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The South American country of Brazil is a “bucket list” destination for many travelers.
The colorful customs and traditions of the Brazilian people as well as the legendary warmth and beauty of the Brazilian people are just a few of the many reasons why Brazil is such an alluring and attractive destination.
The Brazilian language is a great example of the rich culture and traditions of the country and its peoples. If you want to start making friends and having meaningful conversations with Brazilians, one of the first things you need to learn is the different ways to say “hello” in Brazilian.
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, so when we talk about the Brazilian language, we are usually talking about what is known as Brazilian Portuguese.
Brazilian Portuguese is one of the most common variants of Portuguese, the other being what is known as European Portuguese. The major distinction between the two is that one is associated with people who are from Brazil or are of Brazilian origin, while the other is associated with people who are from Portugal in Europe.
European Portuguese is the “origin” or root language; Brazilian Portuguese is derived from it. When it comes to rules of grammar and basic vocabulary, Brazilian Portuguese mostly follows along with European Portuguese. This is why a Brazilian speaker and a European Portuguese speaker will mostly be able to understand each other.
The difference lies in certain vocabulary words as well as pronunciation and accent. Some Portuguese words are more commonly used by Brazilians and they have also evolved their own unique slang and expressions. Also, some Portuguese words are pronounced differently by Brazilians, so there might be momentary confusion if a European Portuguese speaker hears a Brazilian speak and vice versa.
In many world cultures, how you say something is as important as the words you use to say it. The tone of voice and body language and gestures can affect how a native speaker takes what you said.
Brazil is a culture that is known for being expressive not just in their words but in their gestures as well. How a greeting is said may affect how a Brazilian speaker feels about the person saying it. Here are a few tips on how you can sincerely say “hello” in Brazilian.
In general, Brazilians are warm and physically affectionate people. They are quick to greet with not just a polite phrase of greeting but also with a handshake or even a kiss or a hug.
It’s usually considered polite and appropriate to deliver your “hello” while automatically extending your hand for a handshake. Don’t be surprised, however, if the Brazilian you are speaking to goes in for a cheek kiss – even if you’ve just met.
When men greet men, the cheek kiss is a little less common. What is very common, however, is a hug. Even in a business setting, a hug or a cheek kiss is common and acceptable. If you are not comfortable with such gestures, however, try and head them off by offering your hand immediately, they should get the message and just go in for a close handshake.
As we mentioned, one of the differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese comes down to the fact that while they use the same words, Brazilians may use some words more often than European speakers.
“Hello” is a prime example of this “difference” between European Portuguese speakers and Brazilians.
Here are the most common ways to say “hello” in Portuguese.
1. Olá– Hello
2. Oi – Hi
Whether you are talking to someone who speaks European Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese, saying one of these words is understood as a greeting.
However, you are more likely to hear “Oi” from Portuguese speakers from Brazil than from those in Portugal.
Another way that Brazilian Portuguese is different from other variants of Portuguese comes down to how certain words are pronounced.
The ways to say “hello” that we are going to list below are used both by Portuguese speakers from Brazil and Portugal. The meaning is the same in both countries but the way Brazilians pronounce these words is a little different.
Portuguese has several ways to say “hello” that depend on the time of day. They are used both in Brazilian and European Portuguese, but their pronunciation is different.
As we are focusing on Brazilian Portuguese in this post, we’re just going to tell you how people in Brazil pronounce it.
1. Bom dia!
Meaning: Good day/morning!
Pronunciation notes: bom GEE-a
While this phrase is literally translated to “good day”, it is actually used more like “good morning.” You will hear this said in greeting from approximately 5AM till 1PM.
2. Boa tarde!
Meaning: Good afternoon!
Pronunciation notes: boa TAHR-g
After 1 PM, or just after lunch, and before sunset, you can use this to greet people.
3. Boa noite!
Meaning: Good evening!
Pronunciation notes: boa NOOE-tsh
This phrase is used two ways, as the equivalent to “hello, good evening” or as a way to say “goodbye” if it is night time.
The phrases of greeting below are commonly used by both Brazilian and European Portuguese speakers. Again, the difference mostly lies in how they are pronounced.
