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Because Portuguese is not a disease.
(What a stupid rhyme!)

Luis Fernando Verissimo

One of my favourite Brazilian writers. His stories are amusing and a guarantee of good entertainment. He has written short stories, novels and some poetry as well.

Born in September 26, 1936 in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, he tried many things before writing. "At the age of 31 i realised that i hadn't work out on anything", he says.

Verissimo is a great fan of jazz, and plays saxophone in a band called Jazz 6. He enjoys the culture of Rio de Janeiro and is a critic of right-wing politicians, especially the former president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

He was married to Lúcia Helena Massa in 1964, and the couple has three children: Fernanda, a journalist, Mariana, a writer, and Pedro, a musician. He lives with his wife in Porto Alegre.

The Flavour Inventor*

"If i could be another man, i would be a new flavours inventor for ice-cream companies. I know such decisions are taken by coolheaded (frozen in this case) marketing departments
in accordance with cientific research and selling strategies, but nothing can keep me from imagining huge ice-cream companies hiring specialists in order to exclusively think new flavours up. Professionals with a big fat salary whose unique function is invade the directory room sometimes and anounce:

- I've got a new flavour!

Great excitement. All department managers are called while the inventor writes down his creation trying to avoid the risk of forget it. Finally, everybody assembled, the whole production stoped just waiting, he reveals his idea:

- Chocrape. Chocolate covered, a crunchy layer and grape inside!

Aplausse. Cheers. He top expectation once more. Production and Promotion is frenetically going on while the flavours-invetor receives honours and goes back to his room to think another flavour up.

He should have a special, but malevolent (only who is in a diet knows how it hurts to resist such appeal of each flavour carefully made to be irresistible), infantile, innocent and shrewd talent.. And he would be a very valued professional.

- Do you know who is that over there?

- Who?

- The creator of "Nhaque"

- Of what?

- "Nhaque". Caramel, strawberry, butterfat and a honey and nuts nucleus. It's a classic. He's a living legend in this business. He's just refused a millionaire offer from Kibon**.

- Look! His eyes are closed and he's smiling like a child.

- He's probably thinking some new flavour up."

*This is my firt time translating some story. So if you know this story and something is missed or wrong, let me know, ok?
**One of the biggest ice cream companies in Brazil, owned by Unilever.


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Hermeto Pascoal

"A self-taught musician, Hermeto Pascoal ascended from his humble upcountry origins to an international acknowledgment still unfair to his musical stature. Developing his ears from an early age at his grandfather's blacksmith shop, Pascoal used to pick up pieces of iron and hit them, trying to create music (not to emulate the harmonics of his father's eight-bass button accordion, as has been spread). This led to an unusual approach to music, where the tones themselves give a stronger conducting motif than chord connection, scales, or modes. His understanding of music as a vital force, emanating organically from everything in Earth, is reminiscent of Kepler's music of the spheres and conducted to eccentric performances and recordings with pigs, kettles, and anything at hand. He has also developed the Sound of the Aura concept, in which music is developed out of people's speech, traffic noise, and out of every possible source of sound. That didn't impede him from conquering the admiration of world-class musicians such as Miles Davis, for whom he recorded as instrumentalist and composer."

In my opinion, Hermeto is one of the most ingenious artists the world have ever seen. His songs are a bit crazy, but incredible.

listen to Hermeto's "Suite norte, sul, leste, oeste"



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Menino Maluquinho – Wacky boy

Ziraldo’s “Menino Maluquinho” is a famous Brazilian cartoon. He is a little frolicker boy who has an indescribable imagination and a pan over his head. He likes wearing his father’s blue jacket, playing soccer with his friends and going to grandma’s home longing to eat a lot of cake and goodies. It marked my childhood as well as every child mind in Brazil for a long time and it is still alive somehow.

Ziraldo was an active political journalist, though writing story for children also. He is one of the founders of a political resistance journal during the Military Dictatorship from 1964 to 1984 called “O Pasquim”.

In 1968 a new law ruled Brazil, AI-5 (Institutional Act number five). It gave an end to all the civil rights and every little gap for democracy was put out. Everyone against the Regime had to hide themselves or run away. One day after this Ziraldo was taken by the military police to the prison, accused of being a dangerous element.

One year later he won the International Oscar of Humor in the 32nd International Exposition of Caricatures in Brussels and nowadays he’s acclaimed as one of the most important graphic artist in Brazil.

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Die Temperatur

I once asked to a German friend how was the weather where he lives. He told me it was getting warmer, about 20° degrees. I said “Wow! Getting warmer?! Here it’s getting colder, it’s about 20° degrees!”.

