Elementary 48: The Microwave Stopped Working

MP3 Audio (Lesson) | MP3 Audio (Dialog)

Out of all the appliances that one might need in the kitchen, for many the microwave oven is the most used. Cooking, what do you mean cooking? We just heat things up, right? No matter how you use the microwave, in today’s lesson we learn to talk about it in Portuguese.

Lesson audio

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Dialog audio

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 A: Ô Pai, vem cá, o micro-ondas pifou.
Hey dad, come here, the microwave just died.
  B: Como assim pifou? Não tá funcionando?
What do you mean died? It’s not working?
  A: Não, parou. Olha, ainda tem a luz, mas não dá pra esquentar.
No, it stopped. Look, it still has a light, but it won’t heat up.
  B: Estranho, você já pressionou “reset”?
Weird, did you press reset?
  A: Já, já tentei tudo. O que você acha, tentamos consertar ou compramos outro?
I did, I have tried everything. What do you think, try to fix it or buy another?
  B: Hoje em dia não são muito caros, acho melhor comprar outro.
Nowadays they aren’t very expensive, it’s better just to get another one.


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  1. DaveZ

    I’m trying to think of other reasons to use this verb Pifar. I understand that it works with electronic objects and what not and wouldn’t want to say my grandma pifou (went down). But I’m finding it difficult because I feel like saying morrer for these situations. Any other common ways or phrases with this verb? Great lesson!

    1. Orlando Kelm

      You can also think of pifar as simply “stopped working” rather than died. In that case, you can follow the logic of “o computador pifou” (the computer stopped working).

  2. Nick Turner

    Congratulations on these short dialogues – I did not know they existed! Even though I consider myself upper intermediate, it does not hurt to go over the basics, and learn a bit more about contextual use of words and phrases – love it!. It is also teaching me to listen more accurately to the pronunciation. So when I listen to the phrase: Hoje em dia não são muito caros, it sounds like he is saying muito CASAS. Is it me not hearing correctly?

    1. Orlando Kelm

      I loved the phrase “não são muito caros” beautiful repetition of nasal sounds. And yes, it was caros and not casas. Thanks for studying these in detail!

    2. Alex

      I heard k-ah-z, but by pure coincidence only yesterday I saw this clip where the guy from Belo Horizonte explains how in his sotaque “sílabas finais disaparecem” . Here’s the link to the relevant part (but the whole clip is worth watching, he also mention the ways Mineiros use diminutives and “aqui”):

      So it seems that the speaker in the dialogue dropped the syllable -ro- in caros and [s] became [z] before [a] in acho.

      1. Orlando Kelm

        Indeed it is true, Brazilians (all and not just in Minas Gerais) tend to reduce final unstressed vowels, meaning that the whole syllable is reduced. But when you think of it, it’s not so different from the “wachagonnadudaday” that comes from “what are you going to do today.” Now that you’ve heard it, you are going to notice it everywhere!