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Jings! Crivvens! Caramba! How The Broons are helping Anna Sofia, 10, learn Scots in Portugal

The Broons in Portugal nativity scene
Anna Sofia's nativity scene features The Bairn as Baby Jesus.

Portugal may be mair than a mile or twa from Glebe Street.

But that hasn’t stopped The Broons and Oor Wullie making their mark in the city of Braga, Portugal – thanks to 10-year-old Anna Sofia Neres’ fascination with the DC Thomson & Co. characters.

As well as learning their Scots tongue from her passion for their books, Anna Sofia has created a nativity scene featuring The Broons and Oor Wullie – which Wullie himself said was “the very dab”!

Brazilian-Portuguese Anna Sofia fell in love with The Bairn and the rest of the Broon clan when her aunt, who lives in Edinburgh, gifted her a Broons book last summer.

Although stumped at first by the dialect, Anna Sofia read the stories every bedtime and has learned many of the phrases used by Paw, Maw and their family.

Anna Sofia’s done a richt braw job o’ ma dungarees an’ tackety boots.”

Oor Wullie

When her aunt Dora Cançado visited at Christmas, Anna Sofia surprised her with the nativity scene, featuring The Bairn as Baby Jesus, Maggie as an angel and the But an’ Ben as the stable.

Anna Sofia Tomas making The Broons in Portugal nativity scene.
Anna Sofia spent a fortnight making her nativity scene with The Broons and Oor Wullie.

She spent two weeks painstakingly crafting the characters from marbles and epoxy and painting their faces and clothing in stunning detail, with the help of her mum Olivia and dad Tyago.

Anna Sofia told us: “I’m very proud of how I made Maw and Daphne, especially because of how I shaped their skirts and Maw’s hair out of the epoxy.

“My mom and I ran out of epoxy to make Granpaw, he has such a big beard!

The But an’ Ben was transformed into a stable for Anna Sofia’s nativity scene.

“But luckily we had enough for Oor Wullie’s hair, so Oor Wullie was in and Grandpaw was out, sadly.”

Thrilled to have made the cut, Wullie said: “The very dab! Anna Sofia’s done a richt braw job o’ ma dungarees an’ tackety boots.”

Oor Wullie said Anna Sofia’s nativity scene was the “very dab”.

Anna Sofia’s favourite characters are The Bairn and Daphne.

She said: “I really like the drawings of Daphne and the way she acts in the stories, she’s very entertaining.

“I also think it’s really funny how Paw always gets into trouble with Maw!”

Hen Broon shares Brazilian humour

Hen’s comical antics also have dad Tyago in hoots of laughter, reminding him of people in north-east Brazil, where he comes from.

In one story Paw takes a parrot home and Hen asks if he isn’t too old to ‘tak’ up piracy for a living.

Anna Sofia said: “My dad said that’s exactly how someone in the north-east of Brazil would react. They also wouldn’t ask a boring question like ‘why do you have a parrot with you?’ but would also add a flourish to their question, just like Hen did.”

My favourite phrase is when somebody in the story says ‘Ye daft auld gowk’!”

Anna Sofia Neres, 10

To understand The Broons’ dialect as she first read the stories with Dora last summer, Anna Sofia would say the words she didn’t understand out loud and see what they sounded similar to.

“Now I understand most of it, but there are still some words here and there that my mom and I look up on the internet,” she said.

“My favourite phrase is when somebody in the story says ‘Ye daft auld gowk’!”

DC Thomson & Co. heritage brands editor Gordon Tait was impressed by the nativity scene.

He said: “I always knew it should have been called be ‘A Bairn in a Manger’, not ‘A Wean in a Manger’.

“Anna Sofia has really captured each of the characters and brought them to life. The creative talent on display here is so impressive. I think we could have a future Broons and Wullie artist in the making.

“I just can’t wait to share this with Maw and Paw Broon.”

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