This Portuguese language sure is difficult. Is it any wonder so many fail in their attempts when the educational material is so poor in the case of European Portuguese. I was speaking to my sister the other day. She lives in Spain and speaks the lingo – somewhat. With her, I was discussing my efforts where she said, good luck. I don’t suppose you’ll still be able to speak it in ten years time. Yer right, some sister with little confidence. Thanks a lot.
One of the problems is that nobody informs the new student in advance how the language is even spoken. Books, CD and the like dive straight in with a load of this that and the other, but fail to say, what is actually happening in the spoken word compared to that written.
Let me say, there is a big difference between what you read and what is said and heard. I have the Linguaphone course material and I’m sure, it’s fine once you understand the fundamentals. The very fact that what’s written compared to what’s said, causes great confusion and frustration, and I dare say, often failure in the end. That’s when attempting word for word I refer to.
There is a great deal more letters of the alphabet used than actually voiced as many will know. Some time ago, I was reading a basic lesson and was truly unable to make a coherent connection between the written and spoken. Consequently, I dismissed Linguaphone for a period of time.
Written words, so often bare no resemblance to the phonology as spoken and understood by native English speakers. Since earlier, I have studied a great deal how words should be voiced and it’s been hard work to say the least. I’m sure I’m not stupid, and only now beginning to unravel the puzzle. I’m not there yet, but progress is being made where my ear is becoming much more sensitive to slight variations in speech and tone. In actual fact, it surprises me that I never noticed the differences before. Perhaps that’s progress.
In the case of the Linguaphone course, a simple word such as DE, is clearly said in not less that three positively different ways. The initial ‘D’ remains the same for the most, but the ‘E’, ranges from the ‘U’ in further and the ‘Ea’ in eat. There needs to be greater consistency within any one supplied material. It could be that once you understand and speak a language, you potentially don’t understand the difficulties faced by the novice and therefore, fail to explain such basics as a tutor.
Personally, I feel that I should be much more advanced than I am at this point and many mistakes I’ve made along the way. In my case, I remain determined to learn the correct pronunciation from the onset, so to avoid the trap of having poor pronunciation later. It’s harder to rectify later, than perfect or at least, develop a good grasp initially.
I suspect I fell into a trap of using too many educational resources at my disposal. I’ve truly spent far too much time on the internet and Youtube. On Youtube and the like, you really have to determine what’s good and what’s not. There are far too many people that consider themselves educators and often give guidance where all too often, it’s rubbish material and only handicaps people like myself. Another point here is that, even within Portugal itself, there are variations in the spoken word. Much like in the UK, so learning between various regions, does hamper things somewhat and that’s what one is doing via internet supplied material.
I’ve set myself some rules. First is to keep off the internet as much as possible and therefore, study a single regional dialect. Second, use my well recognise Linguaphone course material backed up by Portuguese ‘Guia Prático de Fonética Acentuação e Pontuação’ and a Kindle dictionary ‘Porto Editora Moderno Portuguese-English Dictionary’. Both of these latter are products of Portugal for European Portuguese. There is perhaps one internet reference I’ll use to improve my listening comprehension.
So, I’ve renewed my agenda and perhaps now, without the overload of other none essential study material, I’ll make some progress. In the case of the Linguaphone course. I believe it’s good. I do have some gripes on the style and the lack of pre-warning regards what happens between written and spoken.
But for others in the same situation. Do preserver and don’t be like my sister says. Unable to speak Portuguese in ten years time. It can be done and I’m set to prove it. One other little point. I’m fortunate in having a neighbor that says to visit him and he’ll aid me. Trouble is, he wears two hearing aids and unless I’m almost there, with my pronunciation, the poor guy can’t help much. Bless him.