Word of the Day

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Active verbs with passive meaning in Czech and Portuguese

Czech active verbs can be interpreted many times, as when a wife says to her husband that she potřebuje poškrábat (needs to scratch, but actually meaning needs a scratch). In informal Brazilian Portuguese there is a similar phenomenon: some active verbs, depending on context, can have a passive meaning: A minha filha não vacinou ainda. (My daughter has not vaccinated yet, meaning My daughter has not been vaccinated yet or My daughter has not had her shots yet). An interesting example is the everyday colloquialism A camisa está lavando (The shirt is washing, actually meaning The shirt will be washed/ironed soon or The shirt is in the laundry).

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