Adventures in Language Learning…

in #language6 days ago

I had a not very fun morning at the post office in Alpedrinha yesterday morning.

I’d gone to pick up some registered mail I’d been told was arriving today (I think the office had been closed the previous day so they’d had a card).

That much was simple, but I got really stuck before I picked up my mail with the woman banging on about something to do with 9.30- 12.30 and something to do with January and February.

I think she was trying to tell me the office was only open mornings for the next six weeks because of the new lock down rules.

I thought she was trying to tell me to come back to get my mail the following day, which I was totally perplexed by because this was all going on at 11.30, on the hours she was telling me I should be there tomorrow.

Anyway, I think she thought I eventually understood and she handed over my mail which I signed for.

I think she was just trying to be helpful, but I’d kind of prepped myself for an exchange consisting of ‘you need to sign here, thanks’ or maybe ‘do you have I.D.’? - not that barrage of stuff which I got.

It’s a problem - I can still hardly understand a word of Portuguese.

I mean prepping the odd sentence to be able communicate in advance, that I can handle, so I’ve learnt…

‘Voce poderia verificar se ha uma carta para [insert name] - ‘could you please check to see if there’s a letter for [name] - it gets the message across, even if it’s a package.

I’ve also got my standard bakery order down:

‘Um pao and tres pasteis de nata’ - there are these other bean paste things they do but I can’t for the life of me pronounce them, I’ve already asked what they are twice (queen sao esses) I feel as if a third is a bit lame.

And I can ask for gas…

‘Um garaffe de gas for favour’ - that’s pretty simple.

And I recognise ‘saco’ is someone asking if I want a bag at the supermarket, but about 50% of the time the teller takes pity on me and just uses English, which is a bit embracing!

I’m not sure Duolingo is helping

I quite like the gamification of Duolingo - leaderboards are fun, but I’m not sure it’s the best preparation for day to day conversation….


And I am guilty of sometimes just paying minimal attention to maintain or advance my leaderboard and league positions!

At some point I’m going to have to up my game for sure!

I think I need to commit to the following in the immediate term, on a daily basis

  • 30 minutes of ‘Practice Portuguese
  • 30 minutes of concentrated Duolingo
  • 30 minutes of my own personalised practice - there’s plenty phrases I need to go over and over.
  • 30 minutes of T.V. or radio a day.

2 hours a day - I think that’ll do as a basis/ I should really aim for doubling number 4 too. Even if half of it is just in the background.


I always had the radio in Portuguese on in the background and weirdly one day I realised I kind of understood what they were saying in the news...

It did take over a year though but I was in a more english oriented part where most spoke english to me (algarve)

Well that's encouraging for me!

But it is a thing - learning by Osmosis, and let's face it kids learn entirely by listening for over a year!

I know our brains aren't as elastic, but I always knew it would help!

I think I might get into crap day time TV too!

hehe, the portuguese bold and the beautiful or Lisboa instead of Dallas

I've settled on Barbarians in Portuguese - I think it's German, but the Portuguese kind of suits it!

yea, its german

Although after an hour of Portuguese music, it's already doing my head in.

Have you learned any other languages? I did French and German at school, but retained very little. Then I went to live in Germany and had to learn. My dad had some Berlitz tapes that were pretty good. I think a structured course may be best. Duolingo is okay, but maybe should be used as extra practice. Ideally you need to be talking to more people, but it's not the best time to be doing that. Hope it gets easier.

I did French at school, got an A at GCSE, fat lot of good that did me!

I need to be out speaking you're right, I'm upping my game trying all sorts, I will get there!