The German term for this method of connecting new words with similar-sounding known concepts is "Eselsbrücke," meaning "donkey bridge." It's a bridge for a donkey to walk over that connects to a word or phrase that reminds you of another word or phrase (see what I just did there?). It makes it SO much easier to learn new vocabulary.
Example 1: For "Mietwagen" (rental car) I imagine renting a cart (wagon) on which one loads dead (meat) bodies (Monty Python and the Holy Grail's "bring out your dead" reference).
Example 2: For "merken" (to notice) I imagine an American ('Merkin!), since we tend not to notice what's going on in the world. ;-)
It doesn't matter how weird or tenuous the connection, as long as it makes sense to YOU.
But they don't. And mostly this comes from Latin, as you're learning Portuguese you might have seen some similarities.
- Das Meer = Sea (see Latin Mare - neuter in Latin)
- Der Ozean = Ocean (Latin ōceanus - masculine in Latin)
- Die See = Sea
- Der See = Lake (Latin Lacus - masculine in Latin)
From my German games: Sea is always translated as Meer and Lake as See.
From my research I've run into the OPPOSITE of that. I've found it to be: lake >> der See, die Seen - whereas Sea >> die See, and no plural. "See" is used most often for a named sea > "die Nordsee / the North sea", or for terms referring to the sea in general like "at sea / auf See", or "seekrank / seasick".