What’s your learning regimen?

A question for students of Portuguese: What’s your personal study regimen? Are you using a particular textbook, taking a university class, seeing a private tutor, finding videos on youtube, listening to a podcast, working through Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone? Have you tried one method but gave it up, only to find something better? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? And how often do you study? Have your study habits changed as you’ve gotten more advanced?

Here’s my regimen for the last few months:

  • Once a week, I go to a 2-hour class with a private tutor that I’ve been working with for a year and a half. The class consists of me and one or two other students, all of us at more or less the same level, so it works out well. We meet at a local library and spend the first half of the class conversing about our week, the news, Brazilian culture, anything that comes up. For the second half of the class we work out of a textbook, reading aloud, doing oral exercises, and reviewing homework. We spent the past year working out of Avenida Brasil 2, an intermediate textbook which I absolutely hated, but after finishing it we’ve moved on to Português via Brasil, an advanced text that I like much more. (My tutor now uses Muito Prazer with her beginning/intermediate students). The biggest thing I get out of the class is regular conversational practice. The small group format is great because everyone gets a chance to talk, both with the tutor and with each other. And the fact that I can understand about 80% of what my tutor says reassures me that even though I still find listening to newscasts, films, songs and recorded speech challenging, in the context of a real conversation with a real person, I actually understand more than enough to get by.
  • At home, I spend some time every few days working on my homework from Português via Brasil, plus some additional exercises from the Modern Brazilian Portuguese workbook.
  • Every day, I try to do some kind of listening. Usually this involves watching a newscast from Globo Rural, since I’m interested in environmental issues in Brazil. Other times I watch a video posted by StreetSmart Brazil or Learn Brazilian Portuguese on Facebook.
  • PortuguesePod101.com. I bought a subscription a while back so I could review it, then used the site regularly for a month, working through most of the high intermediate lessons. I don’t use it as much anymore, but I do like that they have a huge library of audio to listen to. Ditto for ClicaBrasil.
  • Every few days I do some kind of reading, usually a newspaper article or blog post that I find on Facebook (I suscribe to several Brazilian environmental groups).


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3 Responses to What’s your learning regimen?

  1. Dominic says:

    Thanks for posting this Lauren. I start with Gisele next week, thanks to you. I do have a question. Were you able to find the book “Muito Prazer” for a reasonable price? It’s soooooo expensive! I did find a volume one edition on Amazon, but I don’t know if that would work for the classes.

    I’ve been using mainly LingQ, and Pimsleur, mostly just listening and reading……trying to resist the urge to talk, so I don’t pick up any bad habits. Portuguese isn’t as easy as Spanish to me, but I’m up for the challenge. Thanks for this cool site and the info on it!

    • Lauren says:

      Oi Dominic – yay, so glad I could point you towards Gisele :-)

      So I looked on Amazon, and wow, you’re right — $300-500 for a *used* copy? That’s ridiculous. I got mine in Brazil where it was much cheaper. The best I could find for you online was $174 at Atlântico Books, which is usually more expensive than Amazon but apparently not in this case. $174 is still really expensive for a book, I know, but it’s way better than $314. If you can’t afford that, perhaps you and Gisele could use a different book… Avenida Brasil ($60 for text + exercise book), Falar-Ler-Escrever ($35 for the text), or Ponto de Encontro ($145 for text + exercise book). You could remind her that Avenida Brasil has a new version (“Novo Avenida Brasil”) which is more up-to-date than the old versions we used to use.

      Best of luck on your Portuguese journey!

  2. Jane says:

    Hi Lauren,
    I’ve been learning Portuguese through self-study since the start of the year and have found your website really useful. Thanks for providing such a great resource!!!

    As I already speak Spanish, I initially used Pois Nao but it didn’t really work for me as a standalone text. I then started using Muito Prazer which I found really good and have recently finished. I do think it would be a bit challenging to use on your own if you didn’t speak Spanish or have some previous knowledge of Portuguese.

    I have now started using Colloquial Portuguese of Brazil 2 and so far so good. It is designed more for self-study and has nice, succinct grammar explanations. It recycles a lot of the things I learned in Muito Prazer and gets me to engage with them in a more active way (a lot of the active exercises in Muito Prazer are designed more for a classroom setting). However, I’ve only completed the first unit so these are only my first impressions.

    I am also using Ta Falado as recommended by you and find that it is a great help for my pronunciation. I have nearly finished the pronunciation podcasts and will then do the grammar ones.

    I try to do some study most days but this doesn’t always work out as life often gets in the way! I’m also trying to maintain my Spanish so that it doesn’t get “infected” by the Portuguese I’m learning. I also have the Frequency Dictionary of Portuguese and I hope to start learning some vocabulary from that soon.

    Incidentally, I purchased Muito Prazer from a bookshop in Sao Paulo (Montanha Livros) through http://www.abebooks.co.uk. The US website is http://www.abebooks.com, which I have just checked, and they have the book available from the same seller for a cheaper price than the ones you quoted above.

    Thanks again for your website and recommendations, Jane :-)

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