The excitement and numerous opportunities you get from learning a foreign language outweigh the initial disappointment and challenges you will face while learning the language. Even though learning a foreign language is time-consuming and somewhat difficult, the following are a few benefits you’ll gain:
- Learning a new language can be a major competitive advantage that singles you out from your monolingual peers. Having language skills remains one of the top eight skills requested by all occupations.
- Apart from the common communication benefit of language learning, research shows that becoming bilingual simplifies the process of learning a third language. This is because learning a second language creates new brain networks capable of assimilating more languages.
- The quickest way to immerse yourself in a new culture is by learning the language. Thus, learning a new language deepens your connection and understanding of that language’s culture.
Deciding to learn a foreign language is the first step of learning. Next, you need to research what language you wish to learn, why you intend learning it, the possible linguistic challenges you’ll encounter, and the recommended approach for learning the language. Hundreds of languages exist in Nigeria, with the most learned and taught being English, French, Russian, and German. Others like Portuguese, Mandarin, and Spanish are overlooked by many Nigerian institutions and citizens, neglecting the fact that these languages have a massive number of speakers globally.
Choosing to learn Portuguese, for instance, has its benefits considering that there are 250 million native speakers and 24 million L2 speakers globally. Many believe that Portuguese is spoken only in Portugal, but there are additional lusophone countries such as Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Angola, and São Tomé. So, if you intend travelling to or domiciling in either of these countries, especially Portugal or Brazil, learning the language would make your stay a fun-filled one. You can learn to speak and write in Portuguese whenever you want to.
Learning Portuguese: Writing
Every language has four essential skills that need development and they include reading, writing, listening, and reading. Without these four skills, you’ll find it difficult communicating or having mutual intelligibility with a native speaker. Developing these skills can be time-consuming as each one has its own learning curve. If you’re a beginner who wishes to learn Portuguese, note that there are rules you must learn. Some rules include the following:
- Portuguese morphophonemic rule;
- Subject-verb agreement rule;
- Concord; and
- Morphosyntactic rule.
Portuguese is the second most spoken Romance language after Spanish and has new people daily who are interested in learning Portuguese.
We live in the internet age where penning a letter to a friend has become outdated, rather all you need do is open your chatting app. While communication has become easy, fast, and stress-free, it has also reduced our writing ability and creativity. A perfect example is the use of abbreviations and the auto-correct feature to type text and Whatsapp messages. It’s become evident that while abbreviated texts and slang save you the time of typing complete words, it has resulted in poor writing habits. Many people are unable to write and spell out words correctly. Thus, it’s important to develop healthy writing habits.
Here are tips on how to learn Portuguese writing:
Portuguese Language Learning: Beginning with the Alphabet
Any language student who wishes to learn Portuguese must begin with the foundation and basics, the alphabet. Many language learners often laugh off the idea of beginning with the alphabet but down the line, their learning becomes difficult and confusing because they skipped the basics. It’s completely cool to be overambitious, but it’s advisable to set and accomplish little milestones.
It’s been established that the Portuguese alphabet is the same as the English alphabet. For this reason, only non-English speakers should have difficulty learning the letters. As a non-English speaker, you can begin with the mastery of the 5 vowel letters. After that, you can split the 21 consonant letters into groups for easy mastery. Take your time to know each letter by heart because it’ll simplify complex aspects such as grammar, syntax, morphology, and phonetics.
Sticking to One Language Variant
Although European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese are variants of the same language, they vary in spelling, pronunciation, formality, grammar, and accent. Before you start learning how to write the language, make sure to choose the variant you want to learn and know what makes it unique.
About pronunciation, Brazilians articulate vowel sounds wider and longer because their variant has a syllable-timed rhythm. Portuguese however, articulate vowels with less force and by constricting the speech organs because the language has a stress-timed rhythm. The Brazilian Portuguese consonant “S” is pronounced as /s/ while its European Portuguese variant is pronounced as /∫/.
Also, some have different spellings. For example:
European Portuguese spells the word “reception” as “receção” while Brazilian Portuguese spells it as “recepção”.
Have you considered why exceptional, as well as, rookie writers read a lot, it’s because reading improves their vocabulary, creativity, grammar, word usage, and writing style. Don’t just read books and genres you love, rather, read all genres you come across. Reading all genres would introduce you to other writing styles you might want to try out. Some genres you should read include fan fiction, non-fiction texts, novels, news articles, marketing content, and poetry. Reading for just twenty minutes daily would improve your writing.
Listening to a Portuguese speech would improve your pronunciation skills, but reading would expose you to the acceptable writing standard of the Portuguese language. This, in turn, would improve your knowledge of syntax, lexicosemantics, and pragmatics. Furthermore, reading daily would expose you to new words whose meanings you can look up in the dictionary.
Work on Your Vocabulary
Using the same set of words continuously can flaw your write-up. Thus, it’s important to learn new and synonymous Portuguese words always. In addition to reading books, there are other ways you can learn new words. One of them is by watching Portuguese movies and listening to podcasts. All you need to do is pen down every new or complex word you hear and look it up later. Also, there are language applications designed to pop up new random words daily. This way, you’ll learn at least one new word every day. Try to learn at least a new Portuguese word daily and learn how to insert it while writing. Have you considered playing classic games such as Boggle, Crossword puzzles, and Scrabble? These games are word-based and they’ll help to increase your Portuguese vocabulary during leisure periods.
Nothing Beats Constant Practise
Before becoming a commercial pilot, you must have recorded a minimum of 1,500 flight hours as a pilot besides having an Airline Transport Pilot certificate. This shows that beyond theoretical knowledge, practical experience is mandatory. This applies to learning how to write the Portuguese language as well. You shouldn’t expect an obvious improvement in your writing proficiency when you don’t write often. Don’t wait until you’ve mastered every word in the dictionary before writing because you can amass a huge collection of words without knowing how to use them.
Begin with simple dictation exercises, then proceed to translate Portuguese writeups to English and vice versa. Once you’ve gained some confidence and fluency, write short stories, novella, and book reviews; it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can also have a diary where you pen down your daily activities in Portuguese. If you feel the need to hire a professional Portuguese tutor to guide you on your writing journey, Superprof is a credible platform to consider.
Portuguese Learning Language: Do It Your Way
There’s no better way to learn Portuguese than to do it your way, the fun way. Have you considered starting a blog about what you love? It can be about your interest(s) or ever about your life; no one needs to know it’s you as you can choose to remain anonymous. Writing should be practised daily and a perfect medium blogging. Don’t overthink it, write away.
Keep in mind that besides improving your writing, you need to strengthen your speaking, reading, and listening skills also. If possible, make friends with proficient Portuguese speakers. This will improve your speaking and listening skills especially.
If you’ve tried the aforementioned suggestions but found them ineffective, then a personal tutor might be the solution. Whichever aspect needs improvement, be it vocabulary, alphabet, grammar, syntax, reading, pronunciation, or writing, Superprof’s tutors are available to put you through.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, fluent, or native Portuguese speaker, tuition is tailored to your learning needs and expertise level. You can get online and/or face-to-face language lessons. Also, you can choose your tutor based on the Portuguese variants/he has experience in. Learning how to write in Portuguese has never been this easy and affordable.