July 9, 2009

80's-90's Brazilian Rock Concert!

Ok, so I was planning to have a language/ non-event post next... but then I just found out about what looks like a very fun event for me and all NYC Portuguese students out there coming up this Saturday... so I had to post it!

It seems like this group is a very casual, non-pro group of Wall street Brazilian guys who decided to play gigs for fun... their wives are the back vocals and the a crowd is full of their friends.... sounds like an awesome garage band kind of vibe.

One very cool thing is that they play classic 80's-90's that most Brazilians the same age as your Portuguese teacher here just love.... All those who know me know that I love samba, bossa/ brazilian jazz and forró, but you can usually find that more easily (ainda bem!)... a band playing the fun 80's stuff is much harder to find! (Don't you love New York City?). So if you are really getting into the culture, this could be a great cultural experience (even if you end up finding out that it is not really your bossa-nova-ear's thing).

The concert is this Saturday at Sullivan Hall at 9:30 pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance here. They say to arrive early because they are opening for another band (Shitty Shitty Jam Band, doesn't that sound like a night!).

For those advanced Portuguese learners, you can listen to this video about the band and see what you understand (I may post supporting learning notes/glossary later):

I am going and trying to drag some of my local students with me. Hope to see you there!

July 8, 2009

Brazilian Film Festival in NYC: MoMA Premiere - Brazil 2009

Long time no language related post, huh? I promise to add another tip on learning Portuguese soon.

For the moment though, here is another fun event for those learning Portuguese in New York City: the MoMA is hosting the seventh annual Rio de Janeiro Festival from July 16th - August third. The selection seems really cool, with classics and some newer stuff. It is definitely worth a trip to the MoMA and a great way to get some exposure to the language!

I will probably try and organize a trip with some of my students there. (Ping me if you want to meet us :-))

June 19, 2009

Expressions of age in Portuguese

My birthday was earlier this month. (Check out these other posts, if you want to know how you would sing happy birthday in Portuguese)... So we will cover a couple expressions for different ages in Portuguese, starting with balzaquiana, em minha homenagem (=as an homage to me):

balzaquiana = woman in her 30s.


Agora, eu sou uma balzaquiana.

This is due to Balzac's "A woman of Thirty". There is no similar term for men, so you can say the following (applicable to men and women):

Ele tem uns vinte/trinta/quarenta e poucos anos.
He is in his early 20s/30s/40s.
(literaly something like: He has some 30 and few years)

Ela tem uns vinte/trinta/quarenta e tantos anos.
She is in her late 20s/30s/40s.
(literaly something like: She has some 20/30/40 and so much years).


  1. If you are of applicable age, make a sentence describing your age, using the expressions above.
  2. Think of a couple of people you know and use the expressions above to describe thier approximate age.

As well as balzaquianas, we also have women in the idade da loba:

a idade da loba - literally "the age of the female wolf" - the age of women in their 40s

This is again due to a book by Regina Lemos (the translation of the title would be "Forty: the age of the wolf" - but all using the feminine gender. Here is some more on that). Again this is for women only.

For both genders, we can use the following expressions for people in their 40s and 50s (very informal):

in his 40s/ in her 40s

in his 50s/ in her 50s

Finally we have:

coroa - a slang meaning old person (sometimes pejorative) - literally "crown"


enxuto/enxuta - a slang meaning someone well preserved for their (old) age.


Ele é um já é um cinquentão, mas está um coroa enxuto.
He is already in his 50s, but he is a well preserved old man.

  1. Think of someone you know or celebreties ranging from early 20s and 50s. Make sentences describing their ages.
  2. Answer if you can: Na sua opinião, quais pessoas famosas são coroas enxutos?
Bom, agora que sou balzaquiana, espero que , pelo menos eu seja uma coroa enxuta!

June 4, 2009

Free Brazilian Movies in New York City

Want to put your listening skills to good use? You are still on time to catch some of the free Brazilian movies presented by the Brazilian Endowment for the Arts. I am a bit bummed to have missed all those movies, but I can still catch the last 3 in June. Films are shown on Thursdays at 7pm 240E.52nd St. (Between 2nd & 3rd Ave) until the end of the month.

You can also catch almost free ($5 suggested donation) screenings following a theme of Afro-Brazilian traditions at Exit Art. The screenings are part of a multi-disciplinary exhibition called Négritude and are shown every Friday at 6pm.

