Portuguese Language Blog

Naturalidades: Part III Posted by on Apr 27, 2008 in Geography

To continue with our lesson on naturalidades, where a person is from in Brazil, let’s look at the Southern region.

A person from the state of Paraná is called paranaense, and a person from the capital of Curitiba is called curitibano.


A person from the state of Santa Catarina is called catarinense or barriga-verde, and a person from the capital of Florianópolis is called florianopolitano. During the early 1800s, Brazil fought in a war against Uruguay, and the state of Santa Catarina sent forces who did particularly well in battle. These brave soldiers were known as the barriga-verdes, (green bellies), since they wore a green sash as a belt with their uniforms. Today, the term is a source of pride for people from Santa Catarina, and many buildings, organizations, and businesses use the term, including the state congress building, called O Palácio Barriga Verde.

A person from the state of Rio Grande do Sul is called gaúcho, and a person from the capital of Porto Alegre is called porto-alegrense. A gaúcho [gah-oo-shoo] is a person who is from the southernmost area of Brazil, which has a strong cowboy culture based on a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, indigenous, and African ancestors who settled the area. In Argentina and Uruguay, these people are known as gauchos [gow-chohs].

The origin of the word is debated. It may be from the indigenous language Guarani, where the word would mean “man that sings sadly.” It also could come from the Arabic word “chaucho” which is a type of whip used to control cattle. Others believe it comes from the indigenous Quechua word “huagchu” which means orphan, and referred to the children of Indian women with Portuguese and Spanish immigrant men. In any event, the word was first used to describe the tough pioneers who settled the vast plains of southern Brazil and northern Argentina.


A Gisele é modelo gaúcha, aqui na foto acima. Gisele is a model from Rio Grande do Sul in the photo above.
Os curitibanos gostam da sua cidade limpa e bonita. The people of Curitiba like their clean and pretty city.

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  1. nitin chadha:

    I want to know more about Brazil as well as Brazilian people