Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wacky Haiku Wednesdays

Oh, and by wacky, I mean code-switching.

I know... I'm breaking all the rules.

I can't help it.

I'm coming into my own, or coming right along in Portuguese, I guess. One of the things that I missed most when I was learning to speak Portuguese, is that I couldn't joke around or play on words (you know by now that I love a good pun), and conversations felt so empty to me. I felt like my personality couldn't come through.

The more Portuguese I've learned, I feel that I've been able to reclaim a little fun in my day-to-day interactions with people. I love that I'm able to joke around more, and do my favorite thing of all: play around with the meanings and sounds of words.

It didn't work right off the bat, of course. At first, people thought that the crazy foreign chick was reeeally missing the mark in vocabulary. Heh-heh... Now they know that I'm just one of those dorky people who do that kinda thing.

At least, now that I'm pretty well understood, it's more obvious when I am making a joke ...or trying to. Then again, as I may have mentioned before, jokes don't always translate culture to culture. But hey, those closest to me have always said that I pun-ish myself too hard in this area.

A pun is the lowest form of humor, unless you thought of it yourself.

~ Doug Larson

A lurking pun is the worst pun, one the offender has been waiting to spring on you.
~ Harry Mahtar

Another result of being more fluent in Portuguese, is that now there is no rhyme nor reason as to how a conversation may play out at home with my husband. Sometimes we start a conversation in [pick a language: Portuguese or English], and finish in the other. Sometimes he responds in Portuguese while I reply in English. Then we do the every other sentence thing... or the most interesting: 95% of the sentence in one language, while emphasizing a few key words in the other. That is code-switching.

This is pretty normal for anyone who lives or grows up in a bilingual atmosphere, and is commonly seen in my home state of Texas, in varying degrees. It is most noticeable in "The Valley," or southernmost part of the state.

It is also something that is generally frowned upon by foreign language teachers. However, I want my family back home to learn a little Portuguese, as well as share in the newfound fun that I'm having with both languages. Hence, Wacky Haiku Wednesday was born.

Image via Microsoft Office Clip Art home page
I'll write a pretty bad haiku using a bit of English & Portuguese, and give you the definitions & pronunciations of the Portuguese words you didn't know before.

Here goes...

Ainda não sei...
I haven't tried this before.
New way to learn, hein?

"Ainda não sei." = "I still don't know."
  • Ainda [pronounced: "I-yeen-duh"] means still.

  • não [pronounced: (nasally) "now/oh"] means no, not, don't.

  • sei [pronounced: "say"] means I know.

"Hein" = "Huh" or "Eh"
  • hein [pronounced: "hey-n" or "ay-n"]


  1. I loved this post. So Wacky!!

  2. Alisa,

    I'm glad you like it! I just hope it doesn't do more ham than good! ;)


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