Some useful words and phrases that we’ve picked up along the way! With English as our base language, we’ve found it tough to pick up the Portuguese lingo, especially the listening element as the words are spoken so BL**DY fast!
Before we had even left the UK, we had committed to 4 weeks at LUSA Language School based in Cais de Sodre, Lisbon. The 4 weeks at LUSA as well as generally using Portuguese everyday has at least given us a base knowledge!
Here are a few Portuguese words and phrases that go slightly beyond your Duolingo lessons and that we usually fall back on when all hope is lost!
1. Tudo Bem = All is Well (?)
Literally “all well’ we hear it everyday! The great thing is that it covers both a question and an answer. You can ask someone, Tudo Bem? (all is well?) and the answer is quite often – Tudo Bem (all is well). You can also reply simply with bem – well.
2. Até (Já, Logo, Breve, a Proxima)
Até Já = See You Later (Same Day – Very Soon)
Literally “see you already”, this is used when you will be seeing the person within a few hours. [eg. Saying bye to a friend you are meeting up with again in the next hour or so]
Até Logo = See You Later (Same Day)
Quite specifically the same day but when in the same day doesn’t matter. [eg. On the phone to a friend who you are meeting up with at some point later that same day]
Até Breve = See You Soon
It is implied that it will be soon but without an exact date and time specified. [eg. You’ve just left your new favourite holiday bar and you plan on returning in the near future]
Até a Proxima = Until Next Time
An undefined amount of time. [eg. Leaving a bar that you may (or may not) return to]
3. Otima! = Great!
A simple but useful word. We often use it in response to a waiter asking how our food or meal is. It’s such a great word to have on the back-burner.
4. Perto, Ao Lado de & Longe
Great if you are asking for directions and you at least know a well know place close to where you want to be.
Perto = Close, Near
Ao Lado de… = Next to the…
Longe = Far from
5. O Mesmo / Igual = The Same
To be honest, it was most useful initially for us in a bar when when we were ordering the same round again, and again… O Mesmo seems to be more common.
6. Agora = Now
Another useful one to put on the back-burner as often when you need it you need it Agora! We’ve normally ended up using it when booking busses and train.
7. Obrigado, Obrigada = Thanks
If you are a man, you use Obrigado. If you are a woman, you use Obrigada
You might not hear the ‘o’ or ‘a’ when someone Portuguese says it to you but it’s probably because they speak so fast.
8. Posso? = Can I…?
A simple way of asking for something without inviting too much conversation you might need more vocab for. A few example phrases below (and it wouldn’t hurt to stick a ‘por favor – please’ in for good measure.
Posso Pagar? = Can I Pay?
Posso Vir? = Can I See?
Posso Ter? = Can I Have?
Posso Pedir? = Can I Order?
Posso Comprar? = Can I Buy?
9. Não Preciso = I Don’t Need…
An amazingly useful phrase we use all the time.
[At a shop checkout] Precisa um saco? (do you need a bag?) Because we watch David Attenborough we usually carry our own re-usable so can smash out a – Não Preciso
[When we are looking around a shop] Presica de ajuda? (do yo need help?) As we prefer to spend our dinheiro on food and drink we are normally just looking around so often – Não Preciso
10. Desculpe & Com Licença
Descuple = Sorry
Sorry for bumping into someone, sorry for our poor Portuguese pronunciation etc etc.
Com Licença = Excuse me
For politely getting someones attention or letting them know you are there. We have found in a few places in Portugal, as a foreigner you sometimes don what we call the ‘cloak of invisibility’*
*To be honest, MOST of the people and in particular the waiting staff have been amazing with us. They are usually so helpful when we tell them we are trying to learn Portuguese and have been our best recourse outside of our lessons at LUSA
I hope you get to use these words and phrases soon! We have found a neat way of keeping these style of things handy for when you need them is to start a notes section on your phone. You can easily find a word if its just on the tip of your tongue or quickly add a new word/phrase when you get passed a new gem.
Keep an eye out for more Portuguese words and phrases as we discover more of Lagos.
Boa sorte e Até Breve