I found a very good article on learning a language on Lexiophiles.com: an interview with Spanish translator and TV show presenter Xosé Castro.
In my opinion, Xosé’s three special tips for learners are really at the heart of learning a foreign language and having fun along the way. I am sure that my students will recognize this advice 🙂
1. Do not worry so much about your pronunciation
Really, the student’s first goal is to communicate and you will only be able to do so by trying and by making mistakes. It is OK to make mistakes; everyone who speaks a foreign language fluently has made plenty of mistakes. They are part of the journey and can become funny stories to tell. My friend Tuca will never forget the first time that he was asked “What’s up?” He looked up and asked “Where?”
2. Learn everyday expressions
Obviously I hold colloquial language in very high regard. That is why we are called Street Smart Brazil 🙂 When I studied English in Brazil, no one ever taught me how to say simple things like “What’s up?” When I first got to the US, I spoke fluent English but sounded as if I had materialized out of a textbook. Well, textbooks are important, but when we step in a foreign country or find ourselves among international friends, colloquial language is the real thing. Street Smart Brazil students know that very well!
3. Learn all the time
Weekly lessons are a very important part of the journey, but are not enough. A student needs to learn everyday and in every way: do your homework, listen to music, watch videos, talk with native speakers with every opportunity. Spend some time every day practicing and learning.
What are your tricks to learn Portuguese? I’d love to hear from you!