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How can you develop your Portuguese language skills as fast as possible? There are several things you can do to accelerate your language learning journey.
Today, I am giving away 38 quick tips to improve your Portuguese and make your learning journey more exciting. They range from practical tips to strategic advice and desirable mindsets when learning a second language. Read on.
1. Practice Portuguese every day
This rule is gold. Daily practice is a prerequisite for anyone serious about learning a new language.
2. Schedule your daily practice
What gets scheduled gets done. So, plan and make time for your Portuguese daily practice.
3. Create a distraction-free zone when practicing Portuguese
Put your phone in flight mode and turn off other gadgets that may disturb your concentration. An hour spent practicing Portuguese with a clear mind is worth 4 hours of practicing it with a scattered mind.
4. Journal in Portuguese every day for 5 minutes
Write down a few lines about your daily experiences. If you are a beginner, write about concrete things and actions, and keep your sentences short and simple.
Journaling helps your brain to start thinking in your target language.
5. Write your to-do lists in Portuguese
Do you use daily to-do lists to manage your time? Start writing them in Portuguese. This is a good way to keep you connected to your target language throughout your day.
6. Default your phone and computer to Portuguese
Immersion in your target language doesn’t necessarily imply that you have to move to a different country.
Consider selecting Portuguese as the default language for your phone and computer. Do the same to software programs that you often use.
7. Stop using subtitles
Speaking of language immersion! Turn off English subtitles (or those in your mother tongue) every time you watch Portuguese or Brazilian films or TV shows. If anything, put on Portuguese subtitles (when available).
Learn more about how to use subtitles to improve your language learning practice: Learn Portuguese with Subtitles: Best Practices.
8. Say “Portuguese is easy for me” at least once a day
If you strongly want to experience the world in a certain way, and if you keep telling yourself a story reflecting it – your envisioning might then become your reality. That’s the power of affirmations.
9. Say words you’re trying to learn out loud and insert them into sentences
Repeating the words you are trying to learn out loud helps you to memorize them. You are also working on your pronunciation by doing so.
To get the best results, create sentences where you use those words. Repeat and voice out those sentences a few times as well.
10 Speak out your daily actions in Portuguese
Instill Portuguese in your daily life by getting used to announcing (to yourself) your mundane actions as you go throughout the day. For instance, Vou tomar um duche (I’m going to take a shower), or Agora, tenho de ligar à minha mãe (now, I have to give my mother a call), etc.
This is also a great way to train yourself to think in Portuguese! Learn more about how to effectively advance your speaking skills: Here’s How to Push Through and Improve Your Portuguese Speaking Skills.
11. Trust the process
Don’t obsess about your final goal. Instead, focus more on the present and enjoy and celebrate all your achievements (as small as they might be).
Surrender to the process and daily practice. Your perseverance will get you there.
12. Take every single opportunity that comes your way to speak in Portuguese
Your reading and listening comprehension abilities in Portuguese are most likely higher than your ability to speak it. The only way to close this gap is actually to practice speaking in your target language as much as possible.
13. Find a Portuguese tutor to help you drill your speaking
A tutor, if competent, creates a space where you feel safe and comfortable to speak in your target language without worrying about making mistakes.
14. Memorize Portuguese songs and sing along
This can be an excellent way to learn new words and idiomatic expressions. It also improves your listening comprehension and pronunciation. To explore and discover Portuguese music, start here: Great Portuguese Songs for Language Learners (with lyrics).
15. Drill Portuguese sounds daily
Some Portuguese sounds might be tricky for you to reproduce. You need to practice those “thorny” language sounds over and over again until they become second nature to you. And btw, tongue twisters are an effective way to go about it.
16. Change the directions of your Google Maps to Portuguese
Allow Google Maps or equivalent to contribute to your language immersion by changing the directions to Portuguese. Consider doing the same with Google Assistant, Siri, and the like.
17. Share newly learned expressions with your friends
Each time you learn a new expression or word, share it with a friend who is also learning Portuguese. Sharing is caring, right? Besides, it helps you memorize new expressions more effectively.
18. Read books in Portuguese …
Reading in your target language is essential. No input, no output. There are books specially written for language learners and it’s thus possible to find compelling reads that match your proficiency level.
