I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

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Le Baron
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby Le Baron » Fri Mar 19, 2021 3:13 pm

s_allard wrote:And we also know that the vast majority of people who buy these products never use them to the end and fail miserably at learning the language. The plain truth is that learning to speak a language well at an adult age when there is no compelling reason and when you are outside the country of the language is very difficult.

There are two sides of the equation here : the product and the user. There all kinds of products out there with lots of marketing. I really don’t see a big problem of misleading or dishonest claims. Nobody says « You are guaranteed to learn language X ». It’s more like « We believe our method or product, when used properly, is the best way to get great results ».

Is this any different from how tooth paste or perfume is sold ? The real question is what works for you. What we have to do is cut through the hype and see if the products resonates with us. It’s like choosing a tutor on Italki. Every tutor makes great claims. Which one is right for you ? There’s only one way to find out : do the leg work.


No, it isn't different and that's the core problem. Lying liars and their continuous streams of psychologically manipulative lies masquerading as 'marketing' and blaming the consumer for not knuckling-down to the full-time job of being on top of every slick campaign conceived and delivered to them by a team of professional salespeople. For which they pat themselves on the back and call themselves 'entrepreneurs' and pretend to be socially useful. In a society, if you are not socially useful and actually providing a fair service, you are a pariah.

So yes, toothpaste, perfume, clothes, computers and finally language courses. Though this website is only concerned with the latter, even though the general principle is the same for all products/services. Culturally (and perhaps psychologically) there is indeed a part played by the consumer which works against them: the deliberately nurtured desire for short-cuts, ease (even Assimil uses that word), minimum effort to acquire knowledge/skills. It is the job of any decent educational professional who isn't just functioning as a salesman, to tell you the truth about it. So that you don't waste your time and can go and find something else to do if you don't really want to expend that much energy or waste money. 'Caveat emptor' is the maxim of the scumbag and mere salesman who thinks its fair game to swindle less critical, fairly gullible, unknowing people rather than impart factual knowledge; including realistic time-frames for acquiring skills.

Since the culture of 'in 7 days/while you sleep/with no effort' and 'order before 11pm receive it tomorrow!' has been ground into public expectations, I don't think it's likely that even telling some people the facts will dissuade them, but it doesn't mean the purveyors of misleading sales pitches are thereby exonerated.
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby s_allard » Fri Mar 19, 2021 4:42 pm

OK, I get it. This thread is about protecting first-time language users from dishonest language learning claims. So I reread the following passage of the OP.

Raconteur wrote:...
I am of a different opinion. I believe this narrative, peddling language miracles, causes serious damage. Real damage to real people. First-time language learners trust these people and their products, and place great hope in them (not to mention, time and money).

I am certain that based on these false promises, many learners give up on learning a foreign language (finding their supposedly “slow” progress as proof that they lack the ability to learn). How do I know this? I was/am one of them.

Many years ago, I came across Benny… I think we all know Benny. I never expected to be “fluent in 3 months” like him, but when I reached month 3 myself and still felt like a struggling beginner, I felt disheartened. By month 6, I felt frustrated with myself and my inability to learn. By month 12, I usually wasn’t trying anymore. Cycle, rinse, repeat. If only I knew back then what a con all of this was, and that my comparatively “slow” progress was actually normal progress. All I had to do was stick with it, and for far longer than 3 months. But heck, today I have learned that all I actually need to speak a language is 7 DAYS (Benny's claims seem quaint by comparison)!

To be honest, to this day I am plagued by the feeling that my progress is “slow” and that I am no good at this… even though I know that, on a rational level at least, I shouldn’t expect to “speak Italian” (like my own language) anytime soon. Now, to be clear, I do not blame Benny or anyone else for my failures. They are my own. I am simply stating that this narrative, sold to me, played its part. Maybe I should have known better, but back then I didn’t.

My point is this. As a community, we shouldn’t ignore (or worse yet, justify) these snake-oil salesmen. We should openly call out, criticize and yes, even ridicule their products. I would go as far as to propose that LLORG has an official “wall of shame” page for these types of online products, books, blogs, videos, etc. Finally, we should have a countermeasure, a page of voluntary testimonials from our own community, on how long it took confirmed first-time learners to reach B2 or C1 in a foreign language. What did it take to become “fluent,” warts and all – the real story, creating real expectations for newbie learners.

Any new learner joining our forums – writing that they want to become fluent in French and Japanese by next year, should be given links to both of these pages pages.

PS. Wouldn’t you know it, the author of the I Learned Portuguese/Italian in 7 Days videos now has his own "how to learn languages" course. Wow, only $89!

(Apologies for the long post, but this is something I feel very strongly about. It affected my learning journey, and I’m sure it is affecting lives of other first-time learners today.)


If I understand correctly the I learned Portuguese in 7 days (My Method) product can potentially damage first-time learners of Portuguese. I’m not sure what kind of damage but let’s say that after 7 days many people will feel loss of self-esteem, frustration and will doubt their ability to learn a language because they are not speaking Portuguese fluently.

