Best Way to Learn a Second Language – in our case, Portuguese
- Monday December 26th, 2022
- Posted by: Nnamdi Okezie
- Category: Learn the Portuguese Language and Portuguese Grammar
There are so many excuses that can easily dissuade an individual from endeavoring to learn a second language. Some popular excuses range from “I’m too old” to “it’s too expensive”. I say bleh to this. Hence in this article, we will be exploring the best ways to learn a second language – for everyone.
In the spirit of Caminhos Language Centre, I thought it is best to begin this commentary with the benefits of language courses. Courses are a great way to learn a second language because of their interactive and dynamic nature. Group courses are social, and should provide a supportive atmosphere in which all students can learn from each others’ mistakes. The aspects of camaraderie and group encouragement, combined with the assurance of learning amongst peers at your own level, make for a confidence-boosting and memorable experience!
Bonus points for language courses that offer extracurricular social activities, for instance, cultural trips and nightlife experiences. Social activities that include some sort of cultural immersion are not only fun but an effective way to practice and internalize your foreign language! At Caminhos Language Centre there are a variety of activities to choose from. You can join us for a game of beach volleyball at Ipanema Beach, or sign up for samba classes, bike tours, and much more!
This takes me to my next point – immersion. Cultural and linguistic immersion can be overwhelming at first, but as long as you keep at it, bits and bobs will progressively begin to sink in until you can finally follow an entire conversation. Make Brazilian friends! Or Brazilian “more than friends”. Join a club! A sports club, a chess club. Anything that will have you constantly exposed to, or interacting, in Portuguese, and thereby constantly learning.
For those who cannot afford immersion courses and travel; I have good news for you! There are many ways to immerse yourself in a language whilst never leaving your front door! For example, music! This is a fantastic and enjoyable way to develop vocabulary, pronunciation as well as grammar, in a seemingly effortless way.
Personally, I find listening to music in Portuguese invaluable to my progress. I recommend learning lyrics by heart and then dissecting the verses piece by piece. Try to make sense of each nuance. Once you have a good understanding of the song, I strongly advise that you sing. In the shower, at home alone, in a cave – wherever! Singing your foreign language out loud is a very effective way to improve pronunciation and learn fun new vocabulary and idioms.
The same goes for films and TV shows: watch foreign movies. Watch them with subtitles in your native tongue, to begin with. And once you are more advanced in your studies, have a go at changing the subtitles to the language you are learning. This will help you become familiar with formal, fast, everyday-type of foreign language (let’s say, Portuguese) without even getting out of your pajamas!
There’s no right age to start learning
Finally, I will address the common misconception that only young children can learn foreign languages. And although there is a hypothesis that claims there’s a “critical period” between the ages of 5 and 12 which is the optimum time for language acquisition, there is also an abundance of studies that demonstrate the benefits of learning a second language well in adulthood. For example, the brain is always developing, and learning a second language can increase the brain’s size, specifically the hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for forming, storing, and retrieving memories.) So learning a foreign language as an adult can make you smarter!
So I say, go for it! There is no such thing as being “good” or “bad” at languages. It all has to do with your motivation, determination, and perseverance. Conclusively, my last piece of advice would be to lose your ego; do not be afraid to make mistakes or be embarrassed. You cannot learn without making mistakes, nor can you learn a second language without appearing to be a dimwit from time to time. Good luck! Boa sorte!
by Lauren Hutton
Caminhos Language Centre is the largest and most exciting Portuguese school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We have an excellent infrastructure, over 15 experienced Brazilian teachers, and a friendly multilingual support staff. We are the only school in Brazil able to offer Portuguese group courses throughout the year on 10 different levels. Moreover, our school also offers more than just Portuguese lessons for foreigners, we offer you the complete Rio de Janeiro experience. Every day we organize 100% free and fun activities for you to socialize and practice your Portuguese. We can also help you with a student visa for Brazil and accommodation in Rio de Janeiro. Follow us on Instagram for some Portuguese tips and news.