Denilso de Lima, ELT author, teacher trainer and conference speaker in Brazil treats us to another guest post on the topic of Brazil English. You can visit Denilso’s blog Inglês na Ponta da Língua.
I read Jussara’s post on Brazinglish and had to write a bit further about some other interesting and curious ways in which the English language is used around here.
You all may know, of course, that we are (really) good at football. Not everybody, of course! I myself am not! Anyway, what most people around the world may not know is that we use almost the same words used in English but spell them in our own improvised way. For example, goal becomes gol; ball, bola; penalty, pênalti; football, futebol; stadium, estádio; fans, fãs; corner… Well, corner is córner for some and escanteio for others.
This spelling phenomenon happens not only in futebol. Throughout the day you may hear things like deletar (to delete), printar (to print), upar (to upgrade), lincar or linkar (to link), googlar (to google), tuitar (to tweet), blecaute (blackout), bagagem (baggage), récorde (record). At a restaurant, or rather fast food (pronounced ‘fastie foodie’), you will find hamburgueres (hamburgers), hot dogs (‘hotie doggies’ – yeah, weird, I know!), diet (spoken as ‘dietie’), x-burguer (which is a cheeseburger, x in Brazilian Portuguese sounds like cheese in English).
Apart from all the ‘embromation’ I wrote about here as well as the creation of new words (e.g. black power, no-break, busdoor, cooper, etc), people use real English words in conversation: Internet, off prices, for sale, chat, coffee break, workshops, way of life, cookies, waffles, flat (meaning ‘apartment’), playground, modem and so many others are common words in some places.
This invasion (invasão for us) of ‘alien’ words in the Portuguese language got on some people’s nerves years ago. Politicians (yeah, can you believe it?) got angry about it. So, they tried to pass a law prohibiting the use of foreign words in Brazil. If such words were used here, this would be a crime. For sure, Brazil would be the largest jail in the world now and I would be writing this from prison! By the way, we also have prisão, which is the way we spell and pronounce prison.
Linguists and other specialists in the field did not agree with the politicians. Then, they got together and sent the National Congress a letter telling politicians that this ‘invasion’ (invasão, here) is completely normal. Borrowing words from other languages is a natural process in living languages. That’s why English-speaking people have feijoada, banana, samba, carnival, albino, bossa nova, cobra, zebra, anil and other Portuguese words in their dictionaries. The final message went like this: “Hey guys, there’s no need to fuss about this, OK? Be cool and do your jobs!”
Cool, huh? Well, this is Brazil! This is the way Brazilians play with English words. I just love that! Be it the ‘embromation’ stuff, the creation of new words, the weird spelling or anything else, I just love it!Email this Post