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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 8:15 am   #1
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Default Learning Portugese

I'm struggling to learn the language. Any helpful advice?
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 8:47 am   #2
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

It's a hard language but keep persevering.

Take lessons. Here in Lagos I have a great teacher. I do a private weekly lesson shared with 2 others and it costs each of us €6 for one and half hours.

Buying produce in the local fruit and veg market on Saturdays really helps especially with numbers when they say how much you owe them.

And keep practising. Speak what little or however much you know when you can.

If you can afford it do an immersion course somewhere, even better if it's away from home where you stay with a family.
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 9:23 am   #3
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

A really tough language to learn but you do pick up the basics eventually & you'll pick it up faster if you spend time with the locals.

I also find this useful.
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 9:55 am   #4
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

All foreign languages are hard to learn for most people and Portuguese is no exception. It's a deal easier than most, on a par with other western European languages. It uses the same alphabet as English, pretty much the same range of sounds (with a very few exceptions) and some of the vocabulary will be familiar due to English being heavily influenced by Latin.

That doesn't make it a doddle to learn, any more than any other language is but it gives it considerable advantages for us English speakers over the vast majority of languages in the world.

In terms of how to go about learning it my advice is use as wide a range of different methods and materials as possible and stick at it. Have lessons if you possibly can (not always easy to find those nearby). Use the resources of the internet - the free online lessons, the online newspapers and radio stations etc. Try spending a few minutes a day with each, picking out what you can, even if you don't understand much of it at first. And get a good basic grammar book like the Teach Yourself series. What things have you tried for yourself so far?

Are you currently in Portugal? If so, there's a possibility of free language lessons via the Portuguese for All initiative but that does depend on there being enough local demand.
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 10:16 am   #5
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

I can or rather could speak 3 languages as well as my Mother tongue but find Portuguese harder to learn than all put together & also find pronunciation variable by area (to say the least)

A friend of mine has been going to weekly lessons for more than 6 years & his neighbours still can't understand a word he says but can understand everything he writes...... They tell him he's been taught 'high Portuguese' & they speak ordinary Portuguese. lol!
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 12:02 pm   #6
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

Something I done in the beginning here was get sticky notes and label absolutely everything in the house so if I went to the toilet as I entered I would read "a casa da banho" sit on the "a sanita" and use the "o papel higiénico" wash my hand with "agua quente" and "o Sabonete" before drying them with a "uma toalha" and so on in so forth in every room, I reckon within that month I knew the names of absolutely everything in the house. Cutterly drawer for example had the name of everything that was in it on the outside, including the all important "Abridor de garrafa"(bottle opener). Putting "O, A or Um/Uma" in front of the words also was a huge help in learning what is masculine or feminine.

Then I went and got some lessons to get the basics and went from there. I think anyone moving here at retirement age must really struggle and even more so if in the Algarve as everyone speak English and they don't even give you a chance to try and speak Portuguese(which you should continue in Portuguese anyway even if they insist "speak English!") I moved to Portugal at 30 and I've been here for almost 14 years so of course I should speak Portuguese and obviously working here has forced me to speak.
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 12:36 pm   #7
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfesharne View Post
I can or rather could speak 3 languages as well as my Mother tongue but find Portuguese harder to learn than all put together & also find pronunciation variable by area (to say the least)

A friend of mine has been going to weekly lessons for more than 6 years & his neighbours still can't understand a word he says but can understand everything he writes...... They tell him he's been taught 'high Portuguese' & they speak ordinary Portuguese. lol!
I have to disagree. Portuguese has fewer dialectical variations than English and a smaller range of accents -it is amazingly homogenous, allowing for the variations imposed by the new orthography, exposure to TV (Brazilian and English), etc., etc.

Having said which, I live in the Alentejo which has an alternate vocabulary and quite a strong accent - so when my 85 year-old neighbour, largely toothless and a farmer, starts to weave one of his many tales, I'm lucky to pick up one word in four. I thought it was me, until a Portuguese friend from Lisbon came to stay ..... and said the same thing! But that's more about the person than the language - and that's probably the same with the people you quote.

Pre-revolution, education was a luxury - so people learned by ear. It's also possible that your friend struggles to pronounce words correctly.... not unusual for a Brit. When I bought my house, the owner told me about a local lake....... but I had to look it up on the map because I couldn't make out the name he was saying at all!

Persevere - but spend more time talking to the people around you, not in books..... because you want conversation, not to write a letter.
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 12:52 pm   #8
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJHolmes View Post
I'm struggling to learn the language. Any helpful advice?
It depends wheere you start. If you speak no language other than English, then any new language may be a struggle.

