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Aug 29

Brazilian Portuguese Basics

So, the only word you know in Portuguese is "capoeira'?

Don't worry - this basic lesson will teach you how to say yes, no, please, thank you, and other basics of Brazilian Portuguese.


MÚSICA

O sim sim sim O não não não

Hoje tem amanha não, hoje tem amanha não

O sim sim sim O não não não

Hoje tem amanha não, olha a pisada de Lampião

Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no

Today you have it, tomorrow you don’t

Oh yes yes, oh no no no

Today you have it, tomorrow you don’t. Look at the footprints of Lampião

Explanation: This common capoeira song expresses a simple but profound truth about the variation and unpredictability of life: Today you have it, tomorrow you don’t. Many capoeiristas of the past and present have lived in a reality where work – and therefore, financial resources – were far from stable. Maybe they have a job today, but who knows about tomorrow?

Virgulino Ferreira da Silva (better known as Lampião) was an outlaw and Brazilian folk hero in the early twentieth century - like the Robin Hood of the northeast of Brazil. He and his band of followers were pursued by the police, and it is said that in order to throw them off the trail, he used to wear his shoes turned around with the toes pointing backwards - thus leaving tracks going in the wrong direction. This is why the song mentions Lampião's footprints... the idea of "reversal" and trickiness is very common in capoeira!

Check out the reward poster for the capture of Lampião. It offers a large sum of money to any civilian or soldier who captures or delivers in any way (dead or alive) to the police the infamous bandit Virgolino Ferreira, a.k.a. Lampião.


VOCABULÁRIO (VOCABULARY)

Oi Hi
Tchau Bye
Sim Yes
Não No
Por favor Please
Obrigado / Obrigada Thank you
De nada You’re welcome
Desculpe Sorry
Licença Excuse me

Obrigado vs. obrigada

You say obrigado if you are a man, and obrigada if you are a woman.

It’s your gender that determines this... not the gender of the person you are talking to!

 

Desculpe vs. licença

You say desculpe if you’re apologizing for something.

You say licença if you’re “asking permission” - breaking into a conversation, or trying to get past people on a crowded bus, etc.


YOU AND ME

Finally, we'll learn one of the first building blocks you’ll need to begin speaking Portuguese: pronouns - words like I, you, he, she, we, and they.

Singular Singular Plural Plural
Eu I Nós We
Você You Vocês You all
Ele He Eles They (masculine/mixed)
Ela She Elas They (feminine)

Let's look at a few examples from capoeira songs:

  • Eu quero ver você jogar, paraná = I want to see you play, paraná.
  • Dona Maria do Camboatá, ela chega na venda e manda botar = Dona Maria do Camboatá, she arrives at the market and orders people around
  • Olha o nego sinhá, ele é mandingueiro = Look at the black guy, lady, he is tricky.
  • Que bom / estar com vocês / aqui nesta roda / com este conjunto = It's good / to be with you all / here in this roda / with this group

PRATICAR (PRACTICE)

Você sabe as palavras básicas de português Faça a prova!

Do you know the basic words of Portuguese? Take the quiz!

Brazilian Portuguese Basics Quiz

Question 1
What do you say when...

...você está saindo da academia depois do treino?

...you’re leaving the capoeira academy after training?

A
Oi
B
Desculpe
C
Tchau
D
De nada
Question 2
What do you say when...

...alguém lhe pergunta se você joga capoeira?

...someone asks you if you play capoeira?

A
Obrigado
B
Por favor
C
Oi
D
Sim
Question 3
What do you say when...

…você pisa no pé de alguém?

...you step on someone’s foot?

A
Por favor
B
Desculpe
C
De nada
D
Licença
Question 4
What do you say when...

…alguém lhe dá um presente?

...someone gives you a present?

A
Obrigado / Obrigada
B
Tchau
C
Não
D
De nada
Question 5
What do you say when...

…você vê um amigo na rua?

...you see a friend in the street?

A
Obrigado / Obrigada
B
Sim
C
Licença
D
Oi
Question 6
What do you say when...

…você quer pedir um favor?

...you want to ask a favor?

A
Licença
B
De nada
C
Sim
D
Por favor
Question 7
What do you say when...

…você está tentando passar pelo meio de um multidão?

...you’re trying to go through the middle of a crowd?

A
Licença
B
Desculpe
C
Obrigado / Obrigada
D
Tchau
There are 7 questions to complete.

 

3 comments

  1. taz

    pretty good tutorial, keep up the good work!

    1. shadowcat170

      Thanks! Axé!

  2. Rakshit

    i just started playing capoeira.
    i really want to learn brazilian portugese to understand the meanings of songs of capoeira.
    i find this very interesting

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