If you have decided that you want to learn to speak Portuguese, then remember that you both are and are not on your own.
What we mean by this is that, despite 230 million people in the world speaking Portuguese as a first or second language, more people in the UK and US would rather study other European languages, like taking Spanish classes, or taking up opportunities to learn Italian or even Russian and Chinese Mandarin, in some cases.
With this in mind, by becoming proficient in Portuguese, you could very well be setting yourself apart from the rest, depending on your situation.
There is a significant demand for Portuguese lessons within various industries including sales, marketing, and teaching across the whole of Europe (Portuguese may be an advantage as a language teacher as it will probably mean you are good at Romantic languages). Having Portuguese language skills offers great opportunities for professionals in Leeds, as the city has been named the fastest growing British destination for foreign investments in 2015 by Ernst & Young (which includes Brazilian investments).
In addition, Leeds Bradford Airport has direct flights to Brazil, Portugal, and Madeira, which means that it is much easier to access Portuguese-speaking countries as a resident of Leeds and, in turn, makes it easier for local companies to conduct business in these nations.
Leeds Airport offers flights directly to Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries. Photo on VisualHunt
Regardless of how you learn to speak Portuguese, here are some reasons why learning the new language can only be a good thing.
As you probably know, Portuguese is the official language of Portugal and is a widely spoken language (probably more so than you think). Did you know that among the 230 million people across the globe who speak Portuguese, 222 million have it as their mother tongue?
This is because Portuguese is spoken not only in Portugal but it is also a principal language in Brazil (Brazilian Portuguese), Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Portuguese is also widely spoken in Sri Lanka, Goa, India, and Macau, which shows that is commonly spoken across numerous continents.
While having any second language will work to your advantage, there’s a reason why Portuguese lessons and language might make you stand out from the rest.
Portuguese is said to be the seventh most studied language, therefore, with it being much lower down the table than its popular peers, as a speaker of this language, you could be bringing something unique to a business.
While being fluent in Portuguese is a huge advantage for those seeking work in the country, it can also be a real benefit for those choosing to stay in the UK as their employers might see this as a very good strength and addition to the business.
Furthermore, corporate life aside, being able to speak Portuguese fluently like a near native (or at least as an intermediate speaker) can bring you many personal gains.
For instance, it will fill you with such joy when you go to Portugal and can actually get by and participate in a conversation with the locals. Similarly, being able to welcome someone from Portugal into your own country and put them at ease is a very rewarding thing to do, especially if their English skills aren’t quite as advanced as yours in their mother tongue.
Finally, imagine one day falling in love with a Portuguese man or woman, and the positives this could bring to your life all-round. Fate might have it that, if you didn’t take the time to learn Portuguese, then you may never have had the opportunity to meet your soulmate and to get to know each other in a romantic way because of a language barrier!
A love for Portuguese or Portugal could bring you and another closer together. Photo on Visual Hunt
When it comes to assessing your abilities in a language, you can count on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages, to tell you where you sit.
The CEFR is an international standard for describing language ability. It describes language training on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language.
So, if you see these letters and numbers, then this may be an indication of your ability within the language. You can view the full framework and find out more about how it was created by visiting the Council of Europe‘s website.
Below, you will see which official exams exist to test your proficiency in either European Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese (details courtesy of Wikipedia.com), but do remember that there are many other short placement tests that you can do for free online, or by signing up to a website.
Find out which Portuguese exams can be taken. Photo credit: ccarlstead on VisualHunt / CC BY
Listen and Learn
“These [Face-to-Face 1-to-1 (Individual) lessons in General Portuguese] fit a broader spectrum and can be useful for those who need different things from the language. Most beginner students will have a handle of survival Portuguese by the end of their lesson, which will provide them with enough Portuguese to communicate at least at a basic level during short trips to the country, but those who require more would benefit greatly from these sessions. Typical students have been those eager to travel all over the world, those buying overseas property, those with foreign spouses, aficionados of Portuguese culture and those who just wish to pass a particular Portuguese exam.”
Click here for more information.
Cactus Language School
With training facilities located throughout Leeds and the surrounding area, including Bradford, Dewsbury, Huddersfield, and Wakefield, this language training school offers face-to-face training with online and blended learning solutions at your chosen location (i.e. at home or in the office).
You can take Beginners Language Training through to Advanced Language Training, with all courses being delivered by an extensive network of highly qualified, experienced, results-driven tutors. Industry-specific tailor-made courses are available too.
The format of this training is to deliver Portuguese lessons face-to-face weekly or via intensive courses, and/or via Skype to ensure that you always get that opportunity to listen to the language being spoken and to practice your own speaking skills. Basic courses cover general Portuguese, business Portuguese, technical Portuguese or industry-specific Portuguese, depending on your needs.
Click here for more information.
University of Leeds
“The aim of this intensive and rewarding module is to take students from total beginners to about an A1 level of the CEFR, giving them the ability to produce, read, understand and translate spoken and written Portuguese in a variety of everyday contexts. The module is taught via four weekly language classes including two grammar/writing skills-based classes, using a booklet especially devised by [their] language tutors, and two oral/ vocabulary classes with a native speaker of Portuguese. All students with an A-Level pass or equivalent in a foreign language are eligible to apply for this popular module, and students with interests in continental and Brazilian Portuguese are equally welcome.
This is a 20 credit module run in Semester 1 and should be taken together with SPPO1081–Students with prior knowledge of Portuguese should consider SPPO1083: Intermediate Portuguese or SPPO1084 Intermediate Portuguese (semester 1 only). Those who do well in both SPPO1080 and SPPO1081 can, depending on their programme, apply to change to Joint Honours Portuguese in Level 2.”