Book Review: Ron Martinez – Como se diz chulé em inglês?

June 9, 2009 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

Como se diz chulé em inglês? (How do you say “chulé” in English?) is a book written for Brazilians learning English, but in my opinion its just as useful if not more so for English people learning Brazilian Portuguese.

Some time ago, Ron Martinez (who has a background of teaching English in Brazil) started a group on the social network site Orkut for learners of English. Students posted questions about words in Portuguese they couldn’t find an equivelent for in English. This book is Ron’s attempt to answer those queries. Basically, it’s a fascinating study of phrases and words that are common in Portuguese which no English word seems to quite capture.

The best way to illustrate this is through some examples. An oft-cited Portuguese word that has no English translation is “saudades” which roughly translates to “longing” – basically the feeling we have when we miss something. Other useful words which Martinez picks up on – Picanha (the prime cut of meat so popular at Brazilian barbeques/churrascos which butchers in the northern hemisphere don’t use!), caprichar (sort of means “to embellish”, “to treat well”, “to put extra effort in”), cadê (that wonderful word which doesn’t need to be conjugated which means – Where is/are..?) and, from the title, chulé (smelly feet!).

As the book is written in Portuguese you will need at least an intermediate grasp of Portuguese to get everything, but the chapters are short, witty and the examples clearly laid out in boxes. A great way to get under the skin of both English and Portuguese and how the two languages actually work in practice…

Here is a listing for the book on


Entry filed under: Book Reviews, Other stuff. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . with Portuguese subtitles

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