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What’s the Most Efficient Studying for Portuguese?

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Portuguese > How to Study Outside of Your Portuguese Lessons

So you’ve followed all of the tips for starting Portuguese lessons, you’ve worked out where to learn Portuguese and you’ve started your classes.

Now that you’ve taken your first courses, it will be necessary for you to find an effective study method.

How will you effectively study between Portuguese classes?

Revise Previous Lessons and Underline What’s Important

Obviously, you’ll need to choose the right Portuguese tutor for you in order to make your learning process as effective as possible. But you will only spend a couple of hours at most with your tutor each week. It will therefore be important to keep studying in between lessons so that you don’t forget what you have learnt.

For those of you taking private lessons – whether they are individual or group classes – it is essential to have a look at your previous courses to experience some linear progression.

For those of you who are in the primary learning phase of the language, we recommend first of all that you regularly return to the basics (constructing a sentence, using a pronoun, an adjective, conjugation, or even some basic Portuguese vocabulary). This will help to anchor your knowledge.

Learning a foreign language requires a flawless investment on the part of the learner whether he or she is a total beginner or seeks to improve his or her language level.

between-class Fill up with your index cards so you can have a study session between two classes.

Like other subjects such as science, learning Portuguese requires a precise method and a lot of rigor. In addition to reviewing and revisiting previous courses to better assimilate them into your knowledge, we advise that each student create their own revision sheets.

And how should you do this?

A good review sheet must sum things up but be precise and contain the essentials.

This is why it can be difficult: summing things up while remaining detailed and precise. There exists no perfect review sheet, as each bears different learning mechanisms. On the other hand, it is important to create files that correspond to your kind of learning.

For those who would have more of a visual memory, the use of color-coding with flashcards can be a good idea. Why not set up color-coding for different topics for example (green for new vocabulary, red for grammar, or blue for conjugation)?

It is also possible to include the phonetic transcription of each new word in order to improve on your pronunciation and get better at your vocab skills.

And if you have never taken lessons, and would like to start, then take a look at some tips about how to learn Portuguese.

Applications Allowing You to Study Portuguese

Many fun and entertaining tools are available to learn Portuguese, revise your classes, and continue on the road to success!

study-intensive Make some room on your smartphone in order to download the revision apps and have a studying intensive!

The Duolingo Application

Duolingo offers interesting and interactive content for language learning. Thanks to Duolingo, it is possible to learn English, Italian, Spanish, but also German and Portuguese, of course.

As soon as you register on the app and create your profile, you can choose the language and you can configure your own learning objective:

  • Basic: 5 minutes a day,
  • Standard: 10 minutes a day,
  • Intermediate: 15 minutes a day,
  • Advanced: 20 minutes a day.

The application is intended for beginners as well as those with some knowledge of Portuguese wishing to enrich their knowledge. To assess the level of the learner, an entrance exam type test (with questions that are easier or more difficult depending on the number of correct answers) is offered to the learner to assess linguistic level and orient him or her accordingly.

What we like:

  • The application is completely free,
  • The learner remains the master of his or her learning experience and can create a personalized program,
  • The application is very visual.

What we don’t like:

  • It is only available for Brazilian Portuguese,
  • The playful side is sometimes slightly childish.

Babbel

Babbel is quite well known now with more than one million active paying customers. It has become one of the most famous apps when it comes to learning a foreign language. You can test out the application for free initially, but if you would like access to the entirety of the app’s contents, this will require a subscription (from 5 to 7 USD per month depending on your chosen commitment period).

Thanks to Babbel, which is both usable on its Internet platform as well as via its smartphone or tablet application, you can master and memorize the notions you’ve been working on with your Portuguese teacher or tutor.

Many modules are available on Babbel, from introductory courses for beginners to modules offering the most common idiomatic expressions in Portuguese. Of course, Portuguese grammar, vocabulary, spelling, writing, and listening take up an important place in each lesson.

Themes that are not directly related to learning Portuguese linguistics also make it possible to broaden one’s skills and to study efficiently where necessary (there are special courses related to Portuguese civilization and culture, for example).

What we like:

  • Interactive exercises that facilitate learning and memorization,
  • The complete learning package offered on the site.

What we don’t like:

  • The length of the test trial period (only one lesson long).

Mosalingua

mosalingua-great Learn how to speak like a Portuguese local in no time with Mosalingua!

Mosalingua offers the same things as its competitors: the opportunity to learn a foreign language via modules (this is something to consider if you are a beginner wanting to study some basic phrases so as not to lose the thread of a conversation, or equally as good for more technical aspects of the language for learners of a more advanced level).

There are also exercises aimed at training learners with new vocabulary or learning grammar rules.

