[lit-ideas] Are Spanish and Portuguese synonymous?

  • From: Eric <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 14:13:58 -0500

>>I guess my question was really, is the Hispanic/Latino a divide of language or of culture?

Both. The languages are not at all interchangeable, and attempts to understand Portuguese by knowledge of Spanish are distorted by false cognates. For example:

Portuguese cachorro = dog
Spanish cachorro = puppy or kitten (baby animal); the Spanish perro = dog

Spanish calle = street
Portuguese rua = street

The grammar of Portuguese is different. In Portuguese there are no reflexive verbs.

Portuguese Eu gosto = I like ...
In Spanish = me gusta = (something likes the speaker)

Another example: when TV cable companies started in Brazil, they broadcasted shows from Argentina in Spanish. The companies received millions of calls from the Brazilian viewers, who demanded either subtitles or Brazilian language translation. The response was so overwhelming, the TV stations complied with a month.

As for culture, Brazilians generally consider the Spanish very rude. Brazilians are very cautious, for example, in expressing disdain or discomfort. The Spanish tend to be very blunt.

Also, the Spanish cultures' relation to death (Eva Peron cult, day of the dead) is extremely alien to the Portuguese-speaking Brazilians.

It's easier for Brazilians to understand the language and culture of the French (whose university system was a model for the Brazilian) or the Italians (where there is more linguistic and cultural compatibility).

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