Help me understand slang from Southern Brazil
February 23, 2013 8:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to understand the meaning of the phrase "te aprochega." I have seen it used as part of a parade celebrating southern Gaucho pride in Porto Alegre, near Uruguay. I understand that the "te" is kind of like our "y'all" because it's this southern vernacular that's not used so much up north, but what does the "approaching" part mean? I've only been able to find references on the Web to "te aprochega living," in the sense that someone might say "Gangnam Style."
posted by steinsaltz to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think it means "come over here" (imperative form, you singular). (if it helps you think about it more literally, it's like bring yourself closer to where I am). So te aprochega vivente would be literally "bring yourself over here/come on over here, person" (vivente = living being in standard Portuguese, but wikipedia indicates that in the far south it also means "person, individual."
posted by drlith at 5:38 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a Brazilian that has lived in the US now for well over 13 years, so take what I say with the appropriate grain of salt. I may very well be out of touch with today's culture down there, but unless they've recently subverted the meaning of the original expression that I'm familiar with, I think I'm on the right track.

You're right about the "te" being a very southern thing in Brazil. It's one of the telltale signs that we use to identify people from that region. People who say "te aprochega" mean "come closer", but they mean it in a very inviting kind of way. I'm not sure I'm putting this into English properly, but I can't think of a better way to say it other than "come closer and get cozy/comfortable with us/me". I may be extrapolating this a little too far, but being a southern expression, I picture gaúchos inviting folks to come closer to the fire to get comfortable, listen to some stories, and enjoy some chimarrão. I hope this all makes sense.
posted by outofplace at 5:40 AM on February 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Reflecting on what outofplace says, I'll also mention that in standard Brazilian Portuguese, I've seen "aproximar-se" (which would be the standard dialect equivalent: move oneself closer, approach) used in business contexts to mean establishing closer relationships between two groups/parties: a more sympathetic relationship between management and labor, more frequent contact between sales reps and customers, etc. I would see it quite often in customer and employee satisfaction surveys for multinationals, and it took me a little while to really figure it out--idiomatic expressions are tricky!
posted by drlith at 6:27 AM on February 24, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!
posted by steinsaltz at 8:16 AM on February 24, 2013

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