Brazilian Portuguese Badly Said

These are words sometimes said by crianças, other times by people without formal education. The correct words are in bold. If you know others that people sometimes pronounce incorrectly, add them in the comments.

Problema (Problem)

– Pobrema
– Poblema

Dificuldade (Difficulty)

– Dificulidade

A gente (We)

– A hente

Estômago (Stomach)

– Estrombago

Mas (But)

– Mais

Advogado (Lawyer)

– Adevogado

Cabelereiro (Hair stylist)

– Cabeleleiro

Cérebro (Brain)

– Célebro

Acostamento (Shoulder, Roadside)

– Encostamento

Gerund verb endings

– Ex. Você tá brincano? Ex. O que tá fazeno?

LFB – Defining the Pegada

The above was taken from the, um, always trustworthy Yahoo Answers and it depicts what it means to have the illustrious and time-honored “pegada” (from pegar, lit. to grab), which is the Holy Grail of male-to-female attraction in Brazil. I translated the gist of it below and added some other (Yahoo) answers…Afterwards, see the comment(s).

– “To have pegada is to take charge, to be confident when you approach a woman. If you want to kiss her, you go and do it.

For example, imagine there’s a guy who approaches a woman, he talks then talks some more and nothing happens. They’ve met and stay a long time talking and after an hour goes by that’s when he tries to touch or kiss her only to find out that she’s lost interest. This is what it means to not have pegada, to not take charge and show confidence. This is a lack of masculinity.

If the guy doesn’t have pegada, rarely will the woman feel attraction towards him, it doesn’t matter how good he looks or how much money he has. If the guy has pegada, he’ll have an advantage over any other guy that doesn’t have it and yet is fighting over the same woman.”

– “It is said to be an exceptional quality that a man possesses when kissing or having sex with someone.”

– “Pegada is nothing more than, among women, that typical butterflies in the stomach feeling that they feel upon being touched. In other words, it’s a slight sexual excitement felt via touch.”

– “basically he ‘grabs’ me today and for the rest of the week, when I remember that day, I still get aroused….that’s when you know he’s got pegada!”

And finally, a 15 year old’s answer…

– “yo, it’s like this, you walk up to the girl, grab her by the waist, say a quick “hi” and give her a 5-minute kiss (cause if 3 seconds have gone by and she hasn’t slapped you yet, you know she’s likin’ it). But, on the real, if she says you ain’t got pegada, make sure she’s not a dude.”

Sururu – Disorder

So I learned a new word while watching As Cariocas, for research purposes, of course. The sentence was something like “…de paz para um sururu” and as I enjoy words of Tupi origin, I looked it up and to my surprise, it means “mussels”. Not trusting the regular dictionary, I checked it on Dicionário Informal and found it means ‘disorder’, as in “foi o maior sururu!” (it was total chaos!)…so, yeah…never throw a bucket of mussels on someone’s head.

Vem Cá – Informal Phrase

Most of us who are sufficiently versed in Portuguese know that the phrase “vem cá” means “come here” (though, technically, I suppose it should be as a command, ie “venha cá” ). There’s a second meaning which can be loosely translated into English as “hold on”, “wait just a second”, “listen up” or even “pay attention”, all of them serving as a way to call attention to something you wish to say.

Ex. “Vem cá, o que está acontecendo aqui?”
Ex. “Hold on a sec., what’s going on here?”

So how do you tell the difference between someone wanting you to come closer or wanting you to listen up? Aside from understanding the context, the informal usage has a slightly different intonation than the literal one.

In Portuguese, a substitute for “vem cá”, in the informal sense, is the phrase “olha só”. Some people might have an aversion to this secondary usage and may respond by saying “Vem cá pra onde? Eu não estou aqui já!?” (Come where? Am I not already here?).