1. Tudo bem?
Meaning: How are you?
Pronunciation notes: toodoo BAYM
The literal translation of this phrase is “everything well?” but it is used similar to the greeting “how are you?” It is suitable for both formal and informal situations.
2. Como está? / Como vai?
Meaning: How do you do?
Pronunciation: komoo eeSHTAH/komoo VIGH
The literal translation of this Brazilian phrase is “how do you do?” but it is used similarly to the formal English greeting “how do you do?”.
A Brazilian may simply use one of these phrases to say “hello” or you may hear them attached to another word of greeting such as the following examples:
Oi, como está?
Bom dia! Como via?
3. Como você está? / Como vai você?
Meaning: How are you/How are you doing?
Pronunciation note: komoo VOH-she eesh-TAH/ komoo vigh VOH-seh
In Brazilian, it is acceptable to greet someone by saying “how are you”. This two phrases are informal ways of greeting almost anybody.
What makes this phrase “Brazilian” is the use of the word “você” which is the informal version of “you”. “Você” is commonly used in Brazil but not so much in Portugal. While European Portuguese speakers will use this phrase to greet someone, they will drop the “você”.
Brazilians tend to be slightly informal with their greetings – as evidenced by their preference of “oi” which is thought of as informal and even slangy in European Portuguese.
To get you started in learning Brazilian slang, try these Brazilian slang words of greeting.
1. E ai?
Meaning: What’s up?
This Brazilian phrase is an informal greeting that is similar to the American English phrase, what’s up?” It is a casual greeting that you will mostly hear in Brazil rather than Portugal. It is used to say “hi” and inquire about your state of being.
The literal translation of this phrase is “beauty” and it is a Brazilian slang phrase that can be used to say that you agree with someone. However, there is also another way to use it and it is to greet someone.
Brazilians will use “beleza” similarly to “todo bem?”, to greet them by asking how they are. In this case, it’s like you are asking someone if “everything is beautiful”.
3. Tudo jóia?
Meaning: All good?
Similar to “beleza”, this is another phrase that a Brazilian speaker might say instead of “tudo bem”. The literal translation is “all jewelry” it is an equivalent to the English slang phrase “all good?”.
Learning the common words of Portuguese is important if you want to travel to Brazil for leisure or even for business. You will also need to know the slang and swear words in order to participate in daily conversations.
As we said, speakers of European Portuguese can make themselves understood to Brazilian Portuguese speakers, but it might go a little smoother if make an effort to learn the different ways of saying “hello” and other important phrases that are specific to Brazil.
Downloading this PDF of the different ways to say “hello” in Brazilian and memorizing them is a good start. However, we still recommend that you book a few tutorial sessions with a native language speaking tutor.
Working with a tutor who is specifically trying to teach you Brazilian Portuguese will ensure that you learn more than just the way’s to say “hello”. They can teach you more about the different Brazilian slang words and expressions that you might hear daily on the streets of Rio di Janeiro or Sao Paulo.
A good tutor will also be able to coach you on the proper pronunciation of Brazilian words and on how to understand and develop a Brazilian accent. You can practice having daily conversations with them to ensure that, when you finally book that flight, you can confidently talk to and make friends with Brazilian speakers.
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, so when we talk about the Brazilian language, we are usually talking about what is known as Brazilian Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese is one of the most common variants of Portuguese, the other being what is known as European Portuguese. The major distinction between the two is that one is associated with people who are from Brazil or are of Brazilian origin, while the other is associated with people who are from Portugal in Europe.
In many world cultures, how you say something is as important as the words you use to say it. The tone of voice and body language and gestures can affect how a native speaker takes what you said. Brazil is a culture that is known for being expressive not just in their words but in their gestures as well. How a greeting is said may affect how a Brazilian speaker feels about the person saying it. Here are a few tips on how you can sincerely say “hello” in Brazilian. In general, Brazilians are warm and physically affectionate people. They are quick to greet with not just a polite phrase of greeting but also with a handshake or even a kiss or a hug.
Ola, Oi, Bom dia!
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