Dreams and nightmares on and off the football field

This school of piranhas could well be a pesadelo. Picture:  Pixabay

This school of piranhas could well be “um pesadelo”.  Picture: Pixabay

One Portuguese word that visiting journalists learnt in Brazil was pesadelo, although Brazilians would much rather they hadn’t. When Germany thumped the World Cup hosts 7-1 in the semifinal, it was “um pesadelo“, and then when Brazil’s great footballing rivals Argentina had the cheek to qualify for the final on Brazil’s prized home turf, it was, as Brazilian newspapers claimed, a case of “o pesadelo continua” – the nightmare continues. But Germany won the final so the latter pesadelo was averted.

I must confess I wasn’t greatly familiar with this word, I guess because I rarely have bad dreams. Bernardo’s biggest nightmare is having to get out of bed in the morning. So, let’s have a look at the bedtime possibilities in my five Romance languages.

 Better dreams tabPoints of note

  1. Italian, Spanish and Portuguese are very closely related except for Italian’s “incubo
  2. The French and Romanian “nightmares” are very similar.
  3. The “mar” element, and “mare” in English, are derived from the Middle Dutch mare (“phantom, spirit, nightmare”), from Proto-Germanic marǭ (“nightmare, incubus”), from Proto-Indo-European mor– (“malicious female spirit”), according to Wiktionary.
  4. Romanian appears to be doing the “vision” thing when it comes to dreams.

justice-297629_640Going back to the Portuguese word pesadelo…

  • It’s related to the word pesar, which as a masculine noun means sorrow, regret or grief; and as a verb means to weigh, scrutinise, consider, grieve or cause sorrow.
  • The adjectives pesado/pesada (masc/fem) mean heavy, weighty, hard, onerous, laborious, difficult and so on. In Brazilian slang they can also mean unlucky. Pesado as a noun in Brazilian slang means hard work.
  • Pesadamente is the adverb heavily, and pesadume (masc) is heaviness, weight, bitterness, sorrow, ill will, grudge.

Other common expressions

  • chuva pesada = heavy rain
  • indústria pesada = heavy industry
  • uma multa pesada = a heavy fine

It’s Bernardo’s bedtime, time to say good night and sweet dreams…

bed-307817_640P: boa noite e bons sonhos
S: buenas noches y dulces sueños
F: bonne nuit et de beaux rêves
I: buona notte e sogni d’oro
R: noapte buna si vise plăcute






Brazil 2014: The festa’s almost finished. Que pena!

World cup ballsBrazil’s participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup has reached its amazing anti-climax – one goal scored and 10 conceded in its last two games. But once Brazilians get over the humiliation their team ultimately suffered on the football field, they should take some pride in having hosted what is widely regarded as the most exciting and colourful World Cup yet. So in that sense you have to say to the host country, “Parabéns!” – congratulations.

One reason why Brazil hosted the tournament was so that people all over the world could get to know more about the country. In Australia the World Cup has been shown on television by broadcaster SBS, and I was in the studio audience last night for the final episode (number 26) of The Full Brazilian, a prime-time comedy show that has been running ever since the tournament started. The atmosphere in the studio was great, there were four sexy female samba dancers decked out in feathers, three sexy males in capoeira uniforms thumping out infectious percussion, and the studio itself had great replicas of Cristo Redentor (the statue of Christ the Redeemer) and Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf mountain), complete with cute little cable cars going up and down. The whole thing just made you want to go to carnival in Brazil immediately!

When you consider that his was just one of many offbeat shows that the event’s global broadcasters have been running over the past month, the tourism publicity for Brazil has been priceless, not just in the traditional media, but on social media too. The Guardian newspaper has given an excellent assessment of the event, from a socio-economic point of view in this editorial.

