Characteristics of the Portuguese language in AX Semantics

Fundamentals

In Portuguese, you need to know the gender of the noun in order to form the accompanying determiners, adjectives, and numerals correctly.

Portuguese has two genders for nouns: masculine and feminine. There are two numbers: singular and plural. Additionally, it only has 1 case for nouns: nominative. But for personal pronouns, Portuguese has additionally accusative and dative.

grammatical namevaluesexamples
gendermasculineo porto azul (the blue port)
femininea cadeira azul (the blue chair)
------
numbersingularuma casa vermelha (a red house)
pluralduas casas vermelhas (two red houses)
------
cases (noun)nominativeo cão (the dog)
cases (pronoun)nominativeMário constrói uma casa. Ele constrói uma casa.
(Mario builds a house. He builds a house.)
accusativeMario constrói uma casa. Mario la constrói.
(Maria builds a house. Maria builds it.)
dativeMaria dá um livro a Luigi. Maria lhe dá um livro.
(Maria gives Luigi a book. Maria gives him a book.)
------
adjectives (noun)after-nouno telefone preto (the black phone)
before-nouno excelente produto (the excellent product)
------
verb tensespresentele escreve (he writes)
past (preterite)ele escreveu (He wrote)
imperfectele escrevia (He wrote)
futureele escreverá (He will write)
gerundescrevendo (writing)

The standard order of a noun phrase in Portuguese is the following: preposition + determiner + numeral + noun + adjective.

See for example:

com   estes  três   livros     populares
with  these  three  books[pl]  popular
PREP  DET    NUM    NOUN       ADJ
"with these three popular books"

Lexicon

Nouns

For Portuguese nouns, the LEXICON needs to encode gender and determiner changes. If the lexicon entry is missing, the NLG platform tries to find the most probable gender based on heuristics. The plural forms should be added to the lexicon if they are not regular.

Lexicon entries for nouns may also be necessary for inflecting determiners, adjectives and pronouns correctly. They are omitted, if a lexicon entry is required, but missing.

Examples

The basic lexicon entry for casa (house) contains:

  • gender: f
  • inflection table for case and number:
SingularPlural
Nominativecasacasas

note

If you need lexicon entries for countries, write to the support about that and you will get them for Portuguese with automatic handling of determiners.

Adjectives

In the lexicon the inflection table for gender and number can be encoded, as well as the adjective position (before the noun or after the noun).

For adjective position, the default is "after noun". Certain adjectives should stay before the noun. In that case, "before noun" has to be selected in the lexicon. For instance, some adjectives like bom ("good") or belo ("nice") often precede the noun:

o bom livro
(the good book)

Verbs

The most common verbs are encoded in our software. If a verb inflects the wrong way, you should add it to the lexicon.

Container settings

Numerals

The noun will automatically agree with the numeral number when a numeral variable is used. Four types of numerals are possible on the AX NLG platform: cardinal, cardinal as digit, ordinal, and ordinal as digit.

cardinalordinal
textnove dias
(nine days)
o nono dia
(the ninth day)
digit9 dias
(9 days)
o 9º dia
(the 9th day)

For Portuguese, both cardinal and ordinal numerals are written out until 12, otherwise (above 12) the output is in digit form. Take cardinal numerals for example,

doze automóveis
(twelve cars)
13 automóveis
(13 cars)

Prepositions and determiners: contractions

If users configure prepositions and determiners in the container, they are automatically adapted, when phonetic assimilation needs to happen. For instance, the preposition em is contracted with the definite determiner a:

na cozinha
(in the kitchen)

Examples

Determiner switch

Determiners can be switched depending on the noun.

In the sentence

Eles viajaram de Berlim para Cuba.
(They travelled from Berlin to Cuba.)

the settings for the container for Cuba are: determiner="definite", and case="nominative". Here a determiner switch happens from definite to none.

Language Variants

The AX NLG platform offers 2 variants of the Portuguese language:

  • Portugal (Standard)
  • Brazil

The differences between these variants are mostly lexical. The grammatical difference shows in the forms of the possessive determiners: for example my book is o meu livro in Portugal, but meu livro in Brazil.