By Joe Naab
May 29, 2012
I will share with you in this article the best tip I know that will literally add more than 1,000 words to your Brazilian Portuguese vocabulary by the time you finish reading.
Required Student Level
Even a beginner can benefit from this tip, especially if they refer back to it or simply keep it in mind as their skills improve over time. The most impact from this tip will come to those who know how to conjugate verbs. The most basic conjugations are learned at the basic level, with a few intermediate conjugations added later.
Whats Great about this Tip
Whats great about this tip is that theres nothing at all to memorize. You can use this on the fly as you are thinking what you want to say in English and can instantly translate it into Portuguese. Ive been doing this for years and rarely do I get it wrong. Its simply awesome!
The Fundamental Thing to Know
Here it is-nearly all English words that end in "tion" (eg. translation), will be the same word in Brazilian Portuguese, except that the "tion" will be replaced with "ção" (eg. translação). The "c" with the little fishhook beneath it is called "c cedula", and has the sound of an "s". the "ão" in Portuguese, for those who are already speaking it, has the dreaded nasal sound, as if you are pushing the word "own" both up into the top of your nose and deep back into your throat at the same time as you say it.
This is the Tip of the Iceberg
This is already a decent tip if all you got was an immediate one-to-one translation for words ending in "tion". I have no idea how many words in English end in "tion", it must be in the hundreds, easily. Some examples off the top of my head, - agitation, frustration, dictation, contemplation, observation, rumination, organization, temptation, immigration, experimentation. Whats great, as I wrote above, is that you dont have to find all these words in a premeditated manner and then memorize them all. The process will arrive in your head instantly at the moment you need it.
The Awesome Multiplication Factor of the Tip - Its in the Verb!
Take special note that all English words that end in "tion" are actually verbs at their root. Translation is to translate, organization is to organize. Note also that not all English verbs have this form of the verb. There is no "talkation" for the verb, to talk. Thus, there is some limit to its application.
The technique that produces the multiplication factor is to reverse engineer this form of the word, ending in "ção", into the dozen or more verb forms of the word. In doing this you literally add thousands of words to your Brazilian Portuguese vocabulary without any need for memorization.
NOTE: I am noticing now that almost, if not all these words, are Portuguese verbs that end in "ar". This will make its application even simpler.
An Example of the Full Set using the Verb, to Experiment
We begin with the word "experimentation" and then work it through.
- experimentation --> experimentação
- to experiment (infinitive) --> experimentar
- experimenting (gerund) --> experimentando
- experimented (past participle) --> experimentado
- I experiment --> Eu experimento
- You experiment --> Você experimenta
- He/she experiments --> Ele/Ela experimenta
- We experiment --> Nos experimentamos
- You guys experiment --> Vocês experimentam
- They experiment --> Eles experimentam
- I used to experiment --> Eu experimentava
- You used to experiment --> Você experimentava
- He/she used to experiment --> Ele/Ela experimentava
- We used to experiment --> Nos experimentávamos
- You guys used to experiment --> Vocês experimentavam
- They used to experiment --> Eles experimentavam
- I experimented --> Eu experimentei
- You experimented --> Você experimentou
- He/she experimented --> Ele/Ela experimentou
- We experimented --> Nos experimentámos
- You guys experimented --> Vocês experimentaram
- They experimented --> Eles experimentaram
- I will experiment --> Eu experimentarei
- You will experiment --> Você experimentará
- He/she will experiment --> Ele/Ela experimentará
- We will experiment --> Nos experimentaremos
- You guys will experiment --> Vocês experimentarão
- They will experiment --> Eles experimentarão
This lists adds the three general uses of the verb (infinitive, gerund and past participle), plus verb conjugations for the four most common verb conjugations that youll use every day, - present, past continuous, past single occurrence and future indicative. Note that there are at least three other conjugations that are more advanced that can also be derived as above. I left them out for simplicitys sake.
So there you have it, literally thousands of new Brazilian Portuguese words that you dont have to memorize added to your vocabulary in the time that it took you to read this short article. Enjoy!
Joe Naab is the author of Brazil for Life!, a how-to living guide for those who want to start a new life or have a second home in Brazil. He is presently working on a near-coastal, countryside real estate subdivision project outside the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. He can be found at http://brazilforlife.com and reached by email at email@example.com. His Youtube channel is called BrazilforLifeTV.
Previous articles by Joe:
Brazil Real Estate and Home Building
How to Work and Support Yourself in Brazil