Portuguese vocabulary

Portuguese vocabulary

Most of the Portuguese vocabulary comes from Latin, since Portuguese is a Romance language. However, other languages that came into contact with it have also left their mark. In the 13th century, the lexicon of Portuguese had about 80% words of Latin origin and 20% of pre-Roman, Germanic and Arabic origin. [ [http://www.filologia.org.br/viisenefil/02.htm Manzolillo, Vito. ASPECTOS DA CONSTITUIÇÃO DO LÉXICO PORTUGUÊS] ]

Pre-Roman languages of Iberia

Very few traces of the languages of the native peoples of western Iberia (Celtici, Lusitanians, Conii, or Gallaeci), or of pre-Roman settlers like the Phoenicians or Carthaginians who settled in eastern Iberia, persist in the language, but there are some exceptions (most are unconfirmed). Many places in Portugal have pre-Roman names, such as the cities of Braga and Coimbra and the rivers Minho and Tâmega.


From Iberian:
*"abóbora" "pumpkin"
*"arroio" "brook, stream"
*"baía" "bay" (cf. Basque ibai 'river')
*"balsa" "ferry"
*"barranco" "ravine"
* "barro" "clay"
*"bezerro" "1 year-old calf"
*"bizarro" "quaint, bizar"
*"cama" "bed"
*"carrasco" "executioner"
*"cavaco" "small woods"
*"esquerdo" "left" (cf. Basque ezker 'left')
*"lousa" "slate"
*"manteiga" "butter"
*"mata", "mato" "woods"
*"morro" "hill"
*"mouta", "moita" "bush"
*"sapo" "toad"
*"sarna" "scabbies"
*"seara" "crops"
*"tojo" "gorse"
*"várzea" "meadow"
*"veiga" "meadow, grassland"


Continental Celtic languages were also spoken in the peninsula, before the arrival of Latin. [ [http://www.arkeotavira.com/Mapas/Iberia/Populi.htm Ethnologic Map of Pre-Roman Iberia (circa 200 B.C.)] ]
*"bico" "beak, bill"
*"brio" "pride, courage"
*"broa" "loaf"
*"bruxa" "witch"
*"camisa" "shirt"
*"camba" from célt *kambos
*"canga" "yoke"
*"carro" "car, cart"
*"carvalho" "oak"
*"légua" "league (unit)"
*"peça" "piece"
*"penedo" "cliff"
*"picar" "to prick"
*"tranca" "latch"

Germanic languages

The Germanic influence (Buri, Suebi, Visigoth, Vandal) in Portuguese was small, restricted to warfare and related topics. The influence also exists in placenames such has Ermesinde and Esposende, where "sinde" and "sende" are derived from the Germanic "sinths" (military expedition).

*"Barão (baron) from Germanic baro" [http://www.priberam.pt/dlpo/dlpo.aspx Priberam. Língua Portuguesa On-Line] ]
*"Branco from Germanic blank"
*"Ganhar (to gain) from Germanic waidanjan"
*"Guerra (war) from Gothic wirro"
*"Roubar (to rob) from Germanic raubon"
*"Aleive (treason) from Gothic lavjan"
*"Alvergue/Albergue from Gothic haribergo"
*"Elmo from Gothic hilms"
*"Espora (spur) from Gothic spaúra"
*"Estaca (stake) from Gothic stakka"
*"Escanção from Gothic skankja"
*"Fona from Gothic fon"
*"Fornir from Gothic frumjan"
*"Godo/Gótico from Gothic guthans"
*"Guarda/Guardião/Guardar/ Aguardar from Germanic wardaz, Visigothic wardjan Gothic wer"
*"Guia from Gothic wida"
*"Lasca from Gothic laska"
*"Marta from Gothic marthus"
*"Roca from Gothic ruka"
*"Tampa from Gothic tappa"
*"Triscar from Gothic thriskan"
*"Tascar from Gothic taskon"
*"Trégua from Gothic trigivo"
*"Aringa from Gothic hrings"
*"Banco from Gothic banka"
*"Ufa from Gothic ufjo'


Projections indicate 1000 Arabic loan words. In old Portuguese this represented 25% of the literary lexicon, today its importance has decreased as the language became richer and reinfluenced by Greek, Latin and other languages.

