One of the coolest things about traveling around Brazil is learning about regional differences in Portuguese. Each state has its own distinct flavor of Portuguese with its own accent and slang. The differences between some regions are so pronounced that sometimes Brazilians can’t even understand each other.
Recently I got to experience the dialect spoken by the Gaúchos, the people from Rio Grande do Sul. On a short trip I made to Porto Alegre I learned several regional slangs that I want to share with you today.
The closest equivalent in English would be dude. It is not a general term for friend, but used to emphasize an emotion like happiness or frustration.
- “Tche sai daí!” = Dude get out of there!
- “Tche muito legal este bar!” = Dude this bar is really cool!
This is similar to Uai in Minas Gerais, Meu in São Paulo, and Oxe in Bahia. It is an utterance that comes at the beginning of a sentence to add emphasis. It can be used to express a wide range of emotions. It has no direct translation.
- “Bah eu não sabia que tem prova hoje.” = Agh I didn’t know there was a test today.
- “Bah que carro legal!” = Woah what a cool car.
Translated literally this word means sandalness or sandally. It is used to describe something that is done in a low cost way, or a cheaper alternative.
- Ana: “Eu tiro as férias no Paraguay.” = I go to Paraguay for vacation.
- Cris: “Isso é muita chinelagem.” = Thats very sandally.
As far as I can tell, tri is derived from triple, and it is used to mean muito (very). Something that is tri legal is super cool. Sometimes it is just shortened to tri.
- “Bah que carro tri!” = Wow what a cool car!
- “Esta festa é tri legal.” = This party is off the hook.
This is the gaúcho version of menino and menina.
- “A gente não tinha iPhones quando eu era guri.” = We didn’t have iPhones when I was a kid.
Josh Plotkin is originally from California but now calls Belo Horizonte his home. He runs the site Brazilian Gringo to help others move to Brazil and teach English.
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