Say hello to your soul mates

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” Charlemagne.

pair-167267_1280Greetings, and how are your second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth souls doing today! Your Portuguese soul is uma alma and the Spanish one is una alma too; your French one is une âme; your Italian one is un’anima and they are all feminine; your Romanian soul is un suflet and it’s neuter.

Learning a second language, or a third, fourth and fifth (how far can you go?), is complicated, regardless of whether they are similar or vastly different. And whether you learn them simultaneously or one by one, you can be sure that your brain will muddle bits of one language with another. But the effort is rewarding, and for those who like to travel, being able to communicate even just a little bit with the locals in their “foreign” (to you) language just makes the travel experience so much more enjoyable. You will feel “at home” as opposed to foreign.

With some grasp of the Romance languages, you should be able to get by in much of south and south-western Europe, and in Romania and Moldova to the east; in South America and Central America; and in other parts of the world such as the former French and Portuguese colonies in Africa. And let’s not forget the French flavours of Canada.

There are other benefits too. Studies have found that learning a second language can keep your brain going as you age and helps ward off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. So whatever language you are learning, persevere. And if you are pondering learning one, get going!

To make learning and revision easier, over the next couple of months I am going to collate most of the key points covered in this blog so far and make it easier to find. Today, pages on the subject pronouns in Italian and Romanian have been added to the grammar sections, and the verb “to be” is now listed in all the five language verb pages. Use the drop-down menus on the main menu bar to get to them.



In Portuguese: dar a alma ao daibo – to sell the soul to the devil; dar vida e alma por – to do all one can (literally, to give life and soul for); do fundo da minha alma – from the bottom of my heart/soul (one would say heart in English); de alma e coração – with heart and soul (literally with soul and heart, but it sounds better in English the other way around); nenhuma alma – not a soul; alma gêmea – soul mate (literally, twin soul); pela minha alma! céus! nossa! – upon my soul!

spain-28530_640In Spanish: agradecer a alguien con toda el alma – to thank someone from the bottom of one’s heart; llevar en al alma de alguien – to love somebody deeply; parecer una alma en pena – to look like a ghost; ser el alma de la fiesta – to be the life and soul of the party; caerse el alma a los pies – to lose heart (literally, drop the soul to the feet; partir el alma a alguien – to break someone’s heart.

france-151928_640In French: vendre son âme au diable – to sell one’s soul to the devil; du fond de l’âme – from the (very) depths of one’s soul; chanter/jouer avec âme – to sing or play with soul; âme damnée – partner in crime; errer comme une âme en peine – to wander around like a lost soul or like a soul in torment; une âme soeur – a soul mate (literally, sister soul); ville sans âme – a soulless town; sans voir âme qui vive – without seeing a living soul.

flag-24134_640In Italian: l’anima della festa – the life and soul of the party; vendere l’anima al diavolo – to sell one’s soul to the devil; con tutta l’anima – with all one’s soul/heart; anima e corpo – literally, soul and body, but in English we’d say body and soul, wholeheartedly; rompere l’anima a qualcuno – to drive someone mad (literally, to break or smash the soul of someone); anima gemella -soul mate; pace all’anima sua – God rest his soul (literally, peace to his soul).

romania-28958_640In Romanian: suflet pereche – kindred spirit, soul mate (pereche means a couple or pair); a-şi trage sufletul – to pant, have a rest, take a breather; suflet amărât – poor soul, miserable soul; a-şi da sufletul – to give up the ghost, breathe one’s last; a-şi descărca sufletul – to get something off one’s chest; a-şi uşura sufletul plângând – to have a good cry (lighten the soul through crying).


3 thoughts on “Say hello to your soul mates

  1. Oooops… In Spanish, (el) alma is masculine, so that should read “un alma” in your third line.

    Then, in the (Spanish) expressions, it should be “agradecer a alguien con todo el alma” (not toda); “llevar en el alma a alguien” (I think… and it’s definitely “llevar”, not “llever”) and “parecer un alma en pena” .

    • Hi, thanks for this; both my dictionaries (Collins and Vox New College) list alma as feminine, and one of my grammar books says el is used as the definite article in front of feminine nouns that use a stressed a- in front, (in alma the first a is stressed). In the plural, though, las would be used with these words. Does that sound right to you?

      You are correct about llevar – it was a silly typing mistake on my part – the Portuguese equivalent word is levar. Those ll- words in Spanish look really weird to me!


      • Ah yes, I see where you’re coming from. Technically, what you’re saying must be correct, and it’s indeed feminine. I was purely going on the fact that all I ever hear/read is “el/un” alma. Interesting!

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