The event has also been a boost for the Portuguese language. Writers from English-language newspapers sprinkled their reports with catchphrases in Portuguese: for example, the jogo bonito, or beautiful game, for which Brazil was once renowned, which became the jogo colapso when Brazil was thumped 7-1 by Germany in the semifinals. By the end of that game every foreigner in Brazil could count to seven in Portuguese. And the non-Braziian fans who attended the tournament soon found out what a “festa” was. (On last night’s episode of The Full Brazilian, though, the host, comedian Jimeoin, took this to mean “fester“, which in English is not so pleasant. Still, by now you’d hope, journalists around the world won’t make embarrassing mistakes like this bunch of Australians did in saying that that language of Brazil was Spanish. No wait, Italian!

brazil-154542_640Many people are sad that the tournament is nearly over, but at least there is one more big festa to come – the celebrations of whichever nation that wins the final. And another consolation – we have the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 to look forward to as well. Maybe we will all still be doing the full Brazilian for years to come.

Portuguese language notes

  • parabéns = congratulations
  • dar os parabéns = to congratulate
  • festa = festival, carnival
  • festar = to celebrate, dance, party
  • que pena! = what a pity!
  • (não) vale a pena = it’s (not) worth it
  • ter pena de = to feel sorry for
  • um colapso = a collapse, breakdown, break-up; (medical) shock or fit
  • sofrer um colapso mental = to suffer a mental breakdown
  • acabar (bem/mal) = to finish (well/badly)
  • acabou-se = it’s all over
  • terminar = to finish, to conclude
  • não se lastima o que bem termina = all’s well that ends well


Who will talk the talk as World Cup enters knockout phase?


It’s mine, mine, mine!

Sixteen teams have departed from Brazil, and the World Cup knock-out phase is shortly to begin. Sixteen teams still dream of being the 2014 FIFA World Cup champion (and in a couple of hours they will be down to fourteen). There is so much analysis of the event from a footballing point of view available, so let’s be nerdy and take a linguistic look instead. Who will get bragging rights come the final whistle, who will squawk and screech and howl in protest at the inevitable controversies to come?

In the top half of the draw, one semifinalist will come from the winners of  ….

  • Brazil v Chile
  • Colombia v Uruguay

It’s a Romance language affair – 1 x Brazilian Portuguese team among 3 x South American Spanish teams. The pressure on Brazil to perform at home is enormous. Chile and Colombia look dangerous.

... and the other semifinalist will emerge from 

  • France v Nigeria
  • Germany v Algeria

European giants v African outsiders; The languages involved, of course, are French (some commentators are calling Algeria the French B team), Arabic, German and English, bearing in mind that there are many, many languages African languages in Nigeria.

football-114653_1280In the bottom half of the draw, one semifinalist will come from the winners of  ….

  • Netherlands v Mexico
  • Costa Rica v Greece

This is Europe v Latin America; Dutch and Greek against Latanish/Spatin.

... and the other semifinalist will emerge from 

  • Argentina v Switzerland
  • Belgium v USA

So many languages involved here! Spanish via Argentina (and it’s increasingly important in the United States); Swiss French, Swiss German, Swiss Italian – and let’s not forget Romansh; Belgian Dutch (Flemish), Belgian French, Belgian German and Walloon (a Romance language), and American English.

People are saying it has been Latin America’s tournament so far, so just going by the force of numbers, Spanish has to be the best bet. But things can quickly change – in a couple of hours at least one, if not two, of those Spanish speaking teams will be gone. Now I am signing off to catch 2 hours’ sleep before Brazilian Portuguese takes on La Roja Spanish at the ungodly hour of 2am Australian time. If  your team is still in the competition, good luck!


Sex, cocktails and the World Cup: a uniquely Brazilian way to score

caipirinha condomThe World Cup is on and everyone has got to cash in on it somehow, particularly businesses in the host country Brazil. Not all the action happens on the field, of course. There is all the celebrating and partying and socialising that goes on too. You know, lots of kissing, hugging and biting. With that in mind, mischievous condom manufacturer Prudence has brought out a limited edition Caipirinha-flavoured condom. Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça (alcohol distilled from sugar cane juice), sugar and lime. I hope they bring out a feijoada version too (feijoada is the national dish, a stew made with black beans and pork). FIFA should cash in on this too and make it the official condom of the World Cup.

I’m partial to caipirinhas, vodka too. I’m so looking forward to the limited edition FIFA 2018 Russian World Cup condom, which is bound to have lots of vodka in it. I’m not sure what the limited edition 2022 Qatari World Cup condom will be, maybe a date juice-flavoured condom for those who like hot dates?

