Я плохо говорю по-португальски, но уже хорошо читаю. (Literal meaning: i speak Portuguese badly, but read (it) well.

The literal meaning of уже is ‘already’, but at the same time i know it expresses a word sort of like an elongated time.

If we remove уже from the sentence i still get the same translation.

What is the purpose of it in this sentence?

Thank you in advance

1 Answer 1

  • I speak Portuguese badly, but I can read it well already.

The meaning is, my Portuguese is constantly improving and I can read it well already. Without the уже the sentence would lose the sense of me currently studying Portuguese and would just state that my overall Portuguese is bad but reading is ok.

You may ask, where is the can in the original Russian sentence? It is implied. English does this too: 'I speak German' doesn't mean you speak it every day. It means you can speak it well. Similarly, the Russian я хорошо читаю по-португальски means 'I can read Portuguese well'.

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