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Local Phrases You Need to Know In Rio

5 Local Phrases You Need to Know in Rio

November 10, 2014

Rua da Carioca, Rio de Janeiro

Photo credit: Flickr

There are good reasons to learn a bit of local Portuguese when you’re in Rio. While English is widely spoken – especially in the middle and upper class neighborhoods – understanding common phrases will ease your way. But the Portuguese taught in your language app or guidebooks is much different than the Portuguese that rolls off the tongues of Cariocas (Rio de Janeiro natives).

So you’ve mastered the por favors and obrigados. What’s next? Giria (slang) and phrases you’ll hear during everyday life in Rio.

5) E ai, “What’s up?”

A common greeting amongst friends, used by younger people.

4) Estou chegando, “I’m arriving”

A phrase used by Brazilians to announce their departure from their current location. You might expect this to mean your companion is arriving soon – it actually means they have announced an intent to arrive, usually at a leisurely pace.

3) Se Deus quiser, “If God wants”

You’ll hear this phrase when the outcome of a situation is unknown or the speaker is noncommittal. For example, when you ask a Carioca if they’ll be at the beach tomorrow, this response means you shouldn’t get your hopes up.

2) Valeu, “Thanks”/”OK”/”Goodbye”

Used by younger people, valeu is a loose term that can mean “thanks”, “OK” or “goodbye.”

1) Tudo bem, “How’s it going?” (Literally, “All’s well”)

This is the most common informal greeting. Respond with the same: Tudo bem.

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