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Lesson Transcript

Paloma: Olá! Bem-vindos ao PortuguesePod101.com! I’m Paloma.
Gina: Gina here! This is Upper Beginner Season 2 Lesson 13 - Learning Your Portuguese Letters.
Paloma: In this lesson you’ll learn about using sempre and nunca for emphasis.
Gina: The conversation is between a child and her mother, and it takes place in the evening at home.
Paloma: The speakers are family, so they’ll be using informal Portuguese.
Gina: One thing that foreigners often find strange is how much Brazilian family members help each other.
Paloma: That’s true. For example, if a father calls up his oldest son and asks for help in buying a car, the son - together with the other siblings - will organize a way to gather the money to buy the vehicle for their father.
Gina: Brazilians usually do this because of a duty they feel they owe their parents. In general, Brazilian families are very closely knit. It’s interesting.
Paloma: Yeah, but don’t think that your Brazilian girlfriend or boyfriend will be buying vehicles for their parents on a weekly basis. This kind of thing is not nearly as common as it used to be, but the feeling of love and the desire to help all of your family members is still very strong in the hearts of all Brazilians.
Gina: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson. What’s the first phrase we’re going to look at, Paloma?
Paloma: That would be fazer de conta.
Gina: This phrase literally translates to "make of count" but it means "to pretend".
Paloma: For example, this is the phrase that parents and children use when kids are playing. You’ll often hear little boys say things like Vamos fazer de conta que eu sou o Super Homem.
Gina: "Let’s pretend that I’m Superman." This is an important expression not because you’ll hear it in business meetings, but because you should be able to understand it.
Paloma: Yes, adults also use this sentence often. For example, Vamos fazer de conta que nada aconteceu.
Gina: "Let’s pretend that nothing happened."
Paloma: Just remember that when anybody says fazer de conta, they’re talking about playing pretend.
Gina: Okay so, what’s next?
Paloma: Next we’ll take a look at the words conseguir and poder. These two words are very similar but there are some important distinctions that we would like to point out.
Gina: That’s right! Now, in general they can both be translated as "can" or "to be able to." However, these two words are used in different contexts and can change the feeling and even the meaning of your sentences depending on which one you use.
Paloma: Exactly. The easiest way to explain this is by comparing it to the English words "may" and "can." So, for example, a phrase using conseguir would be Eu não consigo fazer isso.
Gina: Which translates to "I can’t do that." Or "I am unable to do that."
Paloma: In comparison, the phrase Eu não posso fazer isso uses the verb poder.
Gina: And that translates to "I can’t do that." Or "I am not allowed to do that." Did you get the difference? Okay, now onto the grammar.
Paloma: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use sempre and nunca for emphasis. In Portuguese, one of the most common words used to emphasize something is sempre.
Gina: That’s right, in fact it’s used so often that Portuguese learners often misunderstand what the dictionary says and how to use it for emphasis.
Paloma: A good example sentence is Ele sempre viaja para o Brasil.
Gina: "He always travels to Brazil."
Paloma: Here, the word sempre is not used in its literal sense. Luckily, this is very similar to the English use.
Gina: The sentence means that he travels to Brazil a lot, not that he is constantly, always, or never-ending in his travels to Brazil. : Paloma: The word nunca, which means "never", can also be used in this same way. For example, Ela nunca lembra dos aniversários dos netos.
Gina: "She never remembers her grandchildren’s birthdays."
Paloma: Now, she almost certainly remembers the birthdays at some point, like when she’s at their birthday parties or when she’s reviewing her calendar.
Gina: But this sentence means she forgets the birthdays more than she remembers them.
Paloma: And don’t forget that since nunca is a negative word, the phrase takes on a negative feeling.
Gina: So the speaker is probably criticizing that woman.
Paloma: That’s right. So, the words sempre and nunca can be used for emphasis. But let’s translate a sentence like Ela não me ajuda nunca.
Gina: Well, literally it’d be "She doesn’t help me never." But that’s a double negative and in English we can’t do that.
Paloma: But you can in Portuguese! So in this case, the nunca would be translated as "ever" instead of "never."
Gina: Right. So, it’d be "She doesn’t ever help me."
Paloma: And our tip for this lesson is about the placement of the word nunca when used for emphasis in a double negative sentence. You almost always put it toward the end.
Gina: An example of this is in our dialogue, isn’t it?
Paloma: You got it! It was the sentence Eu não quero escrever nunca mais!
Gina: "I don’t want to write ever again!"


Gina: Ok, that’s all for this lesson. As always, remember to check the lesson notes to reinforce what you’ve learned here. Thanks for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time!
Paloma: Tchau! Até mais!