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December 18, 2008



Great topic!
My name is very common in North America but here in Brazil it virtually ceases to exist. Of course there are tonnes of Kristine's, Christiane's, Kristina's, etc. but here in Brazil people seem puzzled that it's really JUST Kristi. In fact, many people including my doorman just call me Kristina, and anytime anyone knows my middle name (ie it's on a form or something), they will call me by my full name.

Onto pronunciation... it's no longer Kristi but Krees-chee - that is, in the odd case that someone believes that Kristi really truly is my actual name, or Krees-chee-na or Krees-chee-annie or Krees-cheen.

It's like a whole new identity!



What's up with the Henry Sobel thing? Is he the metric by which Brazilians judge foreigners who speak Portuguese? I got that all of the time in Sao Paulo: "Wow, you've been speaking Portuguese for less than two months and you have less of an accent than Henry Sobel!" Well, that's because Henry Sobel is purposely speaking that way. He's a jackass.


I didn't know Mr. Sobel was so famous. But I think he may be currently the most notorious American who moved to Brazil, although he was born in Portugal. And he has the same accent we hear from American celebrities who try to speak a few words in Portuguese while passing by, so it just looks like a plausible American accent to us, I guess. I've heard him many times, even in the synagogue, and I also think he's doing it on purpose, but I honestly have no idea why he would do it. He may be what you say (and sometimes I tend to think the same), but I also acknowledge his role in the fight for human rights during the dictatorship, so I prefer to "suspend my judgment", and give him the "benefit of doubt". But if you have any clue, I'd appreciate it!
Anyway, I mentioned him here just because he was already mentioned before in this blog, so I know Rachel knows who he is. And I can't remember of any other Brazilian-American we'd both know.

When I was a kid, the most famous American living in Brazil was Kate Lyra, an American actress who married a Brazilian musician. She worked on "mildly" erotic movies and TV comedies, and she had that exact same accent. However, today I believe she was "supposed" to speak like that, because she always portrayed an American lady who "loved" Brazilians, and comedies tend to use stereotypes a lot (especially if they are not so good). I think today, 30 years later, she probably speaks Portuguese very well.
Carmen Miranda, when living in the US, starring in American movies, was asked about her accent and answered "If I speak good English, I loose my job."

Eduardo Sant'Anna


I think the same question applies to Brazilians (and other nationalities) living in english speaking countries. Some are there for decades and still with strong original accent, some have just arrived and speak almost like the locals.

I guess it's due to lots of things but can be summarized into two: 1- wanting to lose the accent (and blend in with the community more easily); 2- being able to lose the accent, which sometimes is more of a talent (like singing) than actual desire, I believe.

my 2 cents...


hahaha I was confused when you called me at my parents' house and my dad said "Raquel is on the phone". I was like ummm you mean Rachel?? Speaking of which Rob hated the soft "R" when his name went from Rob to "Hobby". That's why we came up with Robinho, he liked that. I am actually pretty lucky with my first and last name, except for the time a restaurant hostess in the US pronounced my last name Ba-jeh, believe it or not. Butchered. Long story short, it took me much longer to get my table, since I didn't recognize my name. As for your last name, do you know the original spelling? Luck in German is glück (glueck in the alternative spelling). But it may be different in yeddish if that's where it comes from.



Sure. The same question applies to anyone who moves, even inside the same country. And I asked this question to Rachel because this happens to be her blog...
I agree with your general considerations. I just wanted to know something more specific in this case, I guess...


Ronney Silva

My first name(Ronney)has never been a big deal in the US. In Brazil it is pronounced something like HAWN-NAY, but in America I let it be pronounced as an American name, which I actually like. The only time I've ever had my name mispronounced was when a teacher called me roDney instead.

However, the rest of my name really pisses me off. Well, my full name is Ronney Almeida e Silva Filho. I never understood why my dad put an "e" (which is equivalent to "and") in my full name as if it that was a sentence or something. I wouldn't be surprised if he had included a period in the end of Filho as well.. (lol)

Another thing is the "Filho" part. Why couldn't he just name me "JUNIOR"??? To me it sounds much better and it is more than common in Brazil. Therefore, my last name is not Filho, I mean thats just a suffix, my last name should be Silva.

So I just let everyone know me as Ronney Silva and when I have to put my name into most documents I leave it as dat. Except when its something more serious, such as immigration forms, school applications, that type of stuff.

At schools, I usually put the whole thing, but I explain it to a guidance counselour or someone who can take care of that and make sure my name is addressed as Ronney Silva.

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