The German Element in Brazil eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 50 pages of information about The German Element in Brazil.

The settlers, largely drawn from the agricultural class, naturally brought with them from Europe a variety of German dialects.  These were more or less preserved depending on the relative isolation of the colonies.  In cases where a considerable and constant influx of settlers either by direct or indirect immigration was kept up after the first years of the history of any particular colony the original dialect largely gave way to a modified form of High German, due primarily to the normalizing influence of the German school and church.  Such is the case in the “Stadtplaetze"[41] of Dona Francisca, Blumenau, Santa Cruz and Sao Lourenco.

The preceding statements are intended to present, as it were, the background or basis on which the new dialect was developed.  We now come to the most potent influence in the formation of that dialect.  It is the Brazilian Portuguese, a language which has no connection with the Germanic group.  In this point, therefore, our case differs radically from that of the student of the German dialects which have been developed in North America.

The degree of linguistic influence exerted by the Brazilian Portuguese on the High German or its various dialects as spoken by the immigrants varies again according to the relative isolation of the settlements.  We have degrees ranging from that of the old settlements in the Santo Amaro district of Sao Paulo,[42] where the German language has practically in its entirety given way to the Brazilian Portuguese, to that of some of the sections of the “municipios"[43] of Blumenau in Santa Catharina and Sao Leopoldo in Rio Grande do Sul where a modified German has not only held its own among the inhabitants of German extraction, but has also become the language of parts of the Luso-Brazilian[44] and negro elements as well.[45] About half way between these two extremes we might range the case of Petropolis in Rio de Janeiro.


The following general principles are observed in connection with the dialect which has been developed by the German element in Brazil.

Nouns form by far the greatest number of words taken over, followed next in order by verbs, exclamatory words and phrases, adjectives and adverbs.  The last two appear relatively rarely.


I. Nouns.

A. Masculines.

1) In the case of masculines the vowel ending is as a rule dropped, e.g.,

Brazilian    Brazilian
Portuguese.  German.     English.
abatimento...  abatiment...  discount.
campo........  camp........  field, plain.
facao-.......  fac.........  hunting-knife.
intendente...  intendent...  administrator.
pasto........  past........  pasture.

2) The same holds for words of the following type where there have been further orthographical changes with preserve, however, the same phonetic values.

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The German Element in Brazil from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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