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“I have been studying Portuguese for 2 years and I have had a few teachers but Carmen has been by far the best. She is attentive and her learning programs work.”

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‘I highly recommend Carmen for anyone interested in learning or practicing Portuguese. Carmen is very professional, enthusiastic and her teaching methods are very effective. Thanks to her I am able to not only learn the language, but the Brazilian culture and their current events. I have been enjoying my classes and looking forward to more. Muito obrigada Carmen!’

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How to LEARN BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE WITH THIS 5 STEP PROGRAM THAT LEADS FOREIGNERS TO FLUENCY

May 28th, 2018|

We begin this article by discussing, briefly, the Portuguese language globally. This romance language is classified into Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese – also known as Lusitanian Portuguese. There are 9 countries that recognize Portuguese as their official language, and they belong to the CPLP – Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (PSCC). There are 250 million Portuguese Speakers around the globe, 80% of those people are Brazilian Portuguese speakers.

Virtually all of the 200 million inhabitants of Brazil speak Brazilian Portuguese. Can you imagine, with the size of Brazil, the diversity of accents and different ways of speaking Portuguese according to each region? It is understandable that sometimes it is hard to make out what Brazilians are saying.

Students face many difficulties when learning a second language such as Portuguese, for example; the form that is usually presented to them, the exposure to many rules ahead of time, the inadequate linguistic approach, the new combination of a sounds, the way a second language is conceived by its natives, when building their own speech, regionalization plus many other factors that I could mention here. Nevertheless, to learn Brazilian Portuguese is totally possible.

Learn Brazilian Portuguese

As many linguists say “The starting point for all language teaching should be an understanding of how people learn” (Hutchinson & Waters, 1987). Each person has its own way of learning. In order to make a faster progress, students should have a customized lesson plan according to their goals. The teacher can create a personalized experience for the student according to his/her main learning theories and knowledge. From the behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, effective factor, and now the Post method era perspectives, the teacher is able to recognize, with the help of the student, the best way he/or she consumes and retains content.

When a student is in an immersion experience, living in the target language country, they usually make progress faster. However, there are shortcuts and strategies that can be applied to those who are learning a second language outside the target language country. A prepared teacher will focus on their specifics skills. With the advances of new technologies, we had to adapt all previous knowledge with the infinite possibilities we now face in The Post Method Era. We have found an entirely different framework. Kumaravadivellu, one of the best scholars, explains in details the Macrostrategic framework, which we have to consider in the post method pedagogy. The learner and the teacher are considered autonomous individuals with no boundaries.

Learn Brazilian Portuguese

By taking all of this into account, it has been proven that a combination of methods and approaches have been bringing students great and successful results. The student needs to have an appropriate amount of time for homework, a series of audio, video and communicative competence activities. Besides, there are two things, they will need, that I consider crucial: to be guided by a good teacher or a trained coach for a personalized experience – such as one-on-one live lessons as e.g. on Skype – and practice speaking with other natives.

The 5-step program Cycle

The 5 step program to speak faster and efficiently, as itself says, has a focus on speaking and it’s composed of a (1) Pre-lesson Preparation; where the student takes in specific audio and visual content according to their level while saying sentences out loud to practice them before live sessions practicing with the teacher. This activity should not exceed more than 10m-15m and is followed by a take in (2) writing activity to fix the audiolingual content along the visual structures. A colloquial speech is presented to the student so they get used to how natives speak and write in a natural way. (3) Skype lesson – the student now goes to an active center position. The student needs to put into practice, live with the teacher, everything that he/she has learned until that moment. The teacher now works on other skills and brings a dialogue to reality. It’s crucial to be guided while speaking live with a native expert who knows what they are doing. It can be on Skype, for example, 30 to 40 minutes is enough. This way they will be able to start building his speech within an active process of construction motivated by cognitive and emotional aspects to speak with meaningful interaction in the target language. The next step is a take in (4) writing activity homework (1m-20m) again aimed at the student’s goal. Now the student is really into the content they are learning. At that moment, he/she is more prepared to practice speaking with more confidence, making sentences and questions, and learning the structure correctly. The teacher may insert grammar and lexical explanation if needed. As a final step for the “week” given content, the student goes for the last and fifth step (5) Skype lesson (30’ to 40’) now focused on the student experience bringing the student again to a more immersive reality. The importance of the dialogue productivity accelerates as known by the best linguists. The teacher continues to give the right shape and guides the conversation.

