How to embarrass yourself terminally in Portugal
I'm still reeling...!
Oh boy :) To be fair, most Spanish people would make the same mistake (pila vs. pilha), and elsewhere we're famous for our ceramic cocks:
Also, phonetical phallacy may be one of the best puns ever - having a good sense of humor is always important when faced with embarrassing situations :)
Yes, that was the issue, plus, I think we had a problem with the final vowel... i.e. pronouncing the "a" like the one in hurraaaah! rather than like the "e" in "left".
On the whole, though, it was a very successful week in language learning terms - everyone was very patients very patient with us, explaining vocab and slowing it down a bit, so most of the conversations we had in restaurants and shops etc, were in Portuguese. Even the guy in the supermarket, after getting the excruciating.. erm... part out of the way, chatted to us about politics, taxes and and the spelling reform - all very interesting :)
Roast cock, LOL!
The actual final "a" has a very falling tone - at least over here, it wouldn't sound like the open "e" in left (which takes the accent when it's the last syllable - pé, é, bidé); if anything, it sounds like the final "-er" in Standard German, almost like an afterthought after "lh".
It's good to know you had a good experience otherwise: Portuguese people always have an opinion on stuff, so I'm not surprised you struck up a conversation about politics and taxes :)
Hopefully people would translate "frango assado" as "roast chicken", but I've seen terrible stuff on menus so I wouldn't be surprised if you saw that somewhere
Thanks for the clarification, much appreciated :)
The (supposedly) English versions of restaurant menus here in Spain and Portugal are my favourite reading material ever. Although it's pretty tame stuff compared to what I've seen in China...
Bastardized English is quite special - sometimes these businesses lack the tact to simply vet Google Translate and understand that "fígado" (liver) doesn't translate as "unscheduled": http://www.buzzfeed.com/clarissapassos/traducoes-fabulosas-de-cardapios#.vkzzmpZXO
Fabulous! Now I want to join the Against-The-Filet-Campaign! Where do I sign up??
Well, this just highlights an old thread of mine related to words that Duolingo seems to go out of its way to avoid. Even newer courses are guilty of this.
But anyway, the Portuguese are not conservative when it comes to using let's say "special" words. So you shouldn't feel too embarrassed about it. There's even a song by a little child about a "bacalhau" wanting "salt". Although the song is totally innocent, anyone who knows Portuguese will realize that the boy sounds as if he's saying something else:
> "O bacalhau
quer alho ".
LOL! I can see why DL wouldn't want to broach this, its job is to teach the basics, the more colourful aspects of language are out of its remit, I guess.
However, this material isn't usually included in advanced language courses either, and I think that is a mistake. I make an effort to teach my Spanish friends stuff like double meanings and a bit of slang, when the opportunity arises. It's not about teaching people to swear (nothing makes you look more ridiculous than using "bad" language incompetently), but it is essential for understanding nuances and humour.
And it's also very much about cultural context. The Spanish (unlike the Portuguese) use a lot of swear words in everyday language, including coño, which is the infamous c-word, and I do point out that it's not an innocuous term in English and can cause great offence.
Hmm, as far as words that refer to private parts or the buttocks. I don't particularly find anything wrong with teaching them, although chances are that people will simply use them to joke/argue/complain in discussions. So perhaps a better alternative would be optional e-books containing stories or concepts that bear these words (with a very explicit notice informing users of the language), instead of having them outright in the lessons.
The same could apply to other words that are inappropriate for a language course.
I think there's a real gap in the market here ... who's gonna be first to launch Doublentendingo??? ;-)
Doesn't the urban dictionary already cover that market?
In any event some words are just better left to be learnt in the wild, you wouldn't have that funny story to blog about if someone had told you before-hand, and this discussion would have probably not happened.
Oh, I don't think that any teaching resource, no matter how comprehensive in these delicate matters, would ever prevent us from unwittingly making fools of ourselves out there "in the wild"...
Anyway, I've already made a start a faux pas prevention:
I have to disagree on the whole "innocent" front - Pimba music (of which this song is a very well-known example) is rife with sexual puns and innuendo (even when the music is performed by a little kid); that's why it's considered so trashy and terrible.
A different Pimba song has a man saying we'll put a car in and out of his lady neighbor's "garage" any time he wants, followed by "que garagem apertadinha, que doçura de mulher" (such a tight little garage, such a sweet woman). Anyone over the age of 14 can understand the not-so-subtle subtleties in display there even after the song is translated.
Well, I guess that adults are using the child to shamelessly make money and promote nonsense. But really, if there are a whole batch of these kinds of songs sung by children, then the parents are taking advantage or simply irresponsible.
The fact that these songs are promoted and sold (even when children sing them), means that overall the public is unconcerned, and it has become part of the culture, and is now acceptable behaviour.
Well, if I told you that the kid was ripped off by his parents and when he was old enough to spend it, there was nothing left? They spent 250.000 € (roughly the same in USD) worth over 10 years, so we was certainly raised by terrible people (he's now an adult Pimba singer, which is just as sad).
No, the general public enjoys it very much, they think it's trashy fun precisely because of the content - they're very popular among less-educated people - and make loads of money, especially in the summer when most immigrants return home for the holidays and every little village comes to life after being mostly deserted during the winter.
It's especially gross when men sing it (and they dominate the genre) - the lyrics are so blatantly sexist and misogynistic, and they love taking scantily clad female dancers to their shows and TV appearances just to add to the ick factor. We've had big changes in the country in the last few years, including legalization of abortion and gay marriage, but other "traditions" are still taking their time to die out.
P.S.: The only Pimba artist I can say I like is Rosinha: her songs are just as innuendo-filled, but she really owns the trashy fun part - probably because her songs are not focused on objectifying men, but rather on just making trashy puns about life (e.g. "Eu tenho um andar novo" - "andar novo" means both "new apartment" and "new gait").
When I was in Korea I had a co-teacher that would crack up over the English word "peanuts". He asked me why we named them that because it was the funniest word to him.
"Isn't it really popular, as a food in your country??" He would ask. And I would say "Yes, we love to eat peanuts" and he would crack up all over again. :D