Wednesday, October 9, 2013

David's Life in Brazil

So, have your plans for a new life ever focused on Brazil? My article today will focus on David's life in Brazil - a man who sacrificed the life he knew in the USA for a change in Brazil.

The Story of David

David's story begins when, in 2008, he visited the city of Rio de Janeiro. David fell in love with the country and its people. He met his wife in Rio. She helped him learn the language. However, David did not entirely give up his way of life in America from the first moment. For him, Brazil was an on-again off-again type of affair. He rented an apartment in Rio with his wife. It was a relatively small dwelling, with around 15 units. He only lived there for about the first 4 months. He moved back to the United Stats afterwards to go back to work for his former employer.

During his second stint in Brazil, he opened a business with his wife. He had saved enough money from working in the USA to buy the equipment he would need. You could say that David's business helped the inner city youth by giving them a place off the streets to engage their minds through video games.

All in all, he 6 Xbox 360's and 6 Playstation units. At certain times of the day, all would remain occupied at the same time. The business was flourishing. To help save for their house in Brazil, David and his wife (Renata) slept at their place of business. Renata's parents just lived a few blocks away from the business. So, they could get some decent meals and a shower on a daily basis. David and Renata lived like this for 6 months before they moved in to their new house. This time, David stayed in Brazil for, more or less, 3 years.

He returned to the United States to go back to work one more time with his old job. But, because of the bad US economy, it would be more difficult for him. He worked for 1 year trying to save for his life with Renata - who was waiting for him back in Rio. But he did not accumulate the savings he was looking for. He knew there was only one thing for him to do - return to the life he loved and missed.

And, this day, David is back in Brazil living with his wife - where he knows he belongs. Why not? he owns his own house. How many people can say they own their home? The life in Brazil is good. It's a simple life. The people are very friendly and sociable. The sun shines most everyday, the beaches are pleasant, and the cost of living is affordable.

For more stories like this, be sure to keep in touch with my blog. Or learn more about Brazil or the Portuguese language via my website.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Brazilian Portuguese - From Novice to Advanced

The three stages of Portuguese

Like any phase in life, when learning Portuguese, you must endure the first stage if you wish to learn and move on to the next. Learning to speak and write a new language is no different. You must approach it with the same enthusiasm, determination and drive that you would with anything. From novice to advanced, I will explain the process. For the three stages of Portuguese, you have novice, intermediate and then there's the advanced.

Novice - The novice stage is the most important part of learning a foreign language. Because, like building a house from the ground up, you are building your foundation of all elements involved with the learning process - vocabulary, reading, pronunciation, listening skills and grammar. If your goal is simply learning to speak, you would still need to adhere to the pronunciation and listening skills in order to establish a foothold in your endeavor to learn a challenging yet rewarding language.

Advice for beginners

* Remind yourself that everyone starts from the beginning and, As I mentioned in the second paragraph, you must know that the beginning phase is the most important part of language learning. Once you've accomplished the beginning, it's all downhill afterwards.

* Understand that you are going to make some mistakes. No one is perfect. Even in the face of mockery you must drive on. You may sound like a "gringo" to native speakers, but everybody learning a foreign language speaks with an accent.

* Learning to write the language can also help with pronunciation. Once you understand how a word is written, you will better understand how it is pronounced. So, if you encounter difficulties getting the pronunciation correct the first time, just think about how the words are formed. Also, by knowing how a word is written, you know where all the syllables fall in. And knowing the syllables is key to proper pronunciation based on the rules of pronunciation for that particular language.

* Always seek advice from native speakers. It's your chanced to make improvements to sound more authentic. Ask them for some critique in your pronunciation. How can I sound more like a Brazilian?

Intermediate - The intermediate phase is when you refine your pronunciation and begin building your vocabulary. Once you have moved beyond the "novice" stage, you become more involved in conversation with native speakers because you are able to pick up more translation to understand the topic of discussion. This is when you begin to see how the language is structured.

Advanced - Finally, we move into the advanced stage of the learning process. Your pronunciation becomes more accurate, you fully understand the fundamentals of grammar and can build on your own sentences without disrupting the structure of each, and, by now, you have amassed an impressive vocabulary. You will be able to function in society without help or embarrassment. Take your conversation with you to the faculty board meetings. You've moved past the "red in the face phase" and can now call yourself bilingual - proud owner of a second language.

From Novice to Advanced, I explained what is involved and what it takes to proceed to the next level. By now, you should have a clear perspective. Understanding the steps involved helps to prepare you for success in language learning. To learn more about myself or the advise I have to offer, a visit to my website should get you on your way.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Listening Skills - A Fundamental Element of Language Learning

Your listening skills are what you will eventually acquire learning to speak a language. Find out how to improve your language learning upon having read: Listening skills - a fundamental element of language learning. Upon having read: Listen skills - a fundamental element of language learning, you will understand what it takes to learn a language.

Listening Skills - Your listening skills are what you will eventually acquire learning to speak a language. Through listening to native speakers of your target language converse, you will develop an important element in language learning that will enable you to understand oral communication. This is a fundamental element of the language learning process. Fundamental because: you will not understand what is being spoken without it. Kind of like the melody of a favorite tune. At first, it's just a new song. But as time progresses and you listen more and more, you grow more accustomed to the melody and are able to duplicate the melody in your head. It does not matter if you know every word that exists in a foreign language. Without good listening skills, you will not pick up much of what is being spoken.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Listening Skills? - Everyone is different. Some people will pick it up in no time; where as, for others, it may take longer. Myself - it has taken longer. But I have a bit of a lazy approach when it comes to accessing new information. So, it depends on how much effort and time you are willing to sacrifice. Word by word, you will begin to visualize the "whole picture". Think of it like a puzzle slowly being pieced together.

6 Tips to Good Language Learning Listening Skills

1. Watch foreign movies often - The next time you rent a video from Netflix, think about something dubbed in the target language of your choice. They usually come with subtitles. So, you won't be totally at a loss.

2. Pick up some audio lessons at your local public library - Some of the larger cities usually contain a substantial selection of audio materials in which to listen.

3. Listen to foreign songs - If your target language happens to be Brazilian Portuguese, you couldn't possibly ask for a larger selection of good music to choose.

4. Watch Youtube videos - There are plenty of those to choose from online these days. Just "Google" your preferred language.

5. Join a conversation between native speakers - Look for organizations in your area such as Meetups. They usually organize meetings in your local area where you will be able to find native speakers.

6. Practice listening to your partner - You and your language learning partner have a perfect opportunity to hone your listening skills.

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