Rio is not the hottest city of Brazil, for sure, but Bangu is the hottest neighborhood in Rio. Sometimes temperature reaches more than 45° there. I heard about 50° but it’s hard to believe.

That’s why cariocas (people who was born in Rio) keep their coats, jackets and wraps inside the closet and when the thermometer marks 22° or 24° degrees we don’t hesitate about wearing all our winter clothes. When it rains our behavior is even weirder. The streets are turned into a catwalk of jackets. I don’t know why, but we think that “rain” means “cold” and even if it’s 27° if it’s raining we wrap ourselves to go out as if it was winter.

So, if you live in a cold country, when you’re sweating I’m freezing.


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Vira e mexe

'Vira e mexe' is a Brazilian expression which is used referring to something we often do. 'Vira e mexe' I listen to classic music, or 'vira e mexe' I must solve some problem at work. But the funny thing is: it doesn’t make any sense in English. I think it doesn’t make any sense in any language. Literally translated it means 'turn and mix'. For example, turn and mix I cook pasta. Maybe 'turn and change', 'turn and shake' or 'twist and shout' (ok, not this last one).

I was thinking about it this afternoon, What kind of expression is that? Anyway, if it doesn’t make sense in English, neither does it in Portuguese. The point is: vira e mexe we say 'vira e mexe'.

And I hope you vira e mexe access my blog!

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“Teatro Mágico” (Magic Theatre) is one of my favourite Brazilian bands. They mix theatre, poetry, circus art and contemporary music in a wonderful way.

Listen to Teatro Mágico’s “Separô” song.

Access Teatro Mágico’s website.

I was talking with a friend and I found out that circus has a bad meaning in some European countries, often associated with animal abuse. We have a different circus in Brazil. There are some few bad circuses, of course, but the word ‘circus’ refers to jugglers, clowns, ludic activities and a magic atmosphere. There are many circus artists in the streets of Rio and they are quite more presents in northeast region.

There are another troupes like Intrépida Trupe (Intrepid Troup – not a difficult translation) and so many others.

I think this is a good example of a similar word, with the same meaning, referring to the same thing, but with a different culture.

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Brothers and cousins

Have you ever thought about similarities between languages? It is a funny topic. Many times when I talk with someone who has a different mother language from mine I’m took by surprise and suddenly find some identical or quite similar word.

Have you ever heard about Language Family? Language Family is a kind of genealogy of a language. My language, Portuguese, comes from the French/Iberian group in the Indo-European family.

Click here to see the Indo-European map

As you can see in this map, Portuguese has the same origin, or proto-language, as French and Spanish and such languages are pretty close to Italian as well. If you go further I your investigation, you will realize that English, German and Dutch are “cousins”. And Russian, Polish, Czech are relatives somehow. We say “e-mail” – from English, “toilette” – from French, “alcohol” from Arabic and many other words with Latin or Greek origin. Beside this fact, this phenomenon called globalization (can I say phenomenon?) makes our languages even closer. Gazeta, piano, global, orthography, hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words, though the irony), are common words in many languages.

But I wonder there is something beyond language families and globalization. How Chinese people have been saying “mama” and “papa” since ages ago at the same time we have been saying it here, on the other side of the world? Here is a reasonable question and an impossible answer.

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Mental Connections

Communication is so much more than speak the same language. One day i was watching an american TV show and i remembered all the times i talked face to face with someone in a language different from Portuguese. I realized that i can have a better understanding looking, feeling, smelling (why not?) than only listening. Fact: most of our communication is non verbal. Our body sends information every second we are hanging out with friends or just walking down the streets.

We can have communication problems even if we live in the same country, speak the same language and have the same accent or dialect. This kind of problem come when our minds are not connected. When our bodies send
unintelligible encrypted informations. It is like enzymes. If it doesn't fit, it doesn't work. You can speak Portuguese perfectly, but i won't understand one single idea if we don't think together. Or worse, i will misunderstand it.

That is what fascinate me about communication. It doesn't matter if you say olá, hola, helo, hallo, ciao, salut, cześć, hej, shalom, salam alaikum, konnichiwa, ni hao, or whatever. We must try to read each other and try to be connected somehow, otherwise we can't understand one another. It is more than speak, it is communicate.


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This is the place to share files, programs, whatever. If you have something nice just tell me.

VLC media player
- Play every media format (excepting real media and satellite tv) and subtitles. It's not beautiful, but it's quite useful. And better: it's opensource!

English Irregular Verb List
- If you are an English student this tool will be one of your best friends.

Verbix - Verb conjugation
- A lot of languages! download it and after installation just give you name and e-mail adress and voilá! You can use the free version.

