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    « Cultural Differences with the Help | Main | Cheap Flights to Brazil! »

    May 22, 2008


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    "Not calling if don't plan to show up for an appointment" its ok just for close friends. Very offensive if the person is a stranger or more a stranger than a friend.


    I agree, but yet it happens... a lot! Especially with tradespeople, etc. Or people are late without warning or explanation. I am learning to relax...

    Hellen Walker

    People are much tuchier? Personal boundaries don't exist? That's not true. They do exist, but they might be just less strict than where you come from.
    That's called culture!

    In Brazil it is quite common to kiss hello and goodbye, or gently touch a close friend as you talk to them or to get their attention, but there are also so many situations in which you would never do it, that I won't even list try them because I dont think that's possible.

    As to saying please, your comment is not accurate, i'm affraid...

    When you learn to speak Portuguese you will realize that in brazilian culture you can be polite just by using a different intonation to the phase, without actually saying the word please. (Which is not possible in English, or French and even Spanish... which are languages I speak).

    Basically, there is 'kind' way of saying something that tells the listener that you are requesting/asking for something, rather than giving an order. I know it's a difficult concept to grasp. But it DOES exist.

    Thanks for opening this spcace for discussion.


    Thanks for your comment, Hellen.

    Ok maybe saying personal boundaries don't exist is an exaggeration but I do find people to be much "touchier" - in the way that they touch each other (and me) more than I am accustomed to in North America. Of course everything on this blog is just my perspective and personal experience.

    Your comment about vocal intonations is very interesting to me, I truly think it is how we say things and not "what we say" that matters most. How many times have we heard someone be completely ungracious and try to get away with it by slapping an insincere please or thank you at the end, basically making them meaningless anyway? It does not make up for talking down to a person or being rude. I will certainly pay attention and watch for this Portuguese phenomenon you speak of! I think it could change the world...

    Unfortunately I can still think of many instances since I've been here where people have just made demands of staff and help and been downright abusive (despite the fact that I am still learning Portuguese, these instances know no language barriers!)


    Hi Hellen,

    I have only been here a few weeks and I am not a world traveler by any stretch of the imagination, but I have spent plenty of time abroad.

    You comment about the snorting or sniffing really cracked me up. My first day in the office here multiple people were doing just this. I thought everyone had a drug problem or serious sinus infections. I had never seen (or heard) anything like this anywhere in the world. Funny and gross at the same time.

    Oh well we need to take to the good with the bed with trying to assimilate into other cultures I guess.



    Hi Ed,
    Glad you found it funny! I have often wondered if people can HEAR themselves...

    You are right, we need to take the good with the different, because there are soooo many benefits to living in Brazil and being immersed in a new culture.



    I am a brazilian living a US, long enough to have learned that "Snortling" is rude here. It is funny you wrote that because only after I moved to US I noticed that and I had this habit.
    Yes, we are "touchier" than americans, I miss this a lot.
    I agree completely with Hw about the way you pronounce things make a difference and you don't need to say please.
    It is very interesting to see "gringoes" talking about cultural differences.
    I like your blog.
    Boa sorte e um abraço,



    Thanks Tel! Anything you can clue us Gringo's in on that we are doing that grosses the brazilians out?


    It's interesting what you said... I'm always telling my partner, who is learning Portuguese, that there is no need to say "por favor" in every sentence because this is considered "annoying".
    In Portuguese (BR) the way you say is way more important than the words you say, and you will understand that if you reach proficiency in Portuguese (BR).

    I am from Minas Gerais, and there spitting and picking nose are extremely rude lol

    Here in Canada is common blowing your nose at the table while in Brazil some people can find this rude.

    Another thing here in Canada that is weird for me is that people don't brush their teeth after lunch, which is common in Brazil (we always carry a brush teeth with us lol)

    Daily Rio Life

    Jonas - Omg I must be the most annoying person in Brazil then. It's "por favor" this and "por favor" that....

    Good to know about the nose blowing thing!!

    I really like the Brazilian tooth brushing thing too, and the availability of dental floss in public washrooms. I'd love for this trend to catch on in other countries...


    We don't spit on the ground...
    and yes you dont need to say "por favor" every time.
    sorry for the bad english.

    Ariel Sullivan

    Splitting on the ground is rude; saying it better, it's typical of impolite people.
    "Por favor" (please) is normally used to reinforce a polite request; simply say the things gently and that will suffice.
    Be informal, be open, be touchy, but always wisely; the contrary of wise is ridiculous. The point is: be always sincere in your manners.

    mercurial vapor

    Ang pag-aalaga ng ina, mapagmahal, nurturing kalikasan makakatulong sa akin-siguro ang maaari kong ibigin at palakihin ang aking panloob na bata ng kaunti? Sa ikalawang panaginip, kung ito ay minahan, nararamdaman ko hilig tumingin sa metaporiko mirror. Maaaring mayroong anumang mga panloob na mga demonyo ay mirrored kapag ako sa kumpanya ng iba? Paano kung ako pinili upang harapin ang mga ito sa halip ng alog ito

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