Language for getting around in Brazil?

Discussion in 'Brazil' started by Lyssa, Mar 24, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Lyssa
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    Lyssa Silver Member

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    Can you get around pretty well in Brazil with English and some Spanish or do you really need to work on Portuguese? I don't know any Portuguese. TIA!
     
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  2. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    We will need a little more information on where you will be going to answer your question in detail... but if you will be visiting the usual tourist places, chances are you will be fine. English fluency in Brazil could be better, but in most places that will have visitors/tourists there is normally a fair share of folks that are reasonably bi-lingual. Also, if you smile a lot and try hard to communicate, even folks that dont speak a word of English will go out of their way to help you... bottom line - you will be fine.
     
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  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Few Brazilians use Spanish, but in the South and in large cities usually people do speak a little Spanish. English is far more common. In airports and hotels somebody always will. In restaurants there is usually somebody who speaks some English if you need it.

    IIRC you're to be around Foz do Iguaçu on this trip. people around there speak English, often fluently. Don't worry. People in that area also usually speak Spanish.
     
  4. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    In Rio at least, English was easier than Spanish. I could barely understand people speaking the language spoken in Rio, and they generally could not understand my español. I could understand much of the written language, which resembled Portugese :p
     
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  5. KyRoamer
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    KyRoamer Gold Member

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    In Rio we found many people who did not speak English in shops and even in the Intercontinental Hotel. However, there was almost always someone nearby who they could call over t help.

    We found the city very friendly for tourists and most people that came into contact with tourists did have some ability to understand English. Taxi drivers were often exceptions. Where they understood names of major hotels, restaurants were not always easily communicated because my pronunciation of the names was not easily understood by them. Suggest always writing out the name and address of you destination and showing it to the taxi driver EVEN IF you think he understands you.
     
  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    BTW, a few times I have seen Spanish speakers write down their question/instructions. Most Portuguese readers can read decent Spanish even if they cannot understand it when spoken. Oddly, people who speak Spanish as a second language, the ones I know anyway, seem to use it more easily in Rio than do native speakers.

    Just a couple of additional points. The further South you go in Brazil the less problem you'll have in Spanish. All bets are off in Minas Gerais; they speak the Brazilian Portuguese equivalent of deep Alabama in the US. :eek: OMG, my spouses mother is from Minas. Luckily she will not read this post.
     
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