August 10, 2010

University Vocabulary in Portuguese

 Oi gente! Elena Como has submitted a great post (full of "false friends") on talking about college in Portuguese. So aqui está the first ever guest post here at Portuguese Tips:

photo: Ananda Lima
University Talk
Elena Como

 Before I studied in Brazil, during my junior year abroad at PUC-Rio, I learned a lot of Portuguese vocabulary. I remember that my Portuguese teacher at UC Santa Cruz gave us a number of ways to discuss what we majored in at the university. So I arrived at PUC and spoke about my area de concentração. And the Brazilians thought I was a graduate student. That also caused confusion, because estudante de graduação is actually an undergraduate in English. Graduação sounds like it should refer to a graduate student, but it's actually used for undergraduates. (Graduate students are called pós-graduados).

What's wrong with translating the idea of a major into "area de concentração"? It's a cultural problem--Brazilians don't really do general education, not like Americans, anyway. So they don't talk about having an "area de concentração" unless they are graduate students with a focus or concentration. Instead, Brazilians speak about their major or department the same way they would talk about their work: eu faço matemática (I am a math major), or eu estudo matemática (I study math). Faculdade means department, and it can also be used the way we use the word "school"--sort of a general way of referring to where you study.

Speaking of school, another confusion I encountered was the false cognate in the word "school." In American English, young people often use the word "school" to refer to university. In Portuguese, escola doesn't ever mean college or university, it means elementary school (and colégio is high school). So people would look at me funny when, at age 20, I would say "Eu vou para a escola." All of these terms came pretty quickly when I was living there, but it's easy to make these kinds of mistakes when the actual educational system is quite different. So to all of you who are going back to school, tenham um bom semestre!

Elena Como is the founder and president of Atlântico Books, an importer, distributor, and publisher of Portuguese-language books, CDs, DVDs, and downloads. Atlantico Books serves Portuguese students, teachers, and translators.

*I have not received anything in exchange of this post, i.e., this is not advertisement.

August 8, 2010

Learn Portuguese with these great online games

 As well as a lot of natural conversation, I love mixing games into my Portuguese classes! Since you are using this online, here are two very cool places where you can find a bunch of online games to practice Portuguese (great resources for teachers also):

  • Português em Badajoz - This site, created by Portuguese teachers in Badajoz (Spain) has a bunch of links to great online games/quizzes. The descriptions are all in Portuguese, so you may have to poke around a little bit for something that is just right for you. Some of the quizzes (e.g. Os contrários in Jogos de associações or these games by Instituto Camões) will be great for beginners. Other games (eg. Espaço Lusofonia) will be better for intermediate or advanced students.
  • Ludo-tech - This site also has a great collection of games (all created by the writers of the site). It seems like some of the games may have been designed to teach Portuguese children (whose first language is Portuguese to begin with :-)), but most of them can also be useful for second language learners (like this vocabulary quiz).
Note: You will see some Portuguese from Portugal (as opposed to the Portuguese from Brazil which is present throughout most of this site) in some of the games above... but, although there are differences, these varieties are very similar and this shouldn't be a problem for you.


August 3, 2010

Learn more about Brazilian Music and Culture: Choro

Pintura por Cândido Portinari (domínio público)

Most of my students have heard of samba and bossa-nova*... but it is much harder to find those who know what Choro ou Chorinho is. Well, if you are like them, you need no longer miss out on this beautiful style of music.

Choro means 'cry'. It is the noun as in "um choro triste" (a sad cry) (so the first 'o' is pronounced like an 'ô', not like an 'ó'... as opposed to the verb spelled the same way, but pronounced with an ó) ... but the rhythm is most often very happy and upbeat (there seem to be a couple of different ideas on why that is the name, and since I don't know the answer, I won't go it to it). Here is a Brazilian advertisement that makes a joke based on the name of the style, where you can also hear an example of chorinho (don't worry if you don't get the joke!):

Chorinho is considered the first popular urban style of music created in Brazil (originating in the 19th century) and it is stil played in Brazil today.

