LESSON 13

Idiomatic Expressions

When studying another language, one opens oneself to a new universe in terms of communication and culture. I usually tell my students that languages are like living amalgams that reveal a lot about the way specific groups of people think. Languages transform themselves daily, and transform the people who speak them, as well. They reveal a lot about certain peoples’ thoughts and ways of establishing relationships with the others.

What Portuguese do we speak in Brazil ?

Portuguese is the official language in Brazil , but there are many languages which are spoken here, such as Guarani and Tupi. There are over 290 distinct Native American populations in Brazil , each of whom speaks a different language, or a variations of a main linguistic base. Their languagues have had a profound influence on Brazilian Portuguese as well. Some African idioms, such as yorubá, have also contributed to the Brazilian-Portuguese language.

Such conditions reveal a great number of differences and peculiarities about what one could call the Brazilian Language”. Our culture is known for its great diversity, and what in fact makes the Brazilian people is our undeniable mixture: we are partly Indians, partly Africans, partly Europeans, partly Asiatic¦ This irrefutable truth is also very noticeable in our language and idiomatic expressions.

An idiomatic expression may find a correlative meaning in the plan of ideas, but not in the plan of structure. Therefore one finds no use in literal translation of an idiomatic expression. We have listed some common and widely used expressions trying to avoid regionalisms, so than you can make yourself understood in any place you go in Brazil .

Cheers! Miguel de Rogates, Silvia Nogueira e Tania Nogueira