Portuguese Language Blog

Podcast: Introductions Posted by on Aug 31, 2009 in Learning, Podcast

Today, we’re going to learn different ways to introduce yourself based on various skill levels in Portuguese. Each set of phrases is in order of difficulty, from least to most difficult. These are approximations in terms of level, but the idea is to show that you can say the same thing in a number of different ways, while some are simpler or more complicated than others.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

Beginner: Oi, tudo bem? Tudo bom.
Low Intermediate: Meu nome é João. Muito prazer.
Intermediate: Qual é o seu nome? O meu é João.
High Intermediate: Como você se chama? Me chamo João.
Advanced: Gostaria de me apresentar. Sou João.
Proficient: Pode me chamar de João. Ė um prazer em conhecé-lo.

First, we have the most basic. Sometimes, when meeting someone for the first time, being introduced by someone else, you may not need to say more than this. Especially if your Portuguese is basic and someone is doing the talking, (i.e. “This is Charles. Charles, this is Sidney.”), you can get away with a simple question or response. “Oi, tudo bom?” means “Hey, how’s it going?” or “Hi, how are you?” The proper response is “Tudo bom,” which means “Good,” or “Fine.”

The most straightforward introduction is this one, and is recommended for most situations. Here, to introduce himself, the speaker says, “My name is João. Nice to meet you.” All you have to do is plug your name in after “Meu nome é” (my name is). “Muito prazer” literally means “it’s a pleasure” but translated, means “Nice to meet you” or “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Next, this is how you go about asking someone’s name: “Qual é o seu nome?” (What is your name?) Don’t worry about the “qual,” which means “which;” in context, it means “what.” If you want to supply your name after asking the question, one way to do it is the following: “Mine is João.” Here, you say “O meu é,” which literally translates to, “Mine is…”

A slightly more formal way to ask for someone’s name, and the more similar form to Spanish is using chamar-se (to call oneself).  This term is used in certain parts of Brazil, like in Minas Gerais. To ask for someone’s name with this verb, you say, “Como você se chama?” (How are you called, literally – what is your name, translated). To answer this question in the same format, you say “Me chamo” – literally, “I am called…” and translated, “I’m…”

Moving on to some more complicated verb conjugations—and a more formal tone—we have the following  phrase, which means “I’d like to introduce myself.” (Gostaria de me apresentar) Here, we conjugate gostar (to like) in the conditional, and tack on apresentar-se (to introduce oneself). Don’t forget the de, which is the preposition for the infinitive verb. One of the simplest ways to introduce yourself is to use ser (to be) in the present tense. Here, the speaker says, “I am João.” (Sou João.)

Finally, we arrive at the most complex phrases.  This means, “You can call me João.  It’s a pleasure to meet you.” The first phrase is fairly straight-forward: “Pode me chamar de…” literally translates as “you can call me as.” Next, we have a very good expression to use in a formal situation.  “Ė um prazer” means “it’s a pleasure,” and can be used on its own as well. With the second part of the phrase, you have to pay attention to the person or people you’re introducing yourself to. If it’s a man, the conjunction is lo (masculine). If it’s a woman, it becomes la, and if it’s a group of people, it becomes los. If it’s all women, it becomes las.

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  1. Teka:

    Would “Chamo-me” be more grammatical than “Me chamo”? I’ve heard it’s better stylistically not to start a sentence with a reflexive pronoun in both Brazilian and European Portuguese.

    There’s also the less formal “Como é que se chama?”