Do most Brazilians respond to Spanish or do visitors have to make an effort with Portuguese?
I ask because a friend of mine recently met a Portuguese-speaker who told him: “We learn English just so we don’t have to speak Spanish to foreigners.” Is this pretty accurate, or is Spanish sufficient?
Both languages are similar. You could speak Spanish in Brazil, Brazilian people will make their best to understand and communicate with you. Maybe this is not the same in Portugal, because of attitude and pronounciation: in fact, it’s not so easy to understand Portuguese people speech to me (I’m Argentinien).
I have learned that Portuguese speaking countires do not want to be spoken to in Spanish. They will understand Spanish, but may ignore you. In Portugal, while they share the same geogaphic area, they would prefer to be asked in English if they are younger Portuguese who may know English. Brazilian Portuguese is different than European Portuguese. So the bottom line is that even Brazilian’s prefer you try Portuguese and then English. Yes, the understand Spanish, but it’s a matter of pride.
Great question as it’s more to do with nationalism than true understanding.
All questions have been asked and answered in English, so I would say you’re fairly proficient and as a result you should be well placed to communicate if you have limited Portugese, and only use Spanish if you really can’t be understood.
As a mater of interest my Portugese is understood by people who speak the Pavian Dialect in italy?
Thank you, all, for your answers. I think the consensus is that Portuguese, then English, then Spanish is the preferred form of communication in Brazil. I’ll try to pick up some Portuguese before I go : )
During my brief time in Brasil, because I don’t speak more than a few words of Portuguese, I tried Spanish (before English). I think many folks in Rio and Sao Paulo knew what I was talking about, but they answered in Portuguese (what a shock), so…hand gestures it is.