Obrigado? Obrigada?
April 15, 2019 9:10 PM   Subscribe

We're traveling in Portugal and want to say thank you. I identify as male, partner as female, both native English speakers and we're getting conflicting information as to the use of "obrigado" & "obrigada."

My understanding is that I should say "obrigadO" no matter whom I am addressing, male or female, because I identify as male. We have asked various native speakers and have gotten conflicting information. Some say I should use the gender of the person I'm addressing, ie "obrigada" for a woman, "obrigado" when addressing a man, others tell us my understanding is correct. Help! Obrigad... in advance.
posted by Floydd to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You say obrigado; your partner says obrigada. Beyond "thank you", it means 'obliged', as in "much obliged". So the gender of the word matches the gender of the speaker, i.e. the person who is obliged.

If you want to sound more Brazilian, pronounce the final 'o' more like a 'u'.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:32 PM on April 15, 2019 [8 favorites]

Oops--I just saw you're going to Portugal, not Brazil. I don't know if Portuguese pronunciation of final -o sounds is different.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:35 PM on April 15, 2019

What hydrophonic says. And here is how to respond to thank you..

And a small bonus: the Portuguese word for "Pull" is "puxar" - with the "x" sounding like an English "sh". Now you can join in the fun watching other tourists failing to get through doors ,country-wide.
posted by rongorongo at 10:32 PM on April 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I, a male, only say 'Obrigado' and my wife, a native-born Portuguese only says 'Obrigada'
If I am feeling especially thankful I might say 'Muito Obrigado' which translates as Thank you so much or Thank you very much.

In Portugal, as in Brazil, the final 'o' sounds a bit more like a 'u' or an 'oo' and that is true of most Portuguese words that end in 'o', such as 'Fado' which if properly pronounced sounds almost like 'Fa-doo'

My Portuguese is very casual and when I am in Lisbon, my thank you will actually sound more like a fast 'Bree-gah-oo' just in case you hear people saying that, it is the same word.
posted by vacapinta at 1:25 AM on April 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Muito obrigado! We'd asked six presumed natives and they were split 50-50 for some reason, rendering us muito confuso.
posted by Floydd at 3:16 AM on April 16, 2019

We were in Portugal in May, and I rarely heard the last syllable at all - so I heard obriGAD and that was it - the last syllable fell off. I do not speak Portuguese.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 6:34 AM on April 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding Ms Vegetable -- I spent in a week in Lisbon in August, and heard "obrigad" most of the time.

DuoLingo really let me down on the O/A issue; I learned that you say obrigado to a man and obrigada to a woman. WHOOPS.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 11:10 AM on April 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older The cat is coming from inside the couch.   |   Should I quit my job? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.