Listening and watching in Portuguese

listening-in-portuguese

What is the difference between the verbs ASSISTIR, and VER? Is there any real difference between OUVIR and ESCUTAR?

I was taught that VER means to see and, ASSISTIR means to watch.
VER: to see / ASSISTIR: to watch

I was also taught that OUVIR is to hear, and ESCUTAR is to listen.

OUVIR: to hear / ESCUTAR: to listen

Thinking (profundamente) about these subtle differences it strikes me as really odd that in English we have these two different verbs for the sense of seeing and hearing, but for the other senses we do not. To feel is to feel, to smell is to smell, to taste is to taste. Did you notice how the difference between for example to see and to watch is that assistir implies some deeper type of seeing, while ver feels like it’s a passive thing.

Weird. The same difference exists between to hear and to listen. Hearing is usually the more passive activity.

But, we are getting too existential. You can basically forget about any real differences between these verbs in Portuguese. People will use ver just as they use assistir. They will use ouvir as well as escutar. I am convinced there must be a difference but alas: my wide experience in ouvindo e assistindo Brazilians yields one truth: they use them interchangeably.

Let’s see some examples shall we?

Are you listening?

Você está escutando? / Você está ouvindo?

Can you hear it?

Consegue ouvir? / Consegue escutar?

I’m watching TV.

Estou vendo tv. / Estou assistindo tv.

Let’s watch TV later on.

Vamos assistir tv mais tarde. / Vamos ver tv mais tarde.

I see everything.

Vejo tudo. / Assisto tudo.

* Brazilians might also say, "Olho tudo"

I see dead people.

Vejo os mortos. / No other options

* In this case, assisto sounds awkward.

Did you see that movie?

Você viu o filme? / Assistiu o filme?

I’m watching you!

Estou de olho em você!

* Te peguei! Brazilians will always use OLHAR (to look) when saying this. It's like, I'm looking at you!