Our Brazil English month continues with another guest post, this time by Denilso de Lima, ELT author, teacher trainer, conference speaker and member of the blogosphere. Denilso prepares us for Carnaval by introducing some creative word formation processes in Brazinglish.
Here in Brazil, I have heard lots of common mistakes Brazilian learners make when speaking English. For instance, learners often have difficulty with final consontants in words such as whisk, sweet and book. So, one may hear these words pronounced as whisky, sweetie and bookie instead.
That’s OK! Teachers’ task is to help their learners notice the difference and problem solved! Now, what is more curious in Brazil is something called the embromation of English.
Embromation comes from the Brazilian Portuguese verb embromar and the English suffix –ation. Embromar means lots of things, but in this context it can be loosely interpreted as:
the process of creating words and sentences from words and (maybe) sentences you know to make something people think is real English
The magic of embromation, whose equivalent in Brazilian Portuguese is embromação, is this:
I create a language which may sound like English but it is not English at all
Having defined embromation, I have to add that this ‘invention’ also makes use of similarities in the way Portuguese and English words sound. An example of this is the sentence “U á tem som di u?”, which in English sounds something like “What ten son dee ooo?”. I know it means absolutely nothing, but if you say it really fast here in Brazil, it sounds like English. Incredibly, some naive people here in Brazil may believe that it is real English. (If you are wondering, this nonsense sentence means: ‘Is the letter a pronounced like the letter u?’ Crazy, huh?)
Although it is a play on words and the way those words sound, I have to warn you that sometimes things get real around here. As you may know, Carnaval, the most famous Brazilian holiday, is starting later this week. So this year, embromation has its place guaranteed at almost every party all over the country.
An axé group (axé is a common style of music in Brazil) created a new song and dance called Rebolation. For those who might be wondering: rebolation comes from the verb rebolar (meaning ‘to move and shake the hips in a sensual and sexy way’) and, of course, the suffix –ation. Another magical creation of embromation.
So, are you coming to Brazil for Carnaval? Be aware of embromation as well as rebolation. I am pretty sure you are going to have lots of fun. If you are not coming, don’t worry: embromation will still be around for some time.Email this Post