While I was picking up a sandwich for lunch, I had the idea to watch the copy of the original Ninja Turtles movie dubbed in Portuguese that we acquired the other day. That way, I'd be able to indulge in some infantile nostalgia while also improving my listening skills in Portuguese. And it was a blast. Some of the dialogue was over my head, but I was able to comprehend a surprising amount of it. We don't get television in the apartment--we detest Brazilian TV so much that we didn't even bother hooking up the antenna. The down side to that is that we only watch DVDs, and they are almost always in English. Television and movies are a great way to study a language, of course, and I have been depriving myself of this invaluable tool. No longer. I'm going to make it a daily habit to watch one movie in Portuguese a day.
Most of the people I see on a daily basis at the school where I teach are only interested in speaking English with me, and I don't blame them. So, I don't have many conversations in Portuguese, not as many as one would think since I am living in Brazil. My wife and I have always spoken English to each other, and it's difficult to break that habit. Someone recently told us that there have been studies on bilingual couples, and that they usually stick with one language when talking to each other, finding it very difficult to change. Our experience jibes with that. Still, this week I have forced myself to start conversations with my wife in Portuguese, and it's been very helpful. And funny.
I wish I had some specific little mix-ups to mention, but I haven't made any translatable mistakes lately.
There is an expression here, "Pagar um mico." To pay a monkey. When you make a mistake, you have to pay a monkey. When they taught me this expression, I said, "Já pagei muitos micos!" I have already paid many monkeys.
There are a lot of expressions involving my favorite animal here... the word for coveralls is macacão, meaning "big monkey." In English, "monkey suit" denotes a tuxedo, which in Portuguese is "smoking," likely borrowed from the English "smoking jacket." Back to monkeys, the word for "jack," i.e. the device one uses to lift a car to change a flat tire, is called "um macaco." A monkey. And, when one becomes an expert, one is then um macaco velho, an "old monkey."
I have hopes that I have only scratched the surface of monkey references in Brazilian Portuguese. I knew that I would love learning this language.