Which Language Is That?

When I arrived back home from college after attending a class with one of the most feared teachers (difficult subject and person as well), my mother and I had the following conversation:

-How was class?
-Hard. I couldn’t understand much.
-Wow, is the subject that complicated?
-Well, first I have to translate what the teacher says: his accent is so strong that it seems like he’s speaking another language! When I’m done with the translation, I have to think about it and give the appropriate answers. Doing all that at 7:30 in the morning is not a piece of cake!

We both laughed a lot after that. Overstatements aside, though we speak the same language each Brazilian region has its own peculiarities. Our language has been influenced by Indians, Africans and several other people that immigrated to the country over the years.

All of these influences together with Brazilian creativity, results in plenty of popular regional terms and slang. Slang, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is the “very informal language that is usually spoken rather than written, used especially by particular groups of people “. Slang is an important feature of communication, spoken by all social strata and age groups. Below is a list of some slang from different Brazilian states:


De hoje – means “for a long time”. If you have been waiting for something or someone for a long time you can say : “ De hoje que eu tô esperando!” (I’ve been waiting for such a long time!).
Massa! – cool, great.
Ô pega! – expression that indicates surprise. Something like “My God!” or “Wow!”.
Baba – a soccer match.
Pegar o boi, se armar – to be successful or lucky.
Se lenhar – to get into trouble .
Se picar – to leave.
Tabaréu – yokel, hillbilly.


Trem – it can be anything. If a person from Minas sees a beautiful child they can say: “What a beautiful, trenzin!”. Trem in the diminutive (trenzinho) and without the last two letters.
Uai! – indicates surprise and is used in almost every sentence.
Rachar de rir – to laugh a lot.
Osso – difficult.
Aqui – word used to begin sentences, to insert a subject. “Aqui, will you travel in Summer?”.


Balada – party .
Trampo – job.
Meu – dude .
Mina – girl.
Tá ligado? – Got it?
Muito louco, da hora – something very good, interesting.


Bolado – worried.
Irado – great.
Night – party.
Sinistro – it can be something good or bad.
Mermão – it means dude and is the agglutination of meu irmão(my brother).
Parada – it means thing, anything. “Esqueci aquela parada em casa”(I’ve forgotten something at home).
Sangue-bom – a nice person.

An interesting video that shows regional variations of speech in Brazil and slangs used in some states is Nelson Freitas’ interview in Jô Soares’ tv program. Nelson, like many Brazilians, makes fun of how people speak in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro. These regional differences make our language special and richer every day.


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