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Need help in Brazil?

Here are some useful phrases sorted by topic.
Use text-to-speech in order to hear the pronunciation.

Meeting People (Conhecendo Pessoas)

Hi Oi
How are you? Tudo bem?
I am fine. Eu estou bem / Tudo bem!
My name is … Meu nome é ….
What is your name? Como você se chama? Qual é o seu nome?
I am from the United States/Germany/Latvia/Zimbabwe Sou dos Estados Unidos/Alemanha/Letônia/Zimbabue
Do you speak English? Você fala inglês?
Good morning Bom dia
Good afternoon Boa tarde
Good evening/night Boa noite
It is nice to meet you. Prazer em conhecê-lo / Muito prazer
Do you understand me? Você me entende?
Could you speak more slowly? Você pode falar mais devagar
Are you from here? Você é daqui?
Bye Tchau!

Courtesy (Cortesia)

Thank you Obrigado (a)
No thank you. Não, obrigado (a)
You are welcome De nada
Please Por favor
Excuse me Com licença
I am sorry. Desculpe
Forgive me. Desculpe-me
You are very nice. Você é legal
Thank you for your help Obrigado(a) pela a ajuda

Help (Ajuda)

Can you help me, please? Você pode me ajudar?
Help! Socorro
Please call a doctor! Me chame um médico, por favor
Where is the police station? Onde é a delegacia?
I am lost. Estou perdido (a)
Where is the embassy? Onde é a embaixada?
I need a doctor! Preciso de um médico
Where is the pharmacy? Onde é a farmácia?
Someone stole my belongings. Alguém me roubou.
I lost my passport! Perdi meu passaporte

Ask/Answer Questions (Perguntar/Responder)

What time is it? Que horas são?
Who? Quem?
What? O que?
Where? Onde / Cadê?
When? Quando?
Why? Por que?
Which one? Qual?
How much? Quanto?
How many? Quantos?
Please repeat.Repita, por favor
I understandEntendo
Sorry, I don't have any moneyDesculpe, não tenho dinheiro
I don't understand.Não entendo
I don't know.Não sei
OkayEstá bem

Shopping/Paying (Comprando/Pagando)

How much does this cost? Quanto custa?
Can I pay with a credit card? Posso pagar com cartão?
I don't want it anymore. Não quero mais
Can you lower the price? Você pode baixar o preço?
I am not interested. Não estou interessado
The bill, please. A conta, por favor

Give/Get Directions (Dar/Receber Direções)

Stop Pare!
Go straight Vá em frente
Turn left Vire à esquerda
Turn right Vire à direita
Where is … ? Onde é? Cadê?
Where is the exit? Onde é a saída?
Where is the entrance? Onde é a entrada?
Keep going Siga / Continue
I am looking for a hotel. Estou procurando um hotel
Where is the bathroom? Onde é o banheiro
Is it far from here? Está longe daqui?

Numbers (Números)

zero zero
one um
two dois
three três
four quatro
five cinco
six seis
seven sete
eight oito
nine nove
ten dez
twenty one
vinte e um
twenty two
vinte e dois
one hundred

Here are some pronouns. The pronoun "it" deserves special attention. There is nothing
equivalent in portuguese. Objects, feelings, tangible and intangible things are either
masculine or feminine, so we say "ele" about a friend, dog or computer, "ela" about
our mom, table or the moon. I know it is not easy to a native english speaker, but my
polish friends can tell you about their five genders if you want. Two genders will be
a piece of cake bofore this conversation.

I, We
Eu, Nós
You, You (all)
Você/Tu, Vocês/Vós
He, They, (it)
Ele, Eles
She, They, (it)
Ela, Elas
There is, There are
Há, Há
This, These Este, Estes
That, Those Aquele, Aqueles
Here Aqui

thanks to


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Getting started - Começando

Hi friends!

This blog was made for those who want to learn Portuguese, but don't have time (or money, or patience etc) to attend regular classes or something like that. I will try to give my best to make you understand at least the basic topics of Portuguese language and brazilian culture. On the other hand i won't be stuck in portuguese. We'll talk about any language and culture. But there are some points we should have a look before start.


Can you see those tabs at the top? Of course you can. So, There are some cool links over there.
  1. Text-to-Speech will help you with pronunciation. You just have to type what you want to hear and that cute lady will say it to you. For exemple, you can type: "Wow! You are so smart, handsome and rich!" and you will lift your ego up. You can choose between many languages and accents. But if it doesn't work try this one.
  2. Spelling Checker is a kind of... well... a kind of spelling checker. You can type anything in Portuguese and it will tell you what you did well and what you did not so well. Available in both Brazilian and Portuguese.
  3. Virtual Keyboard (my favourite) is the salvation for those who don't have accents, like this "é". You just have to set it up to whichever language you want and, if you are mad about languages like me, you will spend ages writing in Hebrew, Greek etc. But it has a problem: you must type what you want, select it with your mouse, do a right click and then click on "copy". You can try ctrl+c any times you want, but it will be waste of time (i know what i'm talking about).


