3 Tips for Learning Brazilian Portuguese when You Need to Simplify
Every time I go to forums online, I see people looking for tips for learning Brazilian Portuguese. Specifically, they want to know how to begin, where to begin, and what to study.
I have made a complete guide on learning Brazilian Portuguese from beginner to intermediate, and you can check it out here. But if you want me to summarize all the tips that I have, I have only three.
I could tell you that I have more than three — maybe five, maybe seven — but it’d boil down to me chopping up a big piece of advice into many small pieces. And I would be confusing you. So I decided to stick to three basic things you can do. And from there, you can diversify.
If you’d prefer to see these tips in video format (entirely in Portuguese with subtitles), check out the video below:
Now let’s get started.
Tip for Learning Brazilian Portuguese #1: Develop the Actor Mindset
The first thing you have to do is to get the actor mindset.
Well, I wish I were an actor – that was one of my career choices. But it was not an option, sadly. Life called me to be a teacher.
The actor rehearses and rehearses the lines before going to the stage. They practice the delivery of every single line to perfection. Of course, some actors are not that good. But anyway, they have a good memory.
When they deliver the lines, they know exactly how to do it and where to do it. And the timing. This is what you should aim at if you are to become good in Portuguese — know your lines and how to deliver them.
Just one more fact.
Big companies like Starbucks have a training manual that predicts every possible situation that an employee might encounter. It teaches what to do in each one of those situations — when the employees get to meet an angry customer, for example, they know exactly what to do and what to say. Sometimes they don’t, but that’s not the point.
And what are you to do?
Practice with complete sentences in context.
By rehearsing the lines in Brazilian Portuguese as if you were in an actual conversation, you will be much more confident when you encounter those situations in the future.
If you don’t know where to find sentences to get started with, check out this article with 48 basic sentences that you should know to survive here in Brazil.
And as you learn more, keep a separate notebook or computer file with all the new sentences that you learn.
Tip for Learning Brazilian Portuguese #2: Read EVERYTHING
You should read as much as you can in different genres of fiction and non-fiction.
I suggest you read even before you start listening to many, many things because it’s easier to find comprehensible input when you are reading.
You can look for material for you to listen to, but that’s much harder.
You want to grow a big, big vocabulary bank as soon as you can — it will help you understand more of what you hear too.
Personally, I don’t subscribe to the idea that you should imitate a kid when learning a foreign language. You have a brain and hopefully you have developed it. So why not use it? You can use it to your advantage. Babies don’t have to work, and they don’t have a family to feed. They’re completely worry-free.
“How to Go About Finding Material at My Level?”
Finding proper material to read when you are at the beginning stages of learning Portuguese is very hard. No way around that.
That’s why I have created Read Brazilian Portuguese. In it, you’ll find short texts, exercises, and longer texts for beginners and intermediate-level students.
Not only does it help my students — I refer them to the website — but also other students who don’t work with me.
If you’d like to challenge yourself and use some more advanced materials, I suggest Brazilian Portuguese children’s books that you can find here in this list.
And if those books him easy to you, or if you want to have more native level reading material, how about reading some of Paulo Coelho’s books? This list in English, but you can find the same books in Portuguese.
He’s by far the most accessible and easiest author for both foreigners and native speakers of Portuguese alike. Some people accuse him of being simplistic, but don’t be fooled by that. His stories are interesting to some extent, and his Portuguese is correct — maybe not elegant with flourishes and verbal arabesques, but it’s very good.
Tip for Learning Brazilian Portuguese #3: Just Do It
It’s simple, I know, and you might even think it crass, but we learn by doing. And the more we do, the better we get.
But then you might say, “but I don’t know how to practice or where to practice and who to practice with.”
In that case, if you would like to join a group of like-minded individuals who discuss ideas and events all in Portuguese, you might want to check out our Portuguese Conversation Club After Hours.
Or if you’re on a budget and have some time to spare, you might want to check out the app HelloTalk.
I have used HelloTalk personally when learning Mandarin. At first, it was not easy to find language partners there — online friends, yes, but not language partners. But because it’s so popular, you are bound to find someone who might be a good language partner for at least one month.
And that’s good.
However, if you think that even that app is not a good fit, I suggest you try out the tricks that I teach you in this article.
Those are my tips if you’re learning Brazilian Portuguese – either starting out or trying to find your way back. If you have any more tips to share, leave them in the comments section below and I will make sure to include them in the article as well.