Tell about learning Portuguese

How was your experience in learning Portuguese ?

Come hai imparato Portoghese?

Respostas/answers  em Português, Inglês, Italiano, Francês, Espanhol são bem-vindas !

Olá Teacher,
On behalf of the entire Expat-blog Team, welcome on board. I hope your experience here on the blog will be both enjoyable and informative.

Well, I learned Portuguese in Canada before I came to Brazil over eleven years ago now. Since I had previous experience in the French language I found Portuguese relatively easy to pick up since the two languages have many similarities. I took about 7 months of formal classroom instruction with a Brazilian teacher and spent a great deal of time on the internet as well as using CDRom based software for learning the language. Music, films, magazines and newspapers all are excellent add-ons when learning any language too. It's also imperative to take part in cultural activities as well, since the culture of any society has a great effect on the language they speak. I was very active in the Portuguese/Brazilian community in Vancouver Canada and also regularly attended a church that held services in Portuguese. It had a congregation that was predominantly Brazilian. I arrived in Brazil speaking the language fluently in less than one year.

I have been an English (ESL) language teacher for twenty-five years now. After learning Portuguese I now teach the language to other English speaking foreigners and do complex translations. One must look at their language training as an investment in their future. The relatively small amount of money I paid for my classes was the best investment I've ever made and it has returned to me at least ten times over with translations alone.

Here in Brazil speaking Portuguese is essential for success in any field or just getting through day-to-day living. English is not widely spoken even in large companies so a good command of Portuguese is a MUST.  Cheers,
  William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

Olá, William !
Muito obrigado pela sua calorosa recepção !

Seu percurso com Português LE é muito interessante!
Vejo que você é um apaixonado por Línguas Estrangeiras !
Um grande abraço!

Hello PortugueseTeacher.

As this is an English Speaking forum, could you please write in english so that other members can understand? :)

Thank you,

Sorry, everybody !
I'm new here and I didn't realize that each language had its forum.

Here it goes:

Hello, William!
Thank you for your warm welcome!

Your route in learning Portuguese FL is very interesting!
I see that you love foreign languages​​!
A big hug!

Hi, there !
Let's exchange experiences about living in Brazil?

Congrats to reply back on your own thread nearly 3 years after  :D


I did a short course at a crappy Language school in South Africa , then I did the Semnantica video lessons , hung out with Brazilian friends and asked my wife a lot of Questions that I'm in Brazil I just try to have conversations with people when I can and theres always day to day exposure......I can converse in Portuguese and deal with most day to day situations but I'm still nowhere near as Articulate as I am in English......

Great, Stevefunk

I'm so happy you have been watched Semantica Portuguese videos !
I was one of the partners in the first season of the project as "Teaching Languages Consultant".
You can see me on Lesson 13 (Semantica 1), the guy wearing sunglasses in the bus who is asked for some information by Paul.


Best regards

Good morning! I have been living in Brazil for 19 months and have been studying Portuguese for 14 months with a private tutor. I will continue with my lessons until I feel that I no longer need them. Prior to arriving in Brazil, I'd had almost no exposure to the Portuguese language, but I do speak some French, and this has somewhat helped me - even though as my Portuguese is improving, my French is getting worse! :(

Bom dia! Eu estou aprendendo português. Estou estudando com a minha professora brasileira. Eu tenho uma aula particular uma vez por semana mas não é fácil. Eu gostaria de continuar minhas aulas até que eu me sinta mais confortável com a língua. Mesmo estou morando no Brasil, eu não tenho muitas oportunidades de falar português por que eu sou professora de inglês e todos os meus amigos brasileiros querem falar em inglês comigo. kkk

Hi Victoria,

Funny you should mention that, because I found the same thing. I learned French in high school, but was terrible. When I put my kids into a French Immersion public school in Canada I became fluent through helping them. However once they graduated I began to lose my French language skills through disuse.  In later years when I began learning Portuguese in Vancouver the previous experience with French helped greatly. The verb conjunctions were all the same, masculine and feminine nouns, accentuation all were pretty similar and it all fell into place quickly. I arrived in Brazil speaking Portuguese fluently, albeit with a terrible gringo accent. That said, I was at least able to understand everything that was said to me and make myself clearly understood, which was completely responsible for my suscessful transition to living here in Brazil.

Like you, I found that my French was soon lost and I have great difficulty understanding anything I read in French. I've also started making silly little mistakes in English, but usually catch them quite quickly. That's because I don't use English outside the classroom since I speak Portuguese almost all of the time other than when I'm teaching.

Moral of the story, when it comes to other languages... IF YOU DON'T USE IT, YOU START TO LOSE IT.  So you need to try and keep up your reading, writing and speaking of whatever other languages you have before you find they've somehow slipped away.

James Experts Team

Actually I find the accent the most challenging part of say stuff authentically so people understand , and really my accent is not bad as Gringo accents go....
I find mastering the perfect way to say all the subtle naunces much more difficult than any of the grammar ,which is actually quite straight forward , so I focus on "Pronuncia" a lot.....

