So far we've only seen affirmative sentences, used to express the knowledge of something, like "Today it is raining". Also very important is to ask questions, and if you are following these lessons because you intend to visit a portuguese-speaking country on holiday, it is extremely important to be able to ask the basic questions, like "Where is the bathroom?", or "What time is it?".
|The bear is brown.||O urso é castanho.|
|Is the bear brown?||O urso é castanho?|
|The woman eats the apple.||A mulher come a maçã.|
|Does the woman eat the apple?||A mulher come a maçã?|
I think you should really enjoy this feature. It's one of the few things
where Portuguese is simpler than English...
Like I've said before, word order is much more flexible in Portuguese than in English. That means that one can express finer shades of meaning by changing the order of words in a sentence. On the other hand, people that are learning the language might have some trouble interpreting some sentences. This is just a warning, because eventhough the sentences above are grammatically correct, they are the only alternative. So don't be surprised if you encounter strange looking sentences. (In examples like these, even in English could the sentence be reshaped)
|What||O que, O quê|
Usually, De onde (from where) is contracted to Donde, and A onde (to where) is contracted to Aonde. There is also the form Adonde equivalent to Onde, very common in the spoken language, but rare in written form. Unlike yes/no questions, in these the subject-verb order is usually reversed. This is not very apparent in Portuguese, because one rarely includes the subject in a sentence. Here are some examples:
Onde estás? - Where are you? (singular and informal)
Quem sois vós? - Who are you? (plural and informal)
Quem são vocês? - Who are you? (plural and formal)
O que é isto? - What is this?
Don't forget what was said on the first lesson about forms of treatment. For Brasilians and many Portuguese, vocês is the only treatment used in the plural, being vós very rare and considered archaic.
This is just a small list to give us something to start with. If you think
there is some other thing that should be included, please tell me so.
In some words there is an (o) (masculine) or (a) (feminine), indicating the gender of the word. All the others follow the rules seen in a previous lesson.
nadar - to swim
chegar - to arrive (also "to reach" or "to be enough")
voar - to fly
peixe - fish
e - and
ou - or
mas - but
O pequeno animal corre na montanha? - Does the small animal run in the mountain?
Sim, ele corre na montanha. - Yes, it (he) runs in the mountain.
O pássaro azul nada no lago? - Does the blue bird swim in the lake?
Não, ele voa. - No, it (he) flies.
Onde nadam os peixes? - Where do the fish swim?
Os peixes nadam no mar. - The fish swim in the sea.
Quem canta no teatro? - Who sings in the theatre?
Donde vêm eles? - Where do they come from?
Quando chegais à cidade? - When do you arrive in (to) the city?
Very often, especially in the spoken language, portuguese speakers add a few words to a question to give it more strengh. One would rarely hear a sentence like "Quando chegais à cidade?". One usually adds "é que" ("is it that") after the interrogative particle. So, the sentence above would be: "Quando é que chegais à cidade?", which roughly means "When is it that you arrive in the city?". These somewhat redundant words are common in most questions, but aren't usually translated literally to English.
Quem são eles?
Onde é que nadam os peixes?
Eles nadam nos lagos, nos rios, e no mar.
O urso come peixes?
Where is she from?
Does the big cat fly in the mountains?
No, but it (he) runs in the streets
When does the train arrive?
Please send me your comments, sugestions, or whatever! If there's anything you would like to see included in these Short Portuguese lessons, please tell me so!
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Last updated: 97/04/04
Dario Oliveira Teixeira