I’m going to try out some different things here on Eyes On Brazil in the coming months and one of those things will be 5 Questions, a short interview session with Brazil bloggers as well as bloggers from Brazil. I will ask questions that shed light on the Brazilian point of view (or the non-Brazilian while living in Brazil point of view) and try to focus on a topic that interests them. Here’s the pilot interview, it’s with Fábio from English This Way, whose blog provides English language help to Brazilians (and anyone who wants to learn).
1. So, you’re a carioca, right? What do you think about the Olympics and the World Cup coming to Brazil and how Rio is changing because of it? On one hand it’s a good thing because it will generate jobs, especially tourism. On the other hand, it’s a bad thing because the government is spending a lot of money on infrastructure that we know will be abandoned after the games. Brazilians have a sort of complex and have to show to the world that we are here. We exist. The government should spend this amount of money on education and health. But that doesn’t make you visible abroad.
2. You blog about language over at English This Way, what inspired you to start doing that? I am an English teacher and I noticed that English books don’t cover a lot of words and expressions that we use in everyday life. Students like to ask about simple words and phrases like “lampshade”, “ceramic tile”, etc.
3. Do the Brazilians you know have an interest in English? Or are they only interested in it because Brazilian companies look for such a skill? Most of them are only interested because of job opportunities. I hear quite often from students how they hate English, but it is the international language, the language that will open doors and enhance their resumes. Middle-class families enroll their kids in language schools when they are young, around 6-8 years old and they study it for like 10 years. But there are other cases when an adult never had the opportunity to study before or never cared about it, but then they realize that they need it for their job and enroll in a language school or take private classes. In most cases students don’t like English because it’s imposed on them. It wouldn’t be their first choice if they could really choose.
4. I hear the state of Rio just opened up a hotline for Brazilians to ask grammar questions. How important is such a service? I am not sure if this will catch on. There’s already radio shows that help people with grammar and also special books sold at newsstands. There’s no need to have a hotline.
5. Brazilian Portuguese uses a number of anglicisms in everyday speech. Many languages have been influenced by other languages but is there a point where it starts to be too much? Language influence has always happened throughout history. I think it’s worse when you try to be purist and start ignoring such neologisms. France tried to do that years ago and I read somewhere that Brazil did too in the 18th century. There was a campaign against words like ‘football’, that were new at the time. Brazilian purists tried to translate it, but it never caught on. One thing that I am not very happy about is when I hear people using words translated from English when we have an option in Portuguese. In fashion now, for example, is ‘customizar’ because of the verb ‘customize’, but there is the verb ‘personalizar’.