# What fraction Portuguese am I?

Or you could subtitle the thread “teach Elfie basic math” if it makes you happier

My mom is 1/2 Portuguese and 1/2 Irish. My Dad is 1/3rd French, 1/3rd Scottish and 1/3rd English (I’m not sure how you get to be a 1/3rd of something, but that’s what he says he is) Anyway… What fraction Portuguese am I?

I’m pretty sure 1/5th is not the right answer to my question. What is the right answer?

You’re 1/4 Portuguese.

Thirds are tough to do. Either your dad had 3 parents, or he’s rounding based on ancestry added up from the 1/64th or 1/128th part or so.

You’re half a half Portugese. The ratios break down as follows:

0.25 Portuguese
0.25 Irish
0.167 French
0.167 Scottish
0.167 English

It’s actually mathematically impossible to be a “third” anything, just as no combination of binary fractions (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 etc.) can be added to make a third.

Yeah, I’m not sure how he arrived at 1/3rd either, but I know it has something to do with his parents sharing common nationalities. Somehow.

I suppose another question is how did I manage to post this in GD instead of GQ? Mods, clean up in isle three, please.

Aisle.

Your father’s nationality, no matter what it is (as long as it’s not part Portuguese), has nothing to do with what percentage Portuguese you are. It’s 50% ancestry from each parent, so you have to divide whatever they are in half to get your own ancestry.

My mother is 100% of Irish descent. My father was 1/2 Irish, 3/8 German, and 1/8 Swiss.

I am therefore 3/4 Irish (1/2 from my mother and 1/4 from my father), 3/16 German and 1/16 Swiss. Of my 16 great-great-grandparents, 12 were Irish, 3 were German, and 1 Swiss.

Your father most likely had 1 parent who was half and half, and the other who was half and half. His correct fractions are most likely 1/2, 1/4 and 1/4.

I, on the other hand am 3/4s Italian, 3/16ths Polish, and 1/16 “other”, which makes my son 1/2 Irish, 3/8ths Italian, 3/32nds Polish, and 1/32nd “other”. Now if that “other” ends up being a mix, including a piece of Irish, then things will get really difficult.

Hehe, that was fun.

Maybe your father’s ancestors come from regions of disputed nationality, and that’s how he came to be 1/3? If, say, his mother’s line comes from an area just north of Hadrian’s wall which was under English control 1/3 of the time and Scottish 2/3 of the time, and his father’s line comes from a part of Normandy that was English 1/3 of the time and French 2/3 of the time?

OK, so that’s a stretch. Much more likely that he’s rounding, that he doesn’t have all his information, or that he just screwed up the math.

Here’s how to figure it out:

Strong craving for salted cod dishes and cozido, intimate knowledge of Amalia Rodriguez’ discography = full-on Portuguese

Morose nature, longing for the past, somewhat suspicious of outsiders = 1/2 Portuguese

Bushy eyebrows, affinity for ‘bicas’, five o’clock shadow immediately after shaving = 1/4 Portuguese

Maybe he’s his own grandpa.

Okay, what percentage Amerindian are my kids?

My grandmother = 1/2 (Potawotami)
My mother = 1/4
Me = 1/8

Their father’s grandfather = 1/2 (Sioux)
Their grandfather = 1/4
Their father = 1/8
So I say the kids are 1/8 also. (1/16 + 1/16)

(BTW apparently the Potawotamis would claim us all–a couple of my cousins are enrolled tribal members. Not sure about the Sioux though.)

That would be correct. Of their 16 great-great-grandparents, 2 were Amerindian, so they are 2/16 or 1/8.