Through some blunder made in an altered state, Jamie Ather found himself in possession of a ticket to Brazil. Never hesitating, he packed his bags and off he went.
Wonder what resources he used to learn the language…
Portuguese is a Romance language spoken in no fewer than 10 regions around the world. You might be surprised to know that one of them is Macau, the Chinese gambling mecca!
There is a reason for that, though: at one time, Portugal claimed sovereignty over that island.
And there is a good reason for learning how to speak Portuguese, too: with more than 250 million speakers worldwide as a first language or a second language, it is the third most spoken language in Europe.
Let’s talk about what resources you can use to help you teach the most-spoken language of the Southern Hemisphere!
Some language learners only want to know enough Portuguese to go on holiday Source: Pixabay Credit: Skitterphoto
Perhaps the best resource for learning any language is by taking classes with a native speaker.
However, before becoming a teacher of Portuguese, you should first declare whether you speak European or Brazilian Portuguese.
As you well know but your prospective students may not, those languages are not the same!
Food for thought: you may take classes yourself in whichever type of Portuguese you have not mastered, so that you may be a most versatile teacher.
And then, it becomes a simple matter of finding the right group to teach with.
Speaking more than one language is the result of hard work and dedication – Cactus greeting
Cactus is a language training school with outlets in select cities around the UK.
A most critical factor in selecting their portuguese course london (or any other city) is that they do make the distinction between Brazilian and European styles of the language.
You may opt to teach their 10-week evening programme or, if you prefer shorter blocks of instruction, you may select their 5-week, intensive course.
And you should specify which style of Portuguese you wish to teach!
This language school holds classes in small groups, to make the learning environment both more interactive and more productive.
If you labour under a wild and unpredictable schedule in your day job but still wish to teach Portuguese, Cactus could take you on as a tutor, tailoring lessons around your schedule.
If you live in or around London, you may teach classes in Portuguese at Lingua Direta: the only language they teach is Portuguese!
They too have both Brazilian and European Portuguese teachers and offer courses in blocks of 10 weeks.
Their language proficiency scale is set up in accord with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – CEFRL.
They estimate that the average Portuguese learner requires around 10 weeks to master each CEFRL level, meaning that five such courses would render your students fluent.
Fluent in Portuguese in just under a year!
If you do not live in London, you may choose to work with Lingua Direta by teaching Portuguese online.
Note: Superprof also has Portuguese teachers you could recommend to your students, and you may choose to become a Superprof language tutor yourself!
You should have a few Portuguese book titles at the ready to recommend to your students Source: Pixabay Credit: Eli Francis
In today’s wonderful world of digital everything, you can still find plenty of books to help you learn anything, including Portuguese.
A perfect example of such would be the Language Lover’s Guide to Learning Portuguese.
It goes in depth into grammar constructions and even comes with a companion website to help your students master pronunciation.
Admittedly, Portuguese is much easier to teach to students who already speak another Romance language, such as French or Italian; even Slavic would do!
Still, it is not impossible for native English speakers to learn how to speak Portuguese; you just have to help your students train their ears; they may have to listen a little harder and practice a little more.
Note: this tome covers European Portuguese; not Brazilian.
By contrast, Ponto de Encontro covers both types of Portuguese.
In fact, so meticulous are the writers and editors about maintaining the boundaries between the two styles of Portuguese that they specifically explain concepts as they relate to one language form and then the other.
Widely used in language schools and university language programs, this manual delves deep into verb conjugation, construction and usage, as well as other facets of grammar and, of course, vocabulary and pronunciation.
You may consider including it and the available companion workbook in your curriculum so that your students might complete the language exercises that accompany each chapter, as they would in any classroom.
To give your students plenty of listening practice, you may also invest in Ponto de Encontro’s optional DVD, in which native speakers (both Brazilian and Continental) speak about everyday topics such as shopping, school and food.
There are so many quality books to help you teach Portuguese, we couldn’t mention them all in one article!
