Beautiful proverbs, inspirational phrases, words and phrases on love and life, poems – there are numerous types of quotes and famous sayings. They are hooks on which we hang our hopes, our inspiration to overcome our ignorance, jealousy or simply our pessimism.
Some of them let us see the world in a new light. All languages have them – whether it be Romanian or Arabic or Galician or English – and so does Portuguese, originating in love, adversity, patience, or sorrow.
For lovers of philosophy and proverbs, here is a little overview of some of the most beautiful Portuguese quotes!
Quotes and expressions are the keystones of learning a foreign language such as Portuguese.
In informal speech, we are constantly using set expressions or famous quotes, even if we might not know it. Whether it’s “raining cats and dogs”, someone’s “got the wrong end of the stick” or “hell hath no fury”, these set phrases are a staple of conversation. We don’t only use English phrases either – Latin’s “Carpe Diem” is almost as universal as “deus ex machina” or “habeas corpus”.
Aphorisms can help you:
But why would you want to learn them? People use quotes and famous expressions for various reasons:
As you can see, the reasons for learning common expressions and quotes in the Portuguese language are many and varied. What’s more, Portuguese idiomatic expressions are frequently present in conversations and are often referenced in media such as books or television or Portuguese films. So why not invest in a Portuguese dictionary of quotes to better understand your Portuguese TV series or daily newspaper?
For Portuguese is no exception to the rule. It is a language rife with citations, idiomatic expressions and other proverbs or aphorisms. An English translation can give you an idea of what they are saying, but to truly understand them you will need to speak Portuguese regularly, if possible with a native speaker!
So here is that other phrasebook, for Portuguese words and expressions going way beyond the days of the week, “Obrigado!” and stilted, pre-drafted conversation snippets. Here is true idiomatic Portuguese as it is spoken on the streets, and the most lyrical and beautiful heights of Portuguese literature. Here is what Portuguese looks like outside of Portuguese lessons, where language-learning is not only hands-on but goes straight to the heart.
Portuguese idioms are a kind of citation that will help you feel more at home when learning Portuguese.
It may not seem obvious from the start, but idiomatic expressions are definitely a type of quote – just one that doesn’t always have a specific author. When learning a Romance language or indeed any Indo-European language, idiomatic expressions are useful because they resonate with you on another level. They are often little stories in and of themselves that help you remember words and allow you to express a sentiment you might have trouble with if your vocabulary is not yet extensive enough.
Here are some common expressions you might come across if you decide to learn Brazilian Portuguese:
To be “like arse and trousers” is a Portuguese idiom for two things that belong together. Photo credit: Ted’s photos – For Me & You on VisualHunt
In European Portuguese, you might use these expressions instead:
And many more!
Of course, knowing these expressions isn’t going to make you perfectly fluent in two flicks of a lamb’s tail (see what I did there?), but they will help you feel more familiar with the Portuguese language, give you some insights into Portuguese culture and show others the effort you are putting into becoming a true lusophone!
We look to famous quotes and phrases for insight on our internal struggles, hoping to find guidance from the great minds of the past and present.
“The death of a swallow doesn’t mean the end of spring”, a Portuguese idiom reminding us that one setback does not a catastrophe make. Photo credit: Katsura Miyamoto on Visualhunt.com
Hope is one of the main themes of inspirational quotes, probably because it is applicable to so many aspects of life. It is a simple concept, and yet extremely metaphysical. Thus it should come as no surprise that it appears in Portuguese:
Love is universal – and that’s why there are so many Portuguese quotes and expressions about it. Photo on VisualHunt
Just like hope, love is a recurring theme – maybe even a more popular one. For who has never been in love and felt strange feelings for someone or known loss and heartbreak? Portuguese people are no exception to the rule and have a number of inspiring quotes on this subject, whether it’s about jealousy, true love or the more spiritual aspects of love.
Between love and friendship, money worries or even destiny, Portuguese vocabulary contains expressions that will answer all your questions.
“He who is thrifty with neither water nor wood will soon lose all that he has” – this Portuguese expression reminds us that the devil is in the details. Photo on Visualhunt
As you can see, when you learn Portuguese you will find a wealth of inspiring expressions which will bring your holidays to Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro or Coimbra to life and let you experience Portuguese language and culture close up.