Watch out for the pingadeira!

Incidentally, another word for cachaça is pinga. When I first went to Brazil with my Portuguese-Australian friends, our hosts at a pousada in Paraty were saying we should go to a festival da pinga, which we thought meant a festival of the penis. 😀 (We don’t often come across pinga here in Australia.) But as you will see there are some kind of sex-related connotations in the related vocab:

  • uma pinga: a drop; booze (formal); a gulp, swallow; a roof gutter; a penniless person (all informal or popular usage)
  • estar na pinga: to be drunk
  • pingadeira: a dripping pan; small but continuous receipts; constant expense; (Brazilian usage) the clap, gonorrhea 
  • pingado: besprinkled, full of drops; drunk; coffee with a few drops of milk added

I don’t think Prudence is a good name for a condom brand – it’s too dull and earnest. It’s sex for prudes. Protuberance or Exuberance would be much better.

essential party vocabulary in my five Romance languages


If you enjoyed this post, or if you are thinking of making condom purchases, you might like to read about the Romanian computer hacker with a penchant for grape-flavoured condoms, a story where you can also find what the words are for “condom” in my five Romance languages.

Portugal’s World Cup woe – a five-language selection of headlines on the ‘selecção’

The Portuguese national team (a selecção nacional) made headlines for all the wrong reasons in their opening World Cup soccer game. Here is a sample of newspaper and online headlines in My Five Romance languages. The best one, in my opinion, is by the Gazeta Sporturilor.

Portuguese language newspapers

From Publico

G4P0 Publico

G4P0 Publico2

From Diário de Notícias

G4P0 DN2


From Record

G4P0 Record

From A Bola

G4P0 a bOLA

Spanish language newspapers

From El Mundo

G4P0 El Mundo

From El País

G4P0 El Pais

From El Espectador (Colombia)

G4P0 El Esp

Italian newspapers

From La Repubblica

G4P0 la Repub

From La Gazzetta dello Sport

G4P0 La Gazzetta

French newspapers

From L’Equipe

G4P0 L'Equipe

 From Le Nouvel Observateur

G4p) LeNO1

G4P0 Le NO2

Romanian newspapers

A clever headline in the Gazeta Sporturilor

G4P0 Gazeta S

From Adevărul

G4P0 Adevarul

Go Portugal! Vai Portugal! May the força be with you (and Germany too)

In a few hours Portugal will face Germany in their opening match of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. So what better time is there to sing along and dance to the official anthem of support for Portugal in the World Cup, Vai Portugal sung by Kika. Is it a winner? Sim!

I don’t know anything about Kika but I found a website page in Portuguese which has some information about the song.

As you can probably guess, I am very fond of Portugal and the Portuguese, their language, their food, their hospitality, their home-grown wines etc etc. But I have a little conflict of interest with this match. You see, when all the World Cup teams were put into a hat and we made the office draw, guess which team Bernardo drew? Yes, Germany. So, ahem, Go Germany Go! Vai Alemanha!

Maybe a draw would be the best outcome.

While we are talking international relations, here is another Kika song I found. It’s in English, featuring Andreas Wijk, a Swedish dude. Go Sweden!

Brazil and the World Cup: do you like what you see? Nudist players included!

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

Four days into the World Cup and it looks like all the predictions that it would be a shambles have proved to be false. From the comfort of my armchair, the tournament looks fabulous; it’s a riot of colour, the goals are flowing (an average of 3.36 goals a game, up to and including the Argentina v Bosnia-Hertzegovina match, compared with an average of 2.27 goals a game in South Africa in 2010), and the images of Brazil look splendid. I feel sorry for the team from Croatia, though. In the opening match against the host team, which they eventually lost 3-1, I felt they were hard done by the referee, and now they are up in arms because spying photographers took photos of their players swimming in the nude at what looks like a very lush, tropical resort.

Of course, while there is no denying the natural beauty of Brazil, what you see on your television screens tends to be the sanitised version. Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro may look spectacular, for example, but it is heavily polluted with the run-off from the inadequate housing and sanitation facilities in Rio’s favelas.

