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Learn European Portuguese in 2020

December 30, 2019

2020 is almost here! Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Since we’re as committed to helping you reach your Portuguese language-learning goals as you are, we’ve put together some ideas to help you use our platform as effectively as possible. At the end of the article we’ve also included a worksheet to guide […]

Brand-New European Portuguese Podcast Feed: “Shorties!”

July 11, 2019

Member feedback on our new “Shorties” episodes has been so positive, that we’ve decided to launch them into their own separate podcast feed! Subscribing in your favourite podcast application will allow you to automatically receive episodes as they’re launched, so you can improve your European Portuguese skills in just a couple minutes each day. Short […]

Member Newsletter: Forum Announcement

June 5, 2019

You asked for it: By popular request, we’ve launched a Practice Portuguese Community Forum! For years, we’ve been having fantastic conversations with members, directly via email. So now, it’s about time that the whole community can benefit from some of these nuggets that would otherwise be lost deep in the email archives. In the forum, […]

Learning Studio: 50+ Exclusive Dialogues

January 20, 2019

After you complete all of the Lessons of a Unit, you’ll unlock a special dialogue. They’re basically bite-sized podcast episodes (1-3 minutes long), designed to put some of the vocabulary you’ve learned into context. We’ve launched over 50 new dialogues, with more on the way as we continue to roll out new Learning Studio Units. […]

Learning Studio Upgrades: Mastery Levels & Scoring

September 4, 2018

September 20th: This post has been updated to reflect additional scoring tweaks we launched today, inspired by some of the feedback in emails and this post’s comments. We’d love to know what you think in the comments… Obrigado! 🙂

We have exciting news! Over the past year, we’ve been rebuilding the Learning Studio from the ground up to prepare for lots of new, powerful features coming your way.

Although things will look mostly the same at first, some new intelligence has already been added to improve the functionality of the lessons, and their scoring…

Before: Classic Scoring

Previously, your lesson score was calculated as a percentage of how many questions you answered correctly.

For example, if you got 90% of the questions correct during a Lesson, that Lesson Bubble would fill in accordingly:

Your progress on individual phrases of a Lesson was not tracked, so the Learning Studio did not know which phrases you had already mastered, or which you still needed to practice.

Mastery Level

Now, when you complete a lesson, your Mastery Level for each phrase stored for later in the Learning Studio’s brain:

  • You’ll see this list at the end of a lesson, so you’ll know exactly which phrases you still need to work on.
  • All of the Phrase Mastery Levels combined determine your Lesson Mastery Level (which is visually represented by those filled-in bubbles on the main Units screen).
  • Whether you take a Lesson for the 1st or the 15th time, the questions will intelligently adapt themselves based on your Phrase Mastery Levels.

Simple Phrases To Learn Before Visiting Portugal

May 19, 2017

We often get messages from complete beginners who plan to visit the country and want to learn a few of the basic phrases. In Portugal, the level of English is quite good, especially the younger generations in the main cities of Lisbon and Porto. But regardless of how well the locals speak your language, picking […]

Getting Past Beginner’s Intimidation On Your Way To Portuguese Fluency

July 29, 2015

We get amazing emails from our members daily, and we usually just respond to them privately. But since the response got quite long and involved, I decided to go over it a couple times before sending and try to turn it into a more or less intelligible article that others might be able to relate to… but you can be the judge! – Joel

Question (Edited slightly): I need inspiration and a plan. I am a subscriber and like the Podcasts a lot. Husband is Portuguese and I have taken lessons, can read and write pretty well but am so reluctant to speak. I did go to his village in central Portugal for three weeks alone to force myself to speak. (had no choice!).

Oh, I am 69 years old. I know that I know more each year but as time passes am more and more reluctant to talk. I guess it is me evaluating myself? And of course it is meu marido’s native language so I just let him do all the talking when we are in Portugal. We go often, at least once a year. Listening to the podcasts is really good for me.

But what do you suggest? I know that immersion would be key but at my age I am not interested in spending one or two months away from meu marido. Of course the big challenge is verbs and yes, I know when I talk I am translating. When I write it seems to come much more naturally but then I am calm and I am a very visual person (writer and painter). Meu Deus! I bet you didn’t expect a message like this. But what do you think? What would be a good plan? I am a very disciplined person and just need a boost of inspiration.! Thanks in advance, Obrigadinha, K.

Joel’s Response:

Hi K,

Great to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to write. Thanks also for your support these last few months, we really appreciate it.

I started writing this email then realized it might be interesting for others to read so I tried to write it more like an article. So if it’s ok with you, I’ll post the question and answer (without your name of course), on the long-neglected blog section of our site!

It is also inspiring that even though you are beyond the age of your average language learner, you are still taking your language learning seriously (keeps the mind sharp… many people stop learning after their schooling and our brains quickly get lazy with every year that passes!)

Bringing the Learned Vocabulary / Grammar the Surface (a.k.a. Activating a Language)

I was exactly in your position when I started learning – I had studied a bunch of grammar and vocabulary, but it seemed like there was a great distance between the knowledge in my brain and the words coming out of my mouth… in other words, if I was writing or had a few seconds to think, I could construct the phrases, but to immediately recall the vocabulary, verb conjugations etc instantly in a conversation was another challenge. Studying a language on paper is one thing, but then it takes hours of listening, speaking and therefor months / years of feeling dumb on a daily basis in real-life conversations. (After almost 3 years of speaking the language, those moments of feeling dumb are less frequent, but they still happen frequently!)

Intimidation in Speaking a New Language

I totally understand your intimidation with the language and your reluctance to speak. I find it especially happen during weeks where I am working mostly with English clients and communicating a lot with my Canadian family/friends – If you spend hours and days away from the language, it takes a little while to warm up the Portuguese muscle again.

It also doesn’t help that most of the population (especially the young generations and those in hospitality/tourism) seem to speak near-perfect English. So as new Portuguese speakers, it is intimating and frustrating to know that any second, we may make a mistake that will cause them to start speaking English to us, (rendering our Portuguese-learning efforts useless!)