By Mark Taylor
October 20th, 2005

When I first arrived in Brazil, other than battling with Portuguese, there was also the battle of trying to understand other colloquialisms that are used to communicate.

One example of this is the commonly used interjection psiu” (pronounced “pseeuu” or something like this). It is primarily used when someone’s trying to catch your attention, although at first I thought they were trying to shoot me with a blowdart or do an impression of a flat tyre.

Another similar sounding interjection is “shiu” (pronounced something like “sheeuu”). Rather than trying to catch your attention this is usually the opposite, and is a lighthearted attempt at basically telling you to “shut up”. In Britain at least there’s a a similar noise “shoo”, mostly for quite literally shooing say an animal away.

Usually used as an exclamation there’s “opa” (pronounced something like “op-ah”). It can be spoken in many situations, for example if you almost trip over, or even if you’re showing happiness as your mug of beer arrives. Of course it might be mistaken for a hiccup.

It’s also interesting to see how onomatopoeic words vary between English and Brazilian Portuguese. For example birds don’t go “tweet tweet” or “cheep cheep”, they go “piu-piu” (pronounced something like “peeoo-peeoo”). Piu-Piu is also the character that English speakers will know as Tweety, from the cartoon with Sylvester the cat.

Some more examples of this. A dog doesn’t bark “woof woof”, he goes “au au”. As my wife often reminds me in reference to our dog, he does speak Portuguese after all. Ducks go “qu qu”, a somewhat similar version of “quack quack”. A rooster does a somewhat similarly complex “cocoricó” as opposed to a “cockledoodledoo”. Last but not least, a pig goes “croinh croinh” which again is similar to an “oink oink”.

Can you think of any more interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia to educate us with? If so send an email to

Readers Comments:

When my wife first arrived in the US she would sneeze differently than Americans. When Americans sneeze “Ahhh-Cheww!!!”, but when Brazilians sneeze it sounds like “ha-chinha”!!! something about those “inhus” and “inhas” it always needs to be added!!!

— Eric Czerwinski

Re your article on exclamations and animals sounds- ‘ufa’ means ‘phew’. You didn’t put that one in. Also, “aie”, means “ouch” or’ah!’ (imagination helps with the second meaning!)

— Justin Fredrickson

Apparently, “ups” is used instead of “oops.” My Brazilian girlfriend sent me an email the other day that included the sentence, “ups….and you?” I was thinking of the package delivery company and couldn’t understand what the hell “Brown” had to do with me asking her how she slept. She quickly cleared things up and now I’m a smarter man.

— Bradley

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

By Bob Moser
July 14, 2010

For American ex-pats who still ache inside on Sunday afternoons for our brand of football, I’m offering the best remedy possible while living in São Paulo: A local Ex-pats Fantasy Football League.

I’ve been a fantasy football fanatic since my early teens, and long for the camaraderie that stems from weekly competition with coworkers or friends through fantasy football. This will be the second year of the São Paulo Ex-Pats Fantasy Football League, and we’ll have a few openings to fill due to past owners moving away.

For those who’ve never played fantasy football, 10 or 12 coworkers, classmates or friends (we prefer these even numbers) form a league together, with each person as owner” of their team. The group gathers for a live draft together, often at a restaurant, house or office, where owners take turns drafting real NFL players to fill their teams. Draft night is usually the most fun part of the whole season, as the group setting invites jokes, heckling and optimism for every owner who walks out thinking they drafted a championship-caliber squad.

Then during each week of the NFL season (17 weeks, Sept. 10-Jan. 3), your team will face off against another owner’s team, with each owner choosing his best players to start. Those players earn points based on how they perform in the real NFL games that weekend, and your team earns a “W” if it amasses more points than your opponent’s team.

For those with experience, for simplicity I’m encouraging the traditional starting lineup of 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 Def/ST (8 players starting, with 16 players overall on a team). Scoring would be the standard combination of touchdowns and yardage, and the league would be managed on Yahoo Sports, which is free.

If you have never played fantasy football, no worries. The winner of our league last year was playing for the first time. He made the effort to read up and study beforehand, but caught quite a bit of luck along the way as well, which is usually the deciding factor in this game, anyways. As long as you care enough to read about the NFL results each week online, I will help all new owners prepare before the draft, offering a variety of Web sites where you’ll find fantasy tips and “cheat sheets” that rank NFL players based on their expected fantasy performance.

To keep league members interested and competitive through the whole season, each owner will pay an entrance fee, likely R$100 this year. The fees would stay within the league, used to buy pizza for draft night, and as a cash prize for the league winner.

I’m eyeing the weekend of Aug 29 for owners to gather for a league draft. If interested, e-mail me ASAP at to reserve your spot.

Futebol Society is a night football tournament taking place in São Paulo, from 22h to 6h on July 24th. There will be 32 teams of 7 players competing all night. There is more information on the tournament: 0 Comments/by

July 9, 2010

Meet Arne Rasmussen who has lived in Brazil for over 5 years. Read the following interview in which he tells us about some of his most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

I am from Denmark and I retired early because I have a problem with my back. In Denmark I worked as a freelance photographer for various TV stations.

