Crasis: so tiny yet so misunderstood

865747_46618975Many native Portuguese speakers don’t really know how crases work: some change them for accute accents (e.g. as in “á”), simply forget them or even unnecessarily add them where they’re are not required.

The other day I found – written in a book(!) – a Portuguese sentence written wrong: “Ela precisa ir dormir até [sic] às 22h”. Which in English means “She needs to go to sleep by 10 p.m.”

Well, but aren’t we supposed to use “às” before using a point of time (e.g. 10p.m./10h)? Not always…

If you’re learning Portuguese as a foreign – or second – language you might be asking yourself: what the heck is a crasis? Keep on reading…

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German clothes: die Kleidung.

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Last Tuesday I returned to my regular German classes and, oh my, it’s so good to be back. I had never lost touch with the language as all my gadgets, computer, Facebook, Twitter and even some of my friends posts are in German. Anyhow, following a book again, speaking German, making mistakes, having a great teacher to correct me, and interacting with others by using German are things you cannot easily get outside a classroom.

So we’re studying clothes, die Kleidung, and I’d like to share what I’ve learnt so far.

I bet you’ll like it…

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日本語: the Japanese language.

297628_7512So I decided to finally write a post about the Japanese language; the language I’m a beginner at but which I’ve already fallen in love with.

You may be wondering: “why in the world would I learn all these crazy symbols if I know nothing about Japan?” For starters, the fact that something is different from what you know doesn’t make it crazy; besides, it’s easier, way easier, than you think.

When I had decided to study Japanese some people suggested me to study Chinese instead, due to its economical advantages. What people don’t get it, and I hope you do, is that no matter what you study, work with, and do, you must feel connected to it somehow. Yeah, it sounds cheesy, but I mean it! Maybe you’re just curious and attracted by the exoticness of Japanese “letters” or the richness of this language’s culture, it doesn’t matter: go for it!

I want to introduce you to this wonderful language, may I?

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Port, harbour, dock, wharf, quay, pier, mole and jetty: fight!

431201_10151412050924434_2116400162_nDuring my trip to Canada I stayed in a coastal city – Vancouver – where I heard these words a lot. Being born and raised in a Brazilian inland city – Blumenau – the definition of those words were overlapping inside my head; I couldn’t understand their differences and neither could some native Canadians. When I asked them some would stop to think about it and start discussing with each other whether a specific place is a quay or harbour, for instance.

Now, after researching (i.e. googling) for a while, I’m here to share with you what I’ve found.

Ready?

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Many or much? Few or little? Know what you can count.

531969_55075139Some things you can count but other ones you cannot.
That’s the reason you have to be careful when using “many” or “much”, for instance. Let me make it clear: some words can only be used with things you can relate to a quantity, i.e. a specified amount.

So you want to use indefinite quantifiers – words you put in front of a noun which are not quantities but represent “how much” it is – but you are not sure when to use them?
It’s easier than you think.

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