Find compelling reads specially designed for Portuguese language learners on StoryLift.
19. … and read out loud
When appropriate, read out loud. You don’t have to do it all the time but take a few paragraphs here and there to work on your pronunciation and speaking skills.
20. Every time you make a mistake in Portuguese say…
“… perfect, now I’ve found something new to improve on.”
21. Practice Portuguese movie scenes
If you are in the habit of watching Portuguese films, select a few catchy lines/scenes and act them out. Do it together with a friend when possible – it’s even more fun.
The same applies to Portuguese TV Shows: Online Portuguese TV Shows with Subtitles to Boost Your Language Learning.
22. Dare to make phone calls in Portuguese
Speaking is also a habit and you need to get used to it. So, every time you need to write an email in Portuguese to someone, consider making a phone call instead. Be bold!
23. Own your Portuguese
Remember! Native speakers do not own the language they are born into. You are good enough and as entitled as any native speaker to speak in Portuguese.
24. Listen to Portuguese podcasts or radio
Listen to Portuguese podcasts or radio daily. This will considerably improve your listening comprehension and pave your way towards fluency. Find your favorite podcasts here: Podcast Shows to Nurture Your Portuguese Language Skills.
25. Practice shadowing
Speaking of listening practice! Whether walking the streets or comfortably seated at home, play your favorite podcast shows or radio station and mimic what you hear in real-time.
26. Do something challenging now and then
It’s totally up to you what the challenge might look like. Desirably, it should be aligned with your interests and hobbies. For example, make a video explaining how you cook your favorite dish (in Portuguese) and share it with your friends.
27. Never apologize for your Portuguese
Be proud of your accomplishments and all the things you can already express in Portuguese so far. So, straighten your back, smile at the person in front of you, and speak up!
Btw, when you speak to a native speaker who can’t speak in your mother tongue, you’re the one enabling the conversation. It wouldn’t be possible without you and your language skills. Grace to you!
28. Talk with yourself in Portuguese
No one to talk to in your target language? Never mind. You can do solo speaking practice and have imaginary dialogues with yourself.
When possible, make sure that you speak out loud to work on your pronunciation.
29. Create a short story in Portuguese
Write a short story in Portuguese and share it with your friends. Keep it short and simple. And remember, “done” is better than “perfect”.
30. Record yourself speaking in Portuguese
You don’t know how you sound until you hear your voice coming out of the speakers. Do it (use your smartphone) and you will realize how much margin there is to improve your pronunciation. Follow it up by doing it from time to time.
31. Practice telling jokes in Portuguese
Try to learn a couple of jokes in Portuguese and practice telling them until you’ve nailed them. Share them with your Portuguese native friends or fellow students. Have a good laugh you all.
32. Find language exchange partners
Find Portuguese native speakers learning your mother tongue (or any other language you are fluent in) and exchange languages with them. Do it regularly (at least once a week) by using language exchange apps such as Tandem or HelloTalk
33. Use speech-to-text tools to work on your pronunciation
Test your Portuguese pronunciation and clarity through speech-to-text apps like Google Translate. Don’t forget to go to definitions to specify the standard of Portuguese you’re learning and practicing (European vs. Brazilian).
34. Write book or movie reviews online
What was the last Portuguese book or film that you’ve read or watched? Consider leaving your book/movie reviews on the appropriate online platform (in Portuguese, of course).
35. Try to speak your native language with a Portuguese accent
You know that you’ve cracked the essentials of Portuguese pronunciation when you can speak in your mother tongue with a Portuguese accent. I would love to know what that would sound like 🙂
36. Listen and transcribe
Listen to a short piece of audio in Portuguese and transcribe it. Read it out loud afterward.
37. Consider using spaced repetition
Are you struggling with retaining new words and expressions? Try to expand your Portuguese lexicon by spending 5-10 minutes a day with a spaced-repetition app like Drops.
38. Keep your Why alive
This one comes last but as the saying goes: the last shall be first!
Take a moment once a week – 5 to 10 minutes – and meditate on your Why: why are you learning Portuguese in the first place?
Restate your motives and reinvigorate your commitment to daily practice.
Stay tuned for upcoming Courses, Stories, and other Novelties.