I hear what you saying Victoria about not getting enough chance to speak Portuguese....funny that isn't it? It's really easy for us to live in Brazil and not speak that much Portuguese beyond the day to day level of shopping and chores ...
I also teach English....luckily I teach some kids and I actually end up learning lots of things from them......Also I know a lot of Brazilians who don't speak English , or don't like to speak it , so I take advantage....also I try to set the foundation of the relationship by immediately taking the lead by speaking Português to them ....once you get in the habit of speaking English with a Brazilian friend it's almost impossible to break....
Throwing yourself in the deep end and sealing with Banks and Beaurocracy "sozinho" is a good why to learn bem rápido!

Also looking for activities , like sports , helping out with the safety drills of your building etc , offer a great opportunity for immersion well as travel , especially with my wife's Brazilian family , with whom I rarely speak English.

Hi, there !
The best thing you can do is seizing each opportunity to speak Portuguese. Family, friends, neighboors, shops etc.
Do not be shy !
To improve pronounciation you should listen to music (there are many songs  on youtube with lyrics) and watch movies/series/soap with subtitles in English.
As Steve said, "sealing with Banks and Beaurocracy" is a fireproof.

See you! :top:

hi james
Are you alive

James in no longer living...

I couldn't open a book to study portuguese  as i found this language very boring, when i came here i couldn't say a word and to my suprise after 3 moths i started getting familiar with some word. The language stopped sounding strange to me and before a year i started speaking and after another 6  months  i started writing. So i would say the easiest way to learn a language ( AT LEAST FOR ME) is to live the language.


This is GUY, I was living in Recife last time we talked
Back in FL, my wife comes back next month after finishing her degree



I used to chat with James often
I just now see he has passed away
I suspected it because I had not heard from him
Did he pass away in Macae or Canada
Hope it was a natural death, he was a nice guy


Macae. By all accounts, it appears he was murdered for being outspoken.

Immersion is the Best Way. That's my story.

Alascana :

Immersion is the Best Way. That's my story.

And nobody can make me change my mind.

Mike in São Paulo :
Alascana :

Immersion is the Best Way. That's my story.

And nobody can make me change my mind.

Except one idiot.
Stupid is as Stupid Does. Now may I suggest you get new batteries for your toy. And your clock also.

I had never read your beginning blog before and just saw it. I want to thank you James for all of the information that you contribute. It truly does help!

I am actually beginning my certification for teaching as an ESL in January here in the US before I begin my transition to Bahia to work as one and become a permanent resident.

How was it on the beginning when you began teaching as an ESL? Did you find it helped that you spoke English/Portuguese?

I have taken 5 weeks of Portuguese language in Bahia and taking more sessions for longer periods of time to really be able to translate and teach English.

James passed away some time ago.

I have never seen anyone with a TOEFL/ESL teaching certificate doing better than someone that doesn't have one here. Obviously I haven't been everywhere and seen everything, but none of the schools I taught at in São Paulo worried about certifications. Private "regular"/academic schools such as Metodista or Objectivo may require them, but schools like Wizard and CNA don't; they just have you take a test to show your fluency.

Alascana :
Mike in São Paulo :
Alascana :

Immersion is the Best Way. That's my story.

And nobody can make me change my mind.

Except one idiot.
Stupid is as Stupid Does. Now may I suggest you get new batteries for your toy. And your clock also.

English reading comprehension is an important skill. Maybe you should invest some time in learning it.

I was agreeing that immersion is the best way to learn a language.

I feel like an ass I didn’t know that😞😞😞 May he Rest In Peace. I never saw that it was required it wasn’t when I visited but I’m using my Chapter 31 VA benefits to pay for it and figured it wouldn’t hurt. They even offer modules within it for teaching business professionals and young adults. I’m looking forward to doing this.

That's awesome. I didn't qualify for anything but a swift kick in the rear from the VA because I was medically discharged due to a non-service-related injury with less than 24 months of contiguous active duty. Ray-Gun made a change so that people like me don't qualify for anything.

I hate to hear about others who served and it’s just a discharge and others who didn’t. I was medicalled retired after 14 years with 100% and I get SSI. I get to really focus on my health and time with my son. Some things just weren’t the same for me after awhile and affected us both. But I am glad that now I am not in the Army because so many changes have happened that aren’t helpful to our Soldiers now because Congress is changing retirements now and it’s not in the best interest of the Soldier. I think much of it has to do with the fact that many Soldiers and other branches wanted out because serving is just not the same as it used to be. There is way too much more political stuff going in on the Branches than it used to be.

So I potentially have a couple ways of becoming a permanent resident of Brazil by marriage or by transfer of retirement. I wonder which one is easier?


Sir please help me little bit,i want to ask you about marriage, I am boy from india and i want to marry my girlfriend she is from brazil so i want to go brazil for marry her but before going what my girlfriend need to do for marry me i mean in civil registry office what things she need to do tell me this so i will procced more

That all depends on how long you plan to wait before going to Brazil to get married. She can't do anything yet if you don't plan on leaving your home country within a few days of her starting. And you need to get your documents as well. And don't forget that none of your documents, except your passport, can be older than 90 days.

How do I contact James thank you

We lost our friend James a few yeas ago.
Many here can help (not as well as James), but very good expats on this site.
Just start a new topic and ask your question.

New topic