Learn Portuguese, the Language of Brazil

While you can enjoy a vacation in Brazil as an English speaker, if you learn Portuguese, it will greatly enhance your trip.

You will not be limited to areas where English is spoken, and you can explore places that other tourists do not travel. Speaking their native language will help you become immersed in the culture and learn about the true Brazil.

The Differences Between
European and Brazilian Portuguese

You will find that European Portuguese is spoken in Portugal, western Europe and places in Africa and Asia. Brazilian Portuguese is spoken in Brazil and has certain differences that can be heard when it is spoken.

Many of the differences are in words used to describe foods, flora and fauna, and other similar items. Other differences relate to the pronunciation and sometimes the spelling.

Portuguese came to Brazil when people from Portugal settled in the country. It gradually became the spoken language. When African slaves were brought to Brazil, their language influenced changes in the Portuguese language. Added to that were the various Indian tribes who were natives to the country and each spoke their own language. These combined to make a unique dialect that became known as Brazilian Portuguese.

Learning the Language

If you want to learn Portuguese, you will be happy to know that many people consider it to be relatively easy if you have studied Spanish. Portuguese is one of the romance languages; it is simple to learn if you speak any of the others.

One of the best ways to learn Portuguese is to take some basic courses and then spend time reading in the language. You can find Brazil newspapers online to help you practice and there are Brazilian versions of many popular magazines.

Reading in Portuguese will help you learn the language and not just memorize words. It is more relevant for you to learn entire sentences and paragraphs spoken naturally than to memorize the Portuguese word for certain items.

You can also watch television or listen to the radio stations that are online so you can hear it spoken in a natural tone. This will help you learn to understand others speaking Portuguese. It is often said that it is easier to learn to speak a language than to understand others speaking it.

It is easier to learn Portuguese if you find something that interests you and try to read about it in the language. You may enjoy Brazil football or food or even reading about nature. Understanding a foreign language is easier in a context that you can relate to and that you enjoy.

Some sounds will be more difficult to master. These include ones that require you to roll your tongue or to speak through your nose. It is essential that you practice these until you learn them.

If you are studying Portuguese, try to find someone who speaks it so that you can practice communicating in the language. It is much easier to do this with the internet because you can now use Skype or other websites to talk with people.

How to Learn Portuguese

There are many methods to learn Portuguese before you leave home. You can buy CDs or find websites online. There are classes that teach Portuguese in colleges and adult learning schools.

Not as many people choose to learn Portuguese as they do with Spanish or French, so you may have a harder time finding a group class to attend. There are other ways to learn the language and you can often find individual classes. Learning in a group does provide you a way to practice the language if everyone is at the same level.

You can also wait until you get to Brazil to learn the language. The country has language schools throughout the country. Languages in Action is a company that has two language schools in Brazil, one in Salvador and one in Sao Paulo.

The method you choose to learn the language will depend on your reasons for studying it and how long you have. If you are learning for a job in Brazil or to speak with Brazilian businesses, you will need to take in depth courses. If you are taking a vacation and would like to speak a few phrases, a basic course may be enough for you.

Each individual learns in a different way. Some learn by repetition and studying the same materials over and over while others learn more by sound. How you learn will also determine the method you use to study. If you memorize, a book or website may be the best way to teach you Portuguese. If you learn more through sounds, you will want to use an audio tape or a website with audio provided.

Written Portuguese

The differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese are not as pronounced in writing. You will find some variation but they are much fewer than in the spoken language.

There are certain spelling differences and the variation is similar to US English and British English. They are still easily readable in either form, but are spelled differently. One of the major differences is in c and p when they are followed by c or t. They are silent in the spoken word so they are just left out in Brazilian Portuguese.

European Portuguese was widely taught as the written language in schools for many years. In recent years, there have been a few changes to allow more Brazilian Portuguese to be taught in writing. However, the effort has been made to preserve the original standards in writing.

To learn Portuguese, you will have to be willing to invest some time and effort into the education. How much you learn to speak and write the language will depend upon your needs and interest.

Learning the language will enhance your experience in Brazil, rather the trip is for pleasure or for work. You will learn more about the people and culture of the country than you will if you only speak English.


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