Names in Brazil


When I moved to Brazil from the USA, one of the first things I noticed was that Brazilians had some pretty strange and difficult names, at least for a foreigner like me. Of course I’ve long since gotten used to them, but at first I had a hard time wrapping my tongue around names like Iguarací, Ubirajara, and Adalgamir.

I also noticed that Brazilian names tend to be rather long, and that people almost always address each other by their first name, or by a nickname. Our ex-president, for example, Luiz Inácio da Silva, is always referred to as “Lula” (which means “squid” in English!), even in the press.

One of the first friends I made here was Maria da Conceição Ferreira de Almeida. When I first met her I found her long name quite daunting, so I asked her what I should call her. She said, “My friends call…

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