I feel like I’ve covered a lot of ground in the last five weeks and have had a couple of opportunities to put my Portuguese to the test in conversations as well, which has been entertaining..!
This month I have added to my vocabulary by learning:
- Time phrases
- More present tense verbs
- Introducing people
- Basic phrases about my life such as where I live and work
I took a 30 minute italki lesion with a Portuguese teacher to try to practise a few phrases, ask about vocabulary and pick up some basic grammar. I had by ‘language stabilisers’ on by having tabs for wordreference and Google translate open. This really assisted with speedy translations to keep conversation flowing in Portuguese! We spoke probably 75% in English, but the teacher was great at correcting my pronunciation as I still have quite a way to go with some aspects such as vowel sounds and pronunciation of the consonant ‘s’.
I was also chuffed to be able to have a short conversation with a colleague in the facilities cleaning team at work mostly in Portuguese as she is also in the early stages of learning English. We spoke about 80% in Portuguese and I managed to explain in very basic terms that I had just got engaged, which I was very happy with having been learning for such a short length of time!
My main reflections from the last month are:
- Thank goodness I’m learning a romance language! So much of the vocabulary resembles French, which I speak fluently, and the grammar and syntax is typical of a romance language such as French with subject-verb-object word order it has made it much easier to pick up
- Duolingo is great for vocabulary. Duolingo has without a doubt been my best tool in picking up Portuguese vocabulary so far as the mini modules are broken down into manageable chunks with frequent repetition and a range of tasks, so I am able to retain much more of the vocabulary than by using a simple list-based approach.
- Italki is fantastic for time with teachers if you have specific questions. The 30 minute session I had with a teacher on italki was great and very focused. Before the lesson I specified that I wanted to focus on a few specific verbs and also pronunciation and the teacher was great at keeping us on track. She was also very patient and suggested some great resources for me a this A1 level I am currently speaking at.
- Speaking is quite intimidating, but finding a patient native speaker to listen and iron out any errors in a positive way is essential. This is something I am now doing with a colleague at work who is in the facilities team and is not much further ahead in speaking English as it’s great to get to know her and also motivates me to keep on learning. I would definitely recommend finding a tandem language partner at a similar level to yourself as you can really empathise with where each other is at in the language learning journey.
- Finding time for structured study is a bit more challenging. I work full time, so am struggling to squeeze more study time into each day. At the moment I am doing one Duolingo module on the way home from work and listening to one or two sections of the Teach Yourself Portuguese lessons. Occasionally in the evenings I am also writing key vocabulary on post-it notes and putting it round the flat so that I can see them while brushing my teeth or preparing dinner.
I was on holiday last week, so my routine has slipped a bit, but to get on track my main targets for the month two are:
- Take another italki lesson
- Focus a bit more on understanding grammar
- Purchase an A1 – A2 study guide to support with grammar
- Try Memrise as another free platform for vocabulary learning
- Try to hold two more conversations predominantly in Portuguese at work and at Mundo Lingo
- Learn conjunctions and linking phrases to keep a conversation flowing
- Learn how to ask questions
- Practise my pronunciation through free online drills
- Learn vocabulary for countries, languages and nationalities
- Consolidate grammar in particular articles and gender agreements
Wish me luck for the next month..!