Tuesday, 24 May 2011

My little pet hate...

Have you ever received a call from a Brazilian and they ask YOU 'Quem ta falando?' or "Quem e?". When I first got  here, picked up my phone and was asked who I was I use to be so confused - I thought it was one of those trick phonecalls when two calls were made and then put together and no one would be able to work out who was calling who, and why. 

Then I realised it was just a standard greeting on the phone... even if you know who you are calling, and it's 99% most likely that they are the one to answer the phone you still ask the person you called - Who is speaking?

I tried to get an explanation from my Portuguese teacher and she said, people like to check they have called the right number but I still don't understand why you wouldn't ask "Would I be able to speak to so-and-so?" (sounds much more polite!). I guess this is one of the other Brazilian things I will get use to over time!!

I guess it's a good tip for Brazilians who travel overseas - when you make a phone call, don't just say 'Who are you?' - it would be considered very rude!


  1. Your first guess was correct, sorry to say your English teacher is not.
    This is very rude indeed, you don't call someone and ask "Who are you"? This is common logic, if the person is calling you, they should know who you are, if they don't, they must have the wrong number and have no business calling you in the first place.
    No, this is not a Brazilian thing, trust me.
    There must be some misunderstanding with what your English teacher told you, if you are still curious to figure this out, you should ask her again and tell her other native Brazilians told you this is unheard of, it is rude to call someone's house and ask "Who are you??"


  2. Hey Ray! Thanks for your comment - I will definitely check with my teacher!!

    I actually do get it from locals who call me - for example, the receptionist from my doctor calling to confirm my appointment, the bank, telemarketing people.... is it something that is more common in the workplace or offices?

  3. People do it. It may not be "proper" but it is common. My husband just always says. "You called me." and it solves the problem. Usually they're a wrong number anyway.

  4. Jaime,

    It might be somewhat common with doctor offices and customer service if they want to make sure they are talking to the right person.
    But definitely not a normal/accepted thing.
    You can tell you Portuguese teacher a native Brazilian told you only RUDE people do that and it's not proper phone etiquette ;)