Sunday, 2 October 2016

Today, I Write About my Portuguese

"You never write about your Portuguese," says my Portuguese teacher, with a palpable hint of accusation.

I had to think about that. Maybe it's hard to write about things you're quietly enjoying. Like a box of chocs or a glass of wine at the end of a fraught day. It's easier for me to write about French, because we're still at war with each other. Or German, because it's such a big part of who I am. Or Spanish, because a third of my life happens in that language.

Portuguese is more of an indulgent escape. It's a silly kids' cartoon I watch while unwinding over lunch, a novel I retreat to when I should be working, a chat about the events of the week with teacher (and pal) while I'm fussing her cats.

Don't get me wrong - I've still got a long way to go, but I've left behind the agonising stretch of frustration that wedges itself between the beginners' honeymoon period and the point where you can actually do something enjoyable with a language.

And talking of enjoyable, Teresa (my teacher), just got back from a visit to her home town, Lisbon, with this goodie bag:

Deliciously sweet queijadas, a hunk of cheese from the Azores and a new book with grammar exercises . she sure knows how to stoke my motivation!

So, in short, all is well on Planet Portuguese :)


  1. I have been attempting to teach myself some Portuguese on Duolingo. Since I am a retired Spanish teacher, in many respects it has been a breeze. Much of the vocabulary is the same or similar, and so far the grammar has been similar to Spanish or even less complicated. My stumbling block has been pronunciation. Duolingo uses Brazilian pronunciation, and I want to learn the language as it is spoken in Portugal. Then there are the vowel sounds. I get the nasal sounds, but they also talk about open and closed vowels. I just don't hear the difference. I have an ancient copy of a Berlitz Portuguese book, and their pronunciation rules are greatly simplified, and supposedly location neutral. So I have been using those rules. I probably sound like a Mexican trying to speak Portuguese, but if I am understandable that's probably what is most important.

    1. It's hard to find good resources in European Portuguese.

      You might want to try these:

      You might also want to follow this guy's blog:

      He constantly digs up new resources, books, etc - I get half my Portuguese learning tips from him ;-)