Tanned skin, laziness, football, samba, economic growth, lack of punctuality, joy, hospitality, woods, beaches, women and so on. These are some of the aspects that seem to constitute Brazil’s image abroad, but not all of them represent the reality – especially being a very diversified one – of the country. Between half-truths and mistakes, one thing can be affirmed: Brazilian people are, in general, very cheerful and jolly.
Foreigners may get kind of lost in jokes and chats among Brazilians, mainly on the internet. And one of the reasons for that would be the constant use of slang, idioms and Internet memes – which I imagine, can be mistaken for internal jokes. The memes can be images, songs, quotes, videos, etc. that are spread especially via social media, blogs and emails. In order to help those who are learning Portuguese and want to engage in conversations with native speakers of the language, I decided to present and explain some of the main Brazilian internet memes.
Check out below the memes that are (or were) trendy in Brazil:
• Fica, vai ter bolo! (Stay, there will be cake!)
Origin: This saying has been known for ages by many Brazilians. Usually used by elders to convince guests to prolong their stay for a longer time, including at birthday parties. It became popular on the internet through Orkut and later on Twitter.
Meaning and usability: Nowadays it can be also used when you wish that someone doesn’t leave the chat, if you want something not to end etc.
• Aham, Cláudia, senta lá. / Ajuda eu! (All right, Claudia, go sit there / Help I!)
Origin: Xuxa Meneghel (also a pseudo singer, wannabe actress and so on) hosts a TV show for children, very famous in Brazil, and used to be Pele’s and Ayrton Senna’s girlfriend. In this video, Xuxa coldly ignores the gesture of a kid – who apparently wanted to show her something – saying “Aham, Cláudia, senta lá” (All right, Claudia, go sit there). And, visibly having no talent to deal with children, she asks repeatedly in despair: “Ajuda eu!” (Help I); the correct form being “Me ajuda!” (Help me!).
Meaning and usability: ‘Aham, Claúdia, senta lá’ can be used when you have the intention to ignore, to not give attention, to discredit someone, and many more. As for the “Ajuda eu”, it can be used when you need a little hand.
• Vem, gente! (Come, people!)
Origin: Once again it comes from a Xuxa’s video. When a fire starts in her studio, she runs screaming with a particular strident voice: “Come, people!”
Meaning and usability: You can say it whenever you want to cheer up your friends to do something or invite them to go out.
• Vocês não merecem falar com meu anjo. / Alfabetizada(o) em inglês. (You don’t deserve to talk with my angel / Literate in English)
Origin: Xuxa strikes again. This time her daughter (Sasha) made a Portuguese mistake in one tweet, having become inspiration of jokes among internet users. Xuxa’s answer was that Sasha was literate in English. As if it wasn’t enough, Xuxa tweets that Sasha had been filmed with a snake; motivating more mean jokes…
Meaning and usability: Whenever making a Portuguese mistake, you can use the excuse that you were literate in English.
• Menos a Luisa, que está no Canadá. (Except for Luiza, who is in Canada.)
Origin: The phrase came from a commercial in which a man preaches about how good the announced apartment is. And being so good, he says he has decided to gather all his family together – except for Luiza, who was in Canada – to recommend it. His explanation about his daughter being in Canada is extremely pointless, plus, it sounds like he is praising himself for having a daughter living in Canada.
Meaning and usability: You can use it whenever wanting to generalize something and right after that add an exception. For example: “Everybody celebrates the arrival of summer, except for Luiza, who is in Canada.”
• Todos chora! (Everybody cry)
Origin: There are controversies. Some believe that the expression has come from a trendy wave in 2004 on Orkut (popular social media in Brazil) called Tiopês. Tiopês was a well humored way to make comments, writing incorrectly on purpose in order to add an ironic tone to the speech.
Meaning and usability: It can be used when something bad happens, or to add irony. The expression is flexible and commonly used with any other verb, for example: “everybody celebrate”, “everybody shout” etc. Some other word that can be written with improper spelling are: corrão (ao invés e corram – run); rykah (ao invés de rica/o – rich); safadjendo (safadinho – naughty); fotenha (foto – picture) etc. Now you have to be careful and understand the context so you can realize when the mistake is involuntary and when it is not.
How about you, what are the trendy memes from your country?
Well, that’s it for today. Now, everybody cry! (except for Luiza, who is in Canada)