mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Portuglish Words

Visiting home, where Portuguese is the dominant language, I am constantly reminded of my deteriorating command of my native tongue. Yet today, I realized that there are words my Portuguese-American family uses that would probably leave my relatives living in Portugal pretty perplexed. These are bastard words: born out of an unholy union between English and Portuguese. I bet most Luso-Americans will know what these words mean, but most Portuguese people will just give you strange looks if you drop one of these gems around them. Here is a small (and very casual) ethnographic look at some uniquely Portuglish words.

liquostore - Portuguese people love their libations, yet the proper translation of liquor store is loja de bebidas. There are far too many syllables there, so let’s just go with liquostore.

sneaka - Sounds a lot like sneaker and that’s exactly what a Luso-American might call them instead of the proper sapatilhas or ténis.

zinko - This morphing of sink reminds me of transliterated Japanese words that often end in a vowel. You have a sink? A Luso-American has a zinko (zink-koo). A Portuguese person has a pia.

parquear - Interestingly enough, this was the only verb I could come up with. Used instead of the proper estacionar, this word means “to park a car.”

estoa - This word takes “store” and adds some more vowels to it. The proper Portuguese word for store is loja.

These were the ones that I could come up with, but I’m sure there are more. If you know any, send me a tweet!