Thursday, 8 September 2011

Cute Words in Brazilian Portuguese Part 3


"Para inglês ver" means for the English, or Englishman to see and it's used, quite frequently, in Brazilian Portuguese to describe something that is just for show. I found this quite a funny expression and was curious to find out if there was an interesting etymology behind it, and indeed there is:

Back in 1831 the Brazilian goverment came under pressure from England to abolish slavery. At the time England exerted influence on Brazil due to manufacturing, trade and financial dependence. Bowing to the pressure then, a new law was introduced which would severly fine importers of slaves and which made slaves free upon arrival on Brazilian shores. 

However most people including the deputies in parliament did not believe the law was enforceable and didn't think it would be effective and it would be only for the English, or Englishman to see. Therein was born the expression para o inglês ver.

In fact as predicted Brazilian slavery continued despite the change and until a new law was passed some twenty years later in 1852. 
  
See other cute words entries here:

6 comments:

Vic said...

Great post! This is the kind of stories that made me love anthropology (and etymology)!

Pierre Larose said...

Glad you enjoyed it. I don't actually know much about either subject it was just "pra inglês ver".. lol

IsaacRiquelme said...

Where did you find this draw? Im impress, you did it for this post?

Pierre Larose said...

I shamefully stole it from google images...

Unknown said...

Actually, slavery was not officially abolished up until the very eve of Republicanism, in 1888. The Federal Republic of Brazil was proclaimed an year later.

aliya seen said...

Thank you for such a well written article. It’s full of insightful information and entertaining descriptions. punctuation helper free

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