After taking these 5 steps, the student now is ready for more. However, the teacher makes sure the student only moves on to the next content unit if they are proficient in this first part so one can add upon what they have learned and improve faster. This method has been working out very well for my students. The following picture illustrates this cycle very well. This format gives you the ability to speak everything you are learning at that moment, so when you finish a cycle, you move to the next cycle with new content.

Learn Brazilian Portuguese

As you can see, this method works in a combo where the student alternates between a video lesson with an activity and a live skype lesson to practice. The student starts speaking from the very first lesson and benefits from being one on one with an expert teacher who will; speak, guide, motivate, correct, analyze and give the student all the necessary attention. The teacher provides the student with tools for its best development from a variety of materials and interactions so they speak up everything they are learning. The student works on all four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The material is key in the process. The method covers very important skills especially for beginners. Students develop excellent listening and pronunciation in the language. The teacher sends the student extra activity on what they need to work harder. Because of the speaking skills, students will be able to communicate in many different situations in their everyday life. Besides, students have the great opportunity for a personal development, a connection between neurological processes and behavioral patterns learned through experience (programming).

If you also want to learn Portuguese as a second language, check out my Portuguese courses in Brazil. Access the link http://helloportuguese.com/our-courses/

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil

May 4th, 2018|

It’s difficult to feel indifferent about Brazil. People either love it or hate it … or are in a very opinionated in between.

I have oscillated from love to hate to bewilderment more times than I can count. As I start to feel the urge to look outward towards new adventures in new lands, I feel it is appropriate to put down some of my thoughts on the land of the samba. Here are ten things that I hate about Latin America’s largest country.

1. Crime: Brazil has a lot of it.

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - Crime: Brazil has a lot of it.

If you come from a country where the your only concern during a midnight supermarket run in your pajamas is whether someone you know will see you, get ready for a change of mindset. Brazil is a dangerous place – some places more than others. Does this mean you should lock yourself in your house? No! Although the homicide rate is insanely high, most of the murders are centralized in the poorer regions and where there are ongoing wars between gangs and the police. Outside of these regions your main worry is theft and muggings. Yes, these bandits are armed, but there aren’t dead bodies of tourists being collected from Copacabana beach every day. Nevertheless, the constant waves of crime does add an extra element of vigilance in my everyday walks, which does become a hassle. One can´t simply relax and enjoy the scenery here in Brazil. In fact my first mugging (ever in my life) occurred when I left a club at 2 in the morning figuring I could walk around downtown São Paulo like I had walked the streets of Philadelphia so many times, alone, in the wee hours, contemplating life while on my way to the metro. WRONG!!! Clearly I am not dead. They were only interested in some cash and even thanked me after for my cooperation. Go figure. In my shock I said, “You’re welcome.”

2. Lack of Commitment: I don´t know how they manage to get married.

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - Lack of Commitment: I don´t know how they manage to get married.

It’s pretty generally known that Brazilians do not like confrontation, and so in order to avoid it they simply lie to you. They say they are going to do something but never give a date. They confirm their presence at your event, but later tell you that they forget they had a family gathering the same day. They will tell you they are interested in a project you are working on, but won’t get back to you for further feedback. It’s the way it works. Unless you get a hard Yes and see bodies moving, expect that most anything coming out of a Brazilians mouth is a non-committal style No – even their Maybes. This can be soul crushing at first if you are really looking forward to something, but soon you realize it’s the way things are and learn to depend on yourself and the few pro-commitment Brazilians friends that you will make along the way.

3. Falseness: Brazilians will lie to your face with a smile.

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - Falseness: Brazilians will lie to your face with a smile.

