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Olá, pessoal! Hey, guys!
It is time for our monthly reading and listening comprehension activity. Today’s selected text is entitled Brasileiro não é nacionalidade, é profissão (Brazilian is not a nationality, it’s a profession), by writer and comedian Gregório Duvivier. It discusses an interesting peculiarity of the word Brasileiro (Brazilian) in Portuguese. Unlike most nationalities, the word ends with “eiro” (similar to the ending “er” in English), which is commonly used for professions, not for origins. Hope you guys enjoy it!
Review the steps:
Parte 2: Maldito palhaço. Nunca mais me esqueci disso. Toda vez que vejo algum brasileiro ferrando o Brasil lembro que brasileiro é atividade, não é identidade. E não qualquer atividade: brasileiro é quem vive da extração e da venda, pro exterior, do pau-brasil. Ou seja: brasileiro, etimologicamente, é quem vive de vender o Brasil. Quando terminam as riquezas, o brasileiro se aposenta e volta pra “civilização”, como gosta de chamar os lugares que mais se beneficiaram do nosso subdesenvolvimento. Por isso também tantos de nós se definem como brasileiros, mas —apressam-se em acrescentar— descendentes de italianos, portugueses ou alemães. Estamos brasileiros, mas, no fundo, o que somos de verdade é outra coisa. O brasileiro tá de passagem.
Parte 3: Fôssemos brasilianos, talvez restasse mais Amazônia. Fôssemos brasileses, quem sabe respeitássemos as urnas. Fôssemos brasilinos, talvez não tivéssemos exterminado, e continuássemos exterminando, tantas nações indígenas. Taí uma ideia: homenagear um povo original. Nisso podíamos imitar os “civilizados”. Afinal, franceses vêm dos francos, ingleses vêm dos anglos, e por essa lógica seríamos tupinambás, tamoios ou tabajaras. Imagina que bonito um estádio inteiro cantando junto: “Eu sou tabajara/ Com muito orgulho/ Com muito amor”. Curiosamente, tabajara virou sinônimo de reles, vagabundo. Vai entender.
Brazilian is not a nationality, it’s a profession
Part 1: I’ll excuse myself for a little bit of bar sociolinguistics*. Not to say that I used to be a serious sociolinguist here. But I did other ‘bar’ things: bar poetry, bar politics, bar economics. Writing chronicles, after all, is no more than written bar talk. I do not know if any serious scholar has ever considered this phenomenon. Who first made me see was the clown Marcio Libar who, like every clown, is a bar clairvoyant. “Nationality, in Portuguese,” the clown said, “end with -an (Italian, American, Mexican) or -h, (English, French, Polish). More rarely, it ends in -ine (Argentine, Moroccan) or -ense (Costa Rican, Israeli).” Yes, Clown, but where are you going with this bar grammar?“There is no other nationality that ends in “er”, only “Braziler”. Look it up. I looked. I did not find it. “Names that end in -er are banker, a bricklayer, a carpenter, a bookeeper. Brazilian is not nationality, it’s a profession. “
*derived from the expression “conversa de botiquim” (bar talk)
Part 2: That damn clown. I never forgot that again. Every time I see some Brazilian screwing over Brazil I remember that Brazilian is an activity, not an identity. And not just any activity: Brazilian is the one who lives from the extraction and sale, abroad, of pau-brasil tree. That is: Brazilian, etymologically, is the one who lives to sell Brazil. When our riches end, the Brazilian retires and returns to “civilization,” as he likes to call the places that have benefited most from our underdevelopment. That is why so many of us define ourselves as Brazilians, but – rush to add – of Italian, Portuguese or German descent. We are Brazilian, but deep down, what we really are is something else. Our Brazilian status is fleeting.
Part 3: If we were “Brazilese”, maybe there would be more of the Amazon. If we were Brazilese, maybe we respected the polls. If we were Brazilese, perhaps we would not have exterminated, and continued to exterminate, so many indigenous nations. Here’s an idea: to honor native people. In this aspect, we could imitate the “civilized”. After all, French come from the Franks, English from the Angles, and by this logic we would be tupinambás, thamoios or tabajaras. Imagine how beautiful a whole stadium singing along: “I am tabajara / With much pride / With much love”.* Curiously, the word tabajara became synonymous with cheap, unreliable. Go figure.
*from the lyrics “I am Brazilian, with much pride, with much love”