Monday, April 26, 2010


In Portuguese there is an "I" in team: "time," pronounced something like "TEE-mee." I'm sure it found its way into the Luso-lexicon by way of futebol fans who luso-fied the pronunciation and spelled it according to Portuguese orthography.

Of course, "I" doesn't really mean anything in Portuguese (to my limited knowledge anyway) except perhaps as the Roman numeral for one.

The Portuguese "time" is an import from English. There are a lot of English words peppering the language. Buffets are popular here, but they are called "self-services." There is a fast food chain here called Milk Shake (I have eaten there on a number of occasions and have yet to try their name sake beverage).

Que mais? What else?

Today someone mumbled to me in Portuguese and I understood almost verbatim what he said. That's a new one. Deciphering mumbling is quite the test. One of my best American friends is quite the mumbler, though he will deny it up and down. I have a hard time understanding his English.

Some friends asked me the word for someone without clothes. I discussed the nuances between "naked" and "nude," and then asked for the Portuguese equivalents. They made an even trade with "nu/a" and "pelado/a."

Everyone in the room broke into uproarious laughter when the word "pelado" was uttered. I asked them why that word was so funny, but no one could tell me.

I recounted the conversation to my wife, and she hypothesized that the humor in "pelado" is that it is often taught to children, and is therefore cute by association. Also, when kids play impromptu soccer matches without proper equipment, referees, etc., just for fun, it's called "pelado," which calls to mind some vivid images if one considers the subject too literally.

No comments:

Post a Comment