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Braden: Hi everybody and welcome back to All About lesson 11 - Top 5 Tools for Learning Portuguese. Braden here!
Thássia: And I’m Thássia, olá!
Braden: In this lesson, we have a great list of tools to help your Portuguese studies.
Thássia: Yes, we do!
Braden: These are tools that when put together, are going to do wonders for your Portuguese.
Thássia: And all of them will save you a lot of time.
Braden: Which brings us to our first tool, entertainment.
Thássia: Exactly! We should always remember that language is not just an academic pursuit.
Braden: The purpose of any language is to communicate with others, and that is more often done through stories and video than through academic papers. Besides, entertainment provides excellent examples of how the language is actually used by native speakers, something no textbook can copy.
Thássia: Some great sources for Portuguese learners of all levels are YouTube and Google Images. Just type in the Portuguese word for whatever you want to learn and start studying.
Braden: I know several people who have used movies and TV shows as their primary means of contact with a culture.
Thássia: Just remember, you are what you watch.
Braden: Exactly! Watching a professionally produced feature film will yield better results faster than watching people stupidly doing dumb stuff.
Thássia: Our next tool is a dictionary.
Braden: Right. Using bilingual dictionaries used to be a bit of a catch-22. Only the larger sized dictionaries were complete enough to be useful, but were too large to actually carry around.
Thássia: Nowadays though, web-based and electronic dictionaries are rapidly bridging that gap. They are complete enough to help you with your composition assignments, faster than paperbound dictionaries, and available on any web browser or smart phone.
Braden: Currently, no online Portuguese dictionary is a "one-stop shop," but the English-Portuguese dictionary at LookWayUp.com is about as close as you can get. It gives you definitions in English, and then the correct word that matches that definition in Portuguese.
Thássia: Very useful! Just make sure you're using a web-based dictionary and not an online translator.
Braden: That’s right. Web-based dictionaries will give you the dictionary entry of the word you're looking for. An online translator will give you a machine translation that’s usually just one word and rarely accurate.
Thássia: Our next two is?
Braden: Portuguese-Speaking Friends and Loved Ones
Thássia: Are those two?
Braden: Yes, they are. Yes, of course, they are. And potentially, the most efficient and most rewarding source for learning Portuguese. Friends and loved ones who speak to you in Portuguese can give you more insight, understanding, and help you feel the heart of Portuguese.
Thássia: That’s true. Portuguese is always changing and the only way you can keep up is if you can feel the language the way they did. With our help, you'll learn to express yourself in Portuguese and understand others in ways that none of the tools previously mentioned can even approach.
Braden: The more time you spend negotiating the meaning of words from natural native speech, the better. So, what’s our next tool?
Thássia: Social networking websites
Braden: Ah, yes. If you’re like I was when I started learning Portuguese, then talking with Portuguese-speaking friends and family isn't really an option. I didn't know anyone who spoke Portuguese and I didn't feel comfortable randomly calling people in Brazil to practice speaking.
Thássia: Many people, probably most people, are in a similar situation. That's why social networking sites can be so useful when you are learning a language.
Braden: One of the best is called Lang-8, spelled L-A-N-G (dash) 8 as in number 8, .com.
Thássia: This site is very different from other language learning sites in that it provides a free connection for native speakers of a language to correct the writings of people who are studying that language.
Braden: For example, a native English speaker can correct a Brazilian’s English writing and a native Portuguese speaker can correct the Portuguese of a native English speaker.
Thássia: It's quite helpful because it offers a free service for people to correct each others' writings. It's a great place to see how a native person might write a particular sentence, paragraph, or short writing sample.
Braden: And if you wanted to meet even more Brazilians, the best place to go is…
Thássia: Orkut.
Braden: Orkut.
Thássia: I really like Orkut. Orkut is a social networking service like Facebook, but provided by Google.
Braden: Right. It's been around for years but for some reason has never taken off in the USA—but it has skyrocketed in Brazil. From a Brazilian perspective, Orkut is used more than Facebook and MySpace combined.
Thássia: Millions and millions of Brazilians access Orkut every day and post about, well, whatever they want.