If you are in New York City,  you can go to a Choro concert right here in the city! The Choro Ensemble is playing at Zinc Bar tomorrow night (04 de Agosto)!

To learn a little bit more about chorinho, read one of these articles:
To learn about the instruments used in chorinho, see my other post with a vocabulary lesson about musical instruments in Portuguese.

To enjoy the music (and hear a little bit of Portuguese), you can watch the documentary "The sound of Rio: Brasileirinho"(imdb). If you are an advanced student, it may be good listening practice. You may try it even if you are a beginner, as there is a lot of music and not too much talking anyway:

*If you are an upper-intermediate or advanced student and really love Bossa nova, you should check this book out!

Hope to see you at Zinc bar!

Vocabulary lesson: Instrumentos Musicais em Português

Bom dia! I was preparing a post about chorinho and thought that it would be a good idea to introduce you to the vocabulary of musical instruments in Portuguese first.  I also have a couple of very nice students who are musicians who may find this useful.

If you are a beginner, don't worry too much if you don't understand a lot of the words in the readings and video, just get as much as you can. If you are an intermediate student, this may be perfect for you. If you are an advanced speaker of Portuguese, you may still learn a new word or two... and I follow the links to some readings that are more advanced.

Parte I: Os Instrumentos Musicais

Aqui estão alguns instrumentos músicais:

 violão, violino, piano e flauta

Esses intrumentos são parecidos (similares), mas são diferentes:

Note que a guitarra é elétrica e o violão geralmente é acústico. O cavaquinho é bem pequenininho.

Aqui estão outros instrumentos:

trombone                       saxofone                       clarineta



                 pandeiro                                                                                 sanfona

O pandeiro é muito importante no samba e a sanfona é muito importante no forró.
O Slash (dos Guns and Roses) toca guitarra e o João Gilberto toca violão.
Você sabia que o Woody Allen toca clarineta?

Responda as perguntas (answer whichever ones you can):
a. Você toca algum instrumento musical?
b. Você tem algum instrumento musical?
c. Qual é o seu instrumento favorito?
d. Qual dos instrumentos acima é maior (mais pesado)?
e. Qual dos instrumentos acima é menor (mais leve)?
f. Qual instrumento o Kenny G. toca?
g. Dê o nome de um instrumento que é importante no samba.
h. Dê o nome de um instrumento que é importante no jazz.
i. Dê o nome de um instrumento que é importante no rock.
j. Dê o nome de um instrumento que é importante na bossa nova.

Jogue esse jogo sobre instrumentos. Fale o nome dos instrumentos em voz alta.

Opcional: leia esse artigo sobre instrumentos importantes na música brasileira (if you can, don't worry if don't understand everything. Beginners may just read the name of the instruments matched with the drawings) .

Desafio (challenge): play a game of forca (hangman), where all words are instrumentos músicais. (Don't worry if you don't know all of the words in the game: I and a lot of Brazilians wouldn't know all those words ourselves!)

PARTE II: Os instrumentos do Choro

Essa parte é sobre os instrumentos importantes no choro. Para saber um pouco sobre o choro, veja as links no meu artigo sobre o choro.


Leia o artigo Os instrumentos do choro (if you can, don't worry if don't understand everything. Beginners may just read the name of the instruments matched with the drawings).

Advanced students: leia este artigo.

Conecte o nome do instrument com a foto:

Violão de seis cordas: _1__

cavaquinho: ___
flauta: ___
pandeiro ___

O seguinte vídeo sobre um instrumento importante no choro, no samba e no pagode. Adivinha qual é o instrumento!

Aqui está o vídeo, com perguntas para responder (the host of the quiz doesn't support Portuguese characters, so there are no acentos in the quiz :-( ). Click here to see the complete test.

(If you are a my student in a class or private lessons, ask me for a code to share your results or grab it from our private wiki).

Gente! O Eduardo Sant'Anna não é incrível?

Opcional: leia as partes do violão e escute o vídeo de novo. Você consegue reconhecer alguma parte?

 Now that you know the names of the instruments used in chorinho,  enjoy some of the music!