Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Putting fire to that drowning - São Paulo

Risk of "Afogamento"!! Photo credit: www.surfing-waves.com

There are certain words in Portuguese that just don't work for me. No, I'm not suggesting changing this beautiful language but just commenting that I get them wrong at least 50% of the time. To get them right, I have to really think about them. They are my false friends, my Waterloo, my quicksand... here are the top three words that mess me up.

1. Afogar, verb. To "afogar" is to drown. I will never understand how a word that has a root of "fogo" or fire means to drown. When I hear someone say that a child or whoever "afogou", I immediately think that someone has been immolated or fried up to a tiny crisp. Yep, so when I'm on the beach and the signs say something about the danger of drowning "Risco de afogamento", I pretty much look for matches. I can't get this one. Yes, I do know there is also a double-meaning with geese involved but I'm going to skip that.

2. Aceso, adjective. If you have your headlights "aceso" (or acesa in the feminine form) then the lights are on. To me, "aceso" (pronounced "Ah-seh-ZO") sounds like "ceasing" or stopping and that to me sounds like the lights are off. So when I see a sign on the highway that says "mantenham as luzes acesas", I generally turn off the headlights, then realize what I've done and turn them back on again and then the driver in front of me flips me the bird because he thinks I'm telling him to move over. Sigh. Yes, I am also aware of the double-meaning involving breasts. Never mind.

3. Laticínio, noun. A laticínio or in another version "lacticínio" means a dairy product. Harmless, right? Unless you're lactose-intolerant of course. But I keep mixing it up with "latrocínio" which is robbery following by killing. This is not harmless. It is what always gives me pause while I'm on the Pão de Açucar supermarket site and one of the categories for delivery is "laticínios." You can see why I don't often order those because of the fear factor. No thanks, no robbery-killing today.  I did not include a photo of those since yeah, you don't want to think about that. Do NOT google it. Seriously. Here, this is a nice photo of milk.

Photo credit: www.aliment-ata.com.br

 I am sure there are other false friends but I did hear all three of these today on my adventure to the car repair place. Yep, again.


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