Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Obrigado or Obrigada?


Obrigado
The word "Obrigado/a" (Thank you in Portuguese) is a participial form of the verb "to oblige" and, as such, admits flexion in the feminine, as with "Agradecido/a" (grateful), of the verb "Agradecer". Thus, a woman can legitimately say she is, or how she feels, "muito obrigada" (thank you so much / much obliged) for a favor that someone has done to her.
However, in the case of an interjection, it is also natural that many people resist the idea of ​​flex it in the feminine, since the interjections are invariable.
From this point of view, being a man or a woman, they both can simply say "Obrigado" with the same ease they say "hello", "goodbye" or "hi".

There is therefore room for some ambiguity in the interpretation of the term, as this is seen as participle as verbal or interjection.

The problem is that consulting a dictionary does not always help us to decide what to do (in this case, to say "Obrigada" or "Obrigado"). The Dictionary of Contemporary Portuguese Language Academy of Sciences, for example, presents "Obrigado" (in the masculine) as interjection (accordance no. 3) and at the same time, presents its example in the feminine ("Obrigada, she said"), contrary to the principle that interjections are invariable.

In short, the bending is legitimate, for etymological reasons, but perhaps it will be lost due to the class of which the word is now affected when it is used as an expression of gratitude.

by S. Leite
Superior Institute of Education and Sciences, Lisbon

In nowadays, and according to my experience as a Portuguese fellow, the difference between masculine and feminine versions of the word has lost its importance as it is used in an aleatory manner with no problem at all. Yet, the difference between "Obrigado" and "Obrigada" has been pointed in many sites and forums, specially in Brazilian ones, which do state its use as "Obrigado" should be used by men and "Obrigada" by women.

by Flashopen
Journalist and blog owner, Eindhoven


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