When you travel, you anticipate facing many problems along the road; some are predictable, while others are entirely unexpected.
As a bilingual in Portuguese and English, I can tell that traveling in the world of languages isn't easy, especially as we grow older, because of our many responsibilities in life.
That doesn't mean it isn't possible to achieve your learning goals and learn Portuguese!
What's the best way to learn Portuguese? The methods that I'm about to outline here can be applied to learners of other languages. Are you ready? Let's get to it!
Humility is an essential part of the learning process. Why? It has been said over and over again that making mistakes is part of the process. Developing and comprehending a new language might take more time than expected if you are afraid to make mistakes.
Children are like sponges! They absorb what's around them. That's what they do with languages; Children often learn by just being exposed to a new way of communication, but adults find that learning an unknown tongue is much more challenging than it meets the eye. So patience is fundamental and crucial because learning a new language can take a long time.
I know: You probably don't live in a Portuguese-speaking country, but one of the things that can help people understand Portuguese is how people live. Whether in Brazil or Portugal (or any other place where people speak Portuguese), being flexible and willing to ask questions about the customs, the different foods, etc., will help you understand how things really are. So, it helps to make friends from Portuguese-Speaking countries.
The following is always helpful: books, flashcards, podcasts, recordings, videos, etc.
Some people prefer going to a structured plan in a 1-1 class with an iTalki teacher. In my opinion, that's the best way to improve. However, use whatever methods work well for you. Keep in mind that there are no easy ways to fluency and expertise in learning a new language. But there are possible ways to make learning easier and fun.
5-Spend some time where people speak Portuguese
Because of the pandemic, people are not traveling a lot these days. Still, if you find it safe, you will have a unique opportunity to get a taste of how Portuguese people communicate with one another.
That's it! Now, you must be thinking: "I'm already a good Portuguese speaker. I understand the Portuguese language, but I think I'm stuck on the same level. I feel that I'm always using the same basic words over and over again".
What can help you move from a "plateau" of redundancy and feel fulfilled with your Portuguese skills?
Why did you start learning English?
Reflecting upon why you started learning a new language can help you determine why you want to keep progressing in that language.
Set goals but be reasonable
Learning a language can also be compared to how hair grows on our heads. You don't notice the growth, but as the days pass, the hair will get higher. When looking back to when you started, do you feel you have improved? I'm pretty sure you do! So, keep focusing on yourself, and don't compare your success with others.
Learning Portuguese is a long-term project. It can take years! So, being reasonable can help us not to set the bar way too high when it's time to evaluate ourselves.
Practice makes perfect
If you feel yourself using the same words/idioms/expressions over and over again, focus and work hard! How? Keep practicing. Talk to others using Portuguese. Practice makes perfect!
You might be thinking: Should I keep learning Portuguese? It's up to you. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely!
Another comparison: Learning languages is like art. You can grab your paintbrush, the ink, the pallet and start painting, but you can only see the results after a while. Maybe after hundreds of brush strokes on the canvas! After a time, we can begin to see details, and sometime after that, you start seeing the whole picture. It's clear now! Learning languages, mainly Portuguese, requires effort, commitment, dedication, and humility.
Please don't forget the five aspects that were mentioned at the beginning of this article. With the proper guidance and motivation, I'm confident you will keep improving and progressing in learning a new and exciting language!
If you believe you've reached a "plateau" of inactivity, remember why you want to learn a new language and keep setting learning goals but don't forget to be realistic. It will help us not to compare ourselves to others.
I wish you well in your actions and endeavors. I really hope that you keep learning Portuguese as well as other languages, and don't quit!
You remember what I told you in the beginning about learning a new language - It's like going on a journey. So, please, enjoy the ride!