Word of the Day

Friday, February 22, 2013


There are three main ways to translate to play in Portuguese: tocar (a musical instrument), jogar (a sport or something defined by rules) and brincar (no established rules, simple plain fun). I can’t find this trichotomy in any other language. The only language I am familiar with that distinguishes between brincar and jogar is Swedish (leka for the former, spela for the latter), but spela also means tocar. Some languages have one verb for brincar and jogar and another for tocar, such as Italian giocare x suonare, Spanish jugar x tocar, whereas others have only one for the three, such as German spielen. Other languages may have different constructions, such as Czech hrát + accusative (jogar), hrát si (brincar), hrát na + accusative (tocar), Romanian a se juca (brincar), a juca (jogar), and a cânta la (tocar). A cânta without la means to sing, cf. Portuguese/Spanish/Catalan cantar, Italian cantare, French chanter. In English there is the cognate to chant.

Different languages and countries deal with the verb jogar in different ways. In Spain, Italy and France they use jugar, giocare and jouer, respectively, followed by the preposition a (in French à):  jugar al fútbol, giocare al calcio, jouer au football. But in most of Latin America (except in the River Plate area, where they follow Spain in this regard), jogar is simply followed by a  noun: jugar fútbol/futbol. In French jouer can also be followed by the preposition de, but in this case it means tocar: jouer du piano, jouer de la guitare.


Jonathan said...

Isso me faz lembrar do livro Homo ludens de Johan Huizinga =)

Angel watson said...
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