Saturday, October 06, 2007

Learning Portuguese

Last year I took a Welsh course and while I enjoyed that (though, frankly, I mostly learned how to talk about rugby matches and order beer in Welsh), I thought I’d try a different language this year. Hence, I’m taking an introductory Portuguese course (and not just because some of my articles have been translated to Portuguese!).

So here are some online resources for those of you who might also want to learn Portuguese or improve your skills in the language:

BBC Talk Portuguese

Learning Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese

Boa sorte!


Lily said...

Eu a aprender Português também!
I am learning Portuguese too :-)
I would also recommend this site

It's quite old but it does have lots of useful info and sound files

Eric Dickens said...

I've probably dabbled in more languages than I've learnt properly. Portuguese is one of the former.

What interested me was the Brazilian version. I intended reading the literature. This has proved to be too much, but I remember that Brazilian Portuguese does sound clearer, somehow, but has a more bouncy rhythm.

I have read, in English or Dutch translation, some Lispector, Machado de Assis, Trevisan, Guimarães Rosa and maybe others.

Brazilian literature never seems to be as visible in English as, say, Spanish-American literature. I've never worked out why.

B.J. Epstein said...

Thanks for the link, Lily! Good luck with your Portuguese studies, too!
Like you, Eric, I like to dabble in languages, and though I am not able (because of time or ability or both) to become fluent in all the languages I'd like to, even learning just a little is helpful and interesting. The few things I learned in Japanese, for example, definitely helped me this summer when I was in Japan, and were, of course, interesting to know for their own sake, too.
I read that some Brazilian authors (including Clarice Lispector) have become more popular in English-speaking countries than they are in Brazil, so sometimes translation can be a real boon to an author othewise considered mid-list.
My professor is from Brazil, by the way, and her accent sounds like a cheery combination of Spanish and Italian.

Best wishes,

Eric Dickens said...

The young woman who helped me get all the Estonian things right in the novel I translated from that language into English (the one that Doris Lessing reviewed) has now obtained a PhD in Japanese from Kyoto, if I have understood rightly. She was penniless, she checked my translation for the money, but is now, in a new lease of life, one of the relatively few Estonians and even Europeans that know Japanese (the other Estonian being the "rector" or vice-chancellor of Tallinn University).

If only Brits would open themselves up more easily to foreign languages, instead of maintaining the imperialist myth that English is the "only" language because the British Empire invented it, then exported it to north America, India and beyond.

It is high time that the English-speaking world acknowledged the existence of foreign languages. We Brits can't learn them all, but a respectful recognition that they are on a par with English would be nice.

B.J. Epstein said...

There's the sense that English will always get you by (and in many foreign countries, that is true) and so learning other tongues has no practical use. But there's also the idea that other languages are too hard (try telling that to people learning English!), which could be combated by teaching children languages from a young age. See for more in this topic in regard to the US, where the situation is similar.
So we can complain about our fellow English-speakers (and believe me, I do lots of complaining about it!), but I think we need to be pretty practical and come up with concrete reasons why people ought to learn other languages and how they can do it.

Best wishes,