The social problems and inequalities in Brazil are well known, having been drawn to our attention, both by protesters and the media, and quite rightly so, for these are issues that have to be tackled, not just in Brazil, but everywhere. In Australia, for example, which is supposed to be a “wealthy”, mainly middle-class country, there was a report out today by The Guardian Australia website that the nation’s nine richest people (yes, nine individuals) have more money than the bottom 20 per cent of the population, or 4.54 million people. And the richest 1 per cent of Australians have the same wealth as the bottom 60 per cent. On a global scale, the same article says that the richest 85 people in the world are as wealthy as half the world’s population, 3.5 billion. As one Australian newspaper put it – accidentally – in a recent front-page headline, The world is fukt.

Brazil host citiesFrom this blog’s point of view, hopefully the World Cup in Brazil will stimulate interest in that country and in the Portuguese language, just as it did for me when I first visited that country more than a decade ago, and let’s hope that some of the tourist money flowing into that country at the moment goes into the pockets of the people who need it most.

If you have never been to Brazil and are contemplating a visit, you might like to read my guide on the best that the country has to offer, which was published recently on the website of Australia’s best-selling magazine, The Australian Women’s Weekly.


What’s all this ‘dar um jeito’ business in Brazil’s Avicii-inspired World Cup anthem?

As well as the official 2014 FIFA World Cup song, there is also an official 2014 FIFA World Cup anthem, Dar Um Jeito. Why? To get double the publicity for One Love, One Rhythm – The 2014 FIFA World Cup Official Album. It’s not just about soccer, it’s also about money and merchandising!

The anthem is great and, unlike the offical song, has a reasonable amount of Portuguese, sung by Alexandre Pires. It also features Mexican-born Carlos Santana on guitar (still going strong at 66), Haitian-born hip-hopper Wyclef Jean doing the English vocals and Swedish DJ Avicii, doing the dance beats, and the four of them are apparently going to perform at the World Cup closing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. The Avicii influence is very strong on this, which is probably why it is so catchy…

What does dar um jeito mean? The song’s English subtitle, We Will Find A Way, gives a clue. The word jeito has many meanings which I will cover fully when I post the J words in my Quirky Vocabulary series (the last bit I did was about the G words being orgasmic, but I haven’t posted H, I and J yet). But basically jeito is an aptitude, manner, way (of behaving or acting), skill or knack. Dar means to give, and dar um jeito means to manage, engineer (a result), find a way or do something about.

Here are two sample sentences from the Michaelis Moderno Dicionário Português-Inglês:

  • ela sempre dá um jeito de ficar mais bonita do que as outras
  • she always manages to look prettier than the others
  • ele tem de dar um jeito nesta sua vida
  • he’s got to do something about that life he leads

The Michaelis Dicionário Escolar Português-Francês gives this

  • dar um jeito
  • s’y retrouver, rafistoler

I hope Dar um Jeito does well worldwide, if only to get people to hear more of the Portuguese language.

First impressions of One Love, One Rhythm

You never really learn much about world music on the official World Cup albums, but this one has enough Brazilian linguistic and musical involvement to give you an idea of the rhythms of samba, bossa nova and pagode, even if it sticks mainly to the usual suspects such as Bebel Gilberto, Carlinhos Brown and Sergio Mendes. You can listen to the whole album below, although adverts seem to pop up unexpectedly in the middle of songs from time to time (there is no escaping commercialisation). I particularly like Canadian band MAGIC!‘s rendition of This Is Our Time (Agora É a Nossa Hora). Other big names on the album are Shakira, Ricky Martin and The Isley Brothers. There is even an appearance by Baha Men of Who Let The Dogs Out? fame! Who let them out?

See also The official World Cup song: too much bull for Brazilians’ liking 

The official World Cup song: too much bull for Brazilians’ liking

The video to the official song of 2014 World Cup is brilliant – it captures all the excitement of football, from both the players’ and spectators’ perspective, and it packs in all the colours and flavours of Brazil and many other countries too. Check it out.

