Just thought it would be good to get The Café rolling a bit with an initial post. I started learning Portuguese about 6 or more years ago, using first, I think, Rosetta Stone and some other programs. I wish I had started studying the language 20 years ago! Since I live with a native Brazilian Portuguese speaker, I initially studied that. However, after we visited Portugal twice and found out how much we liked it, there dawned upon us the idea that, one day, Portugal might actually be a place where we would consider visiting for an extended period of time, if not actually moving to live there (eu sou reformado). My focus then switched, not quite two years ago, to learning European Portuguese, and I have to say that I prefer this and really like the “softer” sound. Brazilian Portuguese, to me, has a much clearer, crisp sound, however, and is a bit easier for me to understand the spoken word. I’ve been utilizing, mostly, Memrise and, just recently, Practice Portuguese. Practice Portuguese is a great program, especially because it offers so much in the way of Podcasts, where I really have to “stretch” my skills in listening and comprehending the “full-speed” conversations. Memrise is good, too, and I have learned a great deal from that program, also. I am at the level where I can actually, on a daily basis, read and understand most of the articles in Expresso, and that, to me, is a very satisfying and enjoyable achievement for this 70-year-old student!
Congrats for getting the ball rolling! Being able to read Portuguese newspapers is definitely something to be proud of, and also great practice. Does that mean you’ve already moved to Portugal or are you reading Expresso online?
Thanks, Joseph! I am reading them online. I wish I were reading them in Portugal–perhaps someday!
Ah, nice. Well, if you’re reading all those tragic Portuguese news and you still want to come here, there’s really no stopping you
Haha yeah, a shame there’s no section for “positive news” in newspapers in general
Really interesting to hear about your experience learning Portuguese and congrats on all your progress! I think what you said about “stretching” your skills is so important. The full speed conversations can be tough, but getting out of your comfort zone is what pushes you to the next level. Thanks for sharing!
Hi, Molly! Thanks for your kind comments! Others have said that, when they started learning, they would listen to “normal-speed” conversations and catch maybe 5% of what was said. But, by forcing themselves to keep with it, the percentage increasingly grew, until they felt very comfortable with their comprehension. Your advice about “getting out of your comfort zone” is absolutely correct! Thanks!
Ola a todos!
My name is Anthony and I have been mildly trying to learn Portuguese since I met my Portuguese wife 26 years ago, but have only truly put a strong effort that past 2 years or so. I’ve been to Portugal 5 times thus far (try to go every other year since we started going) and will be there this July for 5 weeks! My wife has a lot of family there and we have a beautiful home (Parents house) to stay in Beiras region (near Coimbra) when we go. I really enjoy going and find each time I go, i have more language in me to use while there. I can understand a fair amount. Of course my biggest issue is with Native speakers that speak a tad too fast for me at times. I can read to understand quite well, and seem to freeze up a little when speaking it, but I’ve definitely improved. PracticePortuguese is helping me do so as well as some other “apps”, but otherwise, i try to immerse in Portuguese TV, Futebol & food as much as I can. I really enjoy the Portuguese lifestyle!
@anthonylomangino Thanks for sharing, Anthony! I know what you mean about freezing up…
I think part of the reason for this is that when we speak to someone, we are not just producing the words we want to say, but also managing all the tiny details that go along with any social interaction. In your native language, this happens almost automatically. You don’t have to think about the words, so your brain is free to focus on your body language, your tone of voice, the social signals you’re getting from the people around you, the cultural context. Suddenly, when you try to speak another language, it becomes an overload.
It’s so great that you’re sticking with it and noticing those small victories along the way! Have you come across any TV programs that have been particularly helpful for learning?
Nice intro, Anthony, welcome! Immersion is definitely useful, even in food Also, the Beiras are a very nice, peaceful region to visit. Do you get to practice speaking with other people, apart from relatives?
Hi, Anthony! Bem-vindo! I, also, can relate to the “freezing-up” thing! If I think too hard before speaking, worrying about how should I start my response and will I be able to follow through with that path once I start, I become paralyzed! I believe this is a very common and natural phase in our learning, and it will absolutely disappear as we continue. I, definitely, need much more speaking practice! Looks like you have incredibly great opportunities to practice speaking! You’re lucky!
Thank you ALL for the feedback!
So true…you rehearse a bit for a situation…pull it off …BUT then it is the follow up that freezes you(me)!..lol
I try to watch RTP1 or TVI news or “novelas” as much as possible…
if anyone not aware, google Live Net TV Apk, can pretty much watch every Portuguese tv channel(free)…Best if using xyz video player with it
Hello all. I’m retired now living in Sao Miguel, Azores for the second time in my life. I lived here 45 years ago, met my wife (Azorean) here and stayed until shortly after the Carnation Revolution. Returned to the USA but now back here permanently. In the 70s there weren’t the same resources here for connecting and learning but now we all have this fantastic opportunity to meet and greet and learn. I look forward to being a part of this community, helping each other become successful speakers and participants of this wonderful country.
Welcome @chod.lang! Glad to have you here. I will be visiting São Miguel for the first time in July. It looks absolutely beautiful! I’m sure a lot of things have changed since you were there the first time. You’re right, we should really appreciate how lucky we are to be able learn and connect this way. What was your experience like adapting to life there? (If you don’t mind sharing, of course )
Hello Molly. You will love it here. The island has always been very beautiful but now many places are more accessible than they were 45 years ago. The island has definitely been discovered and with the use of FB there are so many foreigners here getting to know each other. Last year a young man from Canada (Azorean family) started the Expats in Azores group and it quickly grew to over 600 members. Many of us have made many new friends, foreign and local. We live in Ponta Delgada but many of the newcomers have chosen to live in the country. We love the sunrises, sunsets, constant view of the ocean, the food, the people, etc., etc. It would be very hard not to love it here. Look forward to meeting you in person in July.
Welcome, @chod.lang! I must say, I’m quite ashamed for never having been to the Azores, knowing how beautiful the islands are. I definitely need to visit.
Apologies for reviving this post, but it made sense to keep introductions in one place .
So I’m part of a huge Portuguese family that are primarily based in South Africa, with very few still living in Portugal/Madeira. Sad thing is…so few of my family here in SA still speak Portuguese. My siblings and I were raised to speak English.
Being a newish father of 2, I’ve decided that my kids will grow up learning English and Portuguese. I must admit that whilst I am a person who loves to learn, the problem with learning a language in my case is the lack of its use in my circles.
But it’s still early days and thanks to this website as well as other tools like Memrise, I see light at the end of the tunnel.
No problem, @john.jardin, you did right. It’s interesting that you’re challenging yourself to learn the language to be able to also teach it to your wife and kids. I think it’ll be great for your kids to connect to their family heritage
I have lived in this lovely country for three years now and it is an immense relief to me to realise that other Portuguese students are having the same learning issues that I do, mainly understanding the spoken word. I think it is giving me a little more confidence to push myself to engage in conversation. I have one on one lessons once a week, mostly to get to grips with the grammar etc., as well as checking sites on line (this is the best) and two weeks ago joined a conversational class. Everybody seems more advanced than me but I am determined to persevere. I really want to get to grips with this language and be able to converse with my neighbours.
Thanks for the long intro, as a 71 year old rookie student of the Portuguese language, we share other interests. My wife is planning to retire within the next couple of years, and in our search revealed that Tavira was a place of interest for us. I have initiated an apartment search in that part of the country. We also have begun studies in preparation for our first trip in March.
Part of our plan is to meet others (expats and regular citizens) to network with. Would you be interested? Please advise. Thanks!