Braden: You can create an account, search for and get to know new people, and practice your Portuguese all for free on Orkut.
Thássia: Then you can use Skype to practice your speaking with your new friends.
Braden: All for free!
Thássia: They’re like an extension of all about PortuguesePod101.com.
Braden: That’s right! All shameless marketing aside, when I started learning Portuguese, I got dropped off in São Paulo with one grammar book and a dictionary and was told “Good luck!”
Thássia: Whoa, that’s harsh.
Braden: It was an immersion program and that’s how they did it. Anyway, I wish I’d had something like PortuguesePod101.com to help me. I could have learned so much faster.
Thássia: Braden, we work hard here to be an innovative way to learn Portuguese in your own time, at your own pace. We have tons of material for learning Portuguese and we are constantly adapting and improving our site and system to better suit you.
Braden: Okay, that’s enough advertising. Our last tool is pen and paper.
Thássia: Are you serious?!
Braden: Yes.
Thássia: You work in the internet all day, you have more digital stuff in your office than I even know what’s for, and for that matter, people barely even use paper anymore. It’s all digital now.
Braden: That may be true, but I have my reasons. Shall we go through them?
Thássia: Be my guest.
Braden: First, no digital anything is as cheap as a notebook.
Thássia: Well, you’re right there. In Brazil, you can get 100-page pocketsize notebook for less than $1.
Braden: Second, no one will mug you for a notebook.
Thássia: That’s also true. In Brazil, you always need to be safety conscious. Smartphones or other flashy gadgets are very expensive in Brazil and thieves are always trying to steal them.
Braden: Third, it doesn't matter if it gets wet. You can throw it out and get a new one at any bookstore. No need to sync with the computer or a service provider.
Thássia: That’s important as it rains often in Brazil, and most tourists would come to Brazil, go to the beach, at least once.
Braden: Fourth, paper and pencil is faster than digital.
Thássia: What?! Paper is faster than a computer?!
Braden: Yes.
Thássia: Now, you’re just making stuff up.
Braden: Paper is faster. That’s why journalists use paper notebooks in interviews. It’s just sheer practicality, paper is faster!
Thássia: I’m not sure if I believe you.
Braden: Don’t get me wrong. Computers are great and it’s on a computer that I do most of my heavy lifting; as far as writing articles, emails, and so forth. But at least in 2010, paper is still king for speed and flexibility.
Thássia: So, how should we use our pen and paper?
Braden: Well, let’s look at a situation. You're at the store and you have a good idea about something to study, but when you finally have time to study, you can't remember what it was. Has this ever happened to you?
Thássia: Many times.
Braden: Instead, write down all your ideas and then choose what you want to study from your list. That way, you study what you want, when you want, and you aren't wasting time trying to remember your great idea.
Thássia: Mm…
Braden: I remember when I had just started learning Portuguese, I had been in Brazil for about 3 months and I had a pretty firm grasp of the basics anyway. But I went to a meeting and this guy got up and started talking and I flat out couldn’t understand anything what he said. It was very strange because I could understand everyone else in the room, just not him.
Thássia: He must have been from a different part of the country or something.
Braden: Something. Well, instead of wasting my time just sitting there, I took out my pen and paper and wrote down the words I could pick up. To this day, I don’t know what he was talking about, but I wrote down about three pages worth of vocabulary. I then sat down with one of my friends and we studied the list together. I learned about 75 vocabulary words in 30 minutes.
Thássia: Let’s go through that list.
Braden: It’s long been thrown away.
Thássia: Interesting!
Braden: All because of pen and paper. I couldn’t have done that on the smartphone or even in laptop.
Thássia: Nuh-uh.
Braden: All right. So, we hope you’ll take advantage of these great tools and all they have to offer.
Thássia: We’ve tried them and we know how good they are, so that’s why we are presenting them on to you.
Braden: Remember that the links for all of these sites and programs can be found in the accompanying PDF file.
Thássia: Let us know what you think of them too.
Braden: If you have some other resources you’d like to share, stop by PortuguesePod101.com and share them with the community.
Thássia: Até mais!
Braden: See you later!