Correct Me – Please

I’ve been here a little time now and when listening to some locals speak I manage to pick up a few words here and there. They will be the common words such as Bom Dia, Boa Tarde, Boa Noite. Dias da semana or is it dias das semanas, os números and similar. As this is the case, I feel that perhaps it will be possible for me to learn Portuguese. The radio news and talk shows are helpful also where it’s a matter of learning a few words each day and then understanding how to create comprehensible sentences with them.

A valuable little point I’ve discovered is that just becoming proficient in the numbers will help no end with days of the week, first second, third and so on. Learn 1 – 20, 30, 40, 50 – 100, 200 – 1000, 10,000 well and you’ve also then learnt all numbers you would ever need without ever realizing it. Then practice the numbers by reading prices, speed limits, house, telephone and car registrations numbers in Portuguese.

Prior to my arrival, I was hearing so often that Portuguese is near on impossible to learn. I am also lead to believe that many people living in Spain are only there due to them feeling they could never cope with the Portuguese language. To top that, some will say that the difference between Brazilian and Continental Portuguese is great while others will say they are minor. There is also the difficulty over available educational material for the student (o estudante). In this respect, I must say Portugal most definitely does not help itself and therefore it’s economy. That’s my current view.

Youtube is powerful and surly the educational establishments of Combra, Lisboa and Porto could put together videos for distant learns to use. Something proper and not based on half cocked part Brazilian part continental Portuguese mix-ups produced by amateurs. Just 500 high quality videos could educate thousands and be a huge benefit to Portugal financially. It is not always possible or financially viable for people to take private lessons or attend education establishment.

I did purchase whilst in the UK ‘Porto Editora Moderno Portuguese-English Dictionary’, the kindle version. This is produced by Porto Editora which is a Portuguese educational book company if I understand correctly. I phoned the company with a few questions prior to my purchase and was impressed by their helpful attitude. It’s not Brazilian. The PC Kindle version is hopeless as even though the content is fantastico the indexing is very poor indeed and if you can’t spell the word, you’ll not find it and using the English entry does not always help as not always is there a direct translation. Today, I’m going to see if I obtain the paperback version. Here Porto Editora is the link. One other thing, the dictionary will help with pronunciation ‘a pronúncia‘ as it displays phonetics symbols also.

Since my arrival, I have been depressed by some and impressed by others but not suppressed or oppressed by any. That previous sentence said rapidly after a drink or so could become a jumbled mess and as confusing as the Portuguese language. I dare say that the language is difficult to learn and definitely more so than Spanish where, the vowels are very positive and clear, to my ear anyway. Perhaps the dictionary mentioned above will be of assistance to some.

I said I’d been depressed by some and I sure have. I’ve now met many Portuguese and it’s surprising how many speak English though this will not be the case in all areas. Their English may not be great, but good enough to help us less able, to communicate. On the other hand, I’ve met several British that have been here for years, living full time, with the ability of saying little more than, Bom Dia. Some of those people say they  have been for lessons – free and that, the place of education, they tended to use more for social gathering. Not good in my view and those same people would no doubt condemn people in the UK for doing the same.

In the case of being impressed, I’ve also met others that appear to be able to communicate with the natives very well. There is no hesitation in communication on either side, so I take it, the Portuguese are understanding the English persons usage of the language reasonably well. Well done to those people.

I’ve met others with the attitude that most of the Portuguese speak English so why bother. Come on, that’s not on, at least make the effort folks. I’ve not been suppressed or oppressed but I do have one minor complaint. First off. A little story. I met someone English that had been working in Italy for years and years and had learnt to speak Italian well. There had never been any problems with communication between him and others. One day, the English guy gets into an argument with a close fellow worker. The argument obviously got somewhat heated because the poor English guy was told he was stupid because he had been saying a particular Italian word incorrectly for years. So the question here is, why did the fellow worker not correct the English co-work at some earlier time?

I am finding the same, not the rudeness but the fact that people do not correct one when we attempt to learn their language. I, personally, would rather be corrected and would not be offended should someone do so. Why is it people feel shy or perhaps rude to correct another when they are trying to learn. We need the help. Hence the image above.

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