In Part 1, I went over the concepts of homonyms, homographs, and homophones in Brazilian Portuguese. In this post, I’m going to cover different Portuguese vocabulary and talk about paronyms, which are basically words that have similar pronunciation and written form but the meanings are different. Notice the use of “similar” here where I used “same” in Part 1, as this is the key difference.
Some demonstrative examples, in English, might be collusion and collision, or allusion and illusion. In other words, they look alike but aren’t related and therefore have different meanings. The examples I’m going to use below are words I tried to choose based on their etymological similarity (more strictly speaking, a paronym is a derivative word, in the sense below).
– diário (daily; daily newspaper; journal, log) and diária (daily rate as in hotel rates, for example)
– político (politician) and política (politics; policy) and apólice (insurance policy, bond)
– polícia (police force, police officers collectively) and policial (police officer)
– música (music, song) and músico (musician)
Note: The word musicista is also a term for musician but it’s perhaps more erudite (it’s thought to be the female term but in fact it’s usable for both genders). Confusion might arise in respect to what to call a female musician as the word música, as can be seen, means music or song, whereas músico is heavily used to speak of male musicians. A músico, however, is incorrect to speak of a female musician, thus one should seek to use a música instead. That being said, most media outlets prefer the term cantora (singer) when speaking of women. Cantora, however, specifically means a female singer.
For fun, there are also things called paronymic phrases, otherwise known as oronyms (related to the concept of junctures in linguistics). For example: I scream and ice cream, or that’s tough and that stuff. There are two examples below in Portuguese, which I took from a list on cacophonic phrases.
– uma mão (a hand) and um mamão (a papaya)
– pela dona (for the lady) and peladona (totally naked woman)
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