|Post by Donna
Learning a language is a lot of work but theres some fun in it too. We have had a lot of giggles over English words that Brazilians have adopted, Portuguese words that sound frighteningly like something else and things we have said without meaning to. Hope you can see the humor in some of these.
Lets start with Porkacheese, our pet name for this language, which resulted from a mispronunciation one day at the dinner table in Arkansas, when Gwen declared, I dont want to learn Porkacheese! Well, shes eating those words now.
Brazilian Portuguese, or Brazilero as they call it, employs a number of English words of more recent origins. However, it seems that in pronouncing them, Brazilians are incapable of ending the word with a consonant sound. They have to tack on a vowel at the end. So ping pong becomes pingy pongy, Internet becomes Internechee and tic toc is chicky tocky (the ti combo in Brazilero has a ch sound).
Then there are words that if you dont get just right, you might embarrass yourself. For simplicitys sake, I am going to spell these words phonetically so its easier to understand the confusion. If you need shortening in the store, better ask for banya, not banyo unless you also need to use the restroom. Likewise, if youre looking for size double X, careful to say sheesh sheesh because saying shee shee will give the clerk the impression youve just peed yourself! And finally, when you go into one of the many bakeries here and are tempted by a bon bon, in Brazilero bom bom, get that o sound just right, because if you walk up and ask for a bum bum, youve just ask for a butt! Who knows what that might get you! And for those of you with some Spanish background, you might be able to relate to how difficult it was for me to come to terms with saying the word for year in Portuguese: ano. In Spanish, say that only if you want egg on your face, or if you actually mean to say anus.
Finally, weve learned over the months that some things that were involuntarily coming out of our mouths were meaning other things and probably causing all sorts of confusion. I had to work hard to break myself from saying, OK. In Spanish, this is well recognized with the same meaning it has in English, but in Portuguese, it means, what. And I wondered why people would repeat things to me after I had clearly said, OK! Gwen, on the other hand, trying her best to encourage her friends who want to learn English, often greats them with Hey! or, in Brazilero, King! So, if sometime in the future, you meet a Brazilian who greets you with King! well know the extent of the influence Gwen has had on Brazil.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of fun weve had with this language, which we feel sure was the result of a spoiled Spanish prince, who instead of getting the speech therapy he needed, created a new language! No offense intended there, just sayin.