"Do your cats drink milk?"
Translation:As suas gatas bebem leite?
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As I am coming to understand it, this all depends on where you are geographically. Speakers in Portugal use "Você as the polite formal 2nd Person that nonetheless conjugates & declines as 3rd Person (think of talking to royalty here; "Would his majesty like his pillows plumped up?" which is kind of how it started), so that is to say hardly at all anymore; and "Tu" is the familiar "you" used with friends, family, colleagues, and most everyone these days (except those such as your landlord, the mayor, the doctor, the teacher, people you have not met before, perhaps especially if you are an older person in Portugal but it is becoming more and more "informal").
It seems to be, from the comments I have been reading on various threads here, that it is the opposite in most – but not all – parts of Brazil.
Also from what I can see is that Duolingo usually accepts either form for "you" but the declension of the rest of the sentence including the conjugation of the verb has to agree with whichever one you choose to go with.
So... "As suas gatas bebem leite? (this assumes "você/s" as the basis for the possessive pronoun but also could include s/he for his/her and even their and its as well as a senhora/o senhor, and a gente since it is a 3rd person conjugation) is then, "[Do] Your/his/her/their/its/our [female] cats drink milk?"
Feminine article (not used with English in this way, but normally "the"), feminine possessive pronoun (your/his/her/their/its/our) to match feminine noun (cats) 3rd Person Plural verb to match multiple cats (drink), then object (milk).
Or... "Os seus gatos bebem leite?" is the masculine version which also covers when there are cats of different genders or unknown genders.
Masculine article, masculine possessive pronoun to match masculine noun (cats) plural 3rd Person verb for more than one cat (drink), object (milk).
Or... "Os teus gatos bebem leite? for masculine, "As tuas gatas bebem leite?" for female cats in the Portugal familiar use. This only means "your" cats, not possibly "his" nor "her" (or their, its, our) cats as with "seus/suas" (which is why "você" or "ele/a" are often also used in the other types of sentences above, rather than just dropping the pronouns with inflection of a sentence, to give context – but I cannot think of how to include them in these examples [I am tired so brain is not working well] though presumedly "your" would be obvious to the speaker and listener of the sentence, however it comes with contracting words together de+ele/a to get dele/dela for "of his" and "of hers" (os gatos dele/a, as gatas dele/a,) and deles/delas for "of theirs" as well as seus/suas. Dele, dela, deles, delas always come after the noun (and always have an article).
The verb in the Portugal familiar versions here stays the same as it is attached to the subject noun which is plural.
The singulars are, A sua gata bebe leite (Female cat = 3rd Person Possessive Pronoun, 3rd Person Noun, 3rd Person Verb), O seu gato bebe leite (Male or unknown cat = 3rd Person Possessive Pronoun, 3rd Person Noun, 3rd Person Verb), A tua gata bebe leite (Female Cat = 2rd Person Possessive Pronoun, 3rd Person Noun, 3rd Person Verb), O teu gato bebe leite (Male or unknown cat = 2rd Person Possessive Pronoun, 3rd Person Noun, 3rd Person Verb).
This is where I think English is easy-peasy. :)
Because it gets a little more difficult. The beginning of the above Portuguese sentences, have, "O" or "A" or "As" or "Os" (articles = the in English) which is apparently mostly optional in Brazil but important in Portugal.
If learning a language was easy, everyone would do it. :)
And yes, "seu/sua" (or seus/suas for plural) works for the English "its" but still has to follow the word gender and plural rules in conjugation/declension of the sentence.
I see no "vocês" in this sentence which accepts both, "Os seus gatos bebem leite?" and, "As suas gatas bebem leite?" and likely "Os teus/As tuas* as well (the plural here being the cats, not the possessive "your" which nonetheless follows sentence declension rules for Portuguese to match the noun in both plurality and gender) but when we do not know the gender of the animals the default is to the masculine.
As far as I can work out - once upon a time, seus would have been the third person: his/her/its, and teus the second person: your. But in modern Portuguese (for a loose meaning of "modern" - I think it goes back several centuries) the word "você", while it means "you", actually takes the third person rather than the second person; which means that if you use "você" to address someone (or even if you don't actually use the word but it's implied) you have to use third person versions of verbs and pronouns as well. So "seus" can mean "your" as well as "his"/"her"/"its"
I've made that sound quite complicated, but it actually probably makes Brazilian Portuguese (& I think European Portuguese, but I might be wrong there) easier to learn than it would be otherwise: because the use of "tu" and its associated verb endings and pronouns (including teus) is nowadays so rare that you can pretty much get away without learning those. A few older people still sometimes use the 'proper' second person (I recently stayed with my friend's family in Brazil, and her mother would occasionally use it) - so you need to know it exists, but you can basically get away without knowing much more than that.
(Interestingly, "tu" is like the word "tu" in French - ie. it's actually the informal "you". Apparently there was once also a formal Portuguese "you" - like "vous" in French - but that has now completely fallen out of use.)
