Portuguese for me is, and always will be a secondary language, no matter how much I try. Want to know why? Slang. As I never grew up in the country, I am completely oblivious of the slang vocabulary developed by younger people in the country. This becomes even more compounded when I refer to Brazilian Portuguese… For the first month I lived with Brazilian housemates, most of that time was spent either trying to decipher what they were trying to say to me or trying to figure out how they were making fun of me.
A great example of this was when a non Brazilian friend of mine, Bilal, came over to our staff house. My housemate was in the living room and I introduced Bilal to him. His response was slightly odd as his eyes kind of opened wider than usual and just went “Your name is Bilao?” (Brazilians can’t always pronounce the “L” at the end of the word) and smiled cheekily. I was slightly perplexed by his reaction but simply put it down to him being, well, him.
However every time I would leave the house in the evening, my housemate kept asking me “So you are going with ‘Bilao’?”, to which I would naturally just respond to what I was going to do, which most times was meeting up with Bilal for shisha. He would always follow that question “You like going out with ‘Bilao’” and I would simply say yes. The last question in his inquisition was always “So you like ‘Bilao’?” to which I would always say the usual “yes, he’s a good bloke” etc.
All the way through asking these questions he always had a cheeky grin on his face. I knew there was something fishy going on and the third time he asked the set of questions, I lost patience and asked why he was so interested in Bilal. He burst out laughing and said “because in Brazilian, ‘Bilao’ is slang for penis”…
That means for a couple of days I kept telling my housemates I was going to meet penis… FML