Português do Brasil é muito bonitinho – Diminutives in Portuguese

Check this a “Coca-Cola” advertisement in Ecuador. They are making fun of a really popular brazilian way of speaking: DIMINUTIVO!😀

Ela é tao bonitinha! (She’s so cute!)

Você quer um cafezinho? (Do you want some coffee?)

Nós vivemos pertinho de você. (We live close to you.)

A diminutive (diminutivo in Portuguese) is a word formed by adding “-inho(a)” or “-zinho(a)” to the end of a word to show that something or somebody is smaller. Diminutives are also used to denote affection, intimacy, courtesy, and sometimes even a pejorative tone.

To form the diminutive, you need to pay attention to the end of the noun:

  • If it ends in “s” or “sa”, we just add “inho” or “inha”: lápis – lapisinho; princesa – princesinha; casa – casinha
  • If it ends in z, a consonant or stressed syllable, you keep the z and add “inho” or “inha” or in case it ends in consonant or stressed syllable just add “inho” or “inha”: nariz (nose) – narizinho; flor(flower) – florzinha; maçã (apple) – maçãzinha; café – cafezinho

Here are  just a few other examples :

  • With adjectives:

“Grande” becomes “Grandinho” – Slightly big
“Verde” becomes “Verdinho” – Vivid green. –> A grama está tao verdinha. (The grass is so green.)
“Barato” becomes “Baratinho” – Cheap and affordable –> Está baratinho. Vou levar. (It’s very cheap. I’m gonna take it)

  • Even with some adverbs like:

“Depressa” becomes “Depressinha” – to give the idea of very quickly
“Nunca” becomes “Nunquinha” – to give the idea of Never ever.

Now check these other examples:

  • Oi, amorzinho! – Hi, honey! (For somebody you love.)
  • Seu bebê é tão bonitinho. – Your baby is so cute. (Showing affection.)
  • Vamos tomar uma cerveja bem geladinha? – Let’s have a really nice cold beer. (To emphasize the quality of the adjective, meaning ‘nice and …’)
  • Nós temos um probleminha. – We have a little problem. (Actually, it’s probably a huge problem. :P)
  • Vou fumar só um cigarrinho. – I’m going to smoke just one little cigarette. (Maybe trying to hide a vice.)
  • Você pode esperar só um momentinho? – Can you wait just a moment? (probably you will wait more than “a moment”)
  • Vou dar uma saidinha. – I’m just going to pop out. (Implying a quick return, which is not always the case.)

In fact, it’s very popular in Brazil. Another way to use “diminutivo” is to create brazilian nicknames. It seems at times that everyone in the country has some sort of nickname. For example, my name is Lívia, but my friends usually call me Livinha. It’s a way to show affection. I’m sure you have heard about the most famous diminutive on the planet :P: the soccer star Ronaldinho. hehehe.

Brazilians usually won’t say what they really think about something to do not sound “rude”, so the diminutive is often used for this pupose too, because it sounds “less agressive” For example, the word bonitinho I used in the begining of this post, depending on the intonation you give, could mean “cute” or “ugly”.

–> Português do Brasil é muito bonitinho (I mean, it’s really cute!)

–> A: Você acha a Lady Gaga bonita? B: Humm…ela é bonitiiiiinha. (Actually, I think she’s not that beautiful or I really think she’s ugly, but I don’t want to say it because I don’t want to be “rude” – maybe you like Lady Gaga :P)

Many people use the word “bonitinho”(cutie) to refer to someone “feio arrumadinho” (which means that you are an well dressed ugly). ^^ So, if you think someone is really cute, you better say: Você é lindo/linda! Você é muito bonito/bonita!😉 hehe

All in all, you should start to try “brazilian diminutivo”🙂 It’s definitly a brazilian mark!!

Um beijinho pra todos vocês! :*

One thought on “Português do Brasil é muito bonitinho – Diminutives in Portuguese

  1. Pingback: Soy loco por ti, COXINHA! – Brazilian snacks! | Português é Massa

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