The method itself is innovative. Thanks to Mosalingua, the student will understand how to learn Portuguese. Mosalingua works better with long-term learning, and has studied the forgetting curve and started using the concept of intermittent revising. Before a concept evaporates in our memory, the application will solicit us to review it.

This is the ideal method when it comes to successfully revising a Portuguese course and keeping track of it!

What we like:

  • The inventive methodology approach,
  • The idea of ​​long-term learning.

What we don’t like:

  • Grammar lessons only coming in at a later stage of learning.

Studying with Portuguese Learning Websites and their Exercises

If you are still unsure, you should know that there are loads of reasons to learn Portuguese. One of which is that it can be an interactive experience with content for learning Portuguese not just being available on mobile and tablet applications, but also on a number of websites offering a wide range of learning.

choose-websites Feel free to enrich your worksheets with what you learn on the websites you choose to work with!

Easy Portuguese

The Easy Portuguese website offers a wide range of revision materials, from reviewing grammatical rules to Brazilian or Portuguese culture.

Beginner Portuguese courses focus on the very simple and essential topics of the language:

  • Mastering personal or possessive pronouns,
  • An introduction to conjugation,
  • Numbers…

For more experienced linguists, be aware that this site is primarily intended for novices in Portuguese.

Syvum

The Syvum platform offers Portuguese vocabulary revision via translation games.

The principle is very simple, for any given word you will have to find its equivalent in Portuguese and choose from 4 proposals. It’s an effective way to anchor vocabulary in your mind.

Free Portuguese Lessons

Finally, among the sites that caught our attention, Portuguese Free Lessons is the one that targets Brazilian Portuguese best via specific modules that deal with topics such as irregular verbs, articles, prepositions, or how to introduce yourself to a local Brazilian.

The different themes are sorted alphabetically:

  • A for Adjectives,
  • B for the basics of the language,
  • C for the conjugation modules,
  • V for vocabulary.

You will also have access to some cultural facts regarding the history of Brazil and a fairly rich and complete list of vocabulary words particular to Brazilian Portuguese.

Portuguese Language Immersion

There are many ways to immerse yourself in the Portuguese language and its culture.

Films and TV Shows

An effective method may be to watch a film  in Portuguese. It may be a film you’ve already seen, in which case you will know the story already, and therefore it will be easier to learn some Portuguese words effectively. You can do the exact same thing with a TV show.

YouTube Channels

Many Youtube channels also offer interesting content to help you to review concepts you’ve already learned with your Portuguese tutor.

You can have a look at Polyglot Pablo, a YouTube sensation offering language learning via YouTube and for many languages. He has a very simple method: proposing a large number of sentences in Portuguese. This is ideal if your goal is to progress with topics of daily life because you are going to go spend a few weeks or months in Portugal or Brazil.

The Hugo Ferreira Pires channel focuses on more specific areas of learning that respond to a desire for global learning of the Portuguese-speaking language (accent or pronunciation, the use of verbs in the Portuguese language, etc.).

And, though they may not be YouTube stars, don’t forget the tips from these top TED Translators when it comes to learning a new language:

  1. Get real. Decide on a simple, attainable goal to start with so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. German translator Judith Matz suggests: “Pick up 50 words of a language and start using them on people — and then slowly start picking up grammar.”
    .
  2. Make language-learning a lifestyle change. Elisabeth Buffard, who in her 27 years of teaching English has always seen consistency as what separates the most successful students from the rest. Find a language habit that you can follow even when you’re tired, sick or madly in love.
    .
  3. Play house with the language. The more you invite a foreign language into your daily life, the more your brain will consider it something useful and worth caring about. “Use every opportunity to get exposed to the new language,” says Russian translator Olga Dmitrochenkova. Label every object in your house in this language, read kids’ books written in it, watch subtitled TED and TEDx talks, or live-narrate parts of your day to an imaginary foreign friend.

Music

Feel free to listen to Portuguese or Brazilian music and to read the lyrics on the internet. Try to understand them before looking at a translation and compare your understanding with the reality!

Try out fado with songs from the famous Amalia Rodrigues or more current titles of kizomba or kuduro ?

In short:

  • Perhaps the cost of Portuguese classes means that you can’t have them as often as you’d like. This makes revising in between two courses of Brazilian Portuguese even more important. It requires motivation and hard work. There are many methods in order to do this the correct way. For example, we recommend flashcards summarizing each class under any circumstances.
  • Many tools are also available as learning supports: applications, websites, audio, video content, or more traditional media such as books. The plurality of tools available allows students to go on deepening the knowledge they acquire during their Portuguese lessons.
  • These tools are not mutually exclusive and can be used together. For example, for those wishing to revise largely through applications, the joint use of Mosalingua and Duolingo can be an effective technique, as the two methods are very complementary.
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