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Lesson Transcript

Braden: Hi, everyone! Welcome back to All About lesson 12 - Top 5 Mistakes You Should Never Make!
Thássia: Hello, I’m Thássia.
Braden: And I’m Braden. You’re in for a very useful lesson today.
Thássia: That’s right. We’re here to give you some tips on how to avoid common mistakes made by learners of Portuguese.
Braden: Now remember, nothing is wrong with making mistakes.
Thássia: It’s how you learn.
Braden: In this lesson, we’ll just give you a heads up and it will make your Portuguese language learning experience a lot easier.
Thássia: ?Let’s get started in here.?
Braden: Tip #1: Don't Talk Fast.
Thássia: It's so hard to understand someone when they speak too fast.
Braden: When you hear native Portuguese speakers, it will seem like they’re talking a thousand words a minute, but don't feel like you need to keep up. They're native, which means they can talk as fast as they want.
Thássia: That’s what I think when I hear native English speakers. Many foreigners try to speak as fast as Brazilians do, but even though their grammar is perfect, they smash the words together in ways that we can't decipher. It usually takes years of fine tuning to be able to speak as fast as a native.
Braden: I met a guy who’d been living in Brazil for almost a year and people still had a hard time understanding even simple phrases because he spoke so fast that he would jumble up the words. He started speaking slower and people started understanding him more.
Thássia: I’ve seen that happen many times. So Braden, what’s the next tip?
Braden: Tip #2: Don't Just Add -o or -a at the End of English Words
Thássia: Portuguese and English have many cognate words, but it isn't that simple.
Braden: That’s true. You could very easily say something very offensive if you use cognates like that.
Thássia: Should we go through some simple pattern?
Braden: That sounds like a great idea, actually. The easiest one to remember is that English words that end in “-ty” will probably end in -dade in Portuguese.
Thássia: Like cidade which means “city” and sociedade which means “society.”
Braden: The next one is that English words that end in “-ent” or “-ant” often end in -ente or -ante respectively in Portuguese.
Thássia: Like the word “recent” which is recente and “important” which is importante in Portuguese.
Braden: There are a few more cognate patterns that are useful to know, but we’ll go over those in future lessons. Tip #3: Learn basic conjugations.
Thássia: In Portuguese, verbal conjugation is very extensive.
Braden: Yeah. It’s really an interesting aspect of all Latin-based languages. Portuguese has 94 verb conjugations, and each verb has at least 50 different forms.
Thássia: But don't worry! There are really only about 13 that are commonly used. But still, that’s way too many to go over in one lesson.
Braden: And for that matter, if you're just starting out, ser and estar are a great place to begin because they’re the most commonly used verbs in Portuguese.
Thássia: People starting to speak Portuguese often say things like Eu estar cansado or Eu ser americano. This is incorrect and very painful for Brazilians to hear.
Braden: Yeah. It's kind of like hearing "They is tired" or "I are American," only worse.
Thássia: Learning the correct conjugation isn't hard, but can be time consuming as there are so many. Just remember to pace yourself and focus on what each conjugation means, instead of its grammatical function.
Braden: That’s right. Many people get very frustrated when it comes to verb conjugation because so much focus is placed on the grammatical function that the actual meaning of the verb is somehow lost.
Thássia: We'll try to avoid that sinkhole in these lessons and help you understand verbs in the way natives do.
Braden: That way, you’ll learn faster and communicate better.
Thássia: What’s our next tip?
Braden: Tip #4: Learn the Pronunciation Now
Thássia: That’s right, don't delay! We've dedicated an entire lesson series to pronunciation because it's that important in Portuguese.
Braden: A mentor of mine always said, it doesn't matter how well you know the grammar, if you don't pronounce it right, they won't understand you.
Thássia: So true. What’s our next tip?
Braden: Tip #5: Watch Out for Open and Closed Vowels
Thássia: This is very important.
Braden: Portuguese has open and closed vowels. This is one of the most difficult aspects for foreigners to master because the differences are so minute that most don't even notice that there is a difference.
Thássia: But we notice. It's one of the first things we hear when foreigners start talking.
Braden: The good news is that with a bit of practice, knowing when a vowel should be open or closed is pretty easy.
Thássia: There are specific words that are important to be aware of, like avô and avó. Avô means “grandfather” and avó means “grandmother.”
Braden: Can you hear the difference? It’s on the last letter. Could you say them again, Thássia? One right after the other.
Thássia: Sure. Avô - avó.
Braden: Portuguese is full of these open and closed vowels, and it’s important to be aware of these early on, so you can learn them the right way the first time. Could you give us another example?
Thássia: Yes. How about “your” and “heaven”?
Braden: That sounds great.
Thássia: Okay. Seu and céu.
Braden: Did you hear the difference? It’s on the /e/ sound. Pode repetir?
Thássia: Seu - céu. Seu means “yours” and céu means “heaven.”
Braden: Awesome.
Thássia: So make sure to listen to and practice the exact samples, so that when the time comes, you have the right word with the right pronunciation.
Braden: All right. Well, those are our top 5 tips for avoiding common mistakes in Portuguese.
Thássia: Keep these in mind and your Portuguese learning experience will be made a lot easier.
Braden: You’ll be right on track.
Thássia: See you next time.
Braden: Tchau tchau!
Thássia: Bye!