Language is a tricky thing. The subtle nuances of a native tongue can take more than a lifetime to master and the challenge of mastering a second or even third can be almost insurmountable. Some people have a natural flair for it – they can hear a word and it is immediately available for use in their vocabulary and others aren’t so lucky (‘carbonara’ can be a tricky word – can’t it DP?).

I’ve been attending an ‘advanced’ Portuguese conversation class for a while (slightly misnamed as several of the students couldn’t Portuguese their way out of ‘um sacinho de papel molhado’) which is a somewhat random meandering through the grammatical paths of Portuguese and English. We spend half the lesson speaking Portuguese (as we should) and the other half debating why the 2 nations can’t both speak English or at least reinvent Portuguese so it makes more sense to foreigners (go home you cerebrally challenged freaks).

Of course the teacher is fluent in both but occasionally has to question the colloquialisms that befuddle her. Towards the end of yesterdays lesson she wrote on the board…

“TO GIVE SOMEONE HEAD” and innocently asked the class “can anyone tell me what this means?”

I didn’t surf today. Too busy sniggering in the back row…


  1. oh dear.
    in a similar vein, i must say that I still sniggeringly enjoy writing “bjs” at the end of my emails and have to be very careful not to write it to easily offended britons.
    it sounds like I’d lose patience with the other people in your class. reinvent portuguese? blooming ****** (that’s a portuguese asneira FAR too rude to spell out).

    1. Similar vein? *snarf*

      I like it when people tell me they’ve been up coughing all night
      (for non-Portuguesey peeps – cough=tosse).

  2. “*snarf*” are you SURE we didn’t go to school together?

    an english friend of mine, in the seventies, was trying to tell the staff (!) to feed the horses. but she didn’t know the word for “fodder”. so she just said “fodder”. the staff was rather shocked. I’ll leave it to you to explain foda.

    1. I would but my mother reads this blog and has the delicate ears of an innocent angel. She would be horrified if I used the f*#k word in public.

      Is there a blue-Babelfish? If not there should be…

      (*peehee* she said ‘staff’)

  3. “Carbonara”, that very tricky Portuguese word, can be extremely tricky indeed. You’ll be pleased to hear that I practised my effluent Portuguese at the Consulate today …… boa day! ….. or should it be boa Brummel?

      1. We got a peeny piece of paper which cost us about £140. They were startlingly efficient btw – having expected to wait hours, as per last time, we were very sweetly told off for being 8 minutes late. So sorry, the trains you know.

        More startling stuff, London’s looking very clean. Boris must have been out with his little dust pan and brush.

    1. Or ask your solicitor to call you back. Ever.
      Hang on – that just isn’t funny anymore.
      I wonder if she reads this blog…

    1. It was the medronha that made you forget everything else! That stuff is evil – like Tequila squared.
      In a small village in the Algarve they used to give it to foreigners for free just to watch them go mad…

    1. It surely is. It turns out that she was asked by one of Portuguese adult education students who had been trying to translate their favourite song lyrics…

  4. after a few maciera`s you could get your tounge around anything mush! ive seen it happen.
    greets from sumbawa

    1. Gaydy! Glad to see your travelling adventures have sharpened your wit and eloquence! Hope your are still disease free and have had much surfing excellence. Greets from Chã.
      See you soon….?

  5. Hi surfer!!Not good weather today around Figueira,very cloudy and cold.I wonder if there are any surfers out.I can’t see the sea from my window,Ilive near camping park.
    I liked the post and comments.:)I guess portuguese isn’t easy.I had trouble with french.Unlike it english is pratical at surface.
    I do not think that carbonara is a portuguese word…maybe italian word?Carbonária is a secret italian society.Carbonária is a portuguese word…
    Language sure is tricky! Sometimes I have difficulty reading your father’s blog.I’ve been away from blogging lately,a lot of “problemas”. I would like to know more english.I do a lot of mistakes.And I hardly have the chance to speak it.When I left highschool-I learned all my english there- I was so good at it.Sometimes I find papers and I hardly believe that I wrote it!
    Have an excellent week!

    1. Hoje o tempo ésta mau aqui também! Nublado e frio! Eu não surfei em Figueira há muito tempo – tenho voltar ali em breve! Podes practicar a tua Inglês aqui quando quiser! Bjs…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *