Tá Falado

June 27, 2007

Grammar Lesson 9: Possessive Pronouns, How to Dress Like an American

Filed under: Grammar — @ 9:20 am

Who would have ever guessed that Valdo and Michelle think that jeans and flip flops make a strange combination? Looks like we’ve just seen one more thing that makes Americans stand out. Note that this picture has got three Brazilians trying to dress like North Americans!

Oh yes, and grammar-wise, we’re talking about possessive pronouns. You might say, OUR comments to YOUR lesson.

PODCAST LINK: Grammar Lesson 9


  1. Could you throw some light on the use of the determiners in Portuguese with the possessives, for example when Valdo says “Mas esse e o nosso conceito..” It seems to me I have seen a tendency to use determiners in Portuguese in situations like “o meu livro” “a minha mae” “a nossa casa” “o meu problema” instead of simply “meu livro” “minha mae” “nossa casa” “meu problema.”

    Comment by Edward W. Schiffer — June 27, 2007 @ 10:11 am

  2. Now that I look over this lesson again, I am wondering if these are indeed possessive pronouns. Are not the true possessive pronouns “mine, yours, hers, his, etc.” because these words can replace a noun or noun phrase, whereas the words like “my, your, our, their” do not. This then means that in Portuguese nouns can have double determiners, as in Valdo’s “Mas esse e o nosso conceito.” I cannot think of an instance in English or Spanish when this happens.

    Comment by Edward W. Schiffer — July 2, 2007 @ 10:00 am

  3. Edward, in all dialects of Portuguese you have the option of using the definite article as part of the possessive adjective or not. So, you can say “a minha mãe” as well as “minha mãe”. The difference is that, while in EP (European Portuguese, including African and Asian dialects) you use the former for normal possession and the latter for something / someone with which / whom you feel an emotional attachment. Thus, and EP speaker can say “meu amor” instead of “o meu amor”. In BP (Brazilian Portuguese, in most of its dialects) you can use either interchangeably, although in writing the former is more prominent while you find the latter more in the speech of certain dialects. In all dialects there are phrases, such as “seu idiota”, that in English would translate to “you idiot!” In Portuguese you would use the possessive adjective, rather than the subject pronoun, for this type of phrase. In any case, this is just one of many examples of how the richness of the different varieties of the Portuguese language shows by way of the details.

    I hope this answer suffices.

    Comment by Robert — July 3, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

  4. Thanks for responding Rob. I’ve been out of town and running around and haven’t been able to get to the computer. Your answer, as always, is great.

    Comment by orkelm — July 7, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

  5. Yes! Thank you Robert. As always, this site has cleared up a lot of foggy areas for me. Thanks to everyone for their efforts.

    Comment by Edward W. Schiffer — July 9, 2007 @ 6:50 am

  6. I think this lesson is misnamed. Aren’t these possessive adjectives rather than possessive pronouns?

    Comment by Judy Wright — July 31, 2007 @ 9:34 am

  7. Judy, You are probably right, we’ll just say that we are talking about possessives.

    Comment by orkelm — July 31, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  8. Using the article is more common in South and São Paulo than in the Northeast:

    South of Brazil, São Paulo state, South of Rio State (up to Rio but not Niterói), South and West of Minas Gerais State, Sergipe, Alagoas [region 1]

    North of Rio state (from Niterói up north, including Campus), Espírito Santo state, North and East of Minas Gerais State, Bahia, Pernambuco [region 2]

    region 1: a Maria, o João, a Britney Spears, o George Bush, a mamãe, o papai, o fulano
    region 2: Maria, João, Britney Spears, George Bush, mamãe, papai, fulano

    in Rio: O fulano quis falar com a Maria. O papai gosta da Britney Spears.
    in Salvador: Fulano quis falar com Maria. Papai gosta de Britney Spears…
    (in fact, in Salvador they say painho instead of papai ;0) )

    the tendency in:

    region 1: is to use the article with the possessive adjective preceding the noun:
    ”a minha mãe, o seu pai, a nossa casa, o teu problema ” are more common than
    ”minha mãe, seu pai, nossa casa, teu problema”

    region 2: to avoid this article:
    ”minha mãe, seu pai, nossa casa, teu problema” are more frequent than
    ”a minha mãe, o seu pai, a nossa casa, o teu problema ”

    the article is obligatory in possessives that go after the nown:
    a casa dele, a casa dela, a casa de vocês, a casa da gente

    in the writing, the article
    1. should not be used with persons’ names: Maria, and not a Maria, de João, and not do João (thus, the formal grammar agrees with the Espírito Santo-Bahia usage)
    2. is optional with possessives preceding the noun, but many professors find it inelegant , so in the formal writing: ”seu pai, nosso problema, meu amigo” is more frequent than ”o seu pai, o nosso problema, o meu amigo”. (Again the tendency observed in Espírito Santo and Bahia states is kept)

    There are the same tendencies in German and Italian: in the North they use the article: il Marco, la Anna; in the written language these should not be used, but the female article is tolerated because it exists in Tuscany, so il Marco is incorrect, but la Anna is correct. 😉

    in Portugal, the article is almost always obligatory. but Brazilian usage is different.

    Comment by Milton — August 2, 2007 @ 5:35 pm

  9. Então, com a situação de usar os “possesives” se pode usar os “direct object pronouns” na fala do dia dia?

    Comment by Amelia Crawford — October 4, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

  10. Is the choice between ‘a sua casa’ and ‘a casa dela’ (‘her house’ in English) simply arbitrary? Are there any situations or factors which suggest one or the other?

    Comment by James Lander — October 4, 2007 @ 11:48 pm

  11. Porque a gente poe “a sua bolsa” em vez de “sua bolsa” e “as suas ropas” em vez de “suas roupas”?

    Comment by ryanc — October 5, 2007 @ 6:10 am

  12. Aprendi esta diferenca com o espanhol mais acho que de todas formas se usa seu e sua para his/her muitas vezes. Fiquei um pouco confusa o semestre passado porque me parecia que ouvia e lia os dois formas.

    Comment by Monica Mitre — October 5, 2007 @ 8:59 am

  13. Finalmente sei soletrar a palavra “chinelo” no português!!

    Comment by Kyle — September 25, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

  14. Eu gosto muito vestir-me no jeans com chinelo. Para o povo que já foi no Brasil, o que são as maneiras de vestir lá que os americanos achariam bregas?

    Comment by Eric — September 26, 2008 @ 10:42 am

  15. No espanhol, além de dizer “mi amiga,” pode se dizer “una amiga mía.” Pode se usar essa estrutura em português também e se se pode, como é que se faz todas as palavras (mía, tuya, suya, nuestra, etc.)?

    Comment by Erin — October 1, 2008 @ 8:20 pm

  16. Fiquei triste não ouvir um exemplo do uso de ‘teu/tua’ no dialogo. Ouço isso raramente, mas gostaria de entender melhor o contexto em que poderia usar. Me parece que se usa quando ‘seu/sua’ seria confuso. No Brasil, eu usei para criar mudar a conversa de uma entre muitas pessoas a uma entre duas pessoas, ou seja, para ser mais íntimo.

    Comment by Clyde Sheble — October 2, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

  17. E você não pode dizer “tua bolsa” também? Como funciona o uso desse pronome?

    Comment by Elena Bessire — October 2, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  18. hahaha… me lembro quando cheguei aqui e pensava a mesma coisa. Hoje em dia, faço o mesmo

    Comment by Liana Depew — October 2, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

  19. Is it always improper to use ‘seu’ when you are talking about a third person? Is this only true to Brazilian portuguese?

    Comment by Golden Dale Oehlke — October 2, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  20. eu acho que estou acostumado usar teu e tua como no espanhol, por exemplo posso dizer: “essa é tua mochila” ou “essa mochila é de voce”?

    Comment by Eduardo Gonzalez — October 2, 2008 @ 11:57 pm

  21. So what do Brazilians wear with jeans?

    Comment by Marina Potoplyak — July 4, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  22. We learned these pronouns a while back in class… but I never realized that the “dele(s)”, dela(s)” formulation was more common than “seu(s), sua(s)”. Helpful.

