I consider myself a beginner. I may always remain a beginner to some extent, we will see as time goes along. One of the hardest things for a beginner to understand about Portuguese is PRONUNCIATION. If a beginner cannot understand the spoken language, he has a very difficult problem. He cannot WRITE down what he does not comprehend. It does not help that the speaker is a “native,” if anything that just makes it worse! The “native speaker” is going to be deliberately obtuse, slur words and be difficult to understand! Reading Portuguese is not as hard, as the words REMAIN in front of the student. With the spoken word, if not understood, it is immediately LOST!
What I would like to do here is to learn HOW TO CONSTRUCT SIMPLE SENTENCES in Portuguese. It is unhelpful to learn that “Setembro e outubro e messes do ano.” Where am I going to use that? On the other hand if I want to go shopping for “um cinto” (a belt) it might be very helpful to learn how to deal with a store clerk. Sometimes they will insist on speaking English, which is not helpful, either! So it could be useful to politely ask them to speak Portuguese to you because you are learning. I can use sign language, use a few phrases to be understood, but is not very polished or correct. If the store clerk shows you a belt made of plastic, it might be helpful to be able to say you want it in leather. I can, of course, make sounds like a cow to get the point across, but I would rather have some useful lines to use! Any takers?! A discussion on how to go about constructing such sentences would be very useful and helpful.