Intermediate 17: Faster, Higher, Stronger

MP3 Audio (Lesson) | MP3 Audio (Dialog)

The Olympic motto is “faster, higher, stronger.” For some of us, we really get into the pure Olympic spirit. For others of us, we are way too cynical to buy into that. Where is your focus? Whatever side you fall on, here’s a change to talk about it in Portuguese.

Lesson audio

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Dialog audio

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 A: Você sabe qual é o lema Olímpico?
Do you know what the Olympic motto is?
  B: Ah, eu sei, mais dinheiro, mais política, e mais corrupção.
I do, more money, more politics, and more corruption.
  A: Não. Para de ser tão cínica Mariana. Você não acha bonito ver o espírito das olimpíadas?
No. Stop being so cynical Mariana. Don’t you think it’s beautiful to see the Olympic spirit?
  B: Eu não duvido que muitos atletas sintam o espírito dos jogos. Eu só não gosto quando o mundo político estraga o evento.
I don’t doubt there are many athletes who feel the spirit of the games, I just don’t like it when politics mess up the event.
  A: Sei, entendo, mas vamos voltar para o lema original, “mais rápido, mais alto, mais forte.”
I know, I get it, but let’s get back to the original motto, “faster, higher, stronger.”
  B: Tá bom, tá bom, viva as olimpíadas de 2016 no Rio de Janeiro.
OK, OK, long live the Olympics of 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.


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  1. Nick

    This is something that really confuses me: Often I hear this imperative form of the verb as the simple present here: “Não. Para de ser tão cínica Mariana.” I keep thinking it should be “Pare de ser tão…”. When do you use “para” and when do you use “pare”? And are there other ways to say “Stop being so…”? For example, can you say “Deixe de ser tão…” ou “Abandone ser tão…”. Thanks for these little conversations of everyday Brazilian Portuguese!

    1. Orlando Kelm

      If you happen to be a Spanish speaker Nick, you know that in Spanish there are strict rules about command forms (formal, informal, negative, reflexive, etc.). This is not the case in Portuguese, where there is gigantic flexibility. So, ‘para’ or ‘pare’, ‘espera’ or ‘espere’, ‘deixa’ or ‘deixe’ it can go either way. Sometimes I think of how in English we say, “sit down” or “sit on down” or “sit yourself down” and it flip flops from one to the other. Similarly, Brazilians flip flop in command forms. I’d like to say that “pare” is more formal than “para” but chances are even that is forcing things a bit. So, my recommendation is to not worry about it too much, either is fine.

      1. Nick

        Thanks, Orlando! Your reply is relieving and it makes me laugh! I notice this is so often true with the spoken Brazilian language. I will remind my Brazilian students who are learning English when they ask: “But what is the rule?”!

  2. Thad

    Prof Orlando,
    My question concerns the use of the subjunctive in the 4th line. Why doesn’t the word “não ” negate the subjunctive trigger? Seems to convey that she has no doubt.

    1. Orlando Kelm

      Hey Thad, nice question about the subjunctive. My recommendation is that you not overanalyze the logic of subjunctive. For example, “achar que” doesn’t take subjunctive, but “nao achar” usually does. “duvidar” takes subjunctive whether or not it is “duvidar” or “nao duvidar” In some ways, the actual expression of doubt is overridden by the verb itself. So my advice is to use the expression of doubt as a loose guide, but than accept that certain verbs will usually trigger subjunctive or not. I hope my answer isn’t too flakey, but don’t worry, after a while you kind of get the gist of the subjunctive.

      1. Thad

        No, your answer isn’t flakey at all. I’ll favor construction/ trigger=driven structure over splitting hairs as to the exact content.
        Thanks very much.