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Brazilian Exchange Students

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Brazilian Exchange Students
by Doug Caley - Monday, 6 January 2014, 9:54 AM

NSMS extends a big welcome to nine grade eight students from Brazil.  Our guests are here for 2 months to experience life and school in Canada. Below is a short language file on Portuguese: 

Portuguese Quick Guide

Greeting Others in Portuguese

  • Tudo bem? (too-doh bang?) (How are you?)

  • Como vai? (koh-moh vah-ee?) (How are things?)

  • Tchau! (chah-ooh!) (Bye!)

  • Até logo! (ah-teh loh-goo!) (See you later!)

  • Até amanhã! (ah-teh ah-mang-yah!) (See you tomorrow!)

Making Friends Using Portuguese

  • Qual é seu nome? (kwah-ooh eh seh-ooh noh-mee?) (What’s your name?)

  • De onde você é? (jee ohn-jee voh-seh eh?) (Where are you from?)

  • Fala inglês? (fah-lah eeng-glehz?) (Do you speak English?)

  • Qual é o seu e-mail? (kwah-ooh eh ooh seh-ooh ee-may-oh?) (What’s your e-mail address?)

  • O que você gosta de fazer? (ooh kee voh-seh goh-stah jee fah-zeh?) (What do you like to do?)

Using Portuguese Exclamations Just Like a Native Speaker

  • Legal! (lay-gow!) (Cool!)

  • Ótimo! (oh-chee-moh!) (Great!)

  • Que bonito! (kee boo-nee-too!) (How beautiful!)

  • Adoro! (ah-doh-roo!) (I love it!)

  • Que gostoso! (kee goh-stoh-zoo!) (How delicious!)

Asking Key Questions in Portuguese

  • Quem? (kang?) (Who?)

  • Quando? (kwahn-doo?) (When?)

  • Onde? (ohn-jee?) (Where?)

  • Por quê? (poh keh?) (Why?)

  • Como? (koh-moo?) (How?)

  • O que? (ooh kee?) (What?)

  • Qual? (kwah-ooh?) (Which?)

  • Quanto? (kwahn-too?) (How much?)


Cultural Considerations

Beauty is constantly lived and breathed. The talk of beauty is pervasive in all kinds of media, from television to song lyrics, and it is a daily concern of people of all incomes and backgrounds. Remarking about a person's appearance is not only socially permissible, it is equivalent to inquiring about that person's health and showing concern for them. If a person does not look his or her best, then many Brazilians assume the person much be sick or going through emotional distress.


Brazilian children between the ages of seven and fourteen are required to go to school Monday through Friday; however, they go either in the morning or in the afternoon (not both) and usually eat lunch at home. Most students wear uniforms until high school. Educational policies are inconsistent because state and local governments are not

required to follow national policies.


Enrollment is at 90% but less than half of those who enter first grade complete eight grades.


Schools run from February to November.


Curriculum includes math, social studies, reading, science, physical education, art, health, and preparing for work. English is required in the curriculum.


Until recently, a high importance has not been placed on education Brazil’s former president (elected in 2003), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, only went to school until 4th grade.

Phonetic Issues

The Portuguese Language contains fewer consonant clusters resulting in the placement of vowel sounds in between, before or after consonants for example: strange becomes e-strange


The letters “cão” are used to pronounce the “tion” sound. Therefore spellings such as “informacão” (information) are common for words ending with the “tion” sound.


“ch” is pronounced sh”. For example the word call (cháma) is pronounced “shama”


“j” is pronounced like the “s” in treasure. The word “subject” may be pronounced as sub-shect


“s” at the end of a word or syllable (before another consonant) makes the “sh” sound. For example “Inglês” is pronounced “Inglesh”


K, W and Y are only used in foreign loan words. For example, in Portuguese New York is written Nova Iorque


Portuguese questions are expressed by intonation, and not auxiliaries, this may lead to mistakes in negative transfer ex. You went to school yesterday?


Irregular plurals may confuse a Portuguese speaker such as deer or fish because in Portuguese these words are made plural by adding an s at the end of the word.


Portuguese speakers place the articles “o” or “a” before words to denote masculine and feminine forms.


Compiled from The Languages of RI Project which was completed by the graduate students of the M.Ed. in TESL Program at Rhode Island College.