Art of the words and the pleasure by their meanings

Museu da Língua Portuguesa. Foto Mari Weigert

Geraldo was leaning in about three books at a time when his young student arrived to the Italian lesson. The air of astonishment and inquiry stamped on her face betrayed something like …. What is all this for?

– Do you never consulted a dictionary? Asked the teacher removing his attention from the books and looking towards the young.

– Normally, I use the internet. I think my parents still use dictionaries, she replied kind of uncertain. Iphone and Google solve my problem in a second, she added.

The scene was only a parenthesis that Geraldo did during one of my Italian classes to count as young people today view the use of the dictionary.


The book in printed publication is being each time less used by youth, maybe because of the discomfort in carrying it or the difficulty of handling it, leading to superficial research on internet. With that, young people lose the opportunity to experience the thrill of understanding the word in the root of its definition and discover in various authors the differences in the way to explain the meaning of the word.

DSC00623Actually, fail to develop such a healthy addiction that is to produce a text with more refinement, seeking new words with the same meaning, but with a clearer definition, more complete to express the idea, feeling or information that is wanted to place in the sentence.

Only those who frequently use the dictionary knows how intense is the pleasure, almost an orgasm, when the word found explains exactly what is wanted to expose. The more you search, more discovers – origin, history and travels in time.
The feeling I get when performing this job is like if I were producing a work of art and the screen was the text where I write on. Greater is the delight when I translate my ideas into Italian (language that also has its origins in Latin), especially when some corrections need to be explained in classes from Geraldo, who loves get involved with his dictionaries around the big table situated on the room where the class is given. The experience is fascinating and gives us the chance to travel into a discovery world, on the etymology of the word, and this exercise improves knowledge of Portuguese and Italian.
– Did you know that “donna”, woman in Italian, has its origin in the latin word “domina”? So, dominating is the original expression of the word woman to Italian, explains with a malicious smile. I also find grace in the information and think that in Italian culture this word has come in such remote times that probably had the sense of defining who really commanded and maybe until today.

In Italian, there is “lavoro” and “travaglio” and in portuguese, only “trabalho” (work). Travaglio means extreme suffering, acute, stormy hard work.

Thus the hours pass like minutes and time is short for the infinite universe of words. Nothing is boring in this game/lesson.

Writing is an art and if compared to the artist in his screen, is like searching the exactly color in traits of its creation. Brush a word here and another there to intensify the meaning of the sentence is exciting and the pursuit of meaning makes the eyes sparkle with excitement.

The very name of the site is a decoding of the word “panorama” (view) and was chosen because it provided a real love affair during its conception. Panorama is of Greek origin, and the prefix “pan” means “all” and horam “vision”. The vision of all. Beautifuuuuul!

The poet Pablo Neruda has created a magnificent text entitled “The Word” and on it he confessed his unconditional love affair with words that help us expressing emotions, writing stories, keeping alive the memory of things, giving information…
pablo-neruda“You can say anything you want, yessir, but it’s the words that sing, they soar and descend…I bow to them…I love them, I cling to them, I run them down, bite into them, I melt them down…I love words so much…The unexpected ones…The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop…Vowels I love…They glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish, they are foam, thread, metal, dew…I run after certain words…They are so beautiful that I want to fit them all into my poem…I catch them in mid-flight, as they buzz past, I trap them, clean them, peel them, I set myself in front of the dish, they have a crystalline texture to me, vibrant, ivory, vegetable, oily, like fruit, like algae, like agates, like olives…And then I stir them, I shake them, I let them go…I leave them in my poem like stalactites, like slivers of polished wood, like coals, pickings from a shipwreck, gifts from the waves…Everything exists in the word…An idea goes through a complete change because one word shifted its place, or because another settled down like a spoiled little thing inside a phrase that was not expecting her but obeys her…they have shadow, transparence, weight, feathers, hair, and everything they gathered from so much rolling down the river, from so much wandering from country to country, from being roots so long…They are very ancient and very new…They live in the bier, hidden away, and in the budding flower…What a great language I have, it’s a fine language we inherited from the fierce conquistadors…They strode over the giant cordilleras, over the rugged Americas, hunting for potatoes, sausages, beans, black tobacco, gold, corn, fried eggs, with a voracious appetite not found in the world since then…They swallowed up everything, religions, pyramids, tribes, idolatries just like the ones they brought along in their huge sacks…Wherever they went, they razed the land…But words fell like pebbles out of the boots of the barbarians, out of their beards, their helmets, their horseshoes, luminous words that were left glittering here…our language. We came up losers…We came up winners…They carried off the gold and left us the gold…They carried everything off and left us everything…They left us words.” (“The word”, from Pablo Neruda, translated from the Spanish by Hardie St. Martin from Memoirs. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1977)

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