EP word of the week (#115): pera

An important part of learning a language comes when you’re acquainted with the concept of polysemy, i.e. that one word may have many meanings. This not only gives you a bigger understanding of the language, but it also helps you become more vigilant every time you encounter a familiar word in a foreign context. All natural languages have these processes at work, so while it may not expected at first, it ends being normal eventually as we go along in our language learning.

[a] Pera in one such word; the most common meaning is that of pear, the edible fruit of the pear tree (in Portuguese, [a] pereira). A special cultivar of pear grown in Portugal (mainly in the West region, between Figueira da Foz and the Lisbon Peninsula) is known as [a] pera rocha ([a] rocha, Portuguese for rock, is also a common surname; this type of pear was first cultivated in the orchards of a man from Sintra named Pedro António Rocha in the early nineteenth century). Brazilians call this kind of pear [a] pera-portuguesa. [1]

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EP word of the week (#114): pano da loiça

Today, on EP Word of the Week, it’s time to get dirty! And by that, I mean “let’s find something dirty to clean”, because this week’s word is all about cleaning! (I’m sorry, I know these first paragraphs to introduce the topic are getting lamer by the second – you should always feel free to skip the first paragraph of this segment, the good stuff usually only starts afterwards)

So, let me introduce you to the European Portuguese word for washcloth[o] pano da loiça[a] loiça (sometimes louça) is a general term for “the dishes” (plates, glasses, cutlery, everything you need to prepare, cook, serve and eat food); it may also be used as a material, in which case it is almost always referring to porcelaine/china. Lavar a loiça is to wash the dishessecar a loiça to dry the dishes[a] máquina de lavar loiçadishwasher, and so on.

[o] Pano is the word for a cloth of any kind. For example, [o] pano do pó is a dustcloth. In Brazil, the preferred term for washcloth is [o] pano de prato[o] prato being the all-around Portuguese word for plate.

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EP word of the week (#113): folha de cálculo

Even if for some people August means fun and games, for others it’s yet another month you spend working while other people are having fun. Yes, it’s true that you may have already had your vacations, or that your time is still to come (and we should all acknowledge those thoroughout the world whose work conditions don’t allow them the right to rest in such a fashion), but the fact is that it is also a working month.

All of this to introduce today’s Word of the week, the reliable and hopefully helpful spreadsheet. In Portugal, they’re known as [a] folha de cálculo (calculation sheet), while in Brazil the preferred term is [a] planilha eletrônica or [a] planilha de cálculoEletrônica (eletrónica in EP) because this is a very much contemporary invention, only possible on such a large scale through the use of computers; even though the terms [a] folha/planilha de cálculo could potentially also refer to paper accounting worksheets, the fact that these have been superceded by the electronic variant means that in most contests, there’s not a lot of confusion regarding the nature of the term.

Folha de cálculo
Uma folha de cálculo em/no Excel. An Excel spreadsheet.

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EP word of the week (#112): papagaio de papel

In the Summer, people have different ways to amuse and entertain themselves; a popular option in windswept areas is to build or buy flying kites to watch them ondulate in the wind (: I personally never had one, but I like how they float in the wind and I understand their appeal!

In Portugal, there are known as [os] papagaios de papel (paper kites), or [os] papagaios for short. [o] papagaio is actually the Portuguese word for parrot everywhere, but it’s used in this second sense only in EP. Brazilian Portuguese uses the term [a] pipa. For us on this side of the ocean, [a] pipa is a large, usually cyllidrical container made out of wood and used to store wine (i.e. a cask).

Courtesy of
Um papagaio [de papel]. A kite. Courtesy of No Vazio da Onda.
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EP words of the week (#111): lotaria / Euromilhões

August is the month most Portuguese people choose to have their summer vacations ([as] férias de verão) on; this means that, for once, we also get to enjoy the good weather and general relaxation mode that tourists are allowed to get a taste of all year round, and we obviously try to make the most of it! :D

Today’s Words of the week is not necessarily connected to vacations, but it would certainly be a good way to get the necessary funds to make a great vacation happen! Тhese are the words for lottery, [a] lotaria (in Brazilian Portuguese, [a] loteria) and [o] Euromilhões, a specific transnational lottery in Western Europe (see Euromillions on Wikipedia to learn more about it); Portuguese people are quite keen on playing these kind of games, always in hopes of getting one of the big prizes while would finally allow most of us to enjoy the things money affords!

Portuguese national lottery ([a] lotaria nacional) tickets are commonly also works of art in their own right. As you can see below, some special events or national holidays make for commemorative lottery drawings and special tickets (here, in commemoration of [o] 25 de abril, with the carnations in full display).

Notice also the two currencies in the upper right corner. This ticket is from 2000, the period immediately before the introduction of the euro (€) as a common currency. While people couldn’t yet pay with euros at this point (the currency was introduced to the general public in 1st January 2002), the double label in this period served as a teaching opportunity to the public – helping them understand the conversion rates in real life before they had contact with the actual Euro coins and banknotes.

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