Nivi's Adventures

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Desculpe eu não falo português... (Sorry I can't speak portuguese)

So this post is about my language woes and I'm sure you can appreciate why I learnt how to say the above quick smart!

Salvador is purportedly one of the most visited place in Brasil - 3rd after Rio De Janeiro and Foz do Iguaçu (Iguassu Falls). I figured that this meant that at least some people would be able to speak at least a little bit of English... I found out this was a bit of a mistaken assumption pretty quickly! I suppose it doesn't help that because I've actually been living here rather than visiting, I haven't been going to the tourist places/restaurants where people are more likely to know at least a few choice words...

In the office, most of the people could speak at least some English, but there are some who dont speak any at all. All of this meant I had several good reasons to learn the local lingo! It's a romantic language, like French which I studied at school, but the pronunciation is very different so I thought I'd never pick it up! However with a bit of effort on my part and patience on Flavio's part I can kinda get by now. I can read reasonably well, write baby sentences, speak slowly with simple words and can kinda understand people, mas não quando eles falam muito rapido (not when they speak quickly) Much thanks Flavio, for being so encouranging and a backup for me all those times I tried to tackle buying things etc by myself!

Lastly I'll share something with you that I had NO idea about - let me know if you already knew this... When a word in Portuguese starts with 'R' it's pronounced as H. Same goes for RR in the middle of a word, it's pronounced H as well. So it's not Rio De Janeiro or Ronaldo, it's Hio de Janeiro and Honaldo!


  • Not only Salvador, but the whole brazilian Northeast deserves to be visited as well, there are amazing places for sightseeing! Not to mention Rio!!
    I know portuguese is kinda hard to learn (specially the conjugation of the verbs), but somehow you are doing fine...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:49 PM  

  • So is the "j" sound always hard? eg compared to spanish "Juan" or "Hijo", in which it's not pronounced like an english j at all?

    By Blogger Rachael, at 5:29 PM  

  • Yip, from what I can gather, the J sound is always pronounced like the J in english. Portuguese is probably most similar to Spanish out of all the languages in the world but it's still quite different!

    And according to all the brasilians I've spoken to, it's much easier for a Portuguese speaker to learn/speak Spanish than vice versa because there are sounds in portuguese that aren't in spanish. (I wonder if Spanish ppl say the opposite though ;)

    By Blogger Nivi, at 5:11 AM  

  • Hey Nivi,

    I've got a question about this. How would you then pronounce my name?

    Or even worse, my initials?!


    By Blogger rickerbh, at 9:50 AM  

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