Imagine a country inhabited by politicians: that is Brazil. Brazilians will swoon over you, tell you how great you are, kiss your feet, but when it comes time for you to put all that love they have for you to good use they have a tendency to disappear. The combination of this quality with their lack of commitment makes it especially hard to get any work done. Chances are that you will be surrounded by Yes Men who are ultra pumped about your next project, that is until they don’t return calls, schedule dentist appointments on the same day you scheduled a meeting, and waste a lot of your valuable time. Some of the falseness is very malicious, and it almost feels like Brazilians want to live their own personal soap operas (we’ll get to the drama section in a bit), but a lot of it also stems from being non-committal and non-confrontational and therefore not wanting to hurt anyone’s feeling with the truth. If there isn’t clear and present proof that your plans are going to happen within a day or two of having proposed them, move on.

4. Red Tape: There is a lot of it.

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - Red Tape: There is a lot of it.

I once knew a guy that needed a document, but to get that document he needed another document from another government agency. When he arrived at that other government agency they said they could only give him that document if he had the other document from the first government agency that had sent him there in the first place. Need I continue? End of story is that he left Brazil cursing the country out – and all he wanted was to buy a cell phone, and yes, you need a document for that. Scary part is that this is not an isolated incident. The more you accept that Red is the fifth colour of the Brazilian Flag, the less expletives per day you will utter.

5. Drama: “The world is a stage …” – NO! Brazil is!!!

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - Drama: “The world is a stage …” – NO! Brazil is!!!

The nightly soap opera is still one of the highest rated television program in the country. Brazilians love their drama, and with strong melodramatic tones. Arguments can start here over which side of the bread one should put butter on. There is never a quick exit, as someone tries to prove their side. And after they have proved their side they will make sure to bring it up again in 6 months in order to truly beat the horse to a bloody and senseless death. The most frustrating part of a Brazilian argument is that since they decline to say what they really feel, and don’t like to commit to things, it is usually only an argument for the sake of argument – they really don´t want a resolution. The quicker you learn this, the less likely it is that you fall into a Brazilian trap. There are a lot of emotions, and if you are not ready for them, or your culture is more reserved, prepare by doing some primal scream therapy and get to know your inner child; you will need it to survive.

6. Lack of Culture: A global epidemic to which Brazil has succumbed.

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - Lack of Culture: A global epidemic to which Brazil has succumbed.

Across the world there seems to be a dumbing down of culture. You can see it evidenced in popular movies, television shows, and especially in music. Yet there are always little glimmers of intelligence out there: kids that speak in full sentences, movies that leave with you out of the theatre, songs that evoke strong emotions as well as thought. Brazil has latched on to the negative trend of zombification of the masses, but is lacking sorely in the latter. The music is dull, television is one soap opera followed by a variety show followed by another soap opera, and there is no film industry of which to speak highly. People, in general, don’t pick up books, or think outside of their own little boxes. This is a real tragedy considering the great art and culture that has come out of Brazil in its long history. The 1960s and 70s, for example, were decades that brought us the great works of world renowned musicians, actors, and singers like Milton Nascimento, Sonia Braga, Bibi Ferreira, Tom Jobim, Elis Regina, among countless others. Brazil is in serious lack of a cultural movement for the masses.

7. Racism, Sexism, Homophobia etc etc: If it’s bad, Brazil’s got it in abundance.

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - Racism, Sexism, Homophobia etc etc: If it’s bad, Brazil’s got it in abundance.

It doesn’t take too long being in Brazil to notice that black people are rarely shown on television unless they are maids or butlers, kicking a ball, living in a favela (Brazilian slum), dancing during Carnival, or being shot at by the police. Joining the blacks into a fine little stereotyped peg are the women who are mostly objectified or portrayed as using their sex appeal and congeniality, instead of their brains, to move ahead with their plans in soap operas and film. Gays (and other LBT people) are treated well as long as they can entertain, and don’t mind toning they “gay” down in everyday life. Indigenous people are simply forgotten, and xenophobia of all sorts is on the rise. Brazilians like to be portrayed as one happy multi-cultural family, but they are actually quite divisive. There is indeed a certain comradery among people of all sexes, races, and whatever else makes up the melting pot, but it is done while keeping a polite distance. It’s just like meeting someone at a bar and exchanging numbers after a wonderful night of beers and conversations but never hearing from that person again; people here are generally not genuinely interested in each other. At the end of the work day each group goes to their assigned spots and prepare to tolerate each other again the next day. It’s sad really for a country with such a unique blend of people to still suffer from these social ills on such a mainstream level.

