Wayne’s fantastic animating talent has made it a lot of fun. Enjoy!
Hoping for a calm, vegetarian dining experience at a local Portuguese restaurant, Sr. John gets thrown off guard by unprofessional service and a problem with his order! Find out how he deals with these challenges, and learn lots of vocabulary and expressions to use the next time you’re dining out.
After our very challenging Diálogo, dedicated to the Algarvian dialect, we decided to record a follow-up discussion with Eliana, (who voiced the Algarvian characters).
She will help us understand a bit better some of the difficult terms and expressions that came up in that episode, and how they’re typically used in the region.
Avó Odete is back! She teaches us lots of new vocabulary while chatting, singing, and washing the dishes, (with Rui’s “help” 🙈). Rui even attempts to get her saying “asneiras” (bad words!) Watch now to see if he succeeds!