Be Careful When Inviting Young Ladies

Just to show how alive and well the law of unintended consequences is when it comes to making what seems to be correct translations at the time and place, and how disastrous it can all be if later applied, without taking into account the circumstances of the original…

In the Portuguese of Portugal, the original home of the Portuguese language, the word “rapariga” means simply “a young lady”.

But in the Portuguese of Brazil, also home to Portuguese, though not the original home, the same word “rapariga” always means “a young female prostitute”.

And this is a true story, that people who learn Portuguese in Portugal, and then come to Brazil, get themselves into embarrassing situations, by correctly using the word “rapariga” had they still been in Portugal, but instead incorrectly use the word “rapariga” in their new environment of Brazil.

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