Category Archives: language

Did you know…

…that the Portuguese term for ear plugs is “tampons for the ears”? I’m still laughing over that one. But it makes sense!

Posted in language, Portugal | 6 Comments

Throwing flowers

Today I learned a new phrase from a Spanish friend: echar flores a alguien, translating as “to throw flowers at someone.” It means to say something nice about someone, or pay a compliment. I love this, especially since it’s so … Continue reading

Posted in language | 5 Comments

New word for me: argle-bargle

I didn’t bother reading Scalia’s dissenting opinion in yesterday’s DOMA decision, but after hearing about his creative word usage, I had to go back and check it out. This marks the first time I have ever searched a PDF for … Continue reading

Posted in language | 8 Comments

An irregular verb “aha” moment

This is so cool. After having to tell my stepson that I have no idea why “to go” is such a bizarre irregular verb in English, I now have an answer. Turns out that go was a synonym of wend, … Continue reading

Posted in language | 8 Comments

The spread of gurkor, pepinos and cucumbers

An etymology geek’s idea of fun: tracking the twists and shifts of a word throughout its “native” ranges. Portugal remains united in its embrace of pepino, but Spain seems to have a split personality. That Galicia would be French-influenced is … Continue reading

Posted in language | 5 Comments

Portuguese idiom of the day

Just learned this one, and am going to be waiting for a chance to use it: É cor de burro quando foge. “It’s the color of a burro on the run.” (Literally, “when it flees.”) In other words, a color … Continue reading

Posted in language, Portugal | 2 Comments

An esteemed animal

After living here for six years, I have finally learned the Portuguese term for “pet.” This is probably because I’ve never heard anyone talk about pets before. Cats, dogs, birds, yes, but not the general term “pet.” So I was … Continue reading

Posted in language, Portugal | 13 Comments

Chicken mother and owl father

I did say I wouldn’t turn this into a cat blog, but…here’s an update, which has led me to learn a couple of new Portuguese phrases. Rumple the Kitten came to us with an eye/respiratory illness, which we are currently … Continue reading

Posted in language, life | 20 Comments

Garota de Ipanema

Last week I wrote about the differences between the original Portuguese and English versions of “Águas do Março,” and mentioned my earlier discovery that “The Girl From Ipanema” was (gasp!) not actually an English song. But I didn’t get into … Continue reading

Posted in culture, language, video | 24 Comments

Águas de Março

Being American, I thought for most of my life that “The Girl from Ipanema” was an English song. It wasn’t until I was an adult exploring what we like to call “world music” — i.e., anything not sung in English … Continue reading

Posted in culture, language, video | 3 Comments