These days, it seems everyone has their eyes glued to their phone, but statistics reveal that a substantial portion of such people are actually busy learning something while they commute or dine out!
Might they be phone-staring because they want to learn another language? Would that language be Portuguese?
If you are looking for engaging phone apps to recommend to your students so that they can take their language practice on the go, you are in luck: there are language learning apps aplenty out there!
Let’s start our list with the most renowned: Duolingo.
Things start off simple: the same few phrases, in a different context. You will be tasked to spell them, explain them, translate them and write them.
The site/app uses written words, pictures and sound to reinforce the learning process.
Players are then tasked with typing the translations of said words and images into their native language, which adds further connections to the newly learned vocabulary.
Your students do not have to create a login to learn with Duolingo but, if you do, the app will track their progress and occasionally challenge challenge them.
Memrise is similar to Duolingo: easy to use, it permits advancement to the user’s language level capability without having to go through the basics and permits offline learning.
One of its unique features is pairing words from one’s native language with similar-sounding words in the language you are learning so that you can make easy associations and thus absorb vocabulary more quickly.
One of its best learning features is mixed-up translations. After being exposed to several new words in the learner’s new language, the screen will reflect close, but not quite right translations. The participant’s job is to get them all straightened out!
Such practical language usage is one of the best ways to learn a language quickly and effectively.
Most of the language apps we introduce are free, including:
Busuu – mostly free; some functions require a premium membership
AccellaStudy has built-in flashcards, quizzes and uses spaced repetition
the downside to this app is that it only works on iOS
24/7Tutor app is lively and fun; includes flashcards, spelling practice, quizzes, memory games
Rosetta Stone offers only basic language learning in their app, suitable for tourism and a great springboard into more serious learning
Apps, videos, films and podcasts: all great resources to enhance your teaching Portuguese Source: Pixabay credit: PIX1861
Listening to music, watching videos… those are great ways to learn languages, and YouTube has got that market covered!
Not only are there entire channels, such as PortuguesePod 101, dedicated to teaching the Portuguese language, but there are countless music videos – wonderful, lyrical, breathtaking songs performed by native Portuguese artists.
There are plenty of podcasts your students can download and listen to while on the go, too!
Have your students ever heard of Fado? Have your students ever heard any Fado? Delightfully mournful, sad and sentimental; how easy it is to hear the longing for Lisbon within those lyrics!
Singing along with one’s favourite Portuguese songs, be they Fado or saucier – say, from Brazil, will help language learners master pronunciation much faster than by rote repetition or classroom drills.
Just make sure your students are singing along to the right Portuguese; don’t recommend they sing Anitta if you’re teaching the Portuguese spoken in Lisbon!
Understanding Portuguese culture (or Brazilian culture) is integral to learning the language well.
Language and culture are inexorably intertwined; one cannot hope for fluency in a language whose culture escapes them.
So, to get that slice of culture, the inside track, you might call it, settling in for a good Portuguese film of two would be the way to go.
Not only will your students get cultural exposure, but this would be a great way to hear Portuguese in conversation, as spoken native to native.
Some of the best Portuguese films to watch are:
Tabu: lost love, mystery and wistful remembrance. What’s not to love? Shot in black and white, this glorious film won multiple awards.
Blood of My Blood: a tale of a supposedly simple family, who soon show that their private lives have more twists than a bag of pretzels.
In Vanda’s Room depicts life at the lower end of Lisbon’s economic scale.
The two films heading this list also centre on life in Lisbon.
April Captains, a dramatic spin on the 1974 revolution that ended the Estado Nuvo junta reign.
Our Beloved Month of August (a docu-drama) gives a snapshot of Portuguese social life in the countryside during that month.
Teaching a second language is not necessarily easy, but it can be fun!
Watching films, listening to music and playing games on one’s phone; meeting native speakers online and curling up with a good book on how to speak Portuguese…
With such a multi-faceted approach, your students will be throwing Portuguese words around in no time!
And you will get plenty of credit for being such a versatile teacher.