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Subject: Learning the language


Posted by Rob
On Tuesday, April 09, 2002 at 16:53:50

Message:
Can anyone help me out with somep robably naive questions. How different is "Brazilian Portuguese" to "actual" Portuguese? If you wanted to live in the country what would be the best way of learning the language before you went there?

Oh, and how similar is Spanish to Portuguese? How much could you get by with Spanish in Portugal?
RE: Learning the language
Posted by Colin Setterfield
On Wednesday, April 10, 2002 at 03:46:45

Message:
Hi Rob

When I went to Brazil for the first time in March I could'nt speak a word of Portuguese....and that is not an understatement. I based myself in Sao Paulo with a family and neighbourhood that could not speak any English either.

I took with me Power Translator pro 7 software....this is really to convert letters. I loaded it on the families computer.....an old Pentium 166...it was slow but worked....(they used an American keyboard with Brazilian Portuguese keyboard settings)

I opened up two sessions one from Portuguese to English and another from English to Portuguese. We were able to have complex "conversations" switching between the sessions. You can also use the built in dictionary for understanding key words quickly.....this software proved to be pure gold dust to me...the most valuable item of the trip......it is the best investment you can make before you leave.

If you have a Laptop it will prove even more valuable and flexible and is exactly what I will take over in July when I return to Brazil....remember that the power supply in Brazil is on 110V so check your PSU if you are on British 240V...although I believe this can vary in areas or even hotels!

I also carried with me a phrasebook although I would suggest getting something with a large dictionary as the scope of basic phrasebooks is limited......you will be very suprised how quickly you will pick up keywords of Portuguese when you live with it everyday.

At home I have a copy of Linguaphones "Learn Brazilian Portuguese" on CD ROM this has also proved excellent and is rapidly building up my vocab. There are 100 key words to learn once you have mastered this and the Alphabet you can catch keywords in conversations and construct basic sentences.....although I confess I still have problems with numbers...

The Brazilians are the most wonderful, friendly sociable people I have ever met anywhere in the world in my travels....the average brazilian struggles to make ends meet but they enjoy life to the max....anybody who doesn't make friends in Brazil would have to be classified as the worlds worst social misfit....

We had hours of enjoyment, humouring each other over accents and words...especially Brazilian place names. They are always interested in how to pronounce British Cities that have any Football connection.....they know of the most obscure English towns or villages if any Football is remotely connected to it.

Brazilians are the only people I have ever met that follow to 2 or 3 Football matches at once...normally a match between South American rivals and at least 1 or 2 British matches.

Brazilians are also very keen to learn any English and will quickly seize the opportunity to learn from you as well. Many of them who work with companies that have international connections find they have better work prospects if they speak some English.

Never have any fear of pronouncing things incorrectly.....throw yourself into it with enthusiasm and with a sense of humour. Brazilians and Latin peoples are not miserable fascists like the French are.

I am not the person to ask about the differences between Portuguese and Brazilian. I would imagine that there are differences like English and American English. I have been to Spain several times and there are many words in Spanish that are the same or similar.

Anyway enjoy it....I loved it.
RE: Learning the language
Posted by Rene Hass
On Wednesday, April 10, 2002 at 08:53:16

Message:
Rob:

I don't know what you exactly mean when you say "actual" Portuguese. I assume you mean the Portuguese spoken in Portugal. Am I right?

The language spoken in Brazil and in Portugal, although the same, differ in prounciation and in some words.

What I can tell you from my observations is that people in Portugal do not pronounce the vowel sounds of most words, which makes it hard for a Brazilian to understand them, especially when they speak fast. I say that because I am Brazilian and it is hard for me to understand a native Portuguese speaking the language.

Allow me to make the following comparison: Brazilians speaking Portuguese are like Canadians speaking English, that is, they speak the language in a clearer way.

I don't know how easy it is to get by in Portugal with Spanish. Here in Brazil, Brazilians will understand you perfectly well if you speak Spanish. But they will reply to you in Portuguese.

