Word of the Day

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


A baby hatch is known in the Czech Republic as babybox. This linguist seems to be under the impression that babybox in this context is actually used in English (Jak je možné, že babybox se objevuje poprvé až v roce 2005?! (Mimochodem, zajímalo by mě, jak by si jazykoví puristi s tímto slovem poradili – vytvořit nějaký český překlad nebo používat toto nečeské, tedy „nepatřičné“ slovo?)(How is it possible that baby box only surfaced in the year 2005?! By the way, I wonder how language purists would deal with this word - to come up with some Czech translation or to use this non-Czech, in other words, improper word?) But, as it turns out, babybox, even though it is made up of two English words, is a pseudo-anglicism. It must be a European concoction, since in Norwegian it is also known as baby box, spelled babyboks, as can be seen in the Wikipedia article to which I linked.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chronogram e cronograma

Quem precisar traduzir entre chronogram e cronograma, que fique esperto, porque não se trata da mesma coisa.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Usmare ha corrispondenze anche in altre lingue d’area romanza, dice il Battaglia, citando lo spagnolo antico osmar e il portoghese usmar.

Gostaria até que existisse, mas pelo que pude apurar, não existe o tal usmar em português. Não sei quanto ao espanhol antigo, mas no espanhol atual tampouco há osmar como verbo.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Con la ge: en Honduras, robar gobernando el país: güebiernar. La palabra se forma a partir del verbo güeviar (que significa robar) y gobierno, El genio del idioma ha creado el verbo y también el sustantivo para el gobierno que roba: el güebierno.

É uma pena que uma palavra tão eloquente se restrinja só a Honduras, pelo menos segundo o artigo. Ou melhor dito, é uma pena que haja necessidade para tal palavra em qualquer parte do mundo.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Conhecia o significado que dão em Portugal à ementa, conhecida como cardápio, mais raramente menu, no Brasil, mas nunca a tinha visto num contexto brasileiro, mas ei-la aqui: Ele também analisou as ementas de 56 processos julgados e que tiveram o nexo causal reconhecido.
Terceira acepção.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Anomalous Spanish present continuous

In the book I am reading, Inés del Alma Mía, there are some grammatical constructions used by Catalina, a Peruvian Indian woman who speaks Spanish as a second language, that have drawn my attention. Here is a sample: (1)¿Qué vamos a estar haciendo con él, mamitay (What are will we be doing with him, mamitay)? (2) No está queriendo irse, pues. (He isn't wanting to go, that's it.) (3)Quedarse está queriendo, no más.(Staying he is wanting, simply.) (4)¿Y quién va a estar vigilando al salvaje, pues, señoray? (And who will be watching this savage, huh, señoray?) 5)Ladrones y flojos están siendo estos mapuche. (Thieves and bums are being these mapuche.) This can an influence from Catalina's first language or from the existence of both possibilities in Spanish and her inadequate understanding of the scope of usage of each one.

This reminds me of the overuse of English continuous tenses by some Indians (from India) and also some Brazilians' overuse of the continuous tense in Portuguese, known as gerundismo (the Brazilian linguist Sírio Possenti doesn't agree with his designation, but it's the widest one used), something purportedly thrown around as a means of embellishing one's speech or making one's assertions less definite, as some linguists argue, which is especially relevant at a call center, whence most of this language irradiates. Nevertheless, the use of the continuous tenses is sentences 2 and 3 sounds idiomatic to me in Portuguese, at least in my dialect/idiolect.

Another interesting feature of Catalina's Spanish is topicalization, but I won't even go into this right this now.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


No Brasil vulgarizou-se a forma alho-poró em vez da tradicional alho-porro. O dicionário Aulete diz que é por eufemismo. Pelo que pude apurar, em Portugal usa-se somente alho-porro, e os portugueses parece não terem pejo algum em dizê-lo, apesar de porra também ter sentido chulo para eles.