April 26, 2009

5 Tips to Remember a New Word in Portuguese

You have just learnt a new word that you really want to remember how to say it later... How do you make sure you don't forget it? Here are some tips to remember a new word you particularly care about. (It may be useful to pick a new word and really practice this things as an example).

1. Say the word out loud. You've heard the new word from your teacher, or read it somewhere and you understood its meaning... you may write it down and you are done. This step is makes sense and is very simple, but it is sometimes forgotten. Take a couple of seconds to repeat the word. Make sure you are comfortable pronouncing it. Then cover the word (if it is written) for a couple of seconds and see if you can remember it without looking (repeat until you can say it, at least just a couple of seconds after covering it up). See if you can say the word out lout after a few minutes have past.

2. Put the word into context (1): make a sentence. The very next thing would be to make up a sentence (or several). To focus on your new word, good sentences would be mostly formed of other words you already know (plus the new word). You can get started with any old sentence, but as you go own, try to make the sentences as realistic and as relevant to you as possible. Say you learnt the word avô (grandfather), then make a sentence about your own real grandfather (e.g.: O meu avô mora em Nova Iorque. or O nome do meu avô é John Smith.).

3. Put the word into context (2): visualize. You can try visualize the word by itself as you say it, but also think of the sentences you made in the previous point (you are more likely to use the word in a sentence than by itself later). You may visualize the meaning of the sentence, but, most importantly, imagine a context when you would actually say the sentence. For example, you may imagine the following for the word avô:

A: - Mary, esse é o meu avô, John Smith.
[Imagine the whole situation, introducing your grandpa to a real friend]

A: - Eu moro na California, mas eu sou de Nova Iorque.
B: - Que legal! O meu avô mora em Nova Iorque.

A: - Que lindo bebê! Qual é o nome dele?
B: - John Smith.
A: - Ah! O nome do meu avô é John Smith!

4. Put the word into context (3): use stickers. This is an old trick, but it is good. Say you want to remember the word for refrigerator (geladeira in Portuguese). Stick the word geladeira to your fridge, then every time you get close enough to your geladeira you will be reminded of the word. ... Sure, your avô would probably not like it if you put a sticker on him, but you may get away with placing one on a picture of him.

5. Use it! The more you use a word the more you will remember it, so make sue to get as much practice speaking Portuguese as possible! The more you speak, the more likely it is that you will end up having a chance to use your word.

[Note: You may not do this for every new word you hear... just a few that you really want to or may be having trouble remembering].

April 17, 2009

Expressions of Frequency in Portuguese

The blog is back! ... and the plan is to have a post per week. To get started, how about we look into how to say "once a week" and other similar expressions in Portuguese?

Once/twice a week:

Eu escrevo no blog uma vez por semana.
I write on the blog once a week.

... uma vez por semana. (once a week)
... duas vezes por semana. (twice a week)
... três vezes por semana. (3 times a week)

You can also use this expression for other time periods:

Eu viajo para o Brasil uma vez por ano.
I travel to Brasil once a year.

Eu vou ao cabeleleiro uma vez por mês.
I goes to the hairdresser once a month.

Exercise: Think of an activity that you do once a week and make a sentence in Portuguese expressing that. think of an activity that you do more than once a week and make a nother sentence. Example: Eu visito os meus pais uma vez por semana. Eu faço ioga duas vezes por semana.


= todo dia (slightly more casual) or todos os dias (slightly more formal):

Eu tiro foto todo dia.
I take pictures every day.

Eu chego ao trabalho às 9:00 todos os dias.
I arrive at work at 9:00 every day.

Exercise: Answer the question: Você estuda Português todo dia?

Every other day:

I like this one. To say every other day, you can literaly say: "one day yes, one day no": um dia sim um dia não:

A Mariana corre na praia um dia sim um dia não.
Mariana runs at the beach every onther day.

Exercise: Answer the question, if you can: Você tem tempo para estudar português um dia sim um dia não?

Once every X days:

You can express every X days by using the expression uma vez a cada X dias. For example, to say "once every three days" you say uma vez a cada três dias:

Eu vou na academia uma vez a cada três dias.
I go to the gym once every three days.

Update: Every Once in a While

You can say de vez em quando:

De vez em quando, eu vou caminhar no Central Park.

Every once in a while, I go for a walk in Central Park.

- Make a table scheduling your major regular activities for the week.
- Based on your table describe your regular activities. Make sure to use each of the four types of expressions that you learnt at least duas vezes!

Bom, that is it for now. I hope to see you here at least uma vez por semana.