Rene





RE: Learning the language
Posted by Patrick
On Thursday, April 11, 2002 at 12:14:37

Message:

Dear Rob,

I would agree with Rene about the difference between Portuguese spoken in Brazil and Portuguese spoken in Portugal. I speak Spanish well, but my Portguese is only fair. I have been to both Portugual and Brazil only once for about two weeks each. The Portuguese are definitely harder to understand for the non-native speaker of Portuguese (and apparently for the Brazilian as well.)

Most Portuguese and most Brazilians can understand Spanish fairly well, but as Rene says, they will answer you in Portuguese. There is an important cultural consideration, however, between how the Spanish language is received in Portugal and how it is received in Brazil.

Many Portuguese, for a variety of reasons both ancient and modern, harbor a considerable amount of resentment towards Spain. My attempts in Portugal to communicate with people in Spanish was often met with perfect comprehension but also with disapproval. At one point, a woman who was otherwise perfectly friendly told me, "This is Portugal. Don't go around speaking Spanish. Speak Portuguese."

That was in 1996. By March of 2002 when I finally made it to Brazil, I had improved my Portuguese a great deal, and I was basically speaking (admitedly flawed) Portuguese to everyone instead of Spanish. On occasion I would lapse into Spanish if I was tired or confused. I would then apologize, and the other person would always laugh and say "no problem."

No Brazilian, either in Brazil, the US, Europe, or Japan, has ever complained to me when I've used Spanish. Brazilians do not appear to assign any negative connotations to Spanish the way that some Portuguese do. I think that its because in South America, Brazil is the big kid on the block, whereas in Europe, Portugal feels somehow overshadowed or perhaps even oppressed by Spain. (If any Portuguese are reading this, if I've got this wrong, I'd appreciate your input.)

By the way, in order to distinguish the Portuguese spoken in Portugual from that spoken in Brazil, I suggest that you use the term "European Portuguese" or even "Iberian Portuguese".

-Patrick

RE: Learning the language
Posted by Lucas
On Saturday, April 13, 2002 at 04:47:21

Message:
the problem speaking spanish in Portugal is
most of portuguese people don't Like Spanish people, because in the past when
Portugal was colonizing South America Spain took
Over many that belonged to Portugal is just that
RE: Learning the language
Posted by Lucas Barros
On Saturday, April 20, 2002 at 19:35:05

Message:
I thought it was the contrary! Bandeirantes took a large area from Spain... Have you ever heard about Anhangüera, Fernão Dias, etc?
RE: Learning the language
Posted by Tanya
On Thursday, April 25, 2002 at 02:29:12

Message:
Ola Rob!

I'm a US-born translator learning Portuguese right now. I am already fluent in Spanish and i can tell you, Spanish and Portuguese, from an American standpoint, are very similar. Also, the different between Brazilian Portuguese and Portuguese from Portugal is comparable to the difference between my English and an Englishman's posh jargon. The same is with the difference between Mexican Spanish and "Castellano" spoken in Madrid. Same language, but different regional influences, dialects and accents. Still, Portuguese is an incredibly BEAUTIFUL language...I love it and i can't wait to get to Brazil one day....:))
RE: Learning the language
Posted by Tanya
On Thursday, April 25, 2002 at 02:29:37

Message:
Ola Rob!

I'm a US-born translator learning Portuguese right now. I am already fluent in Spanish and i can tell you, Spanish and Portuguese, from an American standpoint, are very similar. Also, the difference between Brazilian Portuguese and Portuguese from Portugal is comparable to the difference between my English and an Englishman's posh jargon. The same is with the difference between Mexican Spanish and "Castellano" spoken in Madrid. Same language, but different regional influences, dialects and accents. Still, Portuguese is an incredibly BEAUTIFUL language...I love it and i can't wait to get to Brazil one day....:))

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