There is one problem with the Brazilian video, though – it’s got Pitbull in it! (Some people I know find him creepy.) I am ambivalent about him, but I do know that whenever he does a duet with someone, the someone always outshines him. The two women in this song do much better here.

There was an outcry in Brazil when this was revealed as the official song. After all, Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez have got nothing to do with Brazil (both were born in the US but are of Cuban and Puerto Rican origin respectively). Worse, they sing in English and bits in Spanish too. The Brazilian element seems an afterthought – local singer Claudia Leitte gets to sing a few lines of Portuguese about two minutes and 50-something seconds into the song.

Still, I think Pitbull is a good choice. He has a face shaped like a football (I know some people who wouldn’t mind kicking it) and before he became famous there was a Brazilian footballer called Pitbull – if memory serves me correctly, he played for Gremio (one of the teams from Porto Alegre) before going on to play for clubs in Portugal, Romania and Turkey. It’s a great name for a footballer, but not for a singer, not even one who growls.

Anyway, you can understand why soccer fans worldwide are so looking forward to the tournament in Brazil. Look at the elements in this video, then try to imagine what sort of videos they are likely to produce for the 2018 World Cup in Russia or the 2022 tournament in Qatar. For the Russian one I envisage cossack dancers and lots of vodka on ice. But for the Qatar event all I can see is stern sheikhs, camels and corpses of construction workers. I read somewhere today that Qatar is warning male visitors not to wear shorts or singlets (vests) when they come for their World Cup. The event is eight years away and already the admonishments are coming out! In Brazil if you wear shorts and a singlet you are overdressed.

Exclusive sneak preview! Football stars parade in their sexy kits. Brazil, here we come!

Brazil is back in the spotlight as the build-up to the World Cup intensifies. The Sydney Morning Herald’s travel section ran a big spread this weekend onthe world’s sexiest country, saying the World Cup will bea football fest in a G-string. Phwoar! 

How right they were. This week, many of the participating nations revealed what kits their teams will be wearing at the tournament, and the infamous Brazilian ‘dental floss bikini’ influence is evident in many of the designs. Check them out.

Dutch kitHere is the Dutch one, nicknamed the Van Pervy. As usual, the orange colour is prominent, and if the team scores a lot, expect the orange banners to point to the heavens. Van Pervy will become Van Perky!



coq sportifThe French have gone for a touch of flamboyance, I think this is known as Le Coq Sportif. Looks like the French think they have scored already! They’re very cock-a-hoop.




AussieThe Australian uniform, made by adidass, drew some criticism. Some felt it was a copy of the Brazilian colours. What do you think?





Teams from Africa are hoping to catch the eye too this year. Here is the kit for Cameroon, the team nicknamed the Indomitable Loins. Oops, Lions! No, maybe this is the Ivory Coast Elephants.



GreekThe Greeks have opted for the tried and trusted Spartacus look.




blue samThe Japanese team, nicknamed the Blue Samurai, are expecting their matches to be very one-sided affairs.




BorneoThe other Asian teams are being coy about what they will wear, but fashionistas say expect Borneo jungle motifs.




ChileProudly showing off his team’s apparel is the captain of La Roja, the Reds, from Chile.




warmThose teams playing in Porto Alegre, the southernmost host city, might have to dress up a bit more to ward off the winter chills. You can freeze your butt off there in June and July. How’s this for a solution?



Putin’s disputin’

One team that’s not coming to the party this year is Russia, under the leadership of the Great One, Vladimir Putin. He has decreed that no way is Russia going in for G-strings! Bright, rainbow colours are out, macho camo is in. Here he is showing off the officially approved uniform, nipples, boots and all.


The rest of the Russian team, nicknamed the Grey Cardinals, look thrilled…


Maybe they will get to wear some sexy outfits when Russia hosts the event in 2018.

  • You can read the full Sydney Morning Herald article here.
  • Replica kits are available at good sports stores and selected stockists. Show your support, wear your team colours!
  • All images taken shamelessly from various websites, possibly of ill repute; G-String research is a sneaky business. 
  • The Vladimir Putin pic has been photoshopped by the official Soviet news agency to make the Great One’s nipples look less flabby. But the photoshopper was sent to Siberia as punishment for doing such a poor job of it.