The English and Portuguese languages both benefit and suffer from an Imperial legacy which has resulted in a diaspora of idioms, accents and peculiarities of expression which can cause bewilderment to native speakers and chaos in the comprehension of foreigners. They are also fundamentally enclitic which makes learning grammatical construction by listening (especially to broadcast commentary) an almost futile exercise.

The wise advice of etymologists to absorb the historic meaning of words slowly but surely by the daily practice of reading and writing helps most students to pass beyond simplicity to expressing themselves in the many tenses and subtleties of meaning; especially so with the Portuguese subjunctive which is essential for any discussion of cultural matters.

In such regions as central and west Africa words from nearly four hundred indigenous languages have been consolidated with colonial English to provide a lingua franca which enables Europeans to communicate in a friendly manner. This is known as Pidgin. For example, a restaurateur could be told “I wan chop” which means “I want to eat” and his cook would understand “Dey tear my belle” meaning “I am extremely hungry”.

This African form of Esperanto could well be adapted for the formulation of pidgin Portuguese. It could make opportune an interesting combination for global tourism especially in countries of the East where Pidgin was first initiated as a communication between merchants for the purpose of daily barter.

However, for advanced speakers, an alternative digital solution can be found in the adaptation of Douglas Adams´ yellow babel fish by the Google audio translator whereby buds, not fish, are inserted in the ear. In UN Assembly style, a total of thirty-six languages and ninety accents can be simultaneously (almost) translated.

I trust that this information may be of some use to intending multi-linguists.

No Wahala = No problem = Sem Problemas

Roberto Cavaleiro Tomar 16 April 2024