Portuguese Basic Level 1 in just 24 hours!

Linda is our Brazilian Portuguese student from London, started her course in 2013 and could successfully complete the first level in only 24 hours of tuition! She shares her thoughts and strategies that will certainly inspire you to reach your objectives in your course!

Linda Dowdney.jpg

When and why you started to learn Portuguese?

I began learning Portuguese in October, 2013. I wanted to learn because my son, who works in Rio de Janeiro, and his Brazilian partner were expecting their first child in January, 2014 – o meu lindo neto brazileiro, que se chama o Joãzinho.

Did you have any previous knowledge before you started your course?

Absolutely none – and I had not learned any Spanish either, so did not have experience of a similar language to draw on.

What were your thoughts about learning a second language before your joined your course? Has this first thought changed as you progressed in your lessons?

I was really interested in learning – so that I could show my then forthcoming grandson that I respected his language and his culture, and (hopefully) speak some simple Portuguese with him in the future. At the same time, it was really quite intimidating – learning a new language from scratch as a ‘mature’ student seemed quite a tall order. Thanks to Cristiane’s skilled teaching, and her humour and enthusiasm, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed my lessons and am gradually gaining confidence in speaking.

You finished the Level 1 in only 24 hours of class tuition, a record at Portuguese on Demand! Do you have a study routine? How do you prepare yourself before you come to the classroom?

For me time is very important – Joãzinho will begin speaking Portuguese in 12-18 months, so I have every incentive to try really hard to learn as much as I can in that time. I want to visit him in Rio regularly – and must be able to speak enough Portuguese to speak with my daughter in law’s family and find my way around Rio to enjoy the city life there.

I record the lessons on my IPhone and listen to them again during the following week. After each class, I also check out all the new words from the class in a dictionary so that I can practice their pronunciation and ensure that I have really understood what the word means - and the dictionary will also give examples of how the word is used.

Then I write each word on a flash card – Portuguese on one side of the card, and the English translation on the other. I try to look at these regularly and learn them. I also listen to Michel Thomas’ basic Portuguese CDs - these are really useful as you have to speak the language alongside listening.

I also use the ‘Tune In Radio’ app on my IPhone to listen to Brazilian radio. At first, for several months, this was COMPLETELY unintelligible! (For me, comprehending the spoken language is probably the most difficult skill to acquire). Over time, I found that I gradually began to hear the words that I was learning in class – although my understanding is still extremely limited, I find I love the sounds of the language and they are becoming more familiar to me. This helps my confidence. Sometimes I can learn new words this way. This week I heard the words ‘Gaza’ and ‘as crianças’ and ‘ferido’. I knew the word for ‘children’ from my class and I looked up the last word, it meant ‘wounded’. The news is sad in Portuguese, too.

Finally, what could you advise our fellow students who wish to speak Portuguese fast and be more successful in their courses?

Do the homework! And find out what works best for you – some people love a variety of Apps on their IPhone and using the Internet. I prefer listening to the radio while I eat my breakfast and before I begin the day’s work etc.

Thank you, Linda!

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