July 19, 2012 | Portuguese
Trapped by a Storm? Learn a Language
A strategy to cope with torrential downpours, train rides, and other unavoidable events and situations.
Yesterday it hailed. Large balls of ice on a day when temperatures were well into the nineties.
At the time the ice started pounding the windows, I was teaching a grammar seminar at a client’s midtown location. For a time my grammatical points could not be heard above the sounds of the ice assault. I’ve never experienced anything like that.
At the end of the day when I was done teaching, it was still precipitating, but by then more conventional buckets, or maybe wheelbarrows, of water.
Unfortunately, I was wearing linen and was trapped by my desire to avoid soaking it.
Fortunately, I had a Portuguese grammar with me, which kept me entertained in the building lobby for a half hour or so until the wheelbarrows gave way to a simple steady downpour. In the olden days I would have been hopping up and down the whole time in impatience.
Today I studied on the Metro North train to Westchester, where I was scheduled to teach more grammar. Commuting is great for studying, too.
Seen from Metro North: Beer Ad in Spanish
Still Riding the Train North, Still Studying
Passing Through Harlem, Still Studying
Returning Home: Grand Central Is Always Busy
I like this: palavra is word, palavrão is swear word.
Ordinal numbers can be complicated in Portuguese. (Ordinal means first, second, third, and so on; cardinal numbers are one, two, three, etc. I constantly confuse those two words and have to look them up.)
In Portuguese, “ten” is dez, and “tenth” is décimo.
Nothing funky so far. But just keep going!
Although “eleven” is onze—also normal—“eleventh” is décimo primeiro. That looks like “tenth first.”
And although “twelve” is doze, “twelfth” is décimo segundo. Tenth second.
So it seems to me as though you have to do math: split the cardinal number, like “eleven,” into its component parts, ten and one, and then make them both ordinal: tenth first.
I read in one of my books that Portuguese doesn’t use ordinal numbers past “tenth” that much. Phew.
It is taking me some time to accept that the Portuguese word for “and,” which this whole time has sounded just like y in Spanish to me, is actually spelled e.