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Lesson Transcript

Braden: Hi, everyone! All about lesson 3 - Painless Portuguese Grammar!
Thássia: Oh no, not grammar.
Braden: I’m sure some of our listeners are having the same reaction right now. But we’re here to tell you, there’s nothing to worry about here.
Thássia: That’s right! We’ve made Portuguese grammar so simple that you wonder what the fuss was all about.
Braden: You’ll be surprised to learn that in comparison with English, Portuguese grammar is amazingly easy.
Thássia: Yeah. When I was learning English, I hated grammar.
Braden: Portuguese grammar is not the kind you need to spend hours and hours memorizing. In fact, you could master the basics in less than a week.
Thássia: Less than a week? Wow! We’ll see about that.
Braden: Just trust me. It’s nowhere near as hard as your college professor makes it seem.
Thássia: Well, basic word order is certainly similar to English. For example, Eu moro em São Paulo, which means…
Braden: “I live in São Paulo.” These two sentences have the same number of words, the same word order, and the same meaning.
Thássia: However, some of the more difficult aspects of Portuguese grammar like gender and subjunctive can’t be easily summed up. You need complicated grammar explanation to understand how it all works, right?
Braden: Wrong! Both gender and the subjunctive can be easily summed up in one word, agreement. Grammatical agreement means all the pieces and parts of a sentence need to agree with or match everything else. We’ll talk more about this later because we’re getting a little off topic.
Thássia: Right, sorry.
Braden: It’s okay. So, a quick grammar overview.
Thássia: Grammar has been said for at least 4000 years.
Braden: That means there are many, too many terms used by grammarians that no one else understands or uses like Paroxetine or present indicative.
Thássia: I understand these words.
Braden: And that’s because you’re a grammarian. Anyway, almost any 4-year-old can speak their native language fluently without knowing those words. Why should our listeners have to learn them?
Thássia: Good point.
Braden: Don’t get me wrong, grammar has its place! But in these all-about lessons, we’re going to avoid all but the most basic grammar words.
Thássia: He’s right. Introducing unfamiliar grammatical concepts in our space of language learning actually makes things much more difficult than they really need to be.
Braden: One basic grammatical concept is verbs.
Thássia: Verbs indicate action like run or sit.
Braden: Right. All languages have verbs, which makes learning verbs a logical place to start.
Thássia: But every language uses those verbs differently, which means that they need special attention.
Braden: That’s right. Portuguese verbs are sometimes called strong or heavy verbs because there are so much meaning in just one or two verbs. And you know what that means…
Thássia: Less vocabulary to learn.
Braden: Exactly. Portuguese verbs contain two central meaning, “time” (also called “tense”) and “person.”
Thássia: Time (or tense) is past, present, or future.
Braden: Person means who is talking, being talked to, or talked about.
Thássia: These meanings are expressed by altering the verb according to specific patterns called conjugations.
Braden: Yes. Conjugating verb is a way of making the verbs agree or match what you’re talking about.
Thássia: TIme is indicated by changing the verb to past, present, or future form. And person is indicated by adding on a specific ending.
Braden: English verbs change or conjugate too. The difference is that English verbs change according to different conjugation patterns.
Thássia: That’s right. For example, time can be expressed as “I was happy” (in the past), which is different from “I am happy” (in the present), which is different from “I will be happy” (in the future).
Braden: Exactly. Person can be expressed similarly. For example, “I am happy” is different from “He is happy” which is different from “We are happy.” Did you hear how the verbs change, even though everything is still in the present tense?
Thássia: Wow! We went through that pretty fast, but don’t be worried about the tense right now.
Braden: Just go for the big picture.
Thássia: Portuguese verbs are conjugated according to patterns that are different than English.
Braden: Portuguese verbs also have more meaning in them than English verbs do.
Thássia: For example, the correct response to - Você está indo para a loja?
Braden: Which means “Are you going to the store?”
Thássia: Is Vou, which simply means “go.”
Braden: The word “go” in English doesn’t have enough embedded meaning to be a proper response, but in Portuguese, it does. Vou is the verb ir, which means “to go” changed or conjugated to the correct time and then to the correct person, “I.”
Thássia: That’s right.
Braden: The word Vou has the added meaning of “I go.”
Thássia: Exactly.
Braden: Vou literally means “go,” but because of the added meaning, Vou means “I go.”
Thássia: Yes. And because of the context, there’s also the inferred meaning of “to the store.”
Braden: So, in Portuguese, this one word, Vou, can have the same meaning as “I go to the store” or “I am going to the store,” which is an entire sentence in English.
Thássia: Don’t worry, we’ll teach you how to interpret these verbs and their additional meaning as the course goes along. But now, we need to talk a bit about grammatical gender.
Braden: Right. Agreement in Portuguese is also expressed using gender.
Thássia: Gender in Portuguese denotes particular type of agreement among words, not people.
Braden: Exactly. Mulher, which means “woman” is a feminine word, but so is mesa which means “table” and terra which means “earth.”
Thássia: Likewise, homen which means “man” is a masculine word, but so is sapato which means “shoe” and livro which means “book.”
Braden: This probably sounds strange, but it is very easy to pick up and kind of fun to play with once you get it down.
Thássia: English does it too, just not as much.
Braden: That’s right. For example, we don't say in English, "He is a stewardess," because "stewardess" denotes femininity and "he" indicates masculinity.
Thássia: Using the correct grammatical gender is very important in Portuguese.
Braden: Tables, chairs, cars, trees, socks, and food all have gender in Portuguese.
Thássia: Once again, don’t get caught up in the details. Just go for the general concept.
Braden: That’s right. We’ll go over this in more detail in future lessons.
Thássia: The last thing we should talk about is plurality.
Braden: Once again, this is a form of agreement among words.
Thássia: Right. We already learned that verbs need to be altered or conjugated to the correct person.
Braden: Which English does too.
Thássia: Yes. Portuguese extends plurality from the verbs to all the articles, demonstratives, pronouns…
Braden: Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait! Way too many grammar words! Let’s just say that plurality in Portuguese is more comprehensive than in English.
Thássia: Okay. I guess that’s enough for today. After this, there should be no major surprises.
Braden: Keep up with the all-about series for more lessons that will teach you Portuguese the easy and fun way. Don’t forget that you can leave us a comment on this lesson.
Thássia: So, if you have a question or some feedback, please, leave us a comment.
Braden: It’s very easy to do. Just stop by PortuguesePod101.com.
Thássia: Click on comments.
Braden: Enter your comment and name and…
Thássia: That’s it.
Braden: No excuses. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
Thássia: Tchau tchau!
Braden: See you next time.