Getting more into Portuguese

After I finished the Japanese Duolingo course, I decided to try to finish another course. Before trying to attain the Japanese goal, I'd been spending a lot of time on German, with other languages sprinkled in. But the satisfaction of finishing something I'd started caused me to look at the length of each of the courses I was taking, and they were either really long or extremely long. I think it's because the courses are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Spanish and French look like they'll take forever, and German will take a long time as well. Italian seems better, but Portuguese seems more manageable. So I've decided to concentrate on that, and I'm having a great time.

My previous exposure to Portuguese was several years ago in some casual lessons and a couple of trips to Brazil. I also translated Portuguese into English for work and for fun, which didn't seem difficult after trying to tackle Japanese translation. So my Duolingo learning is pretty challenging, especially because it's hard to understand the audio. If I want to skip a unit, the vocabulary questions seem easy, but I don't always understand the dictation. So when I see the correct answer, I understand what's written and am pretty annoyed that I wasn't able to discern the words.

It's sort of messed up my Spanish, which wasn't that great anyway. Now I'm working in more Spanish environments, so I have to sometimes speak it and understand what people are saying to me. But sometimes I'll say a word that is correct in Portuguese but is wrong in Spanish, so my mind feels more scrambled. The other day I told some Spanish speakers that I've been doing more Portuguese in Duolingo than Spanish, and they were cool about it, but I was sort of frustrated that I'm attempting different languages but they're just mush in my mind. But I feel like my reading skills are still solid, so at least I have that going for me :) If people email me in Spanish I understand, and I understand articles pretty well, but listening is difficult and speaking is almost impossible at this point. 

Because Duolingo can't be used alone to get a better grasp of a language, I've been looking at some old books on my shelf such as Essential Portuguese Grammar and Teach Yourself Portuguese, which are written for English speakers, and Bem-Vindo, which is more challenging because it's totally in Portuguese. They're all still useful even though they're from early in the century. I even have a Portuguese Bible that I bought years ago in Brazil. It's written in modern Portuguese, so it's not that hard to understand.

I'm planning on finishing the Portuguese course before the summer. And I would love to go to Portugal sometime because everyone says it's a fantastic country to visit, and some people say it's the best.

Portuguese Duolingo

p.s. the e-book version of my debut novel is still at Amazon, and the price for the print version has been reduced: buy at the Eckhartz Press site.

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