Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rachel vs Portuguese - the never ending battle

Sadly, mastering the ão in pão does not make me a fluent Portuguese speaker.  When I arrived here 2 months pregnant with my first born, I gave myself the 4 years. 4 years to learn Portuguese fluently, reading, writing, and speaking.  I felt that was more than enough time, even for a slightly lazy and occasionally unmotivated person such as myself.

Well, 4 years has come and gone.  I have mastered the art of conversation, sometimes correctly and sometimes not. Hell, it counts if the person understands it.  I haven't been formally educated in the language (not counting the 3 week course I did when I first came).  And come on, 6 different verb tenses?!  Conjugation?  Irregular verbs?  They don't write like they speak, they don't speak like they write. It's not an easy language to acquire.

None the less, I'm slightly disappointed in my writing skills. I had to write a small note in my son's school notebook about what we did during they weekend. The teacher will read each one and ask each student to tell the class about it.

I'm just waiting for the teacher to pull me aside and inform me that I should be writing the note, not my 3 year old.

So what am I going to do about it?  I thought about buying Portuguese grammar tapes and playing them while I sleep.  Hey, it could work.

Seriously though, should cash start flowing a little easier in August, I may try to take some private classes.  Any foreigners living in Rio want to get a group together and hire a teacher?

Why August?  My littlest will finally be in school a couple of hours a day!  Cheer cheer and back flip! Yeah for free time (minus the time I will be working).

Btw, here's a link to a Portuguese Language blog. This post is about something I use incorrectly all the time. To take vs to Bring ie. levar vs trazer


Know of any other good pages and/or teachers?


  1. Don't forget about levar, tirar, and pegar! Three forms of to take??? And nobody has successfully been able to tell me when we say one over the other yet. I always mess it up. And I also say I'm going to trazer meu chave .... that one they don't even understand.

  2. I mess that up all the time! I always say eu vou trazer blank de estado unidos. Maybe that's right? I'm so confused with to take that I don't even know when I'm right!

  3. This might help:

  4. Thinking about moving back to Brazil and come across some blogs including yours. BTW, great!In reference to levar, tirar and pegar, generally you use levar if it means to carrying, tirar if it means take it away and pegar if it means reaching out. Please note the word generally (LOL).

  5. I recently arrived in Rio to visit my Carioca beau, bringing with me a study book (and CD) called "Colloquial Portuguese of Brazil: The Complete Course for Beginners". Unfortunately, my girlfriend tells me that a lot of the expressions and vocabulary are Portuguese Portuguese and not what Brazilians would ever say. (For example, "Apresento-lhe a Joana"). We've visited Livraria Da Travessa and couldn't find any books with English explanations, just grammar exercises. Do you or any of your 'followers' have a book you can recommend?

  6. I recommend Falar... Ler... Ecrever...

    I found it on Amazon. I loved it :)

  7. Thanks for the recommendation. We haven't been able to find it in a bookshop here yet, so I'll order it on Amazon in the UK (my first vsit here ends soon) and then I'll get cracking for my return. Obrigado!