I’m curious to know what made each of you become interested in learning Portuguese. Relatives who speak the language? Plans to move to a Portuguese-speaking country? A love for languages? What’s your origin story?
Eu também tenho muita curiosidade em ouvir a história por detrás de cada estudante de português.
Eu posso começar:
Nasci no dia 19 de Janeiro de 1981 e 1 ano depois disse a minha primeira palavra: “papa”. Que significa “baby food”; não confundir com “papá” (daddy)
Pode dizer-se que a fome e a necessidade de sobrevivência foram as minhas motivações para aprender a língua.
I am going to the Azores, Dec. 2019 and want to be able to speak and understand!
Haha gostei das tuas razões, @ruicoimbra! But as non-natives, I think the rest of the answers might be a bit different
For me, once it became clear that I’d be settling down in Lisbon, I knew that I needed to make an effort early on to learn the language, because it wouldn’t be likely to happen on its own later.
It wasn’t easy to make it a priority with other seemingly-more-urgent things I had going on, but I feared that if I waited too long, I’d settle back into a daily routine living in the country, and it would then be much harder to pick up the momentum again. I felt that I had to ride that powerful wave of “oh crap, my whole life is upside down and I need to take action or it will all fall apart!”
So although you can get by just on English, (especially around Lisbon), I kind of had that fear of feeling like a permanent tourist and never being able to integrate.
Although my motivation being largely fear-based may sound like a bad thing, I believe that being able to channel that into an urgency to learn the language helped me significantly.
In short, I guess you could say that fear of feeling like a permanent tourist was my motivation!
A secondary motivation may have also been even more ego-based: I regretted that despite 8 years of learning French in Canadian public school, I still couldn’t string together a coherent sentence. So Portuguese was kind of my opportunity to prove to myself that I wasn’t doomed to be forever monolingual.
Haha, Rui, I think my motivation is pretty similar to yours! I guess I also wanted to spite my parents (native French speakers, which explains my name) and didn’t bother adopting French as my first language, prioritizing Portuguese instead, which was the only language I heard on the streets on a daily basis, growing up in Lisbon. Thankfully, over time, I also learned to appreciate the beauty and usefulness of French (or any other additional language, really).
I have lived in Portugal since 2003, over this time I have made many Portuguese friends, but the language has always been a problem for me, initially because the Portuguese friends I made wanted to use their English, so that made it easier for me to not worry too much about learning Portugese.
Now my “touristy” days are over I am now living with a Portuguese guy and his family and so it is essential I learn now, although my partner speaks English and we mostly speak English in our home, although I can read Portuguese quite well, (although I don’t always know what I am reading ) I do struggle with hearing and speaking it. So I am now trying to make the effort of putting 2 hours per day into the Practice Portuguese learning.
2 hours of studying every day is pretty good! I’m sure it will be worth it
I am struggling with some of the quizzes though distinguishing between the O/A and the Um/Uma, when listening before I answer O homem and Um homem or A mulher and Uma mulher, sound exactly the same to me so I then guess and sometimes get it wrong so don’t get 100%.
I think it might help!
I moved to the Azores with my husband in late 2016 and we bought a dive centre. Although we are in the tourist industry and therefore largely speak English, we do get a significant number of Portuguese guests. Also, I don’t think it is fair to expect the locals to speak to us in English, so we have made an effort to learn. We started with Duolingo , but quickly found that limiting (and Brazilian). Then we did the free A1/A2 course run by AIPA. That was a great way to meet others in the same situation as ourselves (but the course was a brutal 3 hours a night, 4 days a week). After the course we decided to get together weekly to practice speaking and eat and drink in each other’s houses. I still speak “Tarzan Portuguese”, but at least I am having a go. The hardest thing is the phone. “Practice Portuguese” is really helping and I try to do some every day.
I’m retired now and this is where I expect to be living for the rest of my life. It certainly makes sense to learn the language and the culture to have a happy life. I’ve also discovered that wine helps me to relax and lose my inhibitions for attempting to communicate. Works like a charm and everyone seems to accept my method. I found PP 6 months ago and it’s really helping a great deal and the support is spot on. And now with this new discuss section, it really feels great to be able to communicate and share with everybody.
Thanks for the kind words and support, Alex. Glad to hear your making progress, and thanks for saying hi!
Agreed! We have been wanting to do this for a while, so we are super excited. We think of this as our quiet little corner away from some of the craziness of social media, and also serve as an ongoing service for members whenever any little Portuguese questions pop into mind!
We also have such great one-on-one conversations with members who message us through the site, that it seemed like a wasted opportunity to not allow others to benefit from some of those interactions.
Glad you like and I hope to see you all coming back as regulars!
What a great method! You can’t go wrong with it.
It’s great having all of you here and reading your stories, by the way
My wife and I visited Portugal for the first time last fall and loved it. We had toyed with traveling somewhere for an extended stay and decided we’d spend two+ months in Porto next February through Easter.
Last fall I worked hard to learn the language, but was not prepared to hear spoken euro Portuguese. I had some vocabulary and grammar, but…wow, I was drowning!
I’m so happy to have found PP: hear the language spoken, gain cultural insights from the podcasts, have a learning track to follow and, now this forum—some “fellow travelers”. I feel like I’ve got a chance at really enriching the coming trip through language. PP ticks off a lot of boxes for me! Thanks so much.
@JONESINHARRISON, interesting! I agree that a deeper understanding of the local culture and language will enrich your trip significantly. Is your wife joining in your efforts to learn Portuguese?
Thanks so much for your support! We are working hard and glad to hear it’s paying off
Ah, sadly, no. That’s okay. She’s wired differently. We both have a working knowledge of Spanish, but she’s hoping to make Portuguese language learning part of the trip.
I’m hoping to make golf part of the trip, and I’d like to be able to speak with other guys at the course!
As long as you both enjoy your time here, it’s all good
Hello all, I am learning Portuguese because I fell in love with a beautiful man from Figueira da Foz. Unfortunately his dad does not speak English and I like to talk!!! I visit every 4-6 weeks and will be moving there in about 18 months. I can’t wait!!!