Class Report

Get Ready for the World Cup: Portuguese 101

Teacher: Raissa Mendes (right)
Facilitator: Elena Goukassian 

What was the weirdest thing you learned? 
Elena: That, after the World Cup in South Africa and the annoying success of the vuvuzela, FIFA decided that every World Cup from now on will have an “official noisemaker.” So far, the Brazilian one (the caxirola) has served more for throwing at people than for making noise, which is pretty hilarious.

What did you learn that you can put into practice immediately?
Elena: I can say, “Hello, how are you? Where’s the bathroom?” in Portuguese! 

If this class were a TV show, what channel would it be on and why?
Elena: It would be the hippest series on the public access cable channel where all the other language classes run. In the face of those ridiculous French ones from the ‘80s, where everyone says “Zut alors!”, this class would win an Oscar!

How did you get interested in this subject? 
Raissa: I am originally from Brasil and work with Latin American countries on a daily basis. I became inspired to teach this class because I am constantly exposed to what is going on in the Southern Cone and by my friends who always request I teach them one or two words in Portuguese.

What do people tend to wrongly assume about this subject before learning about it? 
Raissa: People always assume that Brasilians speak Spanish or that Portuguese and Spanish are undoubtedly the same.

If an alien visited this class and could understand English, what would they surmise about humanity?
Raissa: If the aliens could understand English, they would quickly learn that they were in the wrong hemisphere and should quickly teleport to Brasil for the World Cup!

What can people read/watch for more information on this topic? Are there any groups dedicated to this topic in the area?
Raissa: There are infinite ways to learn Portuguese and Brasilian culture. Those interested are welcome to attend Brasilian events in the city, follow major outlets such as The Financial Times and The Economist, or watch YouTube videos on Portuguese phonetics and pronunciation!  Additionally, I am always available for a cafezinho!