English spoken in Rio?

Old Dec 4th, 2002, 03:29 PM
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English spoken in Rio?

I've mastered the basic amenities in Portuguese but that's about it. If I'm staying at a 5 star hotel in Copacabana area will I be hard-pressed to communicate with the natives? Can I assume that some of the hotel personnel and restaurant owners will accommadate an exchange in English?
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 07:59 PM
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To be flat honest with you, not speaking Portuguese is not at all a show-stopper for you, but it is a drawback.

Good idea to get down some basic niceties in Portugues... first time I went I picked up a 4 CD (I believe it was called "Pimlers" or something like that) which was an excellent verbal introduction to some of the basic constructions, pronouns, touristy vocabulary, common greetings and salutations, and most importantly, numbers and how to transact financially.

For you, a first timer, the airport will be a bit intimidating because the customs staff there will bark at you in Portuguese. Just go to the desk and hand the passport... then remember that "saida" means exit and you're in. The hotel should be no problem for you.

On the streets, basic Portuguese should hopefully be enough to meet some folk and be able to ask a local if they speak English or not. Most folks are not proficient in English, but if you speak any Spanish at all they can generally understand Spanish... meaning that you will be able to talk to them but even most native Spanish speakers have problems understanding Portuguese.

A good topic of conversation is football... ask them which of the local clubs they root for. An interest in football and being able to show off some basic knowledge of Brazilian history will earn you serious brownie points with the natives, and is in my opinion common courtesy.
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 06:32 AM
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Doc, I am staying in a 3 star hotel and all the front desk people speak english, I have to tell them to speak Porteguese because I want to practice. As far as the natives are concerned who don't work in the hotel most do not speak English. And in most restaurants the menu is subtitled in English but most waiters do not speak English except in the 5 star restaurants.
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 01:11 PM
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I just got back from Rio and I have been doing some stydying of Portueguse for about 3 years now on and off. If this is going to be your one and only trip then I do not know about how much effort you will be willingto do to speak the language. But the more you know the more it will enhance your experience, this time for me I was able to have much more lengthly and meaningful conversations then in the past although I am far from fluent. The Brazilians are thrilled to speak to you in their own language, you can hear it in the tone of their voice and they are happy to converse with you, they are truly delighted.
Old Jan 5th, 2003, 06:44 AM
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It's great that you learned some Portuguese and that the replies you got pointed out the benefit. At a 5 star Copacabana hotel, the front desk and concierge will speak English as will (in my experience) the driver of the Mercedes taxi out front. At your hotel, they'll likely speak French and Spanish also. Waiters spoke enough English for me to get by. The non-English speakers were patient and friendly.

Old Jan 6th, 2003, 08:18 AM
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Congratulations on your effort to learn portuguese, it will be very helpful. As for your concerns, even in a 3 star-rated hotel in all major brazilian cities you will be undestood in english. Outside hotels ans restaurants, it's not difficult to find someone who speaks at least a little english. And definitely our brazilian customs will not "bark" at you ! Please feel free to ask form more information, should you need.
Old Jan 7th, 2003, 12:53 PM
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I have been to rio and stayed in a 5 star hotel. Everyone spoke/understood some english--from the concierge to the housekeeping staff. Hotel staff will give you directions and instructions to get where you want to go.
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