Languages - My Brazilian Background - #51HT - A Rich Homeless

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sábado, 14 de abril de 2018

Languages - My Brazilian Background - #51HT

Novo Mesto was the most unknown city that I visited in Slovenia. Until now I never met a traveler that visited there. In fact Ljubljana and Bled Lake sometimes are the only places that tourists/travelers use to go.

Everything starts with name of the city. Novo in Portuguese is new and for me was interesting to see a city with a kind of Portuguese name in Slovenia. Balkan languages are so different than Romanian ones. But dude, novo also means new in Slovenian. In fact it's not a Portuguese word, but it still interesting to see that even the backgrounds of Romanian and Slavic languages are so different, but they can have similarities sometimes.

Languages are something really interesting to learn. When you are leaving from your comfort zone that you speak just your mother language, you can start to see how they are connected somehow. When I learned my first second language, English, this was really hard for me. During 23 years of my life I could speak just Portuguese, once I was born in Brazil. This was a really hard moment for me and until now it's still a daily challenge. I've speaking English for the past 4 years and as you can see in this text that my vocabulary and my grammar aren't that good to be compared with a native speaker. If you're a native speaker, you'll be sure about it. However the connection that I have between my brain and the written and speaking ways in English is amazing. I can put all of my feelings and thoughts in these words that you're reading now. You can feel it deeply, if you're connected with me. This 23 years without having a second language affected me in the way that it's so much harder for me to speak as good as someone that start to study the language since the first years of school.

When I see someone that speaks English in a level lower than mine, I use to try to give all my attention and energy to interact with this person. The reason why someone has good language skills or not, it depends of social factors that most of the times it depends of the economical situation of the country that he/she was born, which countries this nation have borders, how is the education in his/her countries, which social level of the society he/she is inserted and the opportunities that she/he had in their life

About me. I'm from Brazil, a country with a fair education system that doesn't give so much importance for languages. Basically only 3% of our population in Brazil speaks English. It's a really bad number and it has similarities in other South American countries, Argentina would be the exception, being the 19th best one in English Skills in the world, while Brazil is just the 38th.

Brazil is such a big country and it has huge social differences between regions. To make it simple for you, there are 5 big regions in Brazil. These areas are so big that the smallest region, South, is the size of Ukraine and the biggest one, North, is almost the same size of the Entire European Union (3.8mi km², 4,2mi km²). I'm from the Northwest region, that's the same size of Mongolia, if my region was a country it would be the 15th biggest country in the world. This region that was born is also is the poorest region in Brazil. If we compare the amount of people in extreme poverty, there are 27 states and from 13 poorest ones, 9 of them are from Northwest and 4 from the North. Well, this region has just 9 states, meaning all of them are poorer than the further south ones. Maranhão, the poorest one, 26% of the population lives in extreme poverty, similar rate of South Africa. For who doesn't know extreme poverty people are the one that earn less than $1.25 dollars per day.

The state that I was born, Bahia, 17% of the people are living in extreme poverty, almost the same rate of Colombia. I was born in a poor family, I spent the first years of my life living in dangerous ghetto from Salvador: Liberdade. From stories that my mom used to tell me, in the first house that we lived, our neighbor was a drug dealer that often was fighting with other gangs and cops that sometimes there were dead bodies laying in the street as result of the drug trafficking war in Brazil. I don't really remember it well, but we use to live in a small house with one room connected with a living room, a small kitchen and in the bathroom toilet was a hole in floor made by concrete without wastewater.

What you don't know is that I wasn't extreme poor, I was just poor. I had food, place to sleep with a roof, clean water to drink and have a shower. You can't really imagine how's the life of a extreme poor people if you never lived it, once you can't feel how my young life was, I can't imagine how's the life of a extreme poor people that most of the time they don't have access to the basic needs that I had.

With all these aspects, being from Brazil, from a poor state/region. Our education tends to be worse than the Brazilian average and learning a second language would be something almost impossible, considering where I'm from. 

Just to make you understand it better, from my mom's family, from my current family members to the older generation that we know, nobody ever was able to speak a second language until now. In my father family one of his cousin, her husband and her son are able to speak a basic proficiency in English, because they have a different social level than us that allowed investing in having private language classes. 

Even not having so many chances, now I'm here, sharing this part of my life with my half-baked English skills that 4 years ago I couldn't write a full sentence.

Lesson: Don't never judge someone because he's not able to speak a language as good as you, because you don't know his/her background, you have no clue how they were educated, you don't know how I was educated. Sorry about my bad English dude, maybe I wasn't that well educated as you were.


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