Newsroom blooper: In Brazil they speak Spanish, don’t they? No, Italian. What a cock-up!

Oops!Hello, for a good laugh you have to watch the segment “Duped by Diego” on the ABC’s (that’s the Australian national broadcaster, not the American one) popular weekly program Media Watch, which as the name implies monitors the Australian media for any embarrassing slip-ups. This segment involves the Today program broadcast on Channel Nine on June 19, the morning after Australia’s football team, the Socceroos, made sure of a place at the next World Cup in Brazil next year. And, boy, is it embarrassing! Underneath is a transcript which I have cut and pasted from the Media Watch website but it is best if you click on the link to the program and watch the segment, which switches between the Today program and the Media Watch commentary. The only thing is that Media Watch doesn’t translate the very rude word that caused so many blushes, so I will elaborate on that at the end of the post and discuss the other Portuguese word used (which is clean).

Here is the link: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3788638.htm

And here is the transcript. Jonathan Holmes is the presenter of  Media Watch and the rest of the people are the staff of the Today program.

Duped by Diego

Cut to Channel Nine, Today, 19th June, 2013. 
Ben Fordham: And the Socceroos result is “legal”. I’m just brushing up on my Spanish. Legal!
Lisa Wilkinson: Has that got an e on the end of it?
Ben Fordham: Dunno!
Karl Stefanovic: Don’t they speak Italian in Brazil?
Ben Fordham: No, I think it’s Spanish, yeah yeah, last time I checked. Legal. It means ‘cool’…..
Georgie Gardner: It’s Portuguese isn’t it?
Karl Stefanovic: Italian. Italian
Georgie Gardner: Doesn’t he mean Portuguese?
Karl Stefanovic: No Italian. Brazilians speak Italian.

Jonathan Holmes of Media Watch: Boys, you ought to know by now: never contradict Georgie Gardner, she always knows best. Welcome to Media Watch, I’m Jonathan Holmes. It got worse for the Today team. Much worse. And a warning for Portuguese speakers. Block your children’s ears.

Ben Fordham: Duc rahlu. Do caralho. Do caralho.
Karl Stefanovic: What does that mean?
Ben Fordham: That means it was an amazing effort. I was sent this by Diego who emailed it in. Do caralho.
Lisa Wilkinson, Ben Fordham: Do caralho. Do caralho.

Jonathan Holmes of Media Watch: At that moment, Karl Stefanovic was the one who got it right…

Karl Stefanovic: I shan’t be saying it.
Ben Fordham: Really?
Karl Stefanovic: I shan’t be saying that word
Ben Fordham: Why?
Karl Stefanovic: Well I just don’t know what it means. It could be anything…

Jonathan Holmes of Media Watch: Very wise, Karl. It is Portuguese, not Spanish, and it is very rude indeed. So Ben Fordham was comprehensively hoaxed by Diego. An amazing effort, you might say. Taken in good part by Ben …

Ben Fordham: I apologise on behalf of the entire team, including Karl and Georgie, now…

So, what can we make of all this? First, let’s look at the language. Yes, “legal” does mean “cool” in Portuguese. Its more traditional meaning is “legal or lawful”, but in popular Brazilian usage it has also come to mean “right, true, correct, OK, cool” etc. For example, está legal means “it’s all right, it’s OK”. 

But what does do caralho mean? Well, in Brazilian Portuguese caralho is a vulgarism meaning, ahem, “cock, prick or dick or joystick”. (The do bit simply means “of the”.) Less vulgar, I should imagine, is pra caralho, which means “a great deal, a lot”.

On a wider level, this episode does illustrate the global ignorance of the Portuguese language. Come on, Portuguese-speaking world, promote yourself! Promova-se!

This means "sit down and shut up"

Sound advice for an ignorant TV presenter:  “Sit down and shut up”.  But what language is it? 

The other thing is, if you are journalist and you don’t know what you are talking about, well, just shut up. Which in Portuguese is Cale a boca! Cale-se! Also Cala a boca, feche a boca (shut your mouth).

Thank you, Diego, whoever you are, for helping to raise awareness of the Portuguese language in your own peculiar way (I think the Today crew are pretty clear now which language they speak in Brazil) – and for introducing me to a vulgarism, which in Portuguese is um vulgarismo. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?🙂

4 thoughts on “Newsroom blooper: In Brazil they speak Spanish, don’t they? No, Italian. What a cock-up!

  1. The level of ignorance is staggering, if they don;t know what language Brazilians speak, just say ” I don’t know”.

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