*"Alcova" (alcove) from "alkubba" ( الكبة )
*"Aldeia" (village) from "aldaya" ( الدية )
*"Alface" (lettuce) from "alkhass" ( الخس )
*"Algarismo" (number, figure) from "alkarizmi" ( الكرزم )
*"Almirante" (admiral) from "amir" + "ar-rahl" ( امير الرّال )
*"Almofada" (cushion) from "almukhadda" ( المخدّة )
*"Âmbar" (amber) from "anbar" ( انبر )
*"Armazém" (warehouse; a cognate of English "magazine") from "almahazan" ( المحزا )
*"Arroz" (rice) from "arruz" (loan from Greek "óryza") ( الروز )
*"Açúcar" (sugar) from "as-sukkar" ( السكّر )
*"Azeite" (olive oil) from "azzait" ( الزّيت )
*"Fátima" (woman's name, and name of a town in Portugal) from "Fāṭimah" ( فاطيمى )
*"Garrafa" (bottle) from "garrafā" (cognate of English "caraffe") ( الغرّافة )
*"Girafa" (giraffe) from "zurafa" ( الزرفة )
*"Jasmim" (jasmine) from "yasmin" (loan from Persian "jasamin") ( يسمن )
*"Jarra" (vase) from "jarra" ( الجارة )

The Mozambican currency Metical was derived from the word "mitqāl" ( مطقال ), an Arabic unit of weight. Mozambique's Portuguese name, Moçambique, itself was from Arabic name, Muça Alebique (Musa Alibiki), a sultan.

Influences from outside Europe

With the Portuguese discoveries linguistic contact was made, and the Portuguese language became influenced by other languages with which it came into contact outside Europe. In Brazil, many placenames and local animals have Amerindian names, the same occurring with the local Bantu languages in Angola and Mozambique.


*"Banana" (banana) from Wolof
*"Bungular" (to dance like African wizards) from Kimbundu "kubungula"
*"Cabiri" (small domestic animal) from Kimbundu "kabiribiri"
*"Cafuné" (caress on the head) from Kimbundu "kifumate"
*"Capoeira" (Brazilian martial art) from Kikongo "kipura" (cf. Port. & Lat. "cap")
*"Marimba" (musical instrument) from Bantu "marimba/malimba"The country name "Angola" is from a Bantu word, "N'gola".


*"Ananás" (pineapple) from Tupi-Guarani "naná"
*"Abacaxi" (pineapple) from Tupi "ibá" + "cati"
*"Jaguar" (jaguar) from Tupi-Guarani "jaguara"
*"Tatu" (armadillo) from Guarani "tatu"
*"Tucano" (toucan) from Guarani "tucan"


*"Chá" (Tea), from Chinese "cha"
*"Corja" (rabble) from Malay "kórchchu"
*"Ramarrão", "ramerrão" or "rame-rame" (monotonous sound), from Hindi "ráma-ráma"
*"Manga" (mango), from Malay "mangga"
*"Catana" (cutlass) from Japanese "katana"The country name Macau is from Chinese "A-mok", name of the city's temple.


* [http://www.instituto-camoes.pt/cvc/hlp/gramhist/index.html Linguistic history of Portuguese] at the website of the Instituto Camões
* WILLIAMS, E.B. "From Latin to Portuguese"
* MACHADO, J.P. "Dicionário Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa"

ee also

* Differences between Spanish and Portuguese
* List of Brazil state name etymologies
* Portuguese exonyms
* Portuguese language
* Portuguese names
** List of most common surnames (See Brazil and Portugal)

External links

* [http://www.orbilat.com/Linguistics_Comparative/Function_Words/index.html Contrastive Romance Lexicology at Orbis Latinus]
* [http://rudhar.com/etymolog/prantoen.htm Pranto and llanto, but not chanto — On Portuguese etymology] A comparison of sound changes in Portuguese and other Romance languages
* [http://www.hottopos.com/collat7/houaiss.htm "As Projeções da Língua Árabe na Língua Portuguesa"] , essay by Antônio Houaiss

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