Take My Hand and Guide Me Susana

It is that time of year when some of us make new year resolutions. For me, I make the same old month in and month out, not to mention, week in and week out. The truth of the matter is, I’ve been slipping into the easy route of failing to keep to the self promise. And, what is the promise? It’s the one I’ve made to myself for a long time, it’s to learn Portuguese. I’ve been failing miserably to a great extent, and perhaps I’ve given myself the old excuse, I’m too busy.

I sure have been busy in all honesty, but let’s think of it another way. Have I really been so very, very busy that I can’t devote time to something I feel passionate about. The answer in my heart I know is a big resounding no. It’s something I desperately want and desperately need to improve the further the quality of life here in Portugal. The quality of life is wonderful to say the least, but should I be able to speak Portuguese, it will take it to another level of heavenly blissfulness in the paradise of Portugal.

I have been waning due to the difficulties in my endeavours to learn a new language. I have allowed the hardships to overtake my ambition. I have almost become like so many others. Defeated. I feel personally embarrassed that I have achieve so little over time. My desire is not an impossibility, but I have allowed the less than easy, to dictate, and result in frustration and dwindled effort. There is an answer, and it is to provoke and stimulate the original, almost overwhelming desire of success. 

The new year has come, and a gift to myself was to enroll in a language course called Portuguese Lab that perhaps, could allow my dream to come true. It will not be automatic. It will not be easy and there will be mental pain, strain and suffering. The ex prime minister John Major said, no pain, no gain. The same applies. With a renewed determination, a structured course and a helping hand, I’m revitalised in my thinking that I will achieve my goal. I have the means at my disposal and the will, but I have been guilty of poor self management in matters of time. My discovery of Portuguese Lab and research into, suggests it could be the answer. It truly appears a well thought out approach to aid the student of European Portuguese.

Now it is critical that I devote in each and every day, time, quality time of appropriate length to achieve something I desperately desire. I inwardly know my past failings have been inconsistency and the failure to utilise the commodity of time productively. I have wasted something truly priceless and none returnable. It is easy to not see the error of ones ways and lapse into the neglect of time ultimately available.

AN EMAIL TO TEACHER - SUSANA

Olá Ashley, On 28/12/2017 21:54

Uau, thank you so much for your kind feedback! I am sure you are able to make progress, I’ll force you! 🙂 How have you been learning so far? Let me know a little more about that so I can help you better.
Are you living in Portugal?

Ola Susana, On 01/01/2018 11:47


First, may I thank you for your reply and also say, I may post this on a blog I have to help others and provide a plug for you also. Last night I got the time to logon to the lessons section so now hope, with a structured course, I can actually get somewhere. To answer your questions. I am living in Portugal and you can meet me here on my blog . I’ll be reporting on the blog of my progress as the blog is about my renewed life in Portugal and reflects to ups and downs to include my attempts to learn Portuguese. I’m in the Ferreira do Zezere area north of Tomar by about 20 km. The actual place I live has a very tiny population of 21. I seldom see people and that’s not good for learning Portuguese.

I tried to learn Portuguese while I still lived in the UK and even though I thought I was getting somewhere, I was not. I started with a few cheapish books and the odd CD. It was of little help and very often, the pronunciation on recordings appears very poor and even Brazilian influenced. Still I perceived with more not so good books and audio material. Also, I downloaded a ton of youtube stuff. Educational material is very scarce when it comes to European Portuguese and I was not prepared to opt for the Brazilian variant. Perhaps the scarcity is due to the small population of Portugal and the fact that, many, may think there is little market for the huge effort required in producing quality material devoted to REAL Portuguese.

My effort included investing in what is considered a more upmarket course by Linguaphone. I had high hopes prior to delivery. Upon receipt and undertaking the initial few lessons, I became very disappointed as even with slowing the recording playback time, I was not even able to follow the written words in the accompanying text. My latest attempt has been to join a group in our local Centro Cultural de Ferreira do Zêzere. Unfortunately, I joined at lesson 22 which is 18 months into the course. Not ideal for me. 

I’ve discovered much along my educational path. On your Youtube channel, someone posted a comment that you spoke too fast. I replied to their comment that you can’t expect to hear it properly on just a single or so hearing. Perhaps, I’m just a tad better with my listening comprehension than they were, but definitely, I’m far from good. I considered your Youtube channel to be of absolutely outstanding quality with a huge amount of free material. I think one could advance to a very great extent with just the free stuff. As I said in my previous email to you, in fairness to you and the obvious huge efforts involved, financial reward is most certainly due.

Getting back to myself, and perhaps as a teacher, will help you further understand student difficulties and aid other none speaking Portuguese readers, I’ll say the following. From my point of view, in the case of almost all so called educational material, the absolute basics are not being explained at the outset. As an English speaker, what you read is not what you hear.  Linguaphone, as a very tiny example, write and speak the following. “E o que faz?” That is so very simple and it took me many listening times to hear it correct. Perhaps it’s because I’m a fluent English speak I had/have the difficulties. Anyway, “o que faz?” literally sounded like a single word to me ” ooqufash?”  Perhaps I’m nitpicky, but from my point of view, it was a huge stumbling block from the outset.

I think what is vitally important is that the basics are somehow, introduced extremely early into the students mind because, in the case of Portuguese, what you read is definitely not what the native English speaker hears where reading along. I say this in reference to educational works by others as at this time, I have barely started on your lessons. In the case of yours, what I decided to do was wait until I was able to enrol and undertake the lessons from the first, one by one with all the associated pdf’s etc at a single point. Perhaps, that’s my best course of action having so far, experienced great difficulties. It is just possible I’m a lost cause, but I’ll not be deterred until I know that as fact. 

Finally, my new year resolution is to improve drastically with a concerted effort of your course guidance. I can’t at this moment find the users forum on your student site.

Sincerely Ashley

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