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folha/planilha de cálculo could potentially also refer to paper accounting worksheets, the fact that these have been superceded by the electronic variant means that in most contests, there’s not a lot of confusion regarding the nature of the term.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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EP word of the week (#110): de cor

To finish this month’s overarching theme of words related to medicine in general and bodily organs in specific, I decided to bring you something different, probably what one could think is outside of the box; today’s Word of the Week is an expression associated with the body, but the true meaning of it all only opens itself up with a lesson on the history of the language, going all the way to Latin!

The expression I’m talking about is an adverb, de cor. It’s generally used with verbs implying knowledge, mainly saber and conhecer, to stress that you know or are familiar with something on a complete, intimate level, especially when you’ve committed it to memory. In English, you’d say you know something by heart, and this is where the mysteries of languages unfold themselves beautifully: what if I told you that cor was the Latin word for heart, which then evolved into the current, modern form [o] coração (both in EP and BP) for the organ and the shape? I hadn’t realized this connection up until a few years ago, but when I finally realized this it filled me with such serendipitous joy, like when you discover a secret or break apart an equation; everything fits, and it’s a gorgeous sight to behold.

Today, instead of a picture, I bring you a song whose chorus focuses in this adverb, Mafalda Veiga’s “Sei de cor cada lugar teu” (I know by heart every place of yours). Enjoy!


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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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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 apaixonada por Portugal. Ela não só nos ensina a língua mas também fala muito sobre cultura, história e tradições de Portugal.

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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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