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    #1

    Red face Porto or Oporto

    What's the correct way of referring to this Portuguese city: Porto or Oporto?
    By the way, could anyone tell me, please, why you write Oporto?
    I've been asked this question several times, and I simply don't know the answer!
    Later, Ill let you know about a joke I've heard about the origin of Oporto. Well, I think it's a joke, and not the real explanation....

    Thanks for keeping in touch!
    Manela R.

  1. curmudgeon's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Porto or Oporto

    Portugese call it 'Porto'. I have no idea why english speakers call it 'Oporto'

    Tell me the joke.


  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Porto or Oporto

    Quote Originally Posted by curmudgeon View Post
    Portugese call it 'Porto'. I have no idea why english speakers call it 'Oporto'
    Tell me the joke.
    The way English deals with articles in foreign place names is quite random. We say 'the Hague' but 'le Havre'. There's no rule-of-thumb you can use.

    Great Britain and Portugal have long been allies, especially in the field of wine imports - especially from O[do you capitalize it in Pg?] Porto. I can only imagine the tradition of making it one word derives from a mis-reading of 'O PORTO' (perhaps stencilled in widely-spaced capitals on the side of a wine crate, or written in a ledger by a clerk who knows no Portuguese). For people who don't recognize the 'O' as a definite article, it's an easy mistake to make.

    Yes, we're agog about the joke

    b

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Porto or Oporto

    Quote Originally Posted by Manuela Rocha View Post
    What's the correct way of referring to this Portuguese city: Porto or Oporto?
    ...
    I didn't answer Manuela's original question. We use either; I'd guess 'Oporto' is slightly more common - though Google disagrees seriously:

    3,170,000 for Oporto
    1,280,000 for "O Porto"
    1,350,000 for "o Porto"
    but
    126,000,000 for Porto

    But sites like the Portuguese tourist board will have aliases set up (all roads lead to Lisbon ), and I don't know how Google handles these. I attach a bunch of Portugal-related links, in case you feel like doing a bit more research.

    b
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    #5

    Re: Porto or Oporto

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I didn't answer Manuela's original question. We use either; I'd guess 'Oporto' is slightly more common - though Google disagrees seriously:
    3,170,000 for Oporto
    1,280,000 for "O Porto"
    1,350,000 for "o Porto"
    but
    126,000,000 for Porto
    The 126 million hits for "porto" will include all the hits for "O Porto" and "o Porto"; additionally, it will include all the references where "Porto" is not a reference to the city at all, including pages in Portuguese and any other language where "porto" is a word. I just googled for "Porto", and the first page included hits for "Universidada do Porto" (Oporto University), "FC Porto" (the football club) and a bakery in California. Plus we have references to:

    Salir do Porto, Portugal
    Porto Santo and Porto Moniz, Madeira
    Vila do Porto, Madeira
    Porto Seguro, Porto Velho, Porto Ferreira, Porto Alegre and Porto Feliz, Brazil
    Porto-Novo, Benin
    Porto, Italy
    Porto-Torres and Porto Ottiolu, Sardinia
    Porto-Vecchio, Corsica
    Porto Carras and Porto Cheli, Greece
    Georges de Porto-Riche, a French novelist
    Jorge Porto Cuba, a Cuban artist
    The Porto Rico Importing Co., New York

    ..and many more.

    Google is a bit of a blunt instrument at times.

  5. curmudgeon's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Porto or Oporto

    I didn'tmention that FC Porto are a bunch of diving cheats did I? Perhaps I should have posted THATin the Soccer thread, But I do like Portugal. The people are friendly and the architecture and climate are wonderful.

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    #7

    Re: Porto or Oporto

    Well, what I said was a joke, isn't really a joke, at least for those not living in Portugal, because, as you know, there are certain "jokes" which are understood only by a few... I guess it's more a "saying" or a kind of explanation for the word Oporto. Well, it's said that, some time ago, when English people came to Porto because of the Porto wine cellars (which, as you may know, are on the other bank of Douro river, so they are not really in Porto but in V.Nova de Gaia city- did you know that!?) they heard the workers say: "Bou Porto", meaning "I'm going to Porto", when they should say, in correct Portuguese:" Vou ao Porto". But what the English heard actually was "... Porto", and then the word got into their vocabulary as Oporto. Of course this "saying", or joke must have been invented by someone living in the South of Portugal.... they are always making fun of Porto citizens' way of pronouncing words... they think(and I think it's true) we have a peculiar accent. Anyway, this is the furthest (can I say this??!) I know about the origin of the English word Oporto. I hope none of you gets too frustrated with "the joke". By the way, I was given this explanation by a student of mine! Weird, isn't it? We learn all our lives, isn't it?
    Keep in touch

    Manuela R. (now Seagull)

  6. Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    #8

    Re: Porto or Oporto

    I just asked a couple of Portuguese friends of mine and the said both were used. However, they didn't know much about the origins.

  7. curmudgeon's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Porto or Oporto

    Quote Originally Posted by Seagull View Post
    I guess it's more a "saying" or a kind of explanation (Here I would use 'legend' )for the word Oporto. which, as you may know, are on the other bank of Douro river, so they are not really in Porto but in V.Nova de Gaia city- did you know that!?) furthest (most, not furthest) (can I say this??!) No I didn't - we learn something new every day I know about the origin of the English word Oporto. We learn all our lives, D
    Keep in touch

    Manuela R. (now Seagull)


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    #10

    Thumbs up Re: Porto or Oporto

    Hi, Curmudgeon

    Thanks for correcting my mistakes! I really appreciate that! (feel free, if youdon't mind) to correct any mistake in my posts or threads!

    Keep in touch

    Seagull

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