1. Language, Communication, and Social Values
• Language: Portuguese is the official language spoken in Brazil. It varies slightly from the Portuguese spoken in Portugal. English is popular as a second language.
• Unspoken Language: Gestures are often used by Brazilians to communicate and express feelings, and often accompany greetings. Handshakes are often used in greeting; however, an alternating kiss on each cheek is often used if in a male-to-male situation. The “Okay” sign used in the U.S. is considered offensive in Brazil. Men tend to stare at and make comments about women passing by. This is generally ignored by the women.
• Values & Attitudes: Brazilians are fun-loving, and free-spirited. They are also outgoing and enjoy being around others. At the same time, they are hard working. Brazilians often are opinionated and will argue for their convictions with vigor. Social status commonly is measured by one's power to acquire possessions. People tend to view time more as a sequence of events than as a matter of hours and minutes.
• Manners & Customs: Eye contact is important during conversations. While in conversation, it is important to stand close and touch each other. Passing between conversing individuals is rude.
• Aesthetics: Brazilians are fashionable and tend to stay up-to-date with the latest styles. In southern regions, people prefer to wear black, white, and other neutral colors. In business, men and women typically wear suits. Jeans are considered too casual.
• Key Historical Events: When Napoleon captured Spain and Portugal (1808), the
South American colonies were initially liberated from European control. However, the Portuguese royal family soon fled to Brazil and established Rio de Janeiro as the seat of the Portuguese Empire. Brazil then ceased to be a colony and became part of the Portuguese kingdom. The royal family returned to Portugal in 1821, leaving Dom Pedro I to govern. He declared Brazil's independence...