LearnPortuguesewith Us!Start Learning!
While travelling these past couple of weeks, I caught myself being victim to making false friends mistakes. You know those words that sound exactly like a word in your native tongue but mean something completely different? With making these embarrassing mistakes, I started thinking about words in the same language that sound alike, especially in Portuguese! With all the different accents and dialects out there, and not knowing what’s feminine or masculine all the time (so hard in French!), it’s hard to not catch yourself making a fool out of yourself when speaking Portuguese (even for us native speakers).
So what are some of these words you probably don’t want to get mixed up?
bolo vs. bola
Bolo = cake; is masculine and is pronounce with a long “o” sound, kind of like, “bowlu.” It can also be used for when you get stood up by someone. “Ele me deu bolo, nem foi no restaurante.”
Bola = ball; is feminine and is pronounced with a short “o” sound, “bawla” – Think… “I’m a balla!”
So when you’re watching a football/soccer game with your Brazilian buddies, try not to yell, “Que bolo bonito!” and when you get stood up, your friends will understand why when you say, “Eu levei uma bola no meu encontro.”
Camiseta vs. Camisinha
Camiseta = T-shirt; is feminine and is pronounced “cah-me-zeh-tah”
Camisinha = Condom; is also feminine and is pronounced “cah-me-zee-nhah”
I don’t care how small the t-shirt is, it is never a camisinha.
Tesoura = scissors; is feminine and is pronounced “teh-zoh-rah”
Tesouro = treasure; is masculine and is pronounced “teh-zoh-roo”
It probably isn’t a great idea to turn to your Brazilian spouse and say, “Amor, cadê o tesouro?” – The answer you might get is “Não sei, se eu já tivesse achado você acha que eu estaria aqui?”
Longe vs Longo
Longe = far; and it pronounced “lone-she”
Longo/a = long; and is pronounced “lone-gu” or “lone-gah”
If someone asks you where you live and you answer, “Não é muito longa” – You may or may not get a look of indifference (I got this a lot in Europe).
Can you all think of any other confusing words in Portuguese you might want cleared up?