Tuesday, 19 June 2012
False friends - pronunciation: how to order a coconut water in Brazil
During my first degree, I started studying Spanish. It was only a few years ago in London, when I decided to learn Portuguese due to my Brazilian and Angolan friends and the Brazilian community in my Zouk-Lambada dance group.
When I met the prince of sun, I completely immersed in the Portuguese language and got reminded of my Spanish language knowledge one embarrassing time in a Brazilian beach café.
Ordering a chilled coconut water, I unconciously used my brain-stored Spanish language knowledge for the pronunciation of "coco" (coconut) which has the following pronunciation and stress:
Now in Portuguese, cocô (stress: coco) means shit/poo... Yes...
Ordering a "agua de cocô gelada" meant I was asking for "chilled shit water".
The correct Portuguese pronunciation for coconut is
"coco" (stress: coco).
The whole bar team started crying (due to nearly rolling on the floor laughing) so I only learned about my mistake and the correct pronunciation after they recovered.