8. Prices – Everything is expensive.

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - Prices – Everything is expensive.

When George Harrison wrote “Taxman” he could have never imagined Brazil, if he had, perhaps the song would have been more to the tune of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” There are extremely high taxes on everything in Brazil, so everything is more expensive to cover these charges. If you are thinking of buying an international product, you are then met with even higher taxes which the protectionist government uses to try to push the national brands. There is no way around this. Brazil will suck you dry. If you are fortunate enough to be earning in strong foreign currency, you may still get frustrated by the prices, but it will be manageable. But if you earn in Reais you will feel the pinch. To give you an idea of how outrageous the prices are here, there have been foreign companies which are famous for their low prices that have decided against investing in Brazil so as to not blemish that standard. Happy shopping!!!

9. The Huge Government – Everywhere you go Big Brother is watching.

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - The Huge Government – Everywhere you go Big Brother is watching.

Brazil’s Government is huge. There are countless politicians (513 in Congress and 81 in the Senate), 35 political parties, and a slew of micro managing laws to go with them. Some could argue that this is good for democracy – more voices for the people. The reality is much different than the confabulation. What it creates instead is a perfect example of too many cooks in the kitchen, and with most of them more interested in taking a little bit of that delicious dish for themselves than serving it to us. Where big government becomes most evident is in the taxes – everything is taxed. A Brazilian works nearly 5 months of the year just to pay the government. Where there is big government there are also laws to make simple things like opening a business more of a life goal than a life choice. The government also tries to extend its hands out to censor speech, regulate the internet, and pass “anti-hate” legislation to “protect victims of society,” but as we saw above, it does little to improve the real life situation of most minorities and/or oppressed groups. It’s a government that coddles its citizen like an overprotective parent that stunts both economic and social growth. I had never felt such a strong presence of governing forces in my daily life before coming to Brazil, and as someone who appreciates the notion of smaller government and more individual freedom it has taken quite a bit of time for me to live with it even while despising it.

10. Self-Serving Attitude: It’s all about family … OUR FAMILY

Ten Things That I Hate About Brazil - Self-Serving Attitude: It’s all about family … OUR FAMILY.

Something that may come as shock to people who first arrive here and decide to stay is how superficial Brazilian generosity really is. Brazilians tend to spout visions of unity and collectivism over beer and great music, but at the end of the day they are quite selfish and self-serving. Volunteering or mentoring are not things you often hear about when people talk about their life experiences. I have felt that there is a very strong sense of entitlement that runs from the richest to the poorest. There is an attitude of, “I can because I can and everyone else is simply a co-star in my personal life drama.” Of course there are Brazilians who do give of their time, but there is little support for them. The mode of operation is simply, “take what you can, and leave some crumbs behind so you don’t come off as a complete jerk.” An example of this that caused ire among some Brazilians was when Pearl Jam donated all the money from their concert in Minas Gerais to the victims of the tragic dam break in the state. Social media went abuzz pointing out how embarrassing it was to have a foreigner come here and do this while Brazilians celebrities did practically nothing but offer their condolences. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any public figure who makes a public example of the importance of helping the less fortunate by giving of their own time and effort. There are plenty of call for prayers, plenty of requests for donations, plenty of petitions which are signed, but very little individual effort. Perhaps the nature of Brazil as a country of so much political, social and economic instability creates a culture of “protecting what is mine.” Whatever the cause, it does make for a very self-centered society.
And now that we got the dirty laundry out of the way, click here and let’s look at the reasons why Brazil does put a smile on my face.

P. Ray

If you also want to learn Portuguese as a second language, check out my Portuguese courses in Brazil. Access the link http://helloportuguese.com/our-courses/

How to say to do well & to get along in Portuguese?

February 2nd, 2018|

Brazilian expressions with the verb “dar”

Que tal aprender mais uma expressão para melhorar seu vocabulário? What about learning one more expression to improve your vocabulary?

Nesta aula você aprenderá como dizer e usar “to do well’” and “to get along” em português. Em ambas expressões usamos o verbo “dar”.  In this lesson you’ll learn how to say and use the expressions to do well & to get along in Portuguese. In both expressions we use the verb “dar”.