There is only one way to make this blog useful: tell me what you think. Write comments, ask questions, whatever. I can't help you out if i don't know you're in trouble. If comments are not enough you can write an e-mail to or add me on msn messeger

That's it, friends! Let's play...


Oi, amigos!

Esse blog e feito para aqueles que querem aprender português, mas não têm tempo (ou dinheiro, ou paciência etc) para frenquentar aulas regulares ou alguma coisa parecida. Eu vou tentar dar o meu melhor para fazer você entender pelo menos o básico da língua portuguesa e da cultura brasilieira. Por outro lado eu não vou me prender no português. Vamos falar de qualquer língua e cultura. Mas existem alguns pontos que devemos dar uma olhada antes de começarmos.

Tab-Aid (roughly translated: "aba ajuda". What a funny name!)

Você viu aquelas abas no topo da página? Claro que você viu. Então, tem alguns links legais lá.

  1. Text-to-Speech te ajudará com a pronuncia. Você só precisa escrever o que você quer ouvir e aquela moça bonitinha vai dizer para você. Por exemplo, você pode escrever: "Nossa! Você é tão inteligente, bonito e rico!" e você vai levar seu ego às alturas. Somente disponível em português europeu.
  2. Spelling Checker é um tipo de... bem... de corretor ortográfico (this joke made sense now). Você pode digitar quaquer coisa em português e ele vai te dizer o que você escreveu bem e o que você escreveu não tão bem assim. Também disponível em português brasileiro e de Portugal.
  3. Virtual Keyboard (meu preferido) é a salvação para aqueles que não têm acentos, como esse "é". Você só precisa configurar para português e, se você for louco por línguas como eu, você vai gastar eras escrevendo em Habraico, Grego etc. Mas tem um problema: você vai precisar digitar o que você quer, selecionar com mouse, clicar com o botão direito e selecionar "copiar". Você pode tentar ctrl+c quantas vezes você quiser, mas será perda de tempo (eu sei do que estou falando).


Só tem um jeito de fazer esse blog ser útil. Diga-me o que você pensa. Escreva comentários, faça perguntas, qualquer coisa. Eu não posso te ajudar se eu não sei que você tem um problema. Se comentários não são suficientes você pode escrever um e-mail para ou me adicionar no msn

É isso, amigos! vamos brincar...

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Who is this guy? - Quem é esse cara?

My name is Leonardo and I'm a brazilian guy who is mad about languages and cultures. I live in Rio de Janeiro with my mother, trying to live a simple life. I'm a christian and I usually go to church on sundays, but I try to live a "mere christianity", as C. S. Lewis would say, in my daily life through some small acts and behaviors.

I used to study marketing at university, but I had to stop it for a while. I'm also a musician. I studied classical music and jazz for some time. I play the piano and guittar, but I can also produce some strange sounds at the bass. Oh! I studied bassoon for one year also. I can't imagine a life without music and music without a listener living being. Sometimes I stop whatever I'm doing and listen what the world around me says. At the bus stop or in the subway, millions and millions of sounds and timbres are sparkling in front of us, we must be sensible to close our eyes and "watch" sound's dancing.

I'm also an official tour guide in Rio and South America, registered with EMBRATUR (kind of Brazilian Federal Tourism Agency). I can offer my services to help you not only while you're in Rio, but i can help all your planning to Brazil and South America. Bookings, transfers, reservations, tours, flights, bus trips or whatever. I enjoy make people happy. So if i help you to spend an unforgetable time (i mean, unforgettably good), you're going to see a big joyful smile on my face. I can take you to the most importants and famous tourist attractions, but if you're tired of it i know some unbelievable "untouristic" places.

I made this blog to show a little bit of my language, culture and my city. I can speak English and I can read and write something in French. I'm learning German and Chinese also and I know some funny sentences in Polish. Spanish is quite similar to Portuguese, so I can understand most of it. I've talked with some Spanish speakers without problems. Sometimes they ask in Spanish and I answer in Portuguese. That's why I'm mad about it! Communication is more than speak a language.
But I'm working on it, anyway. I hope be a fluent Spanish speaker very soon.)

If you have any doubt, don't hesitate to tell me through my email adress:

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