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Portuguese

Last night was the turn of Mauro, a 22 year old who resides in SP, Brazil. My fascination with Brazil continues; from the sun-drenched promenades to the grande humid forests and the beautiful, welcoming people to the rich cultural diversity. I continue to seek out the pleasures of which I want to be a part of. Mauro seems cool. There was no overriding obviousness to him being gay, despite him having stated that he lives in the gay district of his expansive city.

His dark eyes showed a maturity beyond his years while his quiet enthusiasm for detailing his life showed that primal, somewhat child-like, need to share and to be listened to. He detailed information about his free spirited parents who through open discussion warned and nurtured the specifics of drug taking: LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, weed.

I have a history with those drugs. Not of abusing them, although one period of my life could have been said to be a little bit excessive, I am and have been a responsible recreational user. Much the same as this guy.

One thing I notice about the Brazilian people that have somehow become my friends over the past year or so is their love for the beauty of their homelands. Frequently they’ll share photos of gorgeous landscapes and beaches, without realising the amount of taunt involved to man who desires such views, and they’ll share music and history. They are very proud of where they come from but also recognise the corruption that may be somewhat more evident that the more modern “western” countries.

My obsession with Brazilian culture steers from this guy a little. I now have the opportunity to practice meu portugues with Andre, a guy studying for his PhD in my city. One thing that needs to be overcome is shyness and nerves when speaking in Portuguese as I’ve read time and time again that mistakes from speaking the language straight away are what help language learners to progress more quickly.

Por agora, eu preciso ir.
For now, I must go.

Yes, you read right. I’m learning a new language. The Portuguese language. More specifically Brazilian Portuguese.

This is acting as part of my current obsession with travel and jetting off to a land with sunnier climates and similar culture, although non-English speaking for that extra bit of challenge. So I thought I’d start keeping account of what I’m learning, how I’m learning and what I’m coming across within my methods of learning, as well as anything I’m learning about Brazil itself.

Of course, the most important aspect of learning or acquiring a new language is through immersion. So I have been having (painfully slow) conversations with native Portuguese speakers. There’s a certain rhythm that is muito (very) enjoyable to listen to. I hear bits of Spanish with a slight French accent, quite the mash-up. And even more comforting is the similarity between hundreds, possibly thousands, of words within Portuguese and English.

So I started using an online programme which structures the basics of learning certain phrases, words and grammar. This method of learning is dry, but because of my motivation in learning I have caught on to quite a few basic expressions and can say simple things like “I want to have a party” / “Eu quero fazer uma festa” or “I am twenty-eight years old” (Eu tenho vinte e oito anos) or “this here is my sister” (essa acqi e minha irma) or “I am happy” (estou feliz) or “today is so hot” (hoje e mutio quente) or “I want two beers and a coke please” (quero duas cervejas e uma coca por favor). I’m aware that I’ve missed off some accents on the letters but I have an English keyboard!

There are a few differences that I have to get used to, particularly the gender of each word and how the word “the” is different for feminine or masculine words. Also, referring to countries with a definite article, such as ‘o Brasil’ or ‘a Inglaterra’. And the combining of prepositions, which I haven’t got the hang of yet!

Accents – these are what make the Portuguese language so intricate. There are so many nasal sounds, which when I’m listening to native speakers is difficult for me to differentiate between. I also speak some Punjabi, which is an Indian language very very similar to Hindi, where nasal sounds are omnipresent, so I’ve had a little practise.

Anyway, after about 5 weeks of learning, I came across this guy.

So yeah, pretty simple stuff but altogether very encouraging. There’s a couple of other people who have moved to Brazil, known as ‘gringos’ (foreigners), and have put a lot of effort in to helping other people achieve their goals of moving to Brazil alongside finding work and mastering the Portuguese language.

There is Kevin Portor, who runs Live In Brazil (click) and who I’ve subscribed to his free video lessons (here). Then there’s Josh something who runs the website Brazilian Gringo (click).

Lots of useful information that is encouraging me and assimilating me to the language and the prospect of living and working abroad.

So although I’ve learnt quite a bit of the basics through Babbel, the language learning website, it’s these people who are convincing me that listening to as much Brazilian music and TV is the way forward, particularly for the language rhythm. The BBC recently put up this article (click) about the connection between learning a language and musical rhythm. Perfect.

So, a song that I found through Idahosa Ness, the first guy I posted up there, is Seu Jorge’s ‘Carolina’.

Apreciar o ritmo!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5UP4LzYz5k