Archive for the Category: Portuguese

Obrigados / Obrigadas

According to someone who wrote to me today, the words obrigados/obrigadas are only used in Portuguese to mean ‘obligated’, and are not used to thank more than one person. However, according to João Rosa, who wrote the article Obrigado – how to express your gratitude in Portuguese, these words are used to mean ‘thank you’ […]

Also posted in Grammar, Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Zulu 14 Comments

Word skipping to Venus

I was asked today about the origins of the word worship. The person who asked was told by a highly-educated minister that “worship” is derived from an old English word, “word-skip”. Supposedly, “word-skip” means “word shaper” or “shaper of words”. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary: worship comes from the Old English worðscip, wurðscip (Anglian), […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Italian, Language, Latin, Proto-Indo-European, Spanish, Words and phrases 17 Comments

Le mal de pays

One of the things that came up at the French conversation group last night was homesickness. In French there are a number of ways to express this concept: – nostalgique = homesick (adj) – avoir le mal de pays = to be homesick (for a place/country) – s’ennuyer de (sa famille) = to be homesick […]

Also posted in English, French, Galician, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Lyrics Translate

The other day I came across a useful site called Lyrics Translate, where you can find, submit and request translations of songs. It currently contains translations between a wide range of languages, including English, German, Russian, Turkish, Spanish, Polish and so on, and the site itself can be viewed in a variety of languages. There […]

Also posted in Breton, English, French, Irish, Language, Manx, Music, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Translation, Turkish, Welsh 2 Comments


Leste adj. [lɛst(ə)] – nimble, agile, sprightly, light; risqué (joke); offhand (remark). This is a word I discovered last night while browsing a French dictionary. It is thought to come from an old Germanic word liste. A related adverb is lestement, which means nimbly, agilely, in a sprightly manner, lightly or offhandedly. It’s related to […]

Also posted in English, French, German, Language, Spanish, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Russian mountains

Yesterday evening I discovered that the French term for roller coaster is les montagnes russes or Russian mountains. This got me wondering what roller coasters have to do with Russian mountains, and I’ve found that from the 17th Century the Russian were constructing “Russian Mountains” – series of hills and slides of ice reinforced with […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language, Russian, Spanish, Words and phrases 21 Comments

Languages and jobs in Spain

According to an article I found the other day, a knowledge of languages is required for 27% of jobs in Spain, and the language most in demand is English. So if you speak English and Spanish and would like to work in Spain, there should be plenty of jobs you could apply for. The article, […]

Also posted in English, French, German, Italian, Language, Spanish, Welsh 1 Comment

Portuguese spelling reforms

Reforms to the spelling of Portuguese were officially adopted in Brazil yesterday and will be adopted by Portugal and Cape Verde and the other lusophone countries eventually, according to this report. The reforms have not been welcomed by all in Portugal as many of them are existing Brazilian spellings and thousands of people have signed […]

Also posted in Language, Writing 1 Comment


I came across an interesting report in the New York Times today in which they talk about the recent opening of The Museum of the Portuguese Language (Museu da Língua Portuguesa) in São Paulo, Brazil. The objective of the museum is to create a living representation of the Portuguese language, where visitors may be surprised […]

Also posted in Chinese, Language, Words and phrases 11 Comments

Word of the day – chapéu-de-cobra

chapéu-de-cobra, noun = toadstool, lit. “snake’s hat” A good way to remember words is to associate them with pictures. The Portuguese word for toadstool conjures up the image of a snake in a hat. If you imagine that the hat is the colour and shape of a toadstool, it will help you to remember the […]

Also posted in Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments
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