What I need to know about Brazil, according to my students (2/3)

This is the second post in a three-part series about the presentations some of my students are giving me. I told them the presentations can be about anything as long as they’re in English. You can find the first installment here and the final installment here

My family — Eduarda

Eduarda talked about her own family for her presentation. She’s from the next city over, where her neighbors are her extended family. From what I can tell, the definition of “family” seems to be pretty fluid. To some of my students, it only meant their nuclear family; to others, it included extended family. It just seemed to depend on where everyone lived.

She also included some pictures of what her family likes to do for fun. Like many other people around here, they flock to the beach when they can. Also, they drink a ton of chimarrão (bottom left-hand picture) and eat a lot of popcorn. In the summer, they snack on watermelon, while in the winter, they opt for pinhão (pine nuts, bottom right).


Brazilian television — Bruna

Brazilian TV is ridiculous. I don’t say this from any great personal experience—Elaine mostly flips between art documentaries and dubbed TLC shows—but that was my takeaway from Bruna’s presentation.

First Bruna covered the genre of  hours-long Sunday-afternoon variety shows (including Domingo Legal, Programa Silvio Santos, and Domingão do Faustão), with segments that range from hidden-camera pranks to watching a bikini-ed woman trying to stop a speedo-ed man from retrieving bars of soap in a wading pool. When I incredulously asked my students if anyone objected to these segments being aired at like four in the afternoon (on a Sunday!), they all said it felt normal. They’d grown up with it.

Also of interest was some astoundingly credulous reporting on a supposed alien deep in the jungle. Its advice? “Seek knowledge.”


Inequality in Brazil — Marcos

Marcos tackled a heavier topic: inequality in Brazil. His presentation was a primer on wealth inequality, racism, sexism, and homophobia in Brazil. The presentation pretty much speaks for itself, and it’s pretty comprehensive, so you can check it out in its entirety here: LÍNGUA INGLESA V- Inequality in Brazil.

His presentation ended on a slide about fake news, which I’d presented to the class about the week before. This segued into a class-long conversation that ranged from media literacy to history to religion, which I found immensely insightful. My professor tells me that the students aren’t used to being able to talk about politics in school like that, and I think some of them really enjoyed the opportunity.


Idiomatic expressions — Thalia

I love etymology, and I’ve been wanting to learn more idioms in Portuguese, so I really enjoyed Thalia’s presentation. Like in English, we don’t always think about the sources of the idioms we use, so other students were remarking that they learned something, too! Here are four of my favorites:

What I think is super interesting is that pisar na bola seems to be an exact analogue of our expression “drop the ball”—but because soccer’s the dominant sport here, and not baseball or football or something, Brazilians need to use a different metaphor. Also, I think encher linguiça is so much more fun than just “BS.”

2 thoughts on “What I need to know about Brazil, according to my students (2/3)

  1. Pingback: The Smoking Snakes and Brazil in WWII | In the city of gaúchos

  2. Pingback: The weird and wonderful idioms of Brazilian Portuguese | In the city of gaúchos

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