The Portuguese say the funniest things…

When we were first arranging to come here, people would ask me what my greatest fear about it all was.

The answer was about my ability to learn Portuguese. I figured I could handle whatever else would be thrown at me. You just figure it out or ask someone or make your best guess and move on. But learning a new language is really the first time I’ve tried to force my brain to learn something completely new and major in decades. In business, you learn things bit by bit. It’s a slow process of accumulation. But when learning a new language, you’re being asked to memorize completely new stuff over and over again.

Even though the famous language struggles of the Chinese make me feel a little better about it all, thus far, I’ve discovered my fear wasn’t unfounded. I am often exposed to a new word in Portuguese and then ten seconds later am asked to repeat it. And it’s just not there. It’s like I never heard it. After three, four, or sometimes ten times, it starts to sink in. And that’s just one word!

Then they ask me to string a bunch of words together to form a sentence. There don’t seem to be many rules about what goes where and why. The Portuguese just put it in a certain order and you’re supposed to just remember it, not try to figure out why.

They also throw in these “o’s” and “a’s” from out of the blue. “This is my dog” translates to: “este é o meu cão.” Where the hell did that “o” come from? It’s just my cow –er dog! Este meu cao! That’s it! I don’t need no damn “o” providing some sort of exclamation! He’s a lousy dog anyway, he doesn’t deserve an “o.” Actually, we don’t have a dog right now. I miss having a dog, which translates to: “Sinto falta de um cão.” Where’s the “o” now homies?

On top of all that, every noun is either male or female, which is common in lots of languages. But why? Who the hell came up with that bright idea? And why is “ovo” (egg) a male noun? And “guerra” (war) a female noun? You can’t tell me violence isn’t a male-dominated activity. I’d commit some male-dominated activity on the numbskull that decided every noun needed a sex.

Like Spanish, if a word ends in an “o,” it’s probably a male word, and “a” for female. Probably. “Um mapa” (a map) and “um dia” (a day) are both male, just to mention a couple of exceptions.

Chinese 2Most of the time when I say things in Portuguese to Portuguese, I get a blank stare in return. Carolyn’s pronunciation is much better than mine. Hell, I don’t pronounce so well in English. Anyway, you try saying “carrrrrrrlllllo” (car), or “lhes,” (them), which is pronounced just like it’s spelled. It sounds like I’m having a seizure.

Anyway, I’m posting all of these Chinese signs to make me feel better.

The Portuguese can’t quite keep up with the Chinese in the Signs Hijinks category, but we’ve found some of the translations on ads and products to be pretty funny. Enjoy!


Yes, this is just Rude.
The Portuguese definitely love their fish. Apparently so much so that women want to smell just like it. Maybe the funniest thing about this ad is that “Pssst! E ja passou” literally translates to: “Psst! And already passed.” Not sure if the passed gas comes first, or the spray.
Mofos don’t stand a chance here with people carrying around these mofo stoppers.
IMG_3994 (1)
This is only a funny sign because we only have to pay 60 cents for a hot cup ‘o joe here. We’re laughing all the way to the piggy bank.
IMG_3853 (1)
One is a Bimbo, the other is brea––ow! Uh, sorry honey. Um, yeah, the other is my beautiful wife.
I translate this to: “Pediatrician-tested sob control.” In other words, the Portuguese have a spray that eliminates sobbing in kids! How can you beat that?
Drugs are decriminalized in Portugal. Apparently that was enough for a cereal company to market the hard stuff. Didn’t do much for me though. However, for some reason I have fifteen boxes of it in the cupboard and have it for every meal. But it’s not addictive, I swear.
What kind of fricking store is this anyway?
In our Portuguese lessons, we learned that “leal” means “loyal,” and “coelho” means “rabbit.” So this politician’s name is “Teresa Loyal Rabbit.” Of course, I’d rather have a loyal rabbit in charge than a Lyin’ Cheeto.
I don’t think Yamashita is all that proud of their products. Either that, or the graphic artist was a bit disgruntled.

That’s all she wrote for today because I have to, well, these pictures say it all, don’t they?

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