Monday, 10 November 2008

Intercultural Coaching (3)

In a DHL-brochure called "Growing Accustomed to Customs", from 1991, the section on Brazil states such utter nonsense as: "Never make the mistake of speaking Spanish", and "Never refer to Brazilians as Latin Americans", and "Never bring up the subject of Argentina".

When for the first time in Brazil (in the Northeast), I did not speak a word of Portuguese. I however spoke Spanish. And so I addressed the people in Spanish. And got along just fine - there were even some who took my Spanish for Portuguese. Once I was conversing with a young woman on a bus for about twenty minutes before she, all of a sudden, asked what language I was speaking (I'm aware that you might now question my Spanish but I can assure you that it doesn't sound like Portuguese).

While most Brazilians do not consider themselves Latin Americans (in any case, they do not seem to give it much thought), they are far too relaxed to mind being labeled Latin Americans.

"Never bring up the subject of Argentina" is so stupid a statement that it does not merit to be addressed.

1 comment:

Kalina said...

you're so right!
but you also spoke English in Northeast Brazil. Do not forget that you visited the poorest state in the country and managed to get along with English and have some nice sushi and some nice chat :-)