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Subúrbio and Suburbanos: Two cultural keywords in Brazilian discourse

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This chapter studies the Brazilian Portuguese keywords subúrbio ‘suburb’ and suburbanos ‘suburb dwellers’. Despite formal similarities, the English cityscape word suburb conveys a very different concept than subúrbio. In dictionaries, the cultural semantics of the words subúrbio ‘suburb’ and suburbanos ‘suburb dwellers’ is largely missing. This is unfortunate since the semantic richness of these words shed light on Brazilian discourses of urbanism and on a culturally-specific way of categorising people in the urban space. Using evidence from a range of different Brazilian discourses and speakers’ reflections on the two words, I propose a semantic explication for each, using the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) to adequately account for the complex and cultural meaning of the words – seen from an insider’s perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Keywords in Discourse
Place of publicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Publication year19 Oct 2017
ISBN (print)9789027256829
ISBN (Electronic)9789027265470
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2017

    Research areas

  • social categories, Brazilian Portuguese, cityscape terms, cultural keywords, NSM

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