Speaking correct Portuguese is definitely a great thing but, on daily basis, people have local words and expressions, and also particular ways of expressing themselves that vary a lot from region to region (after all, it’s a big country and a lot of local cultures). In Northeast region there is an infinity of local vocabulary that not even we can say we know it all. Here are 5 words/expressions very commonly said in Maceió city, and what they mean:
Oxe/Oxente – it can express surprise, indignation, mental confusion (if you see or hear something that doesn’t make any sense), amazement, doubt, and the list goes on. Basically, if you need to express some intense feeling you’re having, “oxe” or “oxente” will probably fit you right.
Ex.: – Oxe! I didn’t know you were here!
Iapois – if you want to express that you strongly agree with something, say “iapois!“. It has to be used alone. It’s a monosyllabic sentence.
Ex.: – Are you Brazilian?
– Iapois! (something like “definetly!“, or “totally!“)
Marminino – expresses indignation in a funny way. It’s a derivation of “Mas menino!” (something close to “oh, boy!“). It has a meaning of a reprehension, like the “hell, no!” english expression.
Ex.: – Can you pay for the dinner tonight?
– Marminino! (“of course not, you clown!“)
é? é! – you can say a lot with this vowel! “é?” means “really?” and “é!” can be “yeah” but can also be said in a meaning of “that’s how it is!” when teaching children (a positive reinforcement) or in a meaning of “that’s how life is” when talking to another adult. The intonation makes all the difference.
Cara – this word can be an informal way of saying “face” (formally, animals have “cara” and humans have “rosto” or “face“). But there’s also a way of refering to “some guy“.
Ex.: – Eu tava no bar e um cara tava me encarando. (“I was at the bar and some guy was staring at me.”)