TALKING THE TALK IN BRAZIL AND WHAT TO TALK ABOUT WHILE YOU ARE THERE
Living in the UK I know that the most important subject in every conversation is the weather (o tempo). Before living here I couldn’t understand why British people spend so much time talking about it. This is especially true for someone like myself, who comes from Brazil where the weather is good and the sun (o sol) is always shining. When it’s good every day there is no reason to talk about the weather!
Well, I know now that when the sun doesn’t shine very often it makes a big difference to one’s humour and attitude. In England the weather (o clima) can be very unpredictable, and it can change so much in one day and in such a short time that it can actually become interesting (interessante) to talk about – even for a foreigner!
Although some might say that talking about the weather is also a way of not talking about more serious things! An avoidance strategy, perhaps?
Now, what about Brazilian people? (o povo brasileiro)
What do they like to talk about?
Well, mostly they like to talk about soap operas (novelas).
These are famous in Brazil because people identify with the characters so strongly, and love to imagine that their own lives are as dramatic and exciting as the ones they see portrayed night after night. In every house in Brazil, even in the poorest areas, there is a TV (televisão), and at the soap time almost everyone stops to watch it.
The second most talked about subject is football (futebol). Brazilian people love football and have a passion for it. As soon as children learn to walk they start learning how to play this game!
The third most talked about subject in any conversation is Carnival, due to the sheer number of people who are involved in it both before, during and after its famous samba parade (passarela do samba).
Thousands of people prepare for the great event all year round at the Samba schools (escolas de samba). Every detail is carefully planned, from the costumes (fantasias) of the actors, musicians and dancers, to the gigantic carnival floats (carro alegórico). Carnival itself is when famous celebrities mix with the poor people, and at that moment all the barriers break down and everyone is the same.
If you want to be more down to earth, politics (política) is another dish on the menu (cardápio). This is not proving an easily digestible one for many Brazilians at the moment, as the President (president) Dilma is about to face impeachment (destituição do cargo) due to the recent revelations about corruption in the oil Company Petrobrás.
Now you know what topics to talk about when going to Brazil – both light and serious – but if you don’t think you’re ready to chat at that level yet, come and have some Portuguese lessons with me at www.portugueselessonsonline.co.uk