From English to Brazilian Portuguese and back … Another great guest blog from Brazil, this time from Stephan Hughes, teacher, teacher trainer, translator, interpreter and educational technology enthusiast.
Living in the country for more than 13 years has given me some “expertise” on the impact of English on Brazilian Portuguese. Words are adapted and formed based on English ones, e.g. deletar (to delete), estopar (to stop), printer (to print), and then there are those words which are incorporated lock stock and barrel, e.g. penalty, performance, approach, holding. Some are borrowed in the original form but have changed in meaning: an outdoor no longer refers to an open space, somewhere beyond the area of a four walled room, but a billboard or large advertising poster spread out around big Brazilian cities.
As an English speaking native and language teacher in Rio, I realized how influential my mother tongue could be. One aspect that I have found quite intriguing is the use of the Future Continuous or Future Perfect Continuous in Portuguese, especially in telemarketing jargon: “Dentro de uma semana, o senhor estará recebendo nosso catálogo” (which translates into English as “In a week’s time you will be receiving our catalog, Sir”). From what Brazilian colleagues have told me, the use of the tense in Portuguese was virtually non-existent until some years ago.
Another fun element of Portenglish/Brazinglish or whatever you might want to call it is the way Brazilian learners and teachers of English alike literally “translate” sayings and proverbs from one language to the other. For instance, the omnipresent What’s up is loosely translated as “Which is”, which is a literal translation of the original Portuguese equivalent Qual é.
Here are a couple more examples:
Makeshift translation: Don’t come that don’t have!
Original Brazilian saying: Não vem que não tem!
English version: Don’t even think about it!
Makeshift translation: It’s not soft, no!
Original Brazilian saying: Não é mole, não!
English version: It’s not easy! It’s no walk in the park!
Finally, a great way to see how one language impacts on the other is in music. One song penned by Brazilian artist Zeca Baleiro makes things crystal clear. Here are a few lines:
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Venha provar meu brunch (Come try my brunch)
Saiba que eu tenho approach (Know that I take things head on)
Na hora do lunch (At snack time)
Eu ando de ferryboat (I take the ferryboat)