Is the Whole World in the Car?

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Last updated: May 3, 2019 at 10:11 am

When I was in Campo Verde, Mato Grosso (my favorite Brazilian city by the way), some friends and I went for a drive to neighboring Paraguay. On the way, we stopped at a restaurant to eat. And when we were finished eating, we hit the road again.

But when the car started, the driving said something amusing. He asked “Tudo mundo esta no carro?” This literally tranlates to “is the whole world in the car?”

Of course, I thought that was amusing, because, how can the whole world fit into a small car?

But this serves to highlight the difference between the literal and connotative meanings of words. If you use any good translation tool, such as google translate, it will show you that “tudo mundo” translate to “the whole world” or “all the world.” And it could also refer to the same “whole world” literally in Portuguese. But another popular meaning of “tudo mundo” is “everybody.”

So when the driver asked “tudo mundo esta no carro?”, he really meant “is everybody in the car?”

Tudo mundo = the whole world (literal translation)

Tudo mundo = everybody (secondary or connotative meaning)

In English, we would never ask, “is the whole world in the car?” without provoking a fit of laugher or raised eyebrows, would we?

See you in another episode of “Learning Portuguese.”

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