Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Cute words in Portuguese Part 5


An alternative way of saying “where is” in Portuguese is “cadê?” It’s used as an equivalent to “what’s up” as well as in “cadê você”?

I learnt this relatively late. It confused me at first because it is not intuitive and doesn’t have a twin word in other Latin languages. So where does it come from?

Nobody really knows. One theory is that it is derived from “Que e de” – literally “what is of”. So “que e de sua mae” would be “what is of your mother” and this over time would have become “Cadê sua mae” i.e. where is your mother:

“Que e de sua mae?"

"Quede sua mae?"

"Cadê sua mãe”


The other somewhat less plausible theory is that there has somehow been some Slavic influence in Brazilian Portuguese as the word “where” as in “where is” is very similar to “cadê” in various Eastern European languages:

Bulgarian: къде (pronounced: [kâ`dé])
Polish: gdzie (pronounced: [gdjé])
Russian: где (pronounced: [gd(i)e])
Czech: kde (pronounced: [gdé])

This does seem more of a coincidence than a theory as there would surely be other Slavic influences in the language. Plus, there has been no significant immigration between these two areas of the world.

Either way it’s become one of my favourite words!

More cute words in Portuguese here:


2 comments:

ojeitobrasileiro said...

oddly enough it was one of the first words I learned, as did my child. "Cadê" became like "boo" to him. All day long it's Cadê this or Cadê that in our home :)

erick dietrich said...

what about "palavroes" are they commonly used among Brazilians,too? I recently saw a video of a parrot saying thousands of palavroes hehe. I speak little portuguese, but I am understandable to such language.

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