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Brunette is common in the US for referring to both brown- and black-haired people. The expression "She is brunette", while perhaps used by some, is quite rare in the US. A far more common expression in the US is "She is a brunette." However, "She is blonde" and "She is a blonde" are used interchangeably.
I have a question about the use of the word "moreno/a" to describe skin colour. I learned European Portuguese in Portugal, and my instructors said that to describe a dark-skinned person (people of mixed race, black people, etc.), one would use the word "moreno," not "negro." They said that one would use the word "negro" to describe the race of people of African descent overall (i.e., "os negros" or "as pessoas negras" would be equivalent to "black people" in English). From the exercise, it seems that the word "negro" is used in Brazilian Portuguese to designate race, while "moreno" is more often used to describe hair colour (i.e., being brunette). Can others comment on different uses of the word "moreno" versus the word "negro," please? Thank you!
I'm surprised you heard about "moreno" in Portugal, I thought it was much more a Brazilian word. In Portugal we normally use the word "mulato" for people of mixed race. "Moreno" might be used in the past for that purpose, but it's not anymore, nowadays it is used mostly to describe someone with dark hair or someone who is tanned.
It does SMadiS but most of Brazilian and European Portuguese is the same. You just need to sort out the different accents and then the different uses of some words is really interesting. It's exactly the same as coping with English English and American English and Spanish Spanish and South American Spanish. At first you feel baffled but after you crack it you'll be able to speak two languages for the price of one. Win win.
She is blonde. = sounds normal She is brunette. = does not sound normal She is a brunette. = sounds normal He is white. = normal He is a white. = not normal
American english is my native language. I can't explain why the "a" is needed for brunette, except that over time the language could have changes for speed. People talk about blondes more often so maybe the "a" was dropped and still sounds normal.
*‘The woman is brunette’ without ‘a’ is wrong, sorry.
Not all languages work like this, e.g. in my own native language it is perfectly okay to say e.g. *‘I'm engineer’ or *‘she's brunette’ rather than ‘I'm an engineer’ etc. but in English you just cannot do that.
I also did a web search to see if it was a common error, but there were few results for ‘is brunette’ and they were dominated by different constructions that mean different things and by ‘headline speak’.
So you really need the article here.
I looked up "brunette" in the Oxford online dictionary which has separate British and US sections. In British English "brunette" is a noun:
In US English "brunette" is an adjective:
If you take this at face value you would expect that in British English you should say "She is a brunette" and in US English you would say "She is brunette".
[Edit: Since I wrote this, the dictionary has been updated and both definitions appear in both sections of the dictionary!]
Google. In any case, a large fraction of English popular culture I consume is from the US and Canada so if your statement were generally true I would have known it by now. Quite apart from the aforementioned fact that ‘is brunette’ in the meaning we're discussing isn't well-attested. I guess it's possible that it's used in your (very) local dialect or something but we're translating to English and not to your obscure dialect.
My dialect is not "very local" and it is certainly not obscure. I come from a city, my mother grew up in many different cities, my father is from an altogether different area, and I go to school outside any of those areas. I have a excellent grasp on "Standard English" while recognizing that it is an ideal and that many VALID variations exist.
I am not a hillbilly living in the same isolated community where my family has been for centuries.
Your insinuation that my native-speaker intuition is less less valid because you haven't heard this construction (which is unlikely, anyway) is incredibly insulting. It is much more likely that, because you probably haven't spent the last decade collecting usage data on "brunette," you just haven't paid attention to the instances in which is has appeared. I recognize that "is a brunette" is more common, but "is brunette" is neither all that rare nor is it without precedent; according to Merriam-Webster, it has been in use as an adjective since 1709.
Sorry for stepping on your toes, I didn't mean to cause offence.
Normally I would defer to the intuition of a native speaker, but I also know from my own experience that one's native language can be heavily coloured by region, social class, habits you've picked up from people you've met and one's own idiosyncrasies.
If you try to look at this from my perspective, I have to make sense of the fact that a native English speaker is trying to tell me that ‘xqz’ is a normal English verb.
I'll be polite and say that you are right, it is, but I won't ever use it and we both know what I really think.
In English English both are correct. You do not the indefinite article here, although putting it in may offer further clarity if you want to put the person into a particular group. With the engineer example, you would absolutely need to put 'an' before engineer though... you are right. English is my native tongue: born in London, lived in UK, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. With or without, it really doesn't make any difference...
A mulher é morena. I translated it in English as "the woman is brunette". But duolingo says its wrong and I should have used lady instead of woman. Even though it was shown in the hint for 'mulher' word to be woman. Now how come is it wrong?? It hs confused me.... woman or is it lady??
You might use them interchangeably, but "lady" does have connotations of a woman who is considered to be well educated, has good manners etc. And in other languages, such as French (femme, dame), they use them differently. So for translation purposes, it's best to differentiate.
It sounds odd to me too, but my judgement is clouded by being British. It seems that you can say someone is tan in American English: "I can't believe how tan she is!" is an example taken from the definition of tan (adjective) in the Merriam-Webster (American) dictionary. The Macmillan dictionary says "tan" is an American synonym for "tanned".
Remember the American lyrics for "Garota de Ipanema/The Girl From Ipanema": "Tall and tan and young and lovely".
And the Oxford American Dictionary gives these examples: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/tan
‘They were walking home from school, the tan girl on the left and the darker one on the right.’
‘She turned and exhaled gratefully as the tan boy with the piercing eyes and spiky hair, stood with his arms crossed in a sarcastic manner behind her.’
‘She was a tan girl with sleek dark hair and almond shaped eyes.’