Thursday, 9 October 2008

Cultural Insights

One of the books I'm using to learn Brazilian Portuguese is called: "Como dizer tudo em inglês nos negocios" (How to say all and everything in Business English). Since I assume that quite some sentences in it are probably never used in real life situations (in real life hardly anybody makes a grammatically correct sentence and most sentences are left incomplete anyway), I routinely ask native speakers if such and such sentence is used often. Needless to say, it depends on whom one asks - adolescents, for instance, have other ideas about proper language than adults. My source of reference is an educated man in his early thirties and his answers provide me with a lot of cultural insights. Expressions such as "Eu vou me certificar que as mudanças apropriadas sejam feitas" (I'll make sure that the proper changes are made) or "Eu vou dar o meu melhor para fazer as mudanças necessárias" (I will do my best to make the necessary improvements) are rarely used, I learn. What he however hears every day at work is: "Você está perguntando para a pessoa errada" (You're asking the wrong person).

No comments: