I went over a few minutes ago to the upscale grocery mart on the plaza for something different from the sweets I’ve been buying at the bread store on the other corner.

I asked the girl behind the counter for a mistura of nuts. I used the Brazilian word for mixture.

She didn’t understand my request, evidently, and asked me to repeat it, which I did.

Oh, you want the mix of nuts! she exclaimed. She used the English word “mix,” with the inevitable Portuguese twist to the pronunciation.

Miffed that she didn’t understand first time around my perfect Portuguese (and it was!), I retorted, “I speak Portuguese, not English!”

She ignored my protest by asking how much I wanted. She weighed out the 100 grams, and I paid up and left with purchase in hand and my ego a bit deflated.

English vocabulary has greatly influenced the Portuguese language. Not that an English speaker could understand it any better, but many words have found a home on the Brazilian tongue.

You’ve never known the complexities of language until you try to pronounce words like “hamburger” according to the proper Portuguese rules.

If you’re not careful, the result can be a mixed bag of nuts. Or not.

What do you think?