Daily Archives: 3 May 2011

The Days of the Week: Numerals, Planets and One-armed Deities

Recently I’ve been writing about the wonders of the days of the week on my other blog.

One of the first things you do when learning a language is learn the days of the week.

With Portuguese – and therefore in Brazil – the first day of the week is Sunday, “the day of the Lord” – domingo.

It is also, secretly, the first feira – or holy day – of the week.

After that, Monday to Friday are number according to the number of days it has been since Sunday. So…

  • Monday: 2nd – segunda-feira
  • Tuesday: 3rd – terça-feira
  • Wednesday: 4th – quarta-feira
  • Thursday: 5th – quinta-feira
  • Friday: 6th – sextafeira

Then, Saturday is named after the traditional final, rest day of the holy week – the Sabbath – sábado.

This all seems simple enough, but actually – this is quite counterintuitive for me, as an English speaker.

When you work, no matter what your religious convictions might be, Monday is the first day of the week.

When you hear terça-feira, there are two steps to recognising the word – working out the ordinal (terça = third), and then realising you have to subtract a day… so it’s Tuesday.

Phew. I’m sure over time this’ll become a lot easier – but it’s strangely distracting while you’re beginning to learn the language.

In other news – it’s now less than NINE weeks to go.

Até logo!