2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

One day I had contact with a woman – via the Internet – here in Curitiba, Brazil, and I decided to visit her. I had two wonderful weeks here in Brazil, which I will never forget. I went home and sold all my stuff and returned to Brazil. Here I tried to start a business with television production, but it is very difficult. Therefore I went back to Denmark and asked for my pension, which I got after 9 months. Here in Brazil many things are much easier than in Denmark. It is very easy to rent a house or an apartment. I got a permanent visa very quickly, and now I have lived here for five years.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

My first impression of Brazil was freedom and a lot of space! (I’ve always missed that in my own country)!

4. What do you miss most about home?

I miss nothing from Denmark. Absolutely nothing!

What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

My most frustrating experience in Brazil is the language. It is extremely difficult.

6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

My most memorable experience in Brazil was when I visited the waterfalls at Foz do Iguasu!

7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

I really like the freedom here in Brazil. Freedom has always been very important for me. I am surprised that I never get any mails from the authorities here in Brazil. Once you have a permanent visa, the police and other authorities leave you in peace.

8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

Here in Curitiba, there are really many options, and in general I love the different types of restaurants.

9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

As a dukomentarist I’ve always been very curious, and I found a family here in Brazil with the same surname as my own (Rasmussen)! I visited them and they told me a very strange story.

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

Child upbringing – or rather. The lack of upbringing!

11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse?

Portuguese is an incredibly difficult language and I am always perplexed about the different between feminina and feminino! I really can not see the logic.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

If you are a man looking for a woman, then stay far away from women with children!

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

The water Falls in Foz do Iguasu and Brazil’s beaches.

To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:

Don Fenstermaker – USA
Ken Van Zyl – South Africa
Angus Graham – UK
Anne Morddel – USA
Jessica Mullins – Switzerland
Evan Soroka – USA
Mary de Camargo – USA
Brendan Fryer – UK
Aaron Sundquist – USA
Jay Bauman – USA
Alan Williams – USA
Derek Booth – UK
Jim Shattuck – USA
Ruby Souza – Hawaii
Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
Louis van der Wiele – Holland
Drew Glaser – USA
Barry Elliott – Canada
Joel Barsky – USA
David Drummond – Canada
Liam Porisse – France
Jim Kelley – USA
Max Ray – USA
Jeremy Clark – Canada
Don Fredrick – USA
Jase Ramsey – USA
Ben Pearce – UK
Nitai Panchmatia – India
Johnnie Kashat – USA
Jeni Bonorino – USA
Eric Jones – USA
Bill Martin – UK
Bernard Morris – USA
John Graves – USA
Deepak Sapra – India
Alison McGowan – UK
Brent Gregory – USA
R Dub – USA
Tara Bianca – USA
Jack Hurley – USA
James Woodward – Canada
Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
Anna Belavina – Russia
Jim Kirby – USA
Linda Halverstadt – USA
Michelle Monteiro – USA
Chris Mensah – UK
David Sundin – USA
Stephanie Glennon – USA
Julien Porisse – France
Hans Keeling – USA
Jim Adams – USA
Richard Murison – USA
Will Periam – UK
Jan Sandbert – Sweden
Jim Jones – USA
Mike Stricklin – USA
Edward Gowing – Australia
Adrian Woods – USA
Kevin Raub – USA
Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
Zachary Heilman – USA
David Johnson – Bermuda
Cipriana Leme – Argentina
Timothy Bell – USA
Patti Beckert – USA
Timothy Bell – USA
Paul James – USA
David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
Richard Dougherty – USA
James Weeds – USA
Tom Sluberski – USA
Peter Kefalas – USA
Sylvie Campbell – UK
Kathleen Haynes – USA
Matt Bowlby – USA
Alan Longbottom – UK
Eric Karukin – USA
Eddie Soto – USA
Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
Emile Myburgh – South Africa
Bob Chapman – USA
David Barnes – USA
John Milan – USA
Chris Coates – UK
Matthew Ward – UK
Allison Glick – USA
Drake Smith – USA
Jim Jones – USA
Philip Wigan – UK
Atlanta Foresyth – USA
Lee Gordon – USA
Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
Lee Safian – USA
Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
Stephanie Early – USA
Martin Raw – UK
Sean Coady – UK
Hugo Delgado – Mexico
Sean Terrillon – Canada
Jessie Simon – USA
Michael Meehan – USA
Thales Panagides – Cyprus
Tammy Montagna – USA
Samantha Tennant – England
Ron Finely – United States
Bob Duprez – United States
Peter Baines – England
Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
Van Wallach – USA
Lesley Cushing – England
Alexander von Brincken – Germany
Hank Avellar – USA
Ed Catchpole – England
Penny Freeland – England
Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia

Can’t make this up