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Portuguese 365 Update 1: Input, Input Everywhere

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This is my first weekly update on my one-year Portuguese learning project. I’m only setting up my workflow right now. There are more interesting things to come, but right now 2 questions on my mind are: how to make sure I can learn Portuguese anywhere? And – what are good sources of Portuguese learning material?

1. Using what worked before

I learned a lot about my preferred style of work with my Guerrilla Language Learning Challenge. And since my circumstances haven’t changed much, I still keep to the same ideas with Portuguese: this time, though, I’m not on a strict budget and I’m actually willing to spend tome cash at some point!
Here’s what I know to be true about my language learning:

I’m really good at deducing the meaning from context. I’m a mediavore – will listen, watch, read and skim anything, in any language, for work or for leisure. This is why I need to be challenged by longer stretches of language – not just basic conversational phrases.
I still have stretches of unused, “idle” time during my day – the commute, the 20-minute walk to and from the office (a choice, but still…), or the times spent in a car on my way to the clients.
I’m a complete beginner here, but the other languages I know a bit – English, French, Latin – should help me out with Portuguese.
I need to be challenged to produce more: speak and write in authentic settings.

2. My workflow so far

This is a mix-up of several tricks I used for German and French, with an added twist. Works quite well. Here’s what I’m doing:

I use Duolingo to go through the basics of Portuguese grammar. To be honest, the honeymoon period with Duolingo is over – and I just consider it to be a useful tool, but not the best in the toolbox by far.
I’m going through two courses with Memrise: the basic Portuguese and the 1000 most frequent words in Portuguese. This ensures that I’m quickly up to speed with basic conversation, and that I’m not learning anything too complex (yet). I love those two apps on my phone: they fill up pretty much every commute I have (so about 40 minutes, 5 times a day).
Spotify‘s got a few Portuguese learning playlists, but they are all of questionable quality. Penton Overseas is the one I settled on. It’s got a very simple setup – Portuguese words and English translations, nothing else – and the selection of the phrases is very, very random! I listen to those for about 20 minutes, 5 times a week, as I walk from the Tube to the office.
Deutsche Welle has an impressive selection of podcasts. They have been useful for German – but who knew they did them in Portuguese as well? Twice a day, there’s a Portuguese news podcast for Africa, which you can download for free. This is all kinds of amazing: I can relate to the news – as it’s something I must have heard in other languages, I am challenged by natural flow and speed of the language, and I learn bits and pieces about countries that are usually (shamefully) off the White Male Radar. Good work, DW.

3. Portuguese speaking and writing: reaching out to native speakers

This is a big one, and it will happen in the 2-3 weeks to come. I’ve already done some work, but I’m keeping this for next week’s update when it’s more definite.
In the meantime, feel free to suggest stuff that I might have missed. It’s early stages still, so I’m open to all suggestions as long as they’re not too challenging!

(Photo credit: @carlaarena via eltpics)


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