A postcard from the Museum of Portuguese Language


A museum of language seems a little odd. How can there be exhibits when there’s nothing tangible? Even odder is going to a museum about Portuguese when we don’t speak it and there’s no other language to help with interpretation.

But the couple of hours we spent there were surprisingly fulfilling.

There was lots of multimedia presentation; videos, music, graphics, touchscreens. The most interesting part was a display about Portuguese words that had come from other languages. Rolling screens showed words which you could touch to reveal the definition and the word in its language of origin. You could look up the history of the language and the people who brought it to Brazil. We had lots of fun guessing the meaning of words and listening to the pronunciation.

I was surprised at how much of the meaning we could piece together using our knowledge of Spanish and English (thanks to all the cognates from Latin). Did you know that many of the Portuguese words from French relate to clothing whereas those from English involve sports? Fancy a game of ‘futebol’ anyone?

Museum of the Portuguese Language
Subway station: Luz
Price: R$6 adult
Hours: 10am-6pm, last ticket 5pm, closed Mondays

Rainy times in Japantown

The Liberdade area in Sao Paulo is also known as JapanTown. It has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. Our hostel guy said it was a great place to go and take pictures because everything was Japanese (I was secretly hoping to find a bowl of ramen).

When we arrived it was late-afternoon and lots of shops were closing. We dodged rain showers under the awnings of cafes until we found somewhere that served hot bean soup (Brazilian not Japanese).