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Monday, December 07, 2009

A bus door may not be what you think it is...

Back from some groups and depths in Brazil. Sao Paolo is huge and has a traffic problem to match. Never mind congestion charges - how would you like a license plate that doesn't allow you to enter the city on a certain weekday?
I got chatting to our interpreter about language and semantics since we were looking at some specific expressions in our research. English words are entering the language there, like everywhere. As a Swede who left Sweden a long time ago, I have at times been confused by  English slang terms that have become part of the vernacular in direct translation - words that in Swedish could seem positive are negative because the English slang meaning is what's been adopted. 
But sometimes, of course, the English just gets used as is and adapted to local needs. In Brazil, I was told, a billboard is referred to as 'Outdoor' - clearly deriving from the phrase 'outdoor advertising'. So what, then, would you call a billboard on the side of a bus? Well, Bus-door, of course!