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.
algodong for algodao. capong " capao, garrafong " garrafao, patakong " patacao. questong " questao, sertong " sertao, violong " violao.

2) The ’j’ instead of remaining sonant as in Portuguese, becomes surd.[46] Thus

     Brazilian German. Portuguese.

feschong             for  feijao,
schakare              "   jacare. 
Schwong               "   Joao.

3) In the case of infinitives the final ’-n’ is not sounded, particularly in sections influenced by the Hunsrueck dialect.  These forms are therefore pronounced, e.g.,

     Brazilian German. Portuguese.

amoliere for amolieren. kapine " kapinen. pusche " puschen. tocke " tocken.


As a general rule German family names are retained in their original form in all sections where the German language held its own among the colonists.  This is especially true where such names offer no difficulty in their pronunciation to people having Portuguese as their mother tongue.  On the other hand, where such names could not be readily pronounced by Luso-Brazilians,[47] they underwent changes to greater or less extent even in communities where the German element is most strongly represented.  Where the German language disappeared the German family name as a rule disappeared with it, or was retained in such a form as to be hardly recognizable.

By way of example a number of modifications in surnames are noted below; first, from a section where the German language has almost entirely given way to Portuguese[48], and second, from one of the strongest German-speaking sections of Brazil.[49]


Emmich became M’.  The Portuguese could not pronounce the “-ich” and consequently it dropped off, resulting in the formation of what is probably one of the shortest family names in existence.[50]

Felippoffsky became Felippe, Franz, or Franco.  In this instance one branch of the family adopted the first part of the original family name and other branches made surnames out of the Christian name of the first immigrant, i.e., Franz Felippoffsky.

Glaser became Frittenmaku.  The first immigrant was Fritz Glaser.  One of his characteristics was lameness.  The new family name is equivalent in meaning to “der lahme Fritz.”

Gottfried became Gottesfried, Gottesfrid or Gottesfritz.

Helfenstein became Helfestein.

Hessel became Essel.

Klein became Cleene.  In this instance a German dialect variant of the original became the new family name.

Reinberg became Remberg.

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