From Brazinglish to English, part 2

In the second part of our two-part blog on common Brazilian errors, Laura points out five more common errors that Brazilians often make. If you remember, Laura spent a week in Belo Horizonte teaching our International Business English course. You can read the first part of her post here. Read on for the second part.


During our week together we worked on ironing outthe typical errors that a Portuguese speaker makes when speaking English.  Many, perhaps most, of the errors people make when speaking a foreign language arise from direct translation.  Once you can largely avoid this you are well on the way tobeing natural and fluent in the target language.  Easier said than done, I know!  Keeping a list of your own typical errors and making a conscious effort to overcome them is always useful. 

1) Brazinglish: ‘Do you mind to help me with this?’

This is a great expression for being polite – just remember that after ‘Do you mind’ we use the –ing form, or gerund.

English: ‘Do you mind helping me with this?’

2) Brazinglish: ‘She wants that you do it.’

In English our wants are more direct!  So we ‘want something’, or we ‘want someone to do something’.  For example, ‘I want a cup of tea’, or ‘I want you to make me a cup of tea.’

English: ‘She wants you to do it.’

3) Brazinglish: ‘Is fantastic.’

Again, you need a subject here.  To keep the Subject-Verb-Object structure in English, when there isn’t a specific subject we use ‘it’ as an ‘empty’ subject.  Other common examples are when we’re talking about the weather: ‘It’s sunny’, or, in London, ‘It’s raining.’

English: ‘It’s fantastic.’

4) Brazinglish: ‘She looks as a musician.’

Generally, we say ‘looks like’, for example ‘I look like my sister.’  If you’re using an adjective though, just use ‘looks’: ‘He looks nice.’  If you’re talking about the job that someone does, use ‘as’: ‘I work as a teacher.’

English: ‘She looks like a musician.’

Finally, a word about pronunciation…

5) Brazinglish:  ‘I had a cough.’

Really?  Are you feeling better now?  How long did you have it for?  An hour in the café?  Oh… you must mean…

English: ‘a coffee’.

Just exaggerate that final ‘ee’ sound on every word ending in ‘ee’ or ‘y’.  And don’t add an extra ‘ee’ sound on words that don’t have it, because then you won’t get any sympathy for your bad cough! 

Ok, I hope that helps you to sound a bit less Brazilian.  I’m off to work on my beginner’s Portuguese!

By Laura

Glossary

points out(phr v) - direct someone's attention towards something

to iron out(idiom) - solve or settle difficulties or problems

arise(v) – emerge; become apparent

well on the way to(idiom) - on the point of experiencing or achieving,

conscious(adj) - having knowledge of something

sympathy(n) - feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune

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