Anyway as I said that's all as far as I can work it out - I'm not a native speaker myself so it's more than likely I've got some stuff wrong in there. If anyone knows any better, please correct me!
Okay, I will correct you. :)
"Tu" is the familiar form in Portugal too (as in Spanish and in France which makes sense since they are so close to each other and have many similarities in language).
Você is the formal in Portugal and is falling out of use in most cases (other than for a judge, teacher, doctor, etc., much like in the US currently), except by older people.
So "Tu" is not rare and it would not be a good idea to ignore/not learn it... even though it seems to be the opposite in Brazil (also since "tu" does still get used in several parts of Brazil, last I read over 27 million there alone still use tu).
From what I understand, other Portuguese speaking countries also follow the European rather than the Brazilian standard but perhaps even more formally than even Portugal does now.
Okay, having said all that about Galician, I guess I will slightly embarrass myself in saying I have since discovered that Italian also seems to want the article with most possessives...
Two things to note about the Italian personal possessive adjective;
1) They are proceeded by whatever definite article the noun possessed requires. (except when referring to family)
2) The must agree in gender and number with the noun they possess. See below;
- il mio motorino - (my scooter)
- la mia motocicletta - (my motorcycle)
- i miei motorini - (my scooters)
- le mie motociclette - (my motorcycles)
To make the above possessive adjectives into possessive pronouns, simply omit the noun, example;
- il mio - (my scooter)
- la mia - (my motorcycle)
- i miei - (my scooters)
- le mie - (my motorcycles)
Of course, you need the proper context in your conversation to use them as pronouns or your listener may lack any meaningful understanding of what you are saying.
So apparently it is a Latin thing after all that some languages have dropped.
Somehow I missed this answer of yours when you wrote it. My apologies.
But is that true about the possessive article? Not used in Italian, French, Spanish, Romanian (Latin too)?
Or do I have that backwards and you mean that Brazil is the unique one, not Portugal?
Portuguese is somewhere in between Spanish and French in trueness to Latin, while 59% of English words are derived from Latin (lot of intermarriages among the French, Portuguese, and the English... among other things).
Luckily, in Portuguese it is optional for possessive adjectives =)
Oh, ahahah... luckily for those who have already learned what "optional" is in Portuguese (which usually means in Brazil!). :D
I met two people today who lived in Brazil (and one who only visited there). French, American, and then a Portuguese.
It has been a good day. :)
Well, I think all languages have the ability to be romantic though granted it is more difficult for the Germans than for the Italians (they however have it easier what with Rome, and Romans, though of course not being Romanians). :D
There are however still 35 different Romance languages currently:
Let me preface the rest with the disclaimer that I am no linguist, just highly interested in the origins of words.
As regards romance languages and the definite article with possessives I think we have to remember that Portuguese was born out of the Galician language which was a mixture of Latin and Celtic... and of course Arabic had a huge influence on the Iberians and I believe even more for Portuguese (Lusophones) than even for Spanish. That is why so many of the words in Brazil are really Arabic such as the word for customs (as in an office, imposer of import tax), carob (perhaps not so popular there as in the mediterranean) and lettuce.
The Arabic language has a very popular definite article which has greatly influenced many languages in Iberia including Basque and Catalan. This is where the al comes from in alfarroba and alface, and many other words in the world such as alfalfa.
I know next to nothing about the Celtic languages, especially the extinct ones like the one that ultimately influenced Portuguese or how they might have any bearing on definite articles before possessives, but here is a link anyway:
According to legend, the Gaels came from many places and supposedly founded the kingdom of Galicia before moving on to Ireland where the Gaelic languages started:
However, the Galician language is still quite alive (though threatened over the years, especially by the dictator Franco), and it indeed has the possessive definite articles that its daughter language, Portuguese has (which makes me believe it has less to do with Romance than with another influence, though I also do not know what goes on in Romanian which I understood to be closest to Latin... for that matter, I do not know what goes in Latin either).
So here are some links regarding the Grandmother of Brazilian Portuguese:
My first housemate in Portugal was (is) very interested in Galician and keeping the language vibrant, so he talked often of it.
From what I have seen and heard it is very much Portuguese written in a Spanish way with a Spanish accent, and a few unique words.
3) Possessive pronouns
They differ from Spanish in two significant ways: they almost always carry a definite article (o, a, os, as) in front and they change form depending on the grammatical gender of the noun they belong to. “My mother” in Galician—a miña nai—literally translates to “the my mother.”
- O meu/a miña = my
- O teu/a túa = your
- O seu/a súa = their
- O noso/a nosa = our
- O voso/a vosa = y’all’s
- O seu/a súa = their
There was also a bit of a Germanic influence into Galicia/Galiza & Northern Portugal in the form of a migrating tribe which mostly adopted the local language:
Except for the names of their farms and their personal names which include, Henrique. :)
Sala also came from the Suebi:
Such a tangled web we weave with words. :)