The school run along the Silver Coast goes on for miles, a long distance sprint each day, with only pine trees on either side of the almost empty road. The monotony this morning was broken by my daughter talking about school work, Valentine’s Day, red hearts…the colour red. Staring straight ahead at the road I learned these words of wisdom.
“Did you know that there are two words for ‘red’ in Portuguese?” said daughter.
“Well no, I didn’t know that. Actually, I can’t remember one word for red…which is fairly shocking considering how long I’ve been here.”
“Don’t use it that often. Apart from at the fish counter when asking for a red herring.”
“Well, you may like to know that in Portuguese there are two words for red, “vermelho’ and ‘encarnade’.”
“That would be like saying vermillion or red in English I suppose?” I slowed the car down for a small, ginger dog that was trotting across the motorway. Luckily for the dog there wasn’t another car in sight.
“Nope. It’s more confusing. In my old school at Castelo Branco they said you should use ’vermelho’ because ‘encarnado’ was out dated. Only old people ever said ‘encarnado’.”
“Hmmm. Better not say that then. Don’t want to seem old.”
“No but…here in Leiria I was told that if you use ‘encarnado’ it’s hopelessly cool. The latest way to say red.
Sounds like an ‘arenque vermelho’ to me…..or an ‘arenque encarnado’?*