    Comment by Mary Slosar — July 6, 2009 @ 10:04 am

  23. I hadn’t realize that ambiguity in Spanish. Thanks

    Comment by Carlos Barrera — July 12, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  24. Acho que eu uso “seu” muito mais que eu uso “dele/a.” Isso é mau? Qual porcento dos Brasileiros vai usar “seu” em vez de “dele”?

    Comment by Jennifer Cheek — February 19, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  25. Acho que tem um erro no tradução de ingles da frase no PDF transcript “Olha a calça dele” = Look at her pants. Deve ser “Look at his pants”

    Comment by Swetha Nulu — February 23, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

  26. Ja ouvi a palavra “cafona” na fala brasileira…tem alguma diferença entre “cafona” e “brega”?

    Comment by Nicholas Hall — February 23, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

  27. quando sabe usar os pronomes possesivos vs. “ela”, “ele”, etc? Porque, ouvindo o dialogo, não parece um padrão para o uso verdade de cada um.

    Comment by Barbara Fox — February 23, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  28. Acho que é desconcertante para os falantes espanhóis usar os pronomes possessivos no português porque como um falante de espanhol nativo penso que “sua” significa “her” como mencionado na lição. Quando na realidade significa “your”.

    Comment by Jorge Maldonado — February 23, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

  29. É interessante que a língua portuguesa usa formas complexas dos pronomes, mas muitas outras coisas são reduzidos, como “de + ele”  “dele”. Acho que os pronomes decritivos são uma maneira de clarificar uma língua sem artigos.

    Comment by Kristin Bonds — February 23, 2010 @ 11:51 pm

  30. Eu adoro esse clip! Eu estou aprendendo Espanhol!
    É interessante que mentiona que os brasileiros não gostam de ambiguidade… Aqui, os pronomes possessivos são muito claros, but eu fico sempre confusa quando os brasileiros dizem “a gente”, e que eles só usam “você” e não “tu”.
    Eu concordo completamente sobre os vestuário Americano! Eu e as minhas amigas, em Portugal, sentámo-nos na praia e observámos as pessoas, e tentamos de adivinhar de onde eles vêm (apenas olhando as roupas deles).

    Comment by Lynne Lee — February 24, 2010 @ 12:26 am

  31. Acho que hay casos quando se usa “seu” ou “sua” en vez de “dele” ou “dela” quando falar de ele or ela. Por ejemplo para dizer “His dog” a veces se usa “seu cachorro” en vez de “o cachorro dele.” Voce pode explicar mais por que e assim quando falando de otra pessoa?

    Comment by Preston Achilike — February 24, 2010 @ 12:37 am

  32. I loved the lesson! I will use it as a supplementary activity in my Portuguese class!

    Comment by Bela — January 30, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  33. I hope I don’t stick out as an American in Brazil!

    Comment by Anna — February 14, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  34. É um pouco difícil, mas ajuda eliminar a ambiguidade.

    Comment by Harrison Harvey — February 14, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  35. Gostaria de saber se existe algum tempo quando sera mais apropriado pra usar a palavra ‘sua’. Se é determinado sobre condições lingüísticas, como você reduza a ambigüidade?

    Comment by Ricardo Correa — February 15, 2011 @ 12:07 am

  36. É errado dizer “la casa de el” em espanhol, ou só vocês estão dizendo que não é comum?

    Comment by David Donatti — February 15, 2011 @ 1:18 am

  37. this was an extremely helpful podcast especially when i listened to everything a second time iwht the pdf file open! when i go to mexico to visit family i stand out likea sore thumb because i chose to wear shorts and never jeans in the summer with flip flops and i’m extremely pale. i think it’s funny some of the stares i get, but never the less, every summer i go visit with like 20 pairs of shorts! 🙂

    Comment by Maggie — February 15, 2011 @ 1:34 am

  38. This was very helpful! Although I’m unclear about when to use articles with possessive pronouns. Do we just use them when using seu/sua & dele/dela? Or do we use them with meu/minha & nosso/nossa as well? Thanks!

    Comment by Maria — February 15, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  39. It’s really close to Spanish which helps! I never knew flip flops with jeans was a problem! I guess most Americans are known to dress for comfort though!

    Comment by Zachary Anderson — February 15, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Brazilpod  |  2023-06-01, 07:15:00 PM