My Very Own EP Experience: Yuliya’s Story

Não vou escrever por que razão eu comecei a aprender o português. Isto é uma história separada e longa bastante. Esta vez vou falar como é aprender o português na Rússia. A minha cidade é terceira no país em termos de dimensão populacional, mas só há uma escola da língua portuguesa aqui. Para ser mais preciso é um centro da língua e cultura portuguesa. Porque a nossa professora é uma pessoa muito apaixanada por Portugal. Ela não só nos ensina a língua mas também fala muito sobre cultura, história e tradições de Portugal. Além das aulas temos os varios eventos dedicados a Portugal no nosso centro. Ela ainda era uma dos organizadores do primeiro festival dos filmes portugueses na nossa cidade. Gosto muito do nosso centro, mas não há uma pessoa nativa em português aí e por isso só podemos falar e ouvir entre nós – os alunos e a professora. Claro que temos as gravações do manual , mas são poucas (para mim (-: ).  Então para praticar audição oiço varios podcasts. Graças ao RTP sítio que tem muitos deles. Também aí é possível ouvir online a rádio para todos os gostos.

Na Internet encontrei poucos sítios destinados a variante europeia da língua portuguesa. Porém, aqueles que encontrei merecem muitas agradecimentos especial. Agradeço muito o Luís por fazer-nos conhecer as diferenças entre das variantes da língua em Portugal e no Brazil, por explicar as dificuldades em gramática e, é o que vale mais, por permitir-nos fazer perguntas e respondê-las em todos os detalhes e com muita paciência. Este post é a minha tentativa de agradecer-lhe e apoiar o seu sítio para ele continuar escrever para nos. :- )

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Introducing Your Very Own EP Experience!

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re having a great week! (:

As an effort to make the blog more interactive and lively, I’d love to give all of my readers an opportunity to be a part of the blog!

Hence the idea of creating a section of the blog where you can share your experiences with Portuguese learning and Portuguese culture; you could write blog entries about your language learning progress, a certain aspect of Portuguese culture/language you find interesting or about a recent or not so recent trip to Portugal you might want to share with everyone: as long as you write it respectfully (even criticism), my only job will be to proofread and host your stories. If you have your own WordPress accounts, I can add you as featured writers on the blog! (:

Feel free to contact me using the blog’s email ( or my Facebook ( and Twitter ( accounts to see how we can make this happen!

Have a nice weekend, and good luck with your studies!

EP word of the week (#109): medula espinal / espinal medula

Continuing our trip into the human body, let’s get on our backs  to examine the linguistical differences among the Portuguese variants for a very important organ: I’m talking about the spinal cord!

Since the spinal cord is a long tube of nervous tissue partly inside the vertebral column, its name in many languages, and in particular the Romance language, connects this spinal connection with the general concept of marrow (from Latin medulla, something in the middle of something else); in Portuguese, marrow is [a] medula (see also bone marrow = [a] médula óssea, from [o] ossobone), while the spine is [a] coluna / [a] coluna vertebral / [a] espinha.

In Portuguese medical circles, the spinal cord is known [a] medula espinal or [a] espinal medula, but sometimes as [a] medula espinhal [1]; the latter is much more common in Brazil, and usually the sole alternative in medical environments.

Translation: Patients frequently mix up the bone marrow with the spinal cord (SNC), but they have nothing to do with each other. The spinal cord belongs to the nervous system and it goes from the brain to the tailbone, running through the holes located behind the body of the vertebrae.

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EP word the week (#108): esófago

Hello, everyone! I hope your summer (winter in the Southern hemisphere, for all my followers out there) is treating you well (:

Continuing a tour of the human body which started last week with [a] tiroide, today I’ll turn my attention to the digestive system – [o] sistema digestivo – with a new word, but showing a process I’ve discussed several times before.

The word is the Portuguese term for esophagus/oesophagus, the canal that links the pharynx to the stomach. It is named [o] esófago in EP but [o] esôfago in BP. This process – European Portuguese opening a vowel in comparison with Brazilian Portuguese in a word stressed on the third-to-last syllable – is similar to the one that gives us Mónica/Mônica and Arménia/Armênia; this case is special because it happens not before a nasal consonant (/n/ in the previous two cases), but before a fricative (/f/); this means that the number of words that follow this process aren’t necessarily all nasal (even though most are).

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EP word of the week (#107): tiroide

A few days ago I was wondering about some possible themes for new Words of the Week posts and it suddenly came to me that I hadn’t really talked much about medicine (cancro/sida notwithstanding) and specifically about body parts, even though that one of the first things that people learn in a new language!

Truth be told, the reason for this is that the most important body parts and organs are similar in both variants of Portuguese; heart is [o] coração, leg is [a] perna, hand is [a] mão, brain is [o] cérebro, and so on. Only when you look for more specific places in your body will you find differences.

One such case is the thyroid, the endocrine gland found in your neck and whose job is “influence your metabolic rate”. This internal organ is know as [a] tiroide in European Portuguese, while the word used is Brazil is [a] tireoide.

Location of the thyroid gland.

