aledda wrote:The second language I learned was Portuguese and learning it was the opposite of what I experienced learning English.
As I mentioned before, since I was a child I considered Portuguese as a beautiful language. There were several reasons why I was attracted to it:
- The most obvious reason, specially for a child, is that it is a language very similar to Spanish. Without having studied it, I was able to understand a lot of what I listened/read in that language.
- The spoken language has a cadence and musicality that is not found in other languages.
- I grew up surrounded by the language, thanks to the music that my mother always listened to.
- My maternal grandmother was born in Brazil, and although she always spoke to us in Spanish (there were times when she spoke in some kind of "Portuñol", but those were very few), due to a feeling of loyalty towards the family or something like that, I always felt that I had to learn that language to get closer to my "roots". (I think I was around 8-9 years old when I made that statement
I was lucky to start learning it "seriously", when I was 14-15 years old (I'm not sure if it was on 2000 or 2001). The opportunity arose while I was still "suffering" with English, when the school opened a Portuguese course for the students of my high school. The course was very basic, but it was useful to lay a solid foundation of Portuguese. Unfortunately, the course was open for just one year, and then university and life in general happened, and I couldn't keep studying it until I took it up again in 2010.
At that time I was already working and in December of the previous year I had taken the ECPE exam, so I had both the time and money to spend them learning Portuguese. Luckily, I could afford to pay for classes at an institute where all the teachers were from Brazil. This helped to learn the language from natives, and also to learn more about the Brazilian culture (of Brazil in general and the distinctive features of each region of the country): the dances, the music, the carnival, the food, the history of the country, the folklore, the architecture, the literature (I became friends with the librarian of the institute, and she always recommended me books to read), etc.
As for the language, the most difficult thing was to differentiate it from Spanish, so as not to fall into the error of speaking "Portuñol". In addition to the obvious differences in vocabulary, the spelling in some cases was a challenge, things that are considered spelling errors in Spanish, are not in Portuguese and viceversa (things like "yo cantaBa" and "eu cantaVa", "liBro" and "liVro", even made me write badly in my own language in moments of distraction). And I shouldn't forget about the difference between the genre of some nouns ("EL equipo" and "A equipe", "LA nariz" and "O nariz", "EL árbol" and "A árvore", "LA sangre" and "O sangue", "EL viaje" and "A viagem", etc).
What did surprise me was the pronunciation. I always had struggled trying to pronounce well in English, and yet in Portuguese, my teachers praised my pronunciation. It helped a lot that in Portuguese there are "clear rules" about pronunciation (this letter before this other letter sounds like this, this letter at the end of a word is pronounced like this, etc), so just by looking at a word I knew how it should be pronounced, without having to go to look for the phonetic in a dictionary. For the introverted person that I am, that made me feel more confident when I had to speak the language. I know it's silly but, it was the first time I could enjoy talking comfortably in another language.
And after 3 years of dedicating all my Saturday mornings to attend classes, I prepared the CELPE-Bras and got my second certificate in a foreign language in 2013.
Unfortunately, even though I am still reading books and listening to music in Portuguese, I have barely used the language actively since then. Besides my trips to Brazil and Portugal, the only opportunities I have are when I come across Brazilian or Portuguese tourists visiting Uruguay (luckily a lot of Brazilians visit Montevideo) or when I met people from those countries on my other trips. Ah... It also helped me to understand Galician when I went to Santiago de Compostela and Vigo (in Galicia).
What I am trying to say is that I need to make more efforts to use it actively instead of just "mantaining" it, as I have done these last few years. That is the reason why I signed up for SC 2018-2019 with Portuguese, and one of the reasons why I want to "revive" my blog, so I feel the "obligation" to write more often in Portuguese.
Please, feel free to correct any mistakes.