Vamos praticar! Let’s practice!

 

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Portuguese Discourse Markers

November 13th, 2017|

Olá alunos,

This is for you who take portuguese lessons on skype but, sometimes, still forget some of the main greetings or functional vocabulary used on skype chat or during a call with your teacher. Ha! I got you right? Te peguei, né? 🙂

Tudo bem. Sem problemas, vou lhes dar essa chance. As I’m concerned with you all queridos alunos in getting the best out of it, I’ve made a small list of the main nouns, idioms, discourse markers and sentences we use on our lessons. The more we learn about it, the more we get practical, functional and dynamic. After all, they aren’t so simple once they belong to our virtual and technological eLearning world. So here are some Portuguese examples regarding main content used by students and teachers in their written and spoken dialogues.

 

Education Field Vocabulary

aulas = lessons

aluno/a = student

lição de casa / dever de casa / para casa = homework

exercício / atividade = exercise / activity

marcar uma aula = schedule a lesson

marcar um horário = schedule a time

remarcar = reschedule

adiar = postpone

cancelar = cancel

atrasar – to be late

Estou atrasado – I’m late

Vou me atrasar – I’m going to be late

começar a aula – start lesson

terminar a aula – finish lesson

corrigir a lição / o dever – correct homework

correção = correction

corrigido = corrected

certo / correto = right / correct

errado = wrong

enviar / mandar por e-mail = send th email

perguntas – questions

respostas – answers

perguntar – ask a question

responder – answer a question

No Skype – On Skype

No início da aula – In the beginning of lesson

Oi! Hi!

Pronto/a? = Ready?

Tá aí? Está aí? = Are you there?

Sim, estou aqui. = Yes, I’m here.

Tudo bem / bom? = How are you?

E aí? = What’s up?

Beleza? = All good?

Como vão as coisas? = How are things?

Um momento por favor = A moment please

Claro = sure

Sem problemas = no problem

Estou pronto/a! = I’m ready!

Podemos começar? = May we start?

Posso te ligar? = May I call you?

Vou ligar = I will call

Vamos lá! = Let´s do it!

 

Lesson begins then I decide to share screen so student can see my screen

 

Vou compartilhar minha tela – I´ll share my screen

Vou colocar / pôr você na minha tela, tá? – I´ll put you on my screen, ok?

Você vê a minha tela? – Do you see my screen?

Você está na minha tela? – Are you on my screen?

Ótimo! – Great!

Aumentar / ampliar – zoom in

Diminuir / reduzir – zoom out

Tamanho – Size

Agora, leia para mim por favor – Now, read to me please

repita / repete – repeat after me

Alguma dúvida? – Any doubts?

Alguma pergunta? – Any questions?

Bom / Ótimo trabalho! – Good / great job! work!

Então até a próxima aula – Then I see you next class

Qualquer dúvida pode me escrever – you can write me if you have any questions

 

Teacher Discourse Markers

Cohesive links (bounds) used between parts of the text as in the interpersonal level, keeping the speaker / listener interaction and assisting in the planning of speech. We all use them a lot in our own languages, but on a second language acquisition, it requires more attention when studying them. Your teacher and brazilian friends use them when speaking with you. Veja:

Certo? né? – right?

Tá? – right, ok?

Tá, tá bem – ok

Viu? percebe? tá vendo? – See?

Então, daí, aí – so, then..

Sabe.. – you know..

Entendeu? – got it?

É isso aí! – There you go!

Bem, bom – well

Pois é, Isso mesmo, é mesmo = agreeing with what´s been said “indeed”, “yeah”

Pois é (more) – That´s it, told you, see, “well, yeah”

Tipo assim, como – like

Ó! (olha) = look!

Olha, olha só – look, here is the thing

Por isso, assim – so

Assim – like this / that / this way

ué? – what? just a minute!

Ah não – oh no

Hein? – hum!, hem, huh, ha, eh

Pô – damn

Aqui ó – here it is

Ai meu deus – oh my god

Pera aí – hold on

Quer dizer.. – I mean..

Cara, meu = dude, man, bro