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I don't speak Portuguese!

 
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The Boz



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 37
Location: Here and There

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:07 pm    Post subject: I don't speak Portuguese! Reply with quote

Hi everyone, I'm looking into going to South America to teach for a little while soon. Brazil seems like a popular place, but, although I speak some Spanish, I have no Portuguese ability. I've heard that the two languages are similar, but I don't think I even have enough Spanish ability for this to matter. Is this a deal breaker? Is it possible to have a pretty good social and professional life there without speaking the language? I'd appreciate any help.
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YanquiQuilmeño



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 122
Location: Quilmes, Argentina

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Start learning Brazilian Portuguese as soon as possible.
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The Boz



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 37
Location: Here and There

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that bad, huh?
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YanquiQuilmeño



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 122
Location: Quilmes, Argentina

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How long are you planning to live in Brazil?
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The Boz



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 37
Location: Here and There

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I plan on being there for 3-6 months so it won't be a long-term residency. I'm just concerned about how prevalent English is in Brazil (especially in the medium-sized cities) and how much of a problem it will be to meet local people while I'm there. Should I stop worrying or should I look for a different country?
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gavinoz



Joined: 29 Aug 2005
Posts: 7
Location: Aust

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can survive without portuguese in the major cities but if you only speak English you will only end up speaking to those in upper income brackets that can afford English lessons and can speak back to you. Outside of Sao Paulo, Rio or international tourist destinations it is more difficult to encounter people who speak English.

Learning a little portuguese whether before arriving or during your stay will increase your confidence and you'll end up making a lot more friends. As I used to tell a Brazilian flatmate when I was in London, if you see a good looking guy how are you going to kiss him if you don't speak some English?

www.easyportugese.com has some resources if you want to get started before leaving. Just do a google search for some others. I'd also buy a dictionary as soon as you arrive. My own personal choice is Michaelis's Dicionario Pratico Ingles and Portugues. It's an inch and a half thick and shows the many varied ways words are used, not just their definition. Very handy. Rent a few Brazilian DVDs too. Just listening and hearing the language will help if ever so slightly.

Try and watch the news or read the newspaper, or even the Simpsons when in Brazil. It becomes easier to associate words or sounds when you have the picture in front of you and you can guess what they are talking about. I started with a small dictionary and a paragraph of the newspaper. It took an hour or so but with practice it becomes quicker until now there are more words I know than don't know. Newpapers usually have less slang and colloquial expressions in their reporting.

The hardest part is starting. You'll make a few friends just by trying.
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Gajeman



Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 10
Location: Taguatinga Norte, Brasil

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree whole-heartedly with gavinoz's post. Before my first trip to Brazil I used the Pimsleur Brazilian Portuguese tapes (pricey but worked wonders for me. I highly recommend) and various books to get some basic phrases, and once in Brazil people were very receptive to the fact that I had indeed attempted to learn the language even though my speaking skills were minimal. If you want to be able to ask directions or order a meal or buy something at the store or market you will have great difficulty doing so if you don't speak any Portuguese. As gavinoz said, it is mostly the upper-class educated people who are more likely to have studied English and not the common workers you will encounter at the bus station or restaurant. If there is any sort of Brazilian community where you live you could try to meet some Brazilians and begin speaking Portuguese with them. A little real-world application is immeasurably more valuable than sitting alone in your room listening to tapes or looking at grammar books. Boa Sorte!! (Good Luck)
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The Boz



Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 37
Location: Here and There

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the help! I bought a couple of books to help me learn a little Portuguese before I arrive. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up and learn enough to have an actual conversation before my time in Brazil is over.
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micropiglet



Joined: 10 Jun 2004
Posts: 32
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I left for Brazil with no Portuguese. I arrived alone, and knew nobody. This made life extremely difficult. I would strongly advise you to learn some of the language!
Spanish may help with grammatical structure, but beyond that, not much.
You will feel very left out if you cannot speak the language. I spent many an hour holed up in front of Woody Woodpecker on the TV, slowly learning. You will improve in leaps and bounds once there!
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Portuguese Classes in Rio



Joined: 11 Mar 2008
Posts: 4
Location: Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I am carioca and - besides English for Brazilians -
I teach Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro.


If you are interested you find my contact details
at
http://aulas.de/portugues Arrow
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Tiger Beer



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 765
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was living in Sao Paulo, and seldom met Brazilians who spoke English. I had to learn Portuguese to do the most simple of tasks. But it is fun to learn and do though. Just saying it's necessary.

Regarding the post on Brazilian and Pimsleur. I also agree that Pimsleur is expensive, but it also seems you can download Pimsleur into your MP3 Player these days at no cost, although probably illegal to do.
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