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Legends of the Portuguese Seas: Nautical Vocabulary for Adventurers

by Kimi

Portugal is a country that is recognized around the world for various influences that it has had as a nation on society. It has been renowned around the globe for its cuisine, with numerous food dishes and beverages having been enjoyed and become a staple. At the same time, there has been musical and art influences to have been experienced, too.

Basically, Portugal has had a lot to offer, including in other instances that may not have been as widely recognized. This includes the high seas and nautical life, where there have been some rather inspiring adventurers to have been born.

The likes of Vasco da Gama – who was the first European to sail to India in 1498 when he led a fleet around Africa – and Ferdinand Magellan – who was the first man to circumnavigate the world in 1519 with the help of Spain – are perhaps more famous than others, but their accomplishments on the seas can often be forgotten parts of history for many.

Nonetheless, their impact and influence on the Maritime community is significant, especially within their home nation. Portugal has seen a number of people become sailors because of its history, while there are many words that have been created that have been drawn from the Portuguese language. Those who have been using the classes which have made it possible to learn online on Preply with native speakers may have already been able to recognize many of the words that are used, especially if they have been learning more about the legends of the Portuguese seas.

With an interesting and unique vocabulary that is possible to learn and can provide greater insight into the vernacular that sailors and other seamen are using, there has been a growth in the interest of learning the Portuguese language.

Examples of Portuguese Vocabulary While at Sea

For those who spend their time at sea often and are aware of many of the terms, they may already recognize that there are numerous terms that are used regularly that come from the Portuguese language.

Among them can be the term ‘Armilar’. This is the word that is used to describe the navigational instrument that was once used by Portuguese sailors to help them determine where they were in the sea. It is a model that represents the sky while featuring rings that represent other environmental elements that can help them decipher where they are. This includes the equator, the tropics, and the polar circles.

Another term that might be widely heard among the nautical community is the ‘caravela’. It was a historic type of ship that was widely used by Portuguese sailors in the 15th and 16th centuries, as it was small and fast, despite being a sailing ship. Because of its shape – which included a triangular sail – it was able to move along the seas with ease, thus allowing it to make the tightest turns and give sailors the opportunity to go in the directions that they wanted.

Those who want to use the Portuguese language while they are at sea should learn some of the basics if they are to get ahead and have the best chance of being successful or enhance their enjoyment of the activity.

The term “starfish” is widely used on a boat as this refers to the North Star; a tool for navigation. This translates to “estrela do mar”. Other terms should include “bússola” as this refers to compass (another important nautical tool), while a “sextante” is an instrument that is widely used by sailors to measure the angles that exist between two celestial objects.

All sailors should also have an understanding of the parts of the boat. A boat is “barco” in Portuguese, while “proa” and “popa” refer to the bow (back) and stern (front) respectively. The deck is known as “conves”, while the sail is known as the “vela”. By knowing these terms, you will have a greater understanding of the nautical lingo that exists. 

Final Thoughts

Portugal has a rich historical culture when it comes to its influence on the seas and the impact that has been felt around the world. With numerous instruments having been named with the language being used, it can be highly advantageous for any sailor to learn the basics of the dialect if they want to have the best nautical vocabulary and be ready to set sail!

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