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Lesson Transcript

Paloma: Olá! Eu sou a Paloma.
Gina: Gina here! This is Upper Beginner Season 2 Lesson 21 - What Have You Been Up To In Brazil? In this lesson you’ll learn how to talk about the recent past.
Paloma: The conversation is between Alex and Fernando, and it takes place at a music store.
Gina: The speakers are friends, so they’ll be using very casual Portuguese.
Paloma: Getting a job in Brazil can be quite difficult for foreigners. In many parts of the country there are lots of jobs nowadays, but most of them are for Brazilian citizens.
Gina: If you want to work in Brazil it’s usually much safer and easier to contact the company before going there. That way, your visa can be processed and, within a month of arriving, you can get a paycheck.
Paloma: However, if you just get on a plane and go to Brazil and try to find work, it’s going to be very difficult for you and even risky. Brazil has similar laws to most other countries about employing foreigners. For example, if you have a tourist visa and you get a job at a Brazilian company, the company could be fined and you might get deported.
Gina: So, it’s much better to have some kind of work visa, or a work release before you just walk in and start working.
Paloma: That said, many foreigners have lived in Brazil for a long time and have their own companies; not big companies, but they’re the owners of their own business.
Gina: That’s right! For example, Portuguese people who runs their own stores, or Americans who teach private English lessons. And, there are many Italian and Japanese immigrants who have purchased land and own farms.
Paloma: It’s not very common to find a non-native Brazilian working in customer service or business positions though.
Gina: Got it.
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: O que cê tem feito esses tempos?
Gina: "What’ve you been up to?"
Paloma: This is an example of casual speech. Often when Brazilians are speaking quickly or casually, they cut out words and make them smaller. So, the guy said cê instead of você.
Gina: So I guess a more accurate translation would be “Whatcha been up to?” The next word we have is slang and, as such, has kind of a fluid meaning. What is this word, Paloma?
Paloma: That would be bacana, which actually comes from the Genoese dialect.
Gina: It most closely resembles the English term "sweet" or “cool” to say that something is very interesting, great, or fun.
Paloma: In the dialogue we heard que bacana cara.
Gina: Which we translated as "that is so cool man."
Paloma: Actually, in Brazil there are so many ways to say “cool”, and it also changes depending on the place you are.
Gina: Oh bacana! (laughs) Let’s review other slang words for “cool” in Portuguese.
Paloma: I guess some of the most common are maneiro, da hora, massa, trilegal, ô loco, and oxente.
Gina: Great! Please let us know in the comments which one is your favorite, or which one you’ve heard already! Okay, now onto the grammar.
Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to talk about the near past.
Paloma: You already know that in Portuguese there are different types of past tense.
Gina: Probably one of most important things to understand about the past tenses, is that you can actually use any of them.
Paloma: That’s right! You need to know what each tense means in order to use them properly, but there aren’t particular situations where you have to use only the preterite tense, or only the imperfect tense.
Gina: In a typical conversation you use both tenses and several other verb conjugations, all while talking about the past, the present, and even the future.
Paloma: In the dialogue we had Tô trabalhando numa produtora de rádio.
Gina: "I’m working at a radio production agency." So, things start out in the present tense as they ask each other how they’re doing now. Then, they move to the near past.
Paloma: That’s right. They explain the context in the sentence "4 meses que a gente não se vê" which we translated as “four months since we’ve seen each other.”
Gina: The context is technically in the past, but they often use present tense because it’s still the recent past.
Paloma: In the next sentence Alex says Tô trabalhando numa produtora de rádio. Trabalho com a gravação de áudio deles.
Gina: Note that all of these verbs are in the present tense, even though he’s talking about the past tense. It makes sense as it’s what he was doing and what he continues to do now.
Paloma: Now, Fernando responds with the first real past tense conjugations, which are in the phrase Eu nem sabia que você entendia dessas coisas. Here, the verbs sabia and entendia are in the imperfect past tense.
Gina: Exactly. He talks about how in pretty much their entire past, he didn’t know Alex knew about such things. In his response, Alex doesn’t use the imperfect tense anymore.
Paloma: He uses a different past tense which is called the preterite past tense as in the sentence Mas eu comecei a mexer com isso e fiz algumas coisas que o dono da produtora gostou e ele me deu um emprego.
Gina: Which translates as “but I just started to mess around with it and did some things that the owner of the agency liked and he gave me a job.” In this sentence there are four verbs, and all of them are conjugated in the preterite tense, not the imperfect like Fernando had used.
Paloma: That’s right! Then the next response from Fernando is que bacana cara.
Gina: Technically there is no verb here but it’s inferred to be in the present tense.
Paloma: In Alex’s last line, O que você está fazendo agora? which we translated as "what are you doing now?", they’re talking about the past tense as it’s about where he is working, not what he is physically doing at the present moment.
Gina: And notice that the verb is conjugated again to the present tense. So those are the rules for preterite tense, imperfect tense, and present tense. All of these things are very fluid in natural language.
Paloma: We do the same things in English but, we’re not studying English right now! Isn’t it kind of us to give English examples? (laughs)!


Gina: Well, that’s all for this lesson. Remember to check the lesson notes, and we’ll see you next time.
Paloma: Até mais!
Gina: Bye!