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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 22 - Starting a new business in Brazil. In this lesson you’ll learn about past irregular verbs.
Paloma: The conversation is between Carolina and Daniele, and it takes place in the morning on the way to work.
Gina: The speakers are friends, so they’ll be using informal Portuguese.
Paloma: One of the most difficult and interesting things to do in Brazil is running your own company.
Gina: Yes, owning your own business is very rewarding but also very difficult.
Paloma: One of the main reasons for this is that the Brazilian government has many taxes and regulations for business ownership.
Gina: So, running a business is a huge burden and very difficult to do, and not to mention, confusing.
Paloma: Indeed. For example, it’s very common for Brazilian businesses to pay more than 50% of their total income on taxes.
Gina: This is one of the reasons why many products seem to be about three times more expensive than they are in other countries. At first glance, it may seem that the business owners are very greedy and always trying to charge a lot of money for products that aren’t usually expensive.
Paloma: And there probably are people like that, but Brazilian business owners are just as honest as those in other parts of the world. The large mark-up in price is because of these taxes.
Gina: And we haven’t even started to talk about the paperwork for all the laws and how to pay for the different taxes. Brazilians often criticize the government for this and the government is aware of the problem.
Paloma: Over the past five years, the Brazilian government has taken deliberate and productive steps toward reducing the paperwork and taxes on both businesses and citizens.
Gina: Whether or not those steps were sufficient is something Brazilians are going to vote on in a few years, after the Olympics are over.
Gina: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Paloma: The first phrase we’ll look at is pra caramba.
Gina: This doesn’t really literally translate to anything in English.
Paloma: That’s right. The word caramba isn’t even a word that Brazilians can define very easily, or explain why you need to use the preposition pra before it.
Gina: This is a fixed phrase that quite simply means "a lot", "like crazy", "very much", or something along those lines. This is an excellent phrase and, when foreigners use it correctly, it almost always makes Brazilians smile because it’s very fun.
Paloma: In the dialogue, Daniele says dando trabalho pra caramba
Gina: Which we translated as "making us work like crazy".
Paloma: The next word is ué, which again doesn’t really have a translation. It’s a kind of interjection that you use in Brazilian Portuguese to show disbelief, or that you are unsure of what you just heard.
Gina: Right. It’s equivalent to the English "Wha?" but be aware that it doesn’t have the same feeling as the phrase "are you joking?" So, even though they both show disbelief, it’s not used in the same way.
Paloma: That’s right! It would be much closer to "really?" than "Are you joking?" Now the last phrase we want to look at is dar trabalho.
Gina: This is literally translated as "give work" but is understood as "make us work".
Paloma: However, sometimes this phrase is translated in many different ways. But the general idea is that whatever it is, it’s making you very busy.
Gina: Okay, now onto the grammar.
Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn about the past in the present tense.
Paloma: In lesson 21, we covered talking about the recent past or things that happened in the past but are still happening now.
Gina: That’s right. So, in that lesson we talked about using the present tense to talk about the past. In this lesson we're going to go into more detail.
Paloma: In the dialogue we heard the phrase Como tem passado esses dias?
Gina: We translated this as "How have you been?"
Paloma: Just like in lesson 21, this phrase establishes a context, and in that context is the past. And this is even more recent than the dialogue, because this context is esses dias instead of "four months ago".
Gina: So in this dialogue, all of the verbs, except for one, are conjugated to the present tense. However, this entire conversation is about the context which is the past few days, so it’s all in the past.
Paloma: Since it’s so recent, the most common verb conjugation is the present progressive which is estar plus verb in gerund form. For example, Daniele says, Eu tô trabalhando demais. which translates to "I am working a lot."
Gina: Now, if we were to understand this as only being in the present tense, then we would have to understand this phrase to mean “she is currently working too much”, or at that moment she is working too much.
Paloma: However, we know that this is not the case because it’s morning and they’re still on their way to work. She hasn’t even started working yet. So we can’t interpret the sentence to mean present tense, right now, she is currently working too much.
Gina: That’s right. It has to mean something other than right now because of the context of "the last few days". So, even though everything she says is in present tense, she’s actually talking about the past.
Paloma: And we can also assume that she will continue working in the future. I mean, that’s why she’s going to work, right? (laughs)
Gina: So that’s the tip and the point of this lesson. When you need to talk about the past tense or the near past, you can use the present tense phrases if you establish that the context is in the past first.


Gina: Ok, that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time!
Paloma: Até mais!
Gina: Bye!