Well since my last little rant about the lack of t-shirts in Brazil written in Portuguese, I am pleased to say I have been finding a few.
This first one comes from Bike Town, a São Paulo based bike shop. as you can see, with so many shops in Brazil, it is far more chic (they use this word a lot in Brazil) to have an English name rather than a Portuguese one. I don’t think they produce this t-shirt, and it may be the case that my friends at Bike Forever are going to make it commercially available, but it has a great phrase for eco-warriors and those who love nature and fresh air:
It translates as
The bike is the most pleasant solution for some of the most complex solutions in the world.
Fabulous. I must get hold of one if it ever does become available.
The next t-shirt is by a company called Zorro but I can’t find them on the web. I was in a tourist shop in Paraty this last weekend, and found this image on a t-shirt with the phrase “Viagem Filosófica” (Philosophical travel). That is a brilliant phrase which sounds great in Portuguese, and so I immediately bought the t-shirt.
The next t-shirts come from the satirical British website The Daily Mash. This can often be quite crude, rude and juvenile, but is often hilarious, and they do have some eco-t-shirts which are both extremely funny whilst being highly critical at the same time. But they are good examples of excellent use of English which could well remain obscure to a non-native speaker of English.
This is about the proposed cull of badgers in the UK and imagines that fighting attitude of the badgers in response to the UK government.
This is not bad grammar but baby talk. The Daily Mash love to have a pop at what they see as mindless consumerism and our love of gadgets.
Compare these English t-shirts with their very British humour to say this one of the Brazilian company Flagra.
On the chest is written Property of your brand. I did send an email to Flagra asking for their comment, but I have heard nothing back. I can’t actually work out if they have thought about what this phrase means, in terms of the mindless consumerism and the fact that we are owned by brands, or if they just think as it is written in English and maybe their interpretation is different.
Anyway I wanted to write this little blog as I have just written a much heavier one about meaning and language. There is never a one-to-one correspondence between languages, and learning a second language is never the same as learning our first native tongue. For this reason I do feel that Brazilians are losing a lot by being so fixated on English.
I didn’t get much of response back on my last article, and maybe people here don’t like being told that often their use of English is not so great and why not be artistic and creative in Portuguese. Within all of this are perhaps deeper psychological aspects of low self-esteem, of always being told you are third-world, and having the mental model of literally being below first world countries which are above the equator.
I don’t know exactly what the issue is, but we need to do a lot of work on self-esteem in Brazil, and I look to the young artists and other creative types to regain their Brazilian-ness and this can be expressed proudly on their chests.
In my last article I did write an update about the on-line company Camiseteria, and here is a great one of their crowd-sourced t-shirts to end with.