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EP word of the week (#106): quina

Hello, everyone!

To finish this month’s words of the week, which were all related either to Portuguese grammar or Portuguese history and symbols, I bring you another word that’s culturally significant to Portugal and the Portuguese: I’m talking about [a] quina, which was a general meaning of “set of five equal (or similar items)” [from Latin quina, “five at a time, five each”], but is also used to mean [1]:

  1. For any playing card, domino piece or rolling dice with 5 in it;
  2. A series of five numbers in an horizontal line in lotto games;
  3. More importantly, the 5 blue-and-white escutcheons present in the shield of the Portuguese flag, which give it the name of [a] bandeira das Quinas.

Each of the five escutcheons has a five X-dot pattern in it, which serves as a double reminder of their name; while the flag of Portugal in its current form was only adopted in 1911, the escutcheons have been a part of Portuguese flags ever since the founding of the country in the 11th century (as you can see in the Wikipedia page of the flag). They’re traditionally meant to symbolize the 5 Moorish kings that our first monarch, D. Afonso Henriques, defeated on the Battle of Ourique (1139), but said Wikipedia article explains that they came to be in a much more interesting and mundane fashion related to worn-out flags and nail marks; you should definitely take some time to read it and learn more about it (and with it, our history) !

Portuguese shield – 7 castles and 5 escutcheons (“Castelos e Quinas”).

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EP word of the week (#105) / Grammar Tips (#21): [o] conjuntivo, the subjunctive mood

Continuing a thread started last Wednesday with vosso and on Sunday with A Portuguesa (the Portuguese national anthem), today’s Word of the Week will showcase another interesting and relevant EP-specific word, this time returning to Portuguese grammar.

This time, we’re talking about [o] (modo) conjuntivo, the EP word for the subjunctive (mood). As you’re probably aware by now, Portuguese has three distinct grammatical moods which clarify the intent of a given verb form: the indicative – [o] indicativo (expressing fact), the imperative – [o] imperativo (expressing a command) and the subjunctive – [o] conjuntivo (expressing a hope, a wish, a desire, a doubt, or a possibility, in relative clauses and if clauses). In Brazilian Portuguese, the word for subjunctive is [o] (modo) subjuntivo, similar to the term used in English, French, Spanish, German and other languages.

Click on the link below for a general explanation of the subjunctive and some tricks to figure out their tense endings, which doubles as a Grammar Tips lesson!

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EP word of the week (#104): A Portuguesa

Last Saturday (June 10th) we celebrated a national annual holiday in Portugal – it’s a very special day since it commemorates the death of Luís de Camões, one of Portugal’s greatest poets and writer of the sixteenth century national epic poem Os Lusíadas (published in 1572), about the role of the Portuguese during the Discoveries (Os Descobrimentos) enmeshed with stories of Portuguese history up until that point. Students in the 9th and 12th grades/forms (ages 14-15 and 17-18, respectively) are obliged to read and study the test for their Portuguese language curricula, which makes it a very important and respected book.

So, June 10th is known as [o] Dia de Camões (Camões’ day), but the holiday celebrates the country as a whole, the Portuguese language and Portuguese communities all over the world: its full name is [o] Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas.

Another important symbol of Portugal as an independent country is its national anthem – [o] hino nacional – ours is called A Portuguesa; the title is feminine because it’s implied that we’re talking about a song¹, since the word for song is feminine (a canção), therefore we get A [canção] portuguesa.

Sheet music for A Portuguesa. Pauta d’ A Portuguesa.

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EP word of the week (#103): vosso

Hey, everyone!

Today’s Word of the week is a possessive pronoun: our plural your; despite using vocês as a personal pronoun, European Portuguese uses vosso/vossa/vossos/vossas (which originates from vós), as a possessive!

This means that if something is owned by a plural you, you’ll probably call it by this pronoun:

  • O carro é vosso. The car is yours (addressing more than one person as the owners).
  • A vossa casa é bonita. Your house is pretty.

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EP word of the week (#102): terra batida

This week marked the start of the 2017 French Open, a very important tennis competition – one of the 4 Grand Slams of the sport -, also commonly known as Roland Garros (the name of the sports complex in Paris where all the matches take place).

As all tennis aficionados know, the French Open is only Grand Slam played on clay, one of the major surfaces in the sport. The second Grand Slam of the year is preceded by a long tour of different, lesser clay court tournaments, with it being seen as the culmination of the Spring clay court season (there are two smallest groups of clay court tournaments in the winter and in the summer, but in the spring is where the important tournaments take place).

In Portugal, the name we use for this surface (the setting where the game takes place) – clay in the contest of tennis – is [a] terra batida, a calque from French [la] terre battue. Both names allude to the ground, crushed rock (shale, stone or brick, with helps give it its common red colouring – there are some tournaments with green clay, though). Therefore, a clay court will usually be called [o] court de terra batida in the media and by professionals.

Rafael Nadal, conhecido como “o Rei da Terra Batida” pelo seu domínio nesta superfície, a jogar num court de terra batida. Rafael Nadal, known as “the King of Clay” for his dominance in the surface, playing in a clay court.

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