O Bicho Tá Pegando – Slang

This famous Brazilian Portuguese phrase refers to any difficult situation, one that is hard to resolve. Another variation of the same thing, but in the near future, is ‘o bicho vai pegar’. If someone asks me how I am and I have three exams tomorrow plus a fulltime job, I might answer by saying ‘Vixi, o bicho tá pegando, viu?’. Some rough English translations might be ‘it’s time to pay the piper’, ‘the jig is up’ or ‘there’s hell to pay’, basically it’s when someone has to bear the consequences of one’s actions.

Without Salt – Phrases/Slang

I just learned a new phrase for saying a woman is a plain Jane. I haven’t confirmed if this is applied to men as well but I wouldn’t see why not. It seems to go like this, since salt is seasoning and seasoning generally makes food more appealing or interesting, then to say someone is without salt, means they’re boring.

Ex. Ela é muito sem sal e não sei o que ele vê nela.
Ex. She is such a plain Jane and I don’t know what he sees in her.

You may also see “sem sal, nem açúcar” which is basically the same, meaning without salt, nor sugar.

Telling Someone They Smell

Sometimes there are words that aren’t necessarily in the dictionary but they form part of the culture, so it’s good to know them too…even if they stink! Below, you’ll see quite a few words that you can use to speak of someone’s (bad) smell, with a few extras added in for good measure. Remember that you should use estar (com) with these words to express temporary situations.

Tá fedendo/podre – You stink!
Chulé – Smelly feet (which you might remember from this)
Bafo (or Mau hálito) – Bad breath
Ce-cê (from CC or cheiro de corpo) – Body odor* (aka, BO)

* – You can also say axila, catinga, fedor de suor or even sovaco. Also, the English equivelent of telling someone they have ‘dog breath’ is expressed in Portuguese as ‘bafo de onça‘ (jaguar breath).

A few others as extras so that I don’t have to do another post on this sort of subject! lol

Arrotar – To burp
Peidar – To ‘pass gas’/fart
Remela – Crusties or Eye boogers
Muco – Phlegm
Meleca – Booger

Does ‘vai’ derive from Italian? – Curiosities

One of my favorite tags in Italian is “dai” which the blog Dolce Vita explains in the following excerpt,

“Dai” said with an irritated tone can mean “enough” or “stop it”. It can also mean “come on” in all its many forms – impatience, encouragement and the gritted teeth of effort or tension if you’re following you favourite football team in that moment and it’s about time they scored a goal.

“Ma dai” can indicate mild suprise, incredulity or even suspicion that your interlocutor is pulling your leg. It can be a kind of “as if” or “stop having me on”. “Dai” said with a lowered tone and widened eyes will often be found in gossip and can mean “tell me more”!

 In Portuguese, ‘vai’ can be used as an informal tag on the end of a statement such as when someone says “me leva, vai!” (c’mon, take me!). Just a hypothesis based on the huge influx of Italians to Brazil during the time prior to and just after the turn of the last century.

Miguxês (Neo-Portuguese) – Curiosities

In 2007, I was in São Paulo for a month on vacation and it was right about the same time that the Museu da Língua Portuguesa (Portuguese Language Museum) opened at the Estação da Luz train station near the Sá neighborhood of São Paulo. On the second floor, which usually holds interactive exhibits, there was a timeline of the Portuguese language and it ended with a sort of Portuguese shorthand that kids use on the Internet.

However, Internet shorthand isn’t the worst of it, now there’s miguxês (and neo-miguxês), as it’s been deemed. The term comes from the miguxês-ation of the word “amigo”, which in miguxês becomes “migu”. Below, you’ll find all three levels of it, each one worse than the last. Feel free to try out the MiGuXeiToR translation tool.

Miguxês Arcaico (ICQ)
Ex. Isso eh o miguxês!

Miguxês Moderno (MSN)
Ex. Issu eh u miguxês!!

Neo-Miguxês (Orkut, Fotolog)
Ex. IXXu EH u MIGUxXxeIxXx!!!!!