Understand the basics - get those nasal vowel sounds right, understand the REASON for accents and their effects, see the rules on pluralization. Learn to pronounce on sight. Then learn the transition rules for sounds from English to Portuguese, -ion normally becomes -ião, etc. .... that will unlock a mass of vocabulary for you.

If you speak another romance language, that will help. If you speak French, that will help with Grammar, etc. Stay away from Brazilian (and realise that most of the internet is Brazilian, especially US-based language and translation sites). Brazilian grammar, vocabulary, accent and the way of speech are different and won't really help you (like learning US English to live in the UK).

The Portuguese are forgiving of mistakes and usually love to hear you speak to them in Portuguese (although sometimes it's a bit like applauding a dog for riding a bike!!). Start and end your conversations in Portuguese (e.g. Bom dia and Até logo) and gradually try to fill in the gap between them....

Boa sorte!
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 2:55 pm   #9
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

Perhaps a future solution?

New Google Pixel Buds Can Translate 40 Languages In Real Time
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 4:32 pm   #10
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

Try watching Portuguese television, particularly the News as all the events come with pictures and also you will probably be aware of the content from either english TV or newspapers.
I learnt Spanish numbers watching basketball on TV , the score changes so quickly and you can see the numbers on the scoreboard as the commentars pronounce them.
If you progress similar logic applies to scanning the newspapers - you will see pictures and soon be able to identify individual words.
Most of all it's worth perservering !

As a postscript to an earlier comment I am known in our local bakers as "The Englishman that speaks Brasilian!""
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 5:02 pm   #11
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loafing Along View Post
Try watching Portuguese television, particularly the News as all the events come with pictures and also you will probably be aware of the content from either english TV or newspapers.
I learnt Spanish numbers watching basketball on TV , the score changes so quickly and you can see the numbers on the scoreboard as the commentars pronounce them.
If you progress similar logic applies to scanning the newspapers - you will see pictures and soon be able to identify individual words.
Most of all it's worth perservering !

As a postscript to an earlier comment I am known in our local bakers as "The Englishman that speaks Brasilian!""
We have PT cable with many popular English language progs with Portuguese subtitles.
I have been told that I have a good Portuguese accent but atrocious Portuguese.
The check out girls at our local supermarkets are getting used to my pathetic attempts to speak their language,
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 5:10 pm   #12
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loafing Along View Post
As a postscript to an earlier comment I am known in our local bakers as "The Englishman that speaks Brasilian!""
Pois é!
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 9:32 pm   #13
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

Quote:
Originally Posted by macliam View Post
It depends wheere you start. If you speak no language other than English, then any new language may be a struggle.

Understand the basics - get those nasal vowel sounds right, understand the REASON for accents and their effects, see the rules on pluralization. Learn to pronounce on sight. Then learn the transition rules for sounds from English to Portuguese, -ion normally becomes -ião, etc. .... that will unlock a mass of vocabulary for you.

If you speak another romance language, that will help. If you speak French, that will help with Grammar, etc. Stay away from Brazilian (and realise that most of the internet is Brazilian, especially US-based language and translation sites). Brazilian grammar, vocabulary, accent and the way of speech are different and won't really help you (like learning US English to live in the UK).

The Portuguese are forgiving of mistakes and usually love to hear you speak to them in Portuguese (although sometimes it's a bit like applauding a dog for riding a bike!!). Start and end your conversations in Portuguese (e.g. Bom dia and Até logo) and gradually try to fill in the gap between them....

Boa sorte!
"ion normally becomes iao?" not cao!
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 9:58 pm   #14
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

The the link given by Red Eric post no. 4 for Portuguese for All incentive takes you to the Alto Commisão para Migrações (High Commision for Migration) where you can also sign up for the online course if there isn't a physical one offered near you. I'm working through it at the moment and find it really good.

Second the suggestions of English/American tv with PT subtitles and also the PT news programmes with written captions. Mix it up - that's the best way, I've found. Most days if I'm home I make a point of watching A Minha Mãe Cozinha Melhor Que Tua (my Mum cooks better than yours) 12.15pm on RTP1 - in Portuguese but easy to follow, very visual to follow the dialogue, ingredient words you might already know...and well-edited unlike many PT programmes that usually end a couple of hours after the content finished! Plus you can LOL at the many unimaginative dishes served up - Believe me, no-one's 'Mum' cooks better than anyone elses, infact we call it Can't Cook, Can't Cook 😜 If you're in UK you can probably find it on RTP website.

Keep trying a bit of everything and good luck.
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Old Nov 2nd 2017, 11:40 pm   #15
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Default Re: Learning Portugese

Thanks for all advice. I'm currently rather middle aged and starting from scratch in the UK. Have an open ended job in Portugal whenever I can manage the language and its our dream to be living there.
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