I beg to differ. But first of all, here is a good video by a critic of the above method:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_SLN14wySI

Then here is the opinion of a Portuguese-language teacher..

https://portuguesewitheli.com/2020/05/can-you-learn-portuguese-in-seven-days/

Both posts are very critical of this I learned Portuguese in 7 days claim. But at the same time, they admit the positive points. No, you can’t learn Portuguese in 7 days but you can learn something.

I believe that 90% of the people of the people who try this approach will not finish the 7 days. Most people don’t have the determination, the time and the sheer discipline. So, instead of looking in the mirror and saying this isn't a good fit, they say the method is bad.

On the other hand, the 10% of users who do follow the method to the end will probably achieve good results and, very importantly, enjoy the experience. Of course, they will not be chatting away at B2 level. But let’s say they get to an A1+, that’s exciting in itself. Will their self-esteem be damaged or will they feel shame because they are not at B2 ? I doubt it. Quite the contrary I think they will be elated with the results. If they are like me, they will love the idea of getting a big initial boost that will make you want to learn more. Heck, people spend over 10000 USD for 6-week intensive language classes at Middlebury College in the US. What do you expect for $89?

Frankly, I don’t feel we should worry about naive beginners being suckered into believing they can learn Portuguese in 7 days only to become discouraged and depressed forever when they realize that it’s not really that easy. People aren’t that dumb. If it doesn’t work out as expected, it’s just another experience on the language learning journey.

But there is maybe something to be learned from the process even if it didn't work as planned. I actually wrote about what was in the method but nobody seems to be interested. I wonder how many people actually watched the videos in question.
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby Doodah » Fri Mar 19, 2021 5:46 pm

I always wonder how people on this forum find any time to learn languages while saving the world.
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby Le Baron » Fri Mar 19, 2021 6:40 pm

I don't see why. It only takes 7 days.
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby Cainntear » Fri Mar 19, 2021 6:42 pm

Doodah wrote:I always wonder how people on this forum find any time to learn languages while saving the world.

Look on the bright side -- we've provided you a place where you can snipe at people for being annoyed by things that don't annoy you.
Everyone's a winner!
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby Doodah » Fri Mar 19, 2021 6:52 pm

Cainntear wrote:
Doodah wrote:I always wonder how people on this forum find any time to learn languages while saving the world.

Look on the bright side -- we've provided you a place where you can snipe at people for being annoyed by things that don't annoy you.
Everyone's a winner!


Plus I get to laugh at other people's holy causes. Very happy.
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby einzelne » Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:01 pm

s_allard wrote:But let’s say they get to an A1+, that’s exciting in itself.


Yeah, A1 is super exiting...
(Sorry, but I couldn't help posting it. Don't treat it as a critique of your claim.)
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Le Baron
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby Le Baron » Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:42 pm

Doodah wrote:
Cainntear wrote:
Doodah wrote:I always wonder how people on this forum find any time to learn languages while saving the world.

Look on the bright side -- we've provided you a place where you can snipe at people for being annoyed by things that don't annoy you.
Everyone's a winner!


Plus I get to laugh at other people's holy causes. Very happy.


Behave yourself. People claiming to be observing the rabble from the royal box are just desperate to join in, but don't want to be thought 'common'. Turn it up.
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby chove » Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:44 pm

s_allard wrote:Of course, they will not be chatting away at B2 level. But let’s say they get to an A1+, that’s exciting in itself. Will their self-esteem be damaged or will they feel shame because they are not at B2 ? I doubt it. Quite the contrary I think they will be elated with the results. If they are like me, they will love the idea of getting a big initial boost that will make you want to learn more.


A lot of the comments on such videos are along the lines of "You're better than me in a week and I've been learning for 2 years, I feel stupid now." Mostly because the videos are edited to make the speaker look better at it than they actually are, but that's also an issue if someone finishes the week and somehow can't watch native TV or have long conversations on iTalki.
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Re: I Learned Portuguese in 7 Days (My Method)

Postby s_allard » Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:47 pm

For those who may still be interested in how effective the I learned Portuguese in 7 days method is, here is a quote from a Portuguese teacher who watched the two videos:

But did he learn Portuguese in seven days?
The final answer is: if he says he did it, he did it.

You know, as a professional teacher, I have a very different definition of what learning means. There are different levels of it. We have mastery…

We have the basics…

We have a passable command of the language…

Using an umbrella word like “learn” is good for marketing but bad in real life.

But if you watch the second part of the Portuguese “mission” he’s given himself, you’re going to see that yes, he can produce sentences.

I’m not sure if he understands everything the interlocutors say or at least 20% of that. Still, he does produce good sentences if that’s what you want to know.
https://portuguesewitheli.com/2020/05/can-you-learn-portuguese-in-seven-days/

I say that's not bad for 7 days. So let's bump that up to A2 instead of A1+. Let's say that for mere mortals like the rest of us it would take three weeks, that's still pretty good.
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