Are you ready to speak like a carioca? Beleza!

Whether you’re wandering around a Rio 2016 FanZone, cheering your team on at an Olympic venue, or simply ordering an água de coco (coconut water) at one of the many kiosks lining Rio’s beaches, you’ll want to interact with the natives in their local dialect. You’ll want to speak carioquês.

Listed here are 15 essential words and phrases to help you blend in like a true carioca. Use them with gusto and people will think you’ve lived in Rio all your life. By the way, the pronunciation is easy: simply shush the “S”, and if there’s an “R” either roll it or make a guttural sound like you are clearing your throat.

But remember: if memorizing words isn’t your forte, fique numa boa (relax). A smile and a thumbs up always works magic, and you’re sure to make some new friends along the way.

  • 0800 [‘zeh rru ‘oi too ‘sen toosh]: a free happening. Very popular among the cariocas.
  • Beleza! [beh ‘leh zuh]: Awesome! Cool!
  • Cara [‘kah rruh]: used when addressing someone, as in “Aí, cara, ti ligo.” (“Hey, man, I’ll call you.”)
  • Caraca! [kah ‘rrah kuh]: Wow! As in “Caraca, cara! Tu viu Usain Bolt correr?” (“Wow, man! Did you see Usain Bolt run?”)
  • Coé [koo ‘eh]: What’s up? As in “Coé, qualé da parada?” (“What’s up, what’s happening?”)
  • Irado! [ee ‘rrah du]: anything really amazing, as in “O equipe brasileiro? É irado!” (“The Brazilian team? Amazing!”)
  • Já é! [jah ‘eh]: Yes, for sure!
  • Maneiro… [mah ‘ney rru]: Interesting…
  • Mermão [merh ‘mown]: pal or friend, or anyone for that matter; usually preceded by the term “aí”. As in “Aí mermão, beleza?” (“Hey buddy, everything cool?”)
  • Oi [‘oooo eeee]: Hi. A casual greeting among cariocas; often followed by a handshake or some kissing (her right cheek first).
  • Olha só [‘oh lyah ‘saw]: Listen, pay attention. Term used at the beginning of ninety percent of conversations initiated by a carioca.
  • Parada [pah ‘rrah duh]: a thing, which actually applies to anything, as in “Olha só, cara, tá rolando uma parada maneiríssima lá na praia… 0800” (“Listen, man, there’s a really interesting thing happening at the beach… it’s free.”)
  • Pô, que saco! [‘poh kee ‘sah ku]: Boy, what a hassle! What a drag!
  • Te ligo [tchee ‘lee goo]: I’ll call you. Phrase used when ending a carioca social encounter, it really means, “I won’t be calling you.”
  • Valeu! [vah ‘leyoo]: Thanks

Olhares Olímpicos – Originally published 7 Aug 2016