As in Spanish, the word cara can mean “face”. However, in Brazil it also means “guy” (tipo in Spanish). But here’s the trick. When cara means “face” as in “what a pretty face,” it is feminine, a cara. When it is used to mean ”guy” it is masculine, o cara.
Note that this usage is strictly Brazilian; Portuguese speakers from Portugal and Africa don’t use cara this way.
English: That guy doesn’t know anything.
Spanish: Ese tipo no sabe nada.
Portuguese: Esse cara não sabe nada.
Hoping to catch up on the news from home or the latest sport scores? Don’t ask for a periódico in Brazil. Brazilians read the jornal. If you are looking for more than one, remember the plural is jornais.
English: Are there any newspapers in English?
Spanish: ¿Hay periódicos en inglés?
Portuguese: Tem jornais em inglês?
Thinking of catching a movie while in Brazil? Don’t let Spanish get in the way. The word for “movie” in Portuguese is filme. So, if you try to use the Spanish word película in Brazil, don’t be surprised if you get a blank stare. Remember, if you want to see a movie, remember to just say, “film me!”
English: Let’s go see a movie!
Spanish: ¡Vamos a ver una película!
Portuguese: Vamos ver um filme!
English: I didn’t like that movie.
Spanish: No me gustó esa película.
Portuguese: Eu não gostei desse filme.
When two languages are similar, like Portuguese and Spanish, it’s often the little things that make a big difference. Here are three words that Spanish speakers often get wrong when relying on Portuñol.
English: How can you sell this octopus covered in dust?
Spanish: ¿Cómo puedes vender este pulpo lleno de polvo?
Portuguese: Como é que você quer vender esse polvo cheio de pó?
Today it seems like everyone is developing something of one kind or another. Innovators develop new products, engineers develop software and projects are constantly being developed. In fact, the Portuguese equivalents of “development” and “to develop” are two of the 400 most frequent words in Portuguese. But don’t be fooled into thinking that you can just use the Spanish word desarrollo with a Brazilian accent and be done with it. In Portuguese, “development” is desenvolvimento and “to develop” is desenvolver.
English: I am a software development expert.
Spanish: Soy experto en el desarrollo de software.
Portuguese: Sou especialista no desenvolvimento de software.
English: Brazil is going to develop a new program to fight hunger.
Spanish: Brasil va a desarrollar un nuevo programa para luchar contra el hambre.
Portuguese: O Brasil vai desenvolver um novo programa para combater a fome.
The word for “money” in Portuguese, dinheiro, is very similar to Spanish dinero. A common slang word for “money” in Brazil is grana. The words troco and trocado mean “change”. At a store in Brazil, depending on what you are buying, if you try to pay with 100 or even 50 reais, the cashier may ask “Tem trocado?” (“Do you have change?”) or “Não tem menor, não?” (“Don’t you have anything smaller?”). When you pay and you receive the change, they give you the troco.
English: Five hundred reais is a lot of dough!
Spanish: ¡Quinientos reales es mucha plata!
Portuguese: Quinhentos reais é muita grana!