Brazilian Portuguese is an amazing language, especially because it is full of emotion. However, it doesn’t seem that many foreigners are motivated to learn it: when choosing a Latin language, Spanish, French or Italian always seem like a better option. This is why I couldn’t keep to the theme “mistakes in Portuguese” – I don´t know many foreigners that speak my language!
But anyway, to those who accept the challenge and learn Brazilian Portuguese – whether it be for their career, because they like the country or just for fun – here is the thing: it is not an easy language, for sure. You will make some mistakes, you will have a lot to think about when trying to conjugate a verb or guessing if a noun is feminine or masculine. But once you learn it, you will amaze the Brazilians with your words.
So here are some hints for learning real Brazilian Portuguese – think of them as clues to Brazilian culture. They start to show you a nation full of beauty, affability and happiness.
This one is used as an answer when someone says something impressive or unlikely. It would be like “You are kidding”, or “No way”. It has a funny tone, because the expression would literally mean “talk seriously”.
The literal translation of this would be “Imagine”, but the meaning is completely different. ‘Imagina’ is used after someone says thank you, as a way of saying “no problem at all”! The pronunciation is usually more informal, and people don´t say the first ‘I’ , ending up with a ‘Magina’.
This is an informal way that young guys address each other. It can be used to greet one another, to get someone’s attention or just because it is funny. The rough equivalent in English – probably there is no one that fits in perfectly, but — could be “hey, lil’ punk”.
This expression is used after an adjective, to emphasize it or say the thing is really off-the-charts. If you want to say that something is really good, or that it was really cold, say that it was good ‘pra caramba’, or cold ‘pra caramba’.
Um beijo! or Um abraço!
This would literally mean “a kiss!” or “a hug!”, but it is actually just a way to say goodbye. It can be used during conversation in person (then you don´t really have to hug or kiss the person, if you just met her on the street or something), when talking on the phone or when writing an e-mail. Just take care, this is informal and should not be said to your boss or to someone that you don´t know – and boys don´t usually say “um beijo” to the others.
Hope these few phrases will help you to sound more like a native speaker – even if you have a strong accent. After all, it